I have written fiction now and then since I was seven. But I never finished any of my stories. Not until I ran into a period of burnout nine years ago. I realized that I had to be creative in some way, and for once I had plenty of time to be so. I was very determined to write, but as you can imagine, not very stable or critical.
I did write my first crime novel, though, and I even sent it off to a few publishing houses. Well, I learned what a standard rejection letter looks like, and after some time I understood that they were right.
Was I a writer? Perhaps, but certainly not a good one.
I planned and wrote my second crime novel around 2002. Krystalnætter (Crystal Nights) begins with a prehistory in 1938 and continues in the 1960s in the village where I grew up. I sent it off to several publishers, and this time most of them sent me kind or even encouraging rejections. The writing was good, and so was the environment, but the plot was not exciting enough.
Now I could see that I was developing into a better writer. (And though I may never be able to sell Crystal Nights, I am still proud of parts of that novel).
My third novel was written in the period 2004-2007 (latest version: 2009).I made two major mistakes: first I didn´t plan it properly (some writers don´t have to, but I know I do). Second, I tried to add some of the femikrimi features I saw in the Scandinavian crime novels I read all the time. I ended up with a weak and silly protagonist I didn´t even like myself. The plot was good, though, and I think it may be possible to make a proper story out of it one day.
In 2009 a Danish blogger wrote about a free, online writing course. I am sure all my regulars know all about this, but in brief, I learned quite a lot about writing techniques and getting to the point.
Was I a writer?
Well, technically I had learned a lot, and this was the time when I began letting people around me know I wanted to write. I began taking myself a bit more seriously, and I began translating my short writing exercises into English.
And in the autumn of 2009 my blog friends persuaded me that my English was so good that I should try to send some of my flash fiction stories off to online magazines.
I sent the first four off in October, and they were all rejected. Since then I have sent ten more off. So far: two rejections. AND ONE ACCEPTED!
Yesterday I found this message in my spam folder:
“We are pleased to tell you that we have decided to publish your story “Lollipop” in Every Day Fiction.”
Am I a writer?
Well, according to my own definition I suppose I am, and soon I will even be a published writer. No date yet, but that doesn´t really matter. Right now I feel quite happy as it is. The pay is $ 3, and as Every Day Fiction is a free, online magazine, I promise to let you all know when and where.
And thank you so much to each and every reader who has helped and encouraged me to keep on writing! Without you, I would never have tried to publish fiction in my second language!
“We’ve got the usual great variety of styles and flavours for you this month, with fresh stories from names you’ll recognize, including Gay Degani and Kevin Shamel, along with a variety of new-to-EDF authors such as Christopher Floyd and Dorte Hummelshoj Jakobsen.”