When I was 13 I had this jean bound journal with rhinestones on it, I doodled on it like it was my own pair of "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" pants. I was convinced I could become the second youngest successfully published author of our time. Everyday I updated the "novel" I would pass it around while in class to give my updates to my readers in real-time. By lunch, I would know which direction to head. The thing about my story is I wanted it to feature kids like my classmates. Not some rich or middle class kids. Just regular smegular kids having a good time goofing off and falling in love. Of course there would be drama that we'd understand and twist and enemies turned frenemies. And any resemblance to real life people or classmates was just a coincidence. Six years ago I decided, once again, to write a novel. I am finally sitting down to do it and by the end of this year I will have a first draft.
Back then, I was nine chapters in when my mom let me make the decision to move to St. Louis. There are two things I didn't do that move that will haunt me for the rest of my years. I didn't save my first time ever electronic journal on a floppy disk (Yes, I am from that era) and I lost my jean studded journal with my world changing novel. I typically am not at a loss for words but I lost two crucial voices of mine at that era. I didn't know it then but my memory keeping was important not just because I'm a writer but because I know just how fast those memories can slip between your fingers like water. And it may not be super important to 32 year old me why I had a crush on that one boy who I couldn't stop thinking about. But it was important to 13 year old me and I want to remember what that was like forever.
According to several studies at this point, our brains (the hippocampus) transfer memories to long-term especially when they are traumatic. With my journals, I've wanted to capture the day to day stuff. I refuse to this day to call it a diary because diaries are something private. My journals I hope are riveting enough to become bestsellers when I'm gone. Always a writer. The loss of the novel is something I always think about. What could I have done with it once it was finished. Everyone loved it, I mean you try to get a bunch of 8th graders to read. The one specialty my book also had was its steamy moments. I mean again, 8th graders. The most scandalous thing was the deep kissing. But it was definitely better than the Iliad.
My Write A Novel in a Year workshop was born because so many people want to finish that novel they've been dreaming about they just don't know how to go about it. Where are those support groups? Where you all start at zero and end up with this thing you've been dreaming of? At the Story Center I noticed that Critique Groups were for short stories or poetry, maybe a chapter but no true support for a novelist. So I created it and the response was surprising. People showed up.
In my case it's been a desire since I was 13 though the story, content, and characters have all changed. In the spirit I still seek it to be a book for that 13 year old me. Something she could read and pass around to her classmates even though it felt a tad grown up. At that time, I got bored with the chapter books. We didn't have a young adult section so I made my way to the adult books and then the reallllly adult books. *wink, wink* I became known as the book slinger and the candy girl in my middle school hallways. Now, I constantly feel in a state of coming full circle.
My novel is going well. I have a little over three months to get it finished and honestly I want to shoot for the end of November. We've got this!
Fitness. Life. Art. Travel.