My Writing Story:
I love writing. Unlike some writers, I haven’t been writing as long as I can remember. But I would say I have been writing, or at least dreaming of writing, for a pretty long time.
I was around ten or eleven when I first wanted to write an actual book and started writing. Before then, I had only written short stories for school and family newspapers.
The story was about a twin brother and sister, Jeremy and Addison Cal. Their dad had to go on a business trip to Hawaii and decided that their mom should come along so they could have a getaway of sorts. The twins would go stay with their grandma, whom they hadn’t seen in seven years. Their grandma’s name was Magi Cal.
Notice anything about the name? I thought was I was really clever for coming up with it.
Anyways, the twins were dropped off at their grandma’s house. Their grandma seemed a little eccentric and mysterious. She decided not to show the twins around her large house, but to let them explore it. While exploring, Jeremy and Addison discovered the attic. In the attic were tons of snow globes. Jeremy picked up a snow globe of Tokyo and shook it.
And the two were whisked away to Tokyo. However, I hadn’t quite decided how they were going to get back from Tokyo, so I skipped that part and jumped back to right when they had figured out how to get back to their grandma’s and were back in the attic. And that is where I stopped.
All of that amounted to about four pages, six chapters, and 1,500 words if I was lucky. It was called Snow Globes. I wasn’t entirely sure about what the plot was going to be exactly, but Jeremy and Addison would travel around the world during the magical snow globes in their grandma’s attic. Other than that much, I had no clue what would happen.
The next story I started was going to be about an orphaned peasant boy named Ansguard (I thought the name was really cool and stole it from a TV show, but changed the spelling). I had this really cool prophecy idea that would be in the front of the book. I also wanted this to end up being a series.
Like when writing Snow Globes, I wasn’t really sure of what the plot was going to be. However, Ansguard was really the long-lost prince of the kingdom of Brendon. The story would be about him discovering who he truly was and reclaiming his crown. And he was going to discover he had a long-lost twin sister named Emerald.
I couldn’t come up with a title for this one. It also didn’t make it very far before I got stuck because of lack of plot. It made it to 3 chapters and around 1,400 words.
After that, I was going to write a book that sounded very, very similar to a book I had read. In fact, change a few details, and they would be the same. That book also suffered the same fate as it’s predecessors.
During this time span of about three years, I wrote whenever I felt particularly inspired. The muse didn’t strike often, so I was lucky if I wrote probably every other month.
During all of this though, I didn’t lose my desire to write a book. My problem was I didn’t know how to write a novel. Sure, I knew how to analyze a book and about story structure, but I didn’t know about plotting and developing characters and all the work that has to be done before writing a book.
Then I started my freshman year of high school. During the first semester, a dear friend of my family loaned us a circulation about writing a book in a year. I started it second semester. The book helped me a lot. I was able to connect the pieces of things I already knew and learned how to plot and how novels are divided into three acts. I learned how to develop characters properly and all of the other good stuff about writing. Around this time, I also started to follow a Christian teen writing website called Kingdom Pen and learned more about the writing craft.
By the end of the school year, I had written a novella weighing in at around 32,000 words. I was ecstatic. I had written a book! Well, it wasn’t quite actual novel length, but it was close enough! It was about a girl who attended a school that basically trained teenagers to be FBI agents once they graduated. The girl, Jamie, overheard a teacher, a former FBI agent, planning to get revenge on the FBI for ruining his life. No one believed Jamie, so it was up to her, her brother, Hunter, and her best friend, Kailey, to stop him. (That summary is really bad. Trust me, it is better than it sounds).
I printed it out and let my family read it. I let it sit so I could come back and edit it later, probably during the summer.
During the summer, however, writing fell to the wayside again. I also didn’t write very much during the next school year, until my second semester. Then I started writing again. But then it was summer again, and writing fell off my plate.
But once my junior year of high school rolled around, I was ready to start writing seriously. This time, I started writing short stories, novelettes, and a couple more novellas. I also joined a writing program and continued to learn and grow as a writer. But I still had my eyes on the prize of writing an actual novel. I started another book and got 15,000 words out before I realized that I didn’t have a solid enough plot and it wasn’t a very original story. Then I learned about NaNoWriMo.
For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. During the month of November, participants try to write 50,000 words in 30 days.
When NaNo first came across my radar, I thought it was scary and crazy. But it was also a challenge and something that would really motivate me. So I decided to go for it.
By this time, I had learned what my writing process was and what my writing environment needed to be. I knew a lot about writing and was ready for the challenge.
I spent October plotting out my novel, Fyrons Flames, world-building, and developing characters.
Then November rolled around. My family was going to be visiting friends for a week over Thanksgiving, so I knew going into NaNo that it was dubious that I would write during that week. I also knew that I probably wouldn’t write as much on the weekends because of family time. So, I tried to write around 2,500 words a day, instead of the 1,667 per day that is necessary to finish on time. 2,500 words also meant writing one chapter per day, which gave me a goal for each day. I ended up writing a little bit on the weekends, which continued to keep me ahead of par for each day. I also ended up writing a little bit while we were visiting friends because I was so close to the end and didn’t want to lose my writing streak.
I finished NaNoWriMo and my novel by November 22nd. Twenty-two days to write a full-length novel. Fyrons Flames ended just under 52,000 words. I was over the moon.
The only problem was that Fyrons Flames was very near and dear to me. It was my precious little novel. So it took a very long time for me to let anyone besides myself read it. For the first time, I was scared to let anyone read what I had written. Before then, I finished a project and immediately printed it out to let everyone read.
I first let my family read Fyrons Flames in March. So, yeah, four months until I worked up the courage.
In February of 2019, I started writing my second novel, Façade. My aim for Façade was 75,000 words, which put it more in the YA word count range. I went into it with the goal of writing in 45 days, so basically during NaNoWriMo again. It quickly appeared that that was not going to happen. My life was different then it had been in November, and school was more of a priority. I also soon realized that Façade was not going to be 75,000 words. By taking my average chapter length and multiplying it by the number of chapters that were going to be in the novel, I learned that Façade was going to be around 100,000 words. That was a lot more than I planned on. I gave myself a lot more time to write it, and finished Façade in June of 2019 with roughly 110,000 words.
Since then, I’ve written three more novels and am working on my sixth novel. I’ve also learned how to better manage my word counts and have kept them more in the standard YA range of 70,000-90,000 words.
I’ve read books on writing, and attended multiple writers conferences. I’ve talked with authors and other industry professionals. I know more than when I began. And I still have so much more to learn and so many ways to grow as a writer.
My writing hasn’t gone as smoothly as I would have liked. There have been ups and downs and seasons of writer’s block and creative dryness. But I’m still writing.
Several years ago, I dreamed of being published by now. Currently, publication isn’t anywhere near on the horizon, but it’s still my dream. It’s just now a dream that I don’t have attached to a timeline. Because you can’t control when things like that are going to happen.
So yeah. That’s my writing story.