Hey Everyone, my name is Natalie Carlisle. I am the author of a young adult fiction book called The Shifted. It was completed in early fall 2011 and I was naive to think it was going to be easy to write a book. Before I get into that, let me give you a little introduction about me. I'm currently 28 years old, spend most of my days working at an office as a system operator/billing clerk but often spend most of my time daydreaming about becoming a published author. Writing is a passion of mine, and has been since I was a kid. I still have folders of my rather cute but poorly written stories from fourth grade. I must admit I wish I still had my kid version imagination- I was pretty creative. Besides writing I love to draw, paint, take pictures and to read. There is nothing as relaxing as curling up on a couch with a comfortable blanket, a GREAT book and my dogs sitting beside me. (I currently have two beautiful american bull dogs but they aren't sitting beside me right now. They are downstairs sitting next to my husband who gladly isn't bothering me- but that's because he thinks I am painting my office over, so he will stay as far away as possible. I'm a messy painter and he hates to paint. lol but don't worry I'm not slacking. My office's paint makeover is finished and for all you earth lovers- I used VOC-free paint.) Anyway.... Sorry got sidetracked....besides a love for the arts, I love nature and mountains. Pretty much anything peaceful and beautiful, and earth has some incredible masterpieces (hey, universe stuff is pretty darn spectacular too- I always been a star-gazer.)
I often find some of my best inspiration just going for a walk or a jog through the park, or staring off at the sky, or admiring the autumn leaves, etc. And trust me, it does help. I am a constant sufferer of writer's block. I have a tendency to over think too much. My bestriend often makes me takes break from my writing, otherwise I'd probably end up throwing my computer out my window lol.
So about my completed manuscript, it is a paranormal genre but not necessarily a paranormal romance. Is there romance? Of course, the best books I ever read have a love story. But it's focus isn't entirely on the relationships. So trying to figure out what genre to put it under when submitting my query letter to publishing companies was a little difficult. I stuck with the young adult fiction/paranormal genre. I guess it worked. I got a publishing company to ask to see my manuscript.-imagine an extremely large smiley face here- but as exciting as that is- let's be honest, getting your book published is one heck of a journey and it is NOT an easy one. It is stressful, upsetting, worrisome and long. Did I mention I am a very anxious, impatient individual on a normal day? Imagine being me, after a publishing company has received your completed manuscript. (Good thing I don't bite my nails.. I wouldn't have any left.) Anyway, I have become addicted to my computer and spend a majority of my time checking my emails even though I KNOW there is a waiting period before a company gets back to you- I still check.. everyday, constantly. OCD much?
So about my book. I had this idea - it came to me while I was in the middle of writing a different book and I just happened to write the first chapter as way of trying to break my writer's block curse. I put it aside then and went back to trying to write the first book. (Three years later- Eek, how embarassing- and I still never finished that story. My computer crashed two times, my dogs ate my memory stick, and I was just never satisfied with it. So make a long story, short- I put that story aside and gave up writing for awhile and focused on my new house and everything else.)
Well I went on vacation this year and bought myself a new vampire series and got extremely addicted to them. As I was laying in the florida sun (yes very bad for my skin, it took a bad sun burn for me to comprehend that) and reading this new wonderful series, I was so relaxed and stress-free that I started thinking : I want to write again.
When I got home that following week, I bought a new computer (since the other one had crashed) and a printer, etc and a new computer chair and plopped my butt in said chair. I had intentions of retrying the other book, but surprisingly I picked up the first chapter of the "new" book and started writing...and writing...and writing... Before I knew it ( a month and a half later) I was done. - well I thought I was done. It wasn't until I submitted my manuscript that I realized I wasn't. I was 40k or 50k words into book 2 when the publishing company got back to me. Turns out I only had "Half" a story.
See, I was hoping to write this series but I didn't know the first thing about writing a book. I only ever tried my hand at poetry. But I read enough books that I should have known, and apart of me did. That's why I was writing book 2 with a speed even faster than I wrote book 1. Because I knew a publishing company was going to want answers to some of "things" I left hanging in my "book one."
So anyway, I was fretting and freaking and writing with crazy speed while I was waiting for a response from the publishing company. Turned out, I was right. I should have listened to my gut- the publishing company wanted me to "finish" the rest of the book. So needless to say I had to combine my "book one" and "book two" and start over, so to speak.
So for a month it was editing, editing, editing...
and as any of you aspiring authors would know or published authors would know... editing is a love/hate relationship. I didn't think I could do it. There was just too much that I needed to jam into "one book" and I didn't want to cut anything out of it. But I had to, and you know after all this time of editing (And bless my mom and my bestfriend for being the two most amazing people ever- because if i didn't have them telling me to breath and encouraging me all the way, I might have given up or just been still editing, editing and editing.)
But this time when I finished the last word of my manuscipt you know what happened. I wanted to cry. I was happy- I was done, and I was sad- It was over. I didn't want it over. My characters, I fell in love with my main characters and I wanted more for them. And I think I understand now, I think that is what is suppose to happen when you complete your manuscript. You shouldn't be left feeling like something is missing from it. And guess what, I just started working on the official "book 2" because I want to, not because I have too. It's such a better, more peaceful more exciting feeling.
Except there's only one problem:
I resubmitted my real "completed" manuscript and that means the five different people that read my manuscript for me BEFORE I ever sent query letters, now have no idea how my story "truly" ends. Only I do. And I am waiting AGAIN to hear back from the publishing company, with the knowledge of this. This makes me even more anxious. Now I am basing my entire manuscript on my own confidence- that's an extremely scary thing. But I did it, I resent it, and now I wait. So far it's been three weeks... I got about another 3 to5 weeks left before I hear back from them.
Perhaps that's why I decided to restart a blog. I tried once before and totally forgot about blogging-or in my case, just got sidetracked writing and editing and living my "normal 9-5 life" too.
So since I found some blogs from other aspiring authors helpful in my journey with submitting to publishing companies and agents, I figured I would try to help others in the same boat too.
So here's my tips.
Whenever you finish your manuscript, if you have doubts about it, there is probably a reason. Figure out that reason and make changes. You are the author. You WILL know when its done. Don't rush your work. Take your time and fall in love with the characters and spend as much time with them as you can. Make them feel real- and don't worry, they'll let you know what happens next if you don't know.
If you get writer's block. Take a breather- I learned to step away from my block, if after a couple days the block is still there there is probably a reason. Sometimes you have to erase some and start over, and go a different angle. Trust me I did this A LOT. I don't regret any of my changes. And my characters surprised me- I never intended them to end up how they did, but they got their way.
Oh, and as for agents or no agents. That's your call. If you aren't going to have an agent, or have trouble finding one, there are companies out there that accept without one, you just have to do all the research.
And make your query letter and synopsis really interesting. After all, it IS what will grab or not grab their attention.
Good Luck all you fellow writers.... Stay happy, stay positive, and have faith ..in yourself.
Keep posted everyone, for future updates.
I can't wait to share my story with all of you today. Whether it be this publishing company or another one- in the near or not so near future. I will not give up. Promise me people, you won't give up on your dreams either.
:) Night everyone!