The Novel

You know what one of the absolute best feelings is? A satisfying creative outlet moment. Or series of moments, as was the case for me today.

Really, I should have been reading for America and the Enlightenment, or doing exercises out of the book for Spanish, or even memorizing lines for the play. Instead I pulled up a bunch of documents for my novel (cleverly titled "The Novel" for the time being) in an attempt to get back in the groove.

Let me back up and tell you about my novel writing experiences. I started writing novels in sixth grade, having been inspired by the author Tamora Pierce (The Song of the Lioness, The Immortals, Protector of the Small, Circle of Magic, The Circle Opens, etc.). In fact, one of her characters was partially the inspiration for my pen/stage name. For years I would come up with novel idea after novel idea. I was a James Patterson... who only wrote the first few pages of every novel. Except for one novel series: The Rose Jewels. I wrote out about fifty pages of this thing by hand before finally deciding I needed to actually teach myself how to type.

However, The Rose Jewels were forgotten for about three years. When I resurrected them, a lot of changes were made, all for the better. Eventually the title of the series even changed to The Flame Jewels. Choices had a good reason behind them, characters matured. But it wasn't enough. It actually got to a point where working on The Flame Jewels was a chore. The only reason I did end up finishing the first novel of the series last March was to say that I had actually finished writing an entire novel.

Only a week or two later I went to a Writing Workshop hosted by Orson Scott Card. Finally I was willing to admit to myself what I already knew: The Rose/Flame Jewels had been created by the mind of an eleven year old. I was attached to what eleven year old me had created and couldn't let go enough to make it something worthwhile.

So I ditched the idea. I spent the rest of the weekend scribbling in a notebook, trying to come up with a new novel idea. At first I wanted a title but gave up on that (and, as you could tell, still don't have one). I tried to figure out what aspects of writing I'm best at and what I enjoy most and realized it's the characters and their relationships. The big "main" plot is secondary to me and just happens naturally. So I went back to every novel idea I ever came up with and snatched out a few of my favorite characters.

Georgina Alster: Originally from The Tales Of Piracy. She was a pirate. Lots of spunk. Of course, a lot like me. In this, however, she's a thief instead of a pirate and instead of spunky, she's more sarcastic.

William Neely: Originally from The Rose/Flame Jewels. Prince. Charming. Cocky. Basically, if I ever met him in real life, I'd drag him to the temple and get married on the spot.

Zandra: Originally from The Rose/Flame Jewels. Witch. Creepy beyond all reason, but totally cool. Has a habit of giving prophesies.

Leilani: Also, originally from The Rose/Flame Jewels. Siren. She likes William who, of course, enjoys her company since she's a siren, but... She's also really smart, however freakishly beautiful she is (AKA, there is more to her than being a siren).

I also decided to take the setting from one of my old novel ideas.

Umeer and Nuie: Originally from Umeer. Two cities: one grows red grapes, one grows green grapes and because of that one simple difference, they've been warring for centuries.

A few other things from old novels here and there, smoosh it all together, add a couple of new things (such as my favorite character of all time: Jack the meigon--basically a small dragon that can't breathe fire) and VWA-LAH! We have The Novel.

Slowly I started making a story. Writing down notes. Relationships. Backgrounds of characters. The map of the cities and their surroundings. Important scenes. More in depth differences between Umeer and Nuie (such as architecture). All the different conflicts. I'd decided with Jack that I was going to create my own species... Eventually I decided that all species in The Novel were going to be my own creations except for Man. Even the domestic cats that live in the cities have my own little twist to them. So I started creating various species. I got a friend who's done maps for me before to do the map for this. I got Kate to sketch the different species I've come up with.

It's sort of fun to go through that notebook and read my little sidenotes in the margins. "This is going to be so EPIC." "Oh, my gosh, I'm so EXCITED." "AH!!!!!!"

Finally, last semester, I started writing. I couldn't remember the last time I'd been that excited about my own original work. Fanfiction? Sure, all the time. My own original work? Not in years.

So today? When I went back to it? Finally brought in Zandra, moved the plot along a little, gave a lot of foreshadowing (tends to happen when you bring in a prophesying witch). Came up with a few things that I was not planning on at all. SUCH. A. GOOD. FEELING.

I'd recommend it. Because, once more, I am totally excited about The Novel.

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