There are about two and a half weeks left in my presale campaign, and I’m 25% of the way to my goal! That is a really great start, but it’s going to be a hard push to get to the end. So for my website followers and frequent readers, I thought I would share a really personal story about how writing has transformed my life and about how my dream of publishing a novel is a very, very old one. I hope you enjoy!
The School Story
When I was ten years old, I read Andrew Clements’ novel, School Story, for the first time. For anyone not familiar with his work, School Story is about two twelve-year-old girls who work together to get a book published. Natalie has written a full novel, and when her friend, Zoe, reads it, she is convinced that it’s good enough to be published. Natalie eventually agrees, but she wants the book sent to the publishing company where her mother works. She wants her mom to be the editor, but in order to get the book through to the top of the pile, Natalie and Zoe have to undertake the process through a series of pen names, false names, and a agency started with Zoe’s savings account. It is a fantastic book.
The story struck me very deeply in a couple ways. First, I was fascinated by the process of getting a book from written stage to published stage. Clements did a fairly good job of running through the various steps and how a book moves through a publishing company. It showed the toughness of editing over and over again without sugarcoating it, but the main character could see the transformation with every comment and every new draft. Second, I loved the fact that the girls were young. They were my age. What if I could do that? Get a book written and published at a young age? Could I? Did I have the potential to do that?
I decided that I did.
The Marked Girl
I wrote my first book when I was in fifth grade. I spent every lunch period and admittedly, a decent part of the school day writing. Some of my classmates since I have released this book have commented on how they remember me constantly writing stories when we were kids. The book, titled the Marked Girl, ended up being about 22,000 words, which was fantastic for a ten-year-old’s first attempt. It was a cute little middle grade story set in a fantastical world with a protagonist that was very much like me. I actually ran through two or three revisions with it, and I got beta readers from within my class. I really had strong ambitions as a fifth grader!
Now, that book will never see the light of day, and I have come so far from that time. But I still have the book on my computer, and I read it every once in a while to remind myself what I am capable of.
The Unfinished Stories
Between sixth grade and senior year of high school, I attempted to write more mature young adult books. It was the kind of book that I was reading, and I wanted to emulate that as best I could. I dabbled in a few different genres: contemporary romance, fantasy, fantasy crossed with science fiction. Building new characters and new plots excited me, but I couldn’t finish the stories. There are notebooks and stacks of papers stuffed into all sorts of drawers in my room filled with unfinished manuscripts. I would get six to eight chapters in before a new idea would come up and I would switch books. Nothing gelled for me before Chasing Fae.
Chasing Fae was the one bright, strong idea that I never lost faith in. I knew I could take it all the way.
What Writing Did For Me
Writing saved me in a lot of ways.
Writing was an escape for me. I didn’t have many friends growing up, especially as I entered into middle school. I was a very lonely kid. When I was writing, I could create any kind of world I wanted to. My characters could fall in love with the people they were meant to, and life could have a happy ending. The bad boy could fall in love with the good girl. The introvert could find her voice. Even when life was rough, the world would eventually turn itself around.
Writing gave me confidence. It gave me the strength to speak out for myself and the work that I was creating. It taught me how to be concise and descriptive. Writing taught me how to dream and how to keep dreaming as I got older, despite the odds.
I think books are so powerful because they allow us to slip into a new world and connect with people that we desperately want to see achieve their goals. We relish every success and every twist and turn that the author puts their characters through. And as an author, I want to captivate with my writing. I want to thrill. I want to surprise and safeguard all of those hopes and dreams of readers out there.
I hope Chasing Fae will do that for a lot of people who are just like me.
I hope you will be a part of the journey. Thank you for reading. Happy writing.