søndag den 28. februar 2010

Me - a Writer?


When are you a writer?

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!

Look here:

"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."

27 kommentarer:

Søren sagde ...

I'm so happy for you, Dorte. You are doing so much to get there, and why on earth shouldn't you?

Congratulations with the story being published soon. It's just a first step, but an important one :-)

Margot Kinberg sagde ...

Dorte - This is such very exciting news!!! I am so very happy for you, and I only wish you could hear my applause : ). I look forward to your story coming out "officially," and I really do hope you'll post it when it does!

You ask a good question, too, about when one becomes a write. I don't think it has much to do with whether one's been published. You have been a writer - and a talented one - for some time. But now, everyone will know : ).

Dorte H sagde ...

Søren: thank you very much! One small step, but it does feel like a giant leap for my ´career´ right now!

Margot: you are so kind. And like you, I think that talented writers are writers, no matter what the publishers do, but it is much easier to believe it when it is someone else´s work :D

Louise sagde ...

Dorte, that sounds like a wonderful and great thing. Congratulations from me! Well done!! YAHOOOO!!!! And 3 dollars, OMG :-D

Barbara sagde ...

Woo hoo, Dorte! Though I've known you are a writer ever since I first bumped into your blog.

Philip sagde ...

Well done you, Dorte. And you wrote it in English? I am thinking Joseph Conrad here.

Dorte H sagde ...

Louise: thank you!

Barbara: oh, you folks are too kind!

Philip: Joseph Conrad? MY! But let´s see what you say when you have read my story. (I am proud, though. I have struggled to write in Danish for ages, but only around six months in English).

Martin Edwards sagde ...

Excellent! I'm delighted - and impressed. Most of us find it hard enough in our native language!

Dorte H sagde ...

Thank you, very much, Martin!

I also find it hard in my native language. It seems it is easier in the States ;)

Dorte H sagde ...

Thank you, very much, Martin!

I also find it hard in my native language. It seems it is easier in the States ;)

Kiwicraig sagde ...

awesome stuff. so pleased for you Dorte. You deserve it, having worked so hard, and persisted, over the years. You were always a writer - now soon you will be a published one!

Palle sagde ...

Congratulation Dorte.
I can see on http://www.everydayfiction.com/ that your short story will be published on March 24.

Kelly sagde ...

Congratulations, Dorte!! This is wonderful news!

I'm sure this story is just the first of many to be published.

Bernadette in Australia sagde ...

I believe *woot* and *squee* are appropriate terms for an occasion like this (at least that's what my nieces say when they are super excited). Congratulations Dorte, I hope it's only the beginning of the next phase of your writing life :)

Dorte H sagde ...

Craig: thank you! At least I try to be persistent :D

Palle: oh, terrific! I have meant to read their story all day, but people will pop in to gratulate me so I hadn´t even seen the March table of contents... :D

Kelly: thank you!

Bernadette: Thank you. I am sure you mean well, *scratching my neck*

iasa sagde ...

Yay!! That's great. I can't wait to read it.

Jose Ignacio Escribano sagde ...

Great news, Dorte. Congratulations.

Sandra sagde ...

Oh,Dorte. I am so thrilled for you. I remember the first acceptance letter I received for my poetry and what that that felt like. I've read a couple of your stories and I thought at least one was ready for publishing. (I was an editor once)
Enjoy your success!

arlee bird sagde ...

Congratulations! Persistance pays off, so none of us should ever get discouraged and give up. Today $3,
tomorrow $300, next year $3000 -- right now you're building a name and a reputation.
Lee

....Petty Witter sagde ...

Well done Dorte, I'm ever so pleased to hear your news. Heres to many more stories yet to come.

Dorte H sagde ...

iasa: so remember: now you know how to figure out if your work is shite - send it in!

Jose, Arlee, Tracy: thank you very much!

Sandra: I didn´t even know you published poetry! I am glad you have enjoyed my stories (and I probably shouldn´t say this to my dear readers, but I try to keep the best ones for the publishers :D)

Poly sagde ...

Dear Dorte

A big CONGRATULATON from me.
Look so much forward to read you publish story on March 24 2010.

By the way, where did you learn to write so well in English?

Hugs from Poly

Dorte H sagde ...

Poly: Thank you! And it is great to have you as a reader of my blog!

I have taught English for 15 years so I suppose I have had plenty of time to brush up my own also :D

Jane sagde ...

kipper lige lidt med flaget - glæder mig til at læse din flash fiction (og til at finde ud af, hvad flash fiction egentlig er)
:-D

Dorte H sagde ...

Tusind tak, Jane.

Der er nu lidt forskellige meninger om flash fiction, men krav nr 1 er længde: aldrig over 1000 ord (eller for puritanerne: aldrig over 500 ord). Man kan godt kalde det kortprosa på dansk, men for mig lyder det sådan lidt elitært, og jeg forestiller mig ikke ligefrem, at jeg skriver for at få Nobelprisen.

cathryngrant sagde ...

I'm late to this post, but loved reading it. The story of your writing progress brought a tear to my eye.

Dorte H sagde ...

Cathryn: one of the things I have learned from blogging is sharing.
Earlier I thought it was a bit embarrasing to be a wanna-be writer, but during the last year I have realized that I need the help and support of other writers and aspiring writers to keep me focused and determined. And I know from my Danish writers´ blog that many of the other writers have been encouraged by my bit of success so ...