I don't know how many of your paths have been/will be like mine, but for what it's worth, here's what I went through to get where I am.
Summer 2007 - Eclipse and Deathly Hollows get released. I have a very traumatic experience personally. I've been writing again for about a year (after my almost four year break due to dating/marriage, like I explained in previous posts). But I am trying to write "grown up" books - aka adult fiction with some heavy topics. Not working out too well; in fact one of the saddest scenes in my book ends up happening to me almost verbatim in real life, seriously freaking me out (on top of being horrible).
I decide I definitely need to write fantasy or something that absolutely can't happen to me in real life from now on. I believe that I can write a book like Twilight or HP, if I could just have a plotline come to me while I'm sitting on a subway (or car in my case), or in a dream. I just need the plotline! I've always written contemporary or historical YA fiction growing up, but decide to wrack my brain for an urban fantasy or paranormal romance idea that could combine the elements I loved the most from HP and Twilight - a wonderful, intense romance and an intricate fantasy world with magic, and characters have special abilities beyond just doing spells. After weeks of trying to come up with something, my main male protag Gareth shows up in my head with an entire back history and an awesome plotline (IMO). I start frantically writing notes, trying to get all of my ideas down on paper, all of the history and character arcs and plots going on, etc. I can see the main girl in my mind, I know exactly what she's like, what she wants, what is going to happen to her, I just can't figure out her name. I know it's something short, but beautiful. I start going through all my baby name books, and finally find it: Ava. (The funniest part about this is that one of my closest friends has two daughters: Bella and yep, you guessed it, Ava. We kept joking that if/when my book got "BIG" she'd get told she'd named both of her girls after characters in books, when they were actually named before the books were published.)
I start writing, and HIDDEN comes flying out in two weeks flat. I have a couple of people reading as I go, and they LOVE it. I start to believe this is THE ONE. After I finish, I go through it a couple of times, with feedback from my few readers, and I prepare my first round of queries. I start with my top pick and about fourteen others that I find through the few resources I know about at this point. Most of them are snail mail. With a wish and a prayer I send out my queries, truly believing I'm going to be like Stephenie Meyer and get a bunch of no's and (at least) one amazing yes. Especially since my number agent is her agent, aka Jodi Reamer.
Want to know what happens next? Tune in for the next installment of "My path to getting an Agent, pt. 2." Until then, Happy Monday!