I think back on my writing journey and I’m amazed at where it has ended up. I first started looking at how to publish Mari’s book on March 5, 2011. I joined Createspace. It is a subsidiary of Amazon.com. It was really neat to be part of a community of writers for the first time in my life. For me, I had no interest whatsoever in fiction writing. All I was looking for was positive feedback on Mari’s book to make sure it sounded good enough to be published. They have the very best preview feature out of all the sites I have been a part of or a member of. It sort of works just like the preview feature on Amazon when you are look at a book to buy. It is really nice.
At this point, I just wasn’t getting the constructive criticism I needed. The one drawback to the preview feature is the inability to actually critique it by saying what wasn’t working, what needed to be deleted or reworked and things like that. The only thing you had was the feedback feature at the bottom of the excerpt page. I needed something more.
Then someone mentioned in a post on their forum that if you need someone to be brutally honest with your work to try absolutewrite.com. I was like, “Yeah, that’s me.” So I went to check it out. This was a very active forum type environment. They have everything related to writing on there to include a work in progress area for critiques. I joined on May 30, 2011.
On that same date I also wanted to find a community of Christian writers. So I did a Google search for “Christian writing forum.” At the very top of the list was ChristianWriters.com. I clicked on it and immediately liked what I saw.
With absolutewrite, I should have rethought the whole “brutally” honest bit because that was just a bit too much. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I need to hear where my work needs to be improved but it is all in the way you say it.
With christianwriters.com, I got involved and started posting and critiquing (with my limited abilities at the time, basically, well I liked it or I didn’t type stuff 🙂 ). This is where I really started to get the critiques I needed back for my writing. They did it with constructive criticism and with a Christian attitude behind it. The only roadblock I seemed to run into at this point is people seemed afraid to critique the book on my daughter only because, I think, they felt it was a very sensitive subject and maybe were afraid of hurting my feelings.
At this time I also became a member of FaithWriters.com and check out the ChristianWritersGuilde.com. These are great writing websites with a wealth of information and a Christian perspective behind everything. I love it.
It was during this time I had my first idea for a fictional story. I never thought I would write fiction in all of this but I had four different ideas for stories. One night I sat down in the living room and started to write out the first chapter. It was really neat to see a story start to take shape on the page as I wrote it out on paper.
Then last summer, as many of you know, my husband and I took custody of our niece and nephew. My writing was put temporarily on hold until we got everything situated and into a normal routine with things again.
After Christmas, around the middle of January, I picked up my fiction book again and restarted back up with christianwriters.
I think it was around the beginning of February when someone mentioned ACFW. I tried to Google it but couldn’t find it for whatever reason. It came up again toward the middle of February and I tried to find it again. This time I found it.
ACFW stands for American Christian Fiction Writers. I looked around their site. The cost to join for the first year was $65 and only $40 or $45 a year after that. I didn’t think it was that bad at all. So I joined.
Since I have started to write fiction, and now it is something I truly love, I have also created a separate website specifically dedicated to my fiction writing and the journey I have now started to embark upon. It is located at kristenatunstall.com. And just to be safe, as I know everyone invariably spells my first name wrong, I have also purchased every url with the way someone would spell my first name. If I’ve missed one, please let me know. 🙂 I hope this new site will be an added extension of who I am. Please come visit it and let me now what you think. If you are interested in following it, I have a subscribe feature both via email and RSS feeds.
I will tell you the journey it has taken me to get to this wonderful faith filled, praying, Christian based community of believers with ACFW has been so well worth it. I am amazed at what God has already done in my life as a result. I thank the Lord for allowing me to become a writer and that He showed me the way to this group. I will forever be blessed because of a little fee I decided to take a chance on.