While I was in school, I’d developed a film treatment and although all my teachers loved the idea, they all thought it was too big for a film. Some of them suggested that I write the story out in book form and then slim it down for a screenplay. I agreed with them. I told my friends and family members that I was going to write a book after graduation; it was supposed to be the story my teachers and I had talked about but a few moments before graduation, I started coming up with new characters and then my mind continued to wonder. What type of world would these characters live in? How did they come to be the way they are? What led them to this point in their lives? What types of problems would they encounter while they’re just trying to survive? What’s next for them?
And before I knew it, I started writing that new story instead of the story idea my teachers all loved but things didn’t go as planned. I worked on developing the idea and the world and the characters. Then I started working on the outline but for some reason, I could never get it to work. The story was too big for one book. I had to move the starting point of the story further back so we could see how the characters got to where they were. I had to make changes to the world. I had to make so many changes. Eventually, I paused the project to think of ways to fix the problems and just when I was ready to write again, tragedy struck in my personal life and the creative muse escaped my grasping hands. 2017, the year I graduated, had slipped away from me and I didn’t have anything to show for it.
The beginning part of 2018 came and went the same way 2017 did and all my ideas seemed to crack and crumble when closely inspected. It wasn’t until September of 2018 that I realized the year was almost over and I still had nothing to show. So, I bunkered down and threw everything away except the characters that had been living in my mind for a year. I took a good hard look at my characters and wrote a nineteen page outline over the span of three days. In October of 2018 I wrote twenty-seven thousand words, in November of 2018 I wrote twenty-three thousand words and attempted NaNoWriMo, and in December of 2018 I finished off the first draft with an additional fifteen thousand words.
I was able to keep up the pace and finish the draft so fast because I was determined to finish a draft before 2018 was over with. I couldn’t let two years go by without having a book done, not after telling everyone I was going to write a book. And because I was so determined to finish, whenever problems arose, I didn’t allow it to make me stop. My outline was pretty solid so I didn’t have to change much but other things changed while I was writing such as the time period of the book. Originally, I went into this project believing it was going to be a dark fantasy so I’d set it in a medieval-like world but as I wrote, I realized a lot of the imagery I wanted to use would look before in a present day or a near future type of world, plus some of the themes fit better in a more modern world. I also changed the point of view in the book about eight chapters in. It went from third person to first with three different POVs (point of views). I got the idea from a very popular book I was reading at the time, in which there were like eight first person POVs in the book. The book was Into the Water by Paula Hawkins and I enjoyed how the POVs became part of the mystery as well. It was brilliant. And I also changed out the magic system of the story while I was writing the first draft but none of that stopped me from writing. My outline was solid enough to handle the changes and I was determined to complete the project.
I was able to write the first draft of my book in three months and I feel like the experience changed me forever. It made me realize that if I put my mind to it, I can do anything. I’m going to apply that attitude to other parts of my life and hopefully get the same type of results. I’ll keep you updated on my writing journey, I promise.