I’m currently in my last year of college. I attend Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. I’ll graduate in April 2010 with a BA in English (emphasis in creative writing) and a minor in editing. My emphasis is my dream job—I want to be a novelist, particularly in the fantasy genre. My minor is my real-world job. I hope to find work as an editor when I graduate. I do like editing quite a bit, so it works out.
Speaking of editing, BYU hosts a semi-professional sci-fi/fantasy journal called Leading Edge. It’s legit enough to be in Writers Market, anyway. The staff is entirely volunteer. I came once a week for nine months as a slush reader. Then, this last summer, I got promoted to assistant production director and started coming twice a week. When my senior year started this past September, I stepped up to production director, which makes me very happy. (We’re in the process of redesigning the website, and in said process the staff members finally got updated. This gives me some sense of legitimacy.) This little chunk of resume is more for editing than writing itself, but I’ve learned a great deal about both topics in my time at the magazine.
The rest of my writing credentials are a bit weak as far as a cover letter is concerned. I paid for my freshman year of college with the La Verna S. Clark Creative Writing Scholarship, and I’ve placed twice in the Mayhew Creative Arts contest for two shorts stories I wrote (Inside the Cloud Jar and Door Framed). Last year was the first time I submitted a fantasy short story, and I didn’t place. This was a downer for me, but life gets dull if you always expect to succeed.
I’ve sent a couple of stories to magazines. Not adamantly, but I sent them nonetheless. I’m collecting rejection letters, trying to treat them like trophies. (I do a fair job of this.) As someone who signs the rejection letters from time to time, I think it’s only fair that I receive them as well.
My goal is to be published. Not just a short story in a magazine, but a novel on the shelf of Borders or Barnes & Noble. I think I could be happy with life if I were to publish just one novel, though ultimately, I’d love to be professional. I’ve started many a novel, but most fell flat. Fortunately, I completed my first novel (at 169,000 words. A bit long) at the end of July. It’s called The Oracle Seals and is in dire need of [hefty] revision. But I finished it, and that’s what’s important. I went to CONduit in Salt Lake City this past summer, and an author (I’m kicking myself because I can’t remember his name) said that 95% of would-be writers never finish a novel. By finishing a novel, you automatically put yourself in the top 5%. I wanted that. Daily word-counts*. If there’s anything I can testify to, it’s daily word-counts.
I’m working on my second novel now. The temporary title is “Circus Soul Heiress,” though whether or not I keep it upon completion is up in the air. I’m about 1/3 of the way through the first draft. I plan to be finished by April, and then have both novels ready for peer review by August 2010.
*And now I’m wondering if word count should be hyphenated, but I’m too lazy to pull out my Chicago Manual of Style to find out.