Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Road Trip Wednesday- Acknowledgements

This Week's YA Highway Road Trip Topic:
Who has helped you on your reading/writing/publishing journey?

It definitely takes a village to raise an author...or, more like an Internet.

Still, in my pre-online days, one Junior High turned High School teacher (I was lucky to have her at both levels) influenced my writing the most: Mrs. Wilson. The ten comma rules, a preposition song sang to the tune of Yankee Doodle (If, on, for, after, at, by, in...), diagramming sentences and "How long does our paper have to be?" Her answer: "As long as it needs to be."...these were just a few of her gems. But, more precious than diamonds, was her red pen bleeding all over my papers with the big 87-89s plastered at the top...I rarely got an A from her, but thanks to her I got A's from everyone else.

Other teachers inspired my reading, writing and acting (which does help with writing fiction): Mr. Hoke, Mr. McIntire, Mr. Kinsey, Mr., we really did have a great English Department in High School.

Okay, so fast forward many, many years. I did get an English Degree with a Theatre minor from Indiana University, which helped with my reading, writing and acting, but no specific teachers come to mind there.

Then I wrote my first book...a six-week rough raging hot mess. My first big helpers in revising were: Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King, Write Tight by William Brohaugh, and The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman (though, thanks to this last one, I went a little "rule" crazy for a while).

Then, I have to thank my mother-in law for being one of my first brave readers. Other friends and family members also braved the murky waters of my first efforts. Then came Doreen Height, a friend-of-a-friend published author who I linked up with online. She became my first critique partner.

After that came Critique Circle, a wonderful online critique site. Through them, I met Laura Pauling, Shana Silver, Denise Jaden, Pendred Noyce, Arlene Webb, Eric, Elle Strauss, and many others. What help! I learned so much from all of them!

So much that I landed my wonderful agent, Suzie Townsend. She got me a deal with Coliloquy. From there I met my editor, Emily Schultz, who's holding my hand through my first efforts at writing different plot pathways for a story...thank goodness, because it's way more overwhelming than I first would have thought.

Last but not least, all my blogging buddies who help keep me sane.

Thank you, thank you, thank you all!

What about you? Who goes in your acknowledgements?


  1. Suzie, definitely! Also my teachers (esp. Mrs. Gerlach back at Thoreau Elementary), blogging friends, family and especially my mom: who is always the first person to read a draft (she's brave!).

  2. YAY I love how many people have inspiring teacher stories. It sounds like you had a helluva English department! And wow---a mother in law supportive enough to beta read? That's amazing!

  3. You'd think a teacher that rarely gave you an "A" would not be on your list of "most encouraging." But, as you say, it was those red marks that taught you, and the fact she gave you honest feedback that helped to shape you and make you better. Great article. :)

  4. I love all these teacher stories too! And SO HAPPY for you and your journey into publication, and yay! to all the people who helped you!

  5. I love SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS. I stumbled across it on my own and thought it was the greatest thing before I even realized that so many others thought the same thing :D I've barely even started it, and it's amazing how much I've learned and have started to implement in my own writing. Great resource and a great post, Jennifer :D

  6. It does take a village. It sounds like you have a lot of people who've supported you through this. And, oh, teachers have more of an effect on us than they know. I still remember my 4th grade teacher and how awesome she was.

  7. I love to hear about these inspiring teachers and all the support out there. My most inspiring teacher was not from the English Department, but from Healthcare Administration. I was taking a class from him on societal perceptions of disabilities. I wrote a paper profiling a schizophrenic patient and exploring how to better serve people who suffer from mental illness. When he handed it back to me, he had written an "A" on the front, and I was pleased. When I got home and had a chance to browse through his written comments, I saw that he had scrawled in big red letters across the last page, "USE YOUR GIFT!" I'm still figuring out exactly what that means for me, but those words have pushed me forward in many times of doubt.

  8. Oh, I couldn't brave my mother-in-law as a beta reader! Yay for great teachers on the lists today. They seem to be at the beginning of most writing journeys!

  9. Self Editing for Fiction Writers really opened my eyes the first time I read it after my first draft! Should be required reading for beginners! And critique circle helped out a lot too and I love staying in touch with some of the writers I met there - like you!

  10. Thank you for sharing your story! Congratulations on landing an agent and publisher. Wishing your great success and looking forward to reading Cheater Beaters!