Monday, February 13, 2012

Origins Blogfest

"On Monday, February 13th, post your own origin story. Tell us all where your writing dreams began. It could be anything from how you started making up stories as a child, or writing for the school newspaper, or even what prompted you to start a blog. How about stories about the first time somebody took an interest in your writing, or maybe the singular moment when you first started calling yourself a writer. It all started somewhere and we want you to tell us your own unique beginnings."

Alright, this is a pretty fun and easy blogfest, so I thought, why not join in? And I like reading how others got sucked into this crazy writing world, too.

So, without further ado, I give you my Origins Timeline:

Somewhere in Early Childhood: I sat looking at a picture book and thought to myself, "I want to make these someday."

Also in Childhood: I wrote stories and poems. Here is an example of my great literary talent:

The Mouse

I went into my house
and I saw a mouse.
I stepped on it
and it started to knit.
It made me a sweater.
It also made a feather.
I stepped on it once more
and it died.

Erin Fagergren

As you can see, I already had an odd sense of humor. Some things never change.

I also have a notebook with a story I wrote inside about a red-caped warthog named Hogar whose foot is stuck. The main character, Johnny and him become great friends after Johnny sets him free. What a plot, eh?
Maybe it should be expanded into a whole novel?

Later on in Childhood: I told two classmates I found a ghost in my backyard who then gave me a magic book. They dared me to bring the magic book to school the next day. I tried to make one while I waited for my piano lesson that night. It looked pretty hokey. So, I came clean the next day. {Thus we see the continual beginnings of a fiction writer, no?}

1991 to 1996:  I wrote deep and meaningful poetry full of sorrow and depressive themes. They were meant to show how tragic and horrible the life of a misunderstood teenager can be. I have since tossed these wonderful contributions to the literary world. This is sad and tragic as they would have been fabulous for those days when I need a good giggle.

1997: I signed up for a class at SUU which I thought was a children's writing class. It was instead a class teaching about children's literature. I was disappointed and dropped the class. I didn't know where to go to learn to write for kids. Why didn't I just start and give it a shot? I don't know. Maybe I should write a poem about how sorrowful that is.

2000: I was now married and had a wee sweet baby. A good friend mentioned how she wanted to write books for kids someday. I had forgotten about that dream. Well, not entirely forgotten it. I'm sure it still sat somewhere in the back of my mind. This conversation brought it right up front. I think I was waiting to do that someday, too. And I realized someday wasn't going to come unless I did something about it. I began reading about writing for kids. And I wrote horrible stories. I mean, they were pretty darn bad. Seriously...So. Bad.

2002: We moved and bought our first home. We got the internet! And I found the wonderful writing community on-line.

2003: I started my first blog on Livejournal (which I still cross posts from here's an excellent place to meet and get to know other writers). I attended my first conference at, what was then, UVSC (now UVU). It was called The Forum on Writing for Children...or something like that and was put on in conjunction with the SCBWI. I went to that every year for a long time, but the conference has changed and SCBWI is no longer involved. I also went to WIFYR at BYU. I took the picture book class from Rick Walton. I began actively writing and submitting picture books. I also began collection rejection letters. A lot of rejection letters.

2004: I made my first sale of four poems to The Friend magazine. I have since sold them ten...or maybe 11? poems.

2005: I came super close to selling a non-fiction picture book to Albert Whitman. The editor loved the book, but worried there wasn't a large enough market for it. It was about Arbor Day. A friend at a conference heard this editor speak about a book she loved which was about Arbor Day. She was making the point that the reason your book doesn't get accepted isn't always because it's not good enough, but there are other reasons at play.

2006: I finally gave into the Novel-Writing Urges I'd been having for some time. I took a workshop at WIFYR from Dave Wolverton about Fantasy and Science Fiction. I made a big impression on the visiting agent. Unfortunately, my writing was not ready to be represented, yet.

2007: I continued dabbling in the novel writing. Seeds for my current WIP began to grow.

2008: I started working on Jasper.

2009: I began to actually feel like I might figure this Novel Beast out (but actually I was still so very ignorant of all I didn't know!) I won a scholarship to the Highlights Foundation writing conference at Chautauqua. I was mentored by Patricia Lee Gauch. She recommended an agent. Agent read the first few chapters and asked to see the rest when I was done.

2010: Had baby #5. Writing got pushed aside a bit. But I went to a writing workshop with Rick Walton and Mette Ivie Harrison in August of that year. There I found my in-person critique group. I love those ladies with a deep and burning passion. We meet, at least, once a month.

2011: Picked up steam on the novel. Made some big goals.

Now: Finally decided to stop fiddling around, to stop wasting my time and be a writer.

And there you have it.  My origins.....and then some!

(Did any of you actually tough it out for the whole timeline? Thank you for being horribly bored for me. You're too kind.)


  1. Enjoyed your post, esp. the morbid end to your early poem. Glad to find your blog!

  2. You're a busy lady. Fun to read your origins and your original fiction.

  3. Great post - nice to know the history. Are you going to Storymakers or WIFYR this year?

  4. Now THAT'S an origin story. I started off with little poems, too. Had no idea my mother wrote them down as I said them. Thanks for the epic post!

    I gave you a shout-out on my blog today! :)

  5. I cried at the tragic end of your mouse poem. Good luck with the writing.

  6. I loved the timeline....the evolution of a writer. It makes for a great ORIGIN story. Thank you for contributing such a fine offering to the blogfest! :)

  7. I love how detailed your timeline is. And I love how you managed to keep all your early literary works. Wish I had kept mine as well.
    Great to meet you on this blogfest.

    your newest follower,

  8. You've had quite an interesting writing journey. Wish I could lay hand on some of the stuff I wrote in childhood.

  9. Great post nice to know the history. Thank for sharing your ORIGIN!