Yes, I did. It feels weird to brag on myself, but I guess I'm going for it -- because I'm a little proud for actually doing it this time. I've always loved the idea of novel-writing and have always had some kind of story rattling around in my brain. (The reason I have this blog in the first place is because of how much I love stories!) I've tried many times to put the ideas to paper (or computer screen) and in every single instance I don't think I've gotten past the first chapter.
And that's why I kept this one on the down-low. I didn't even mention it to my family until I had finished the first draft! I kept wondering, what if it fizzles out. But I recently finished the third draft and now, whether I ever get it published or not, it feels complete to me and like I've finally accomplished a long-pursued goal.
Honestly, all credit to God because I don't even know how exactly I did it. It's strange to think it came out of my head...
I started it in July of 2017. I remember that easily because after seeing Spider-Man Homecoming, there was a detail in Tom Holland's Peter Parker that inspired my main character to become real to me. A premise and a shadow of the character had been there for a while, and all at once it clicked; I had a beginning, an end, and a character. I started writing, worried it would fizzle out like all the others, but I used Andy Weir's (The Martian) advice and drove the plot (and my own interest) by pushing the character into hard situations and trying to get him out. Somehow in that manner I made it to the end, looked back, and saw a clear three-act structure, characters I cared about, and scenes that I enjoyed reading.
It took about a month to finish the first draft at 35,000 words. The second draft was 45,000 words and had less plot holes; and this third is 64,000 words with some intentional pacing and a re-worked third act.
Unfortunately, in all that time, I never thought of the perfect title. But I take it as a good sign because all my unfinished projects had hard-and-fast titles and little else.
The story was inspired by film re-imaginings of fairytales I'd seen. Leave it to me to be inspired by things I didn't like! I did, however, like the idea of them, and kept thinking about ways to re-imagine them that would be interesting. To me at least -- I won't presume my take will be interesting to everyone, either. I just wanted to make a fairytale re-imagining that I personally would want to see. There are some distinct Sleeping Beauty elements present, but the more I wrote the more I separated from the classic tales in actual content. The central idea was that I didn't want the "sleeping beauty" to be the main character.
The result is a low-fantasy thriller set in 1920's America. Destin Reinhardt, on the verge of turning eighteen and inheriting a vast fortune, must get through a brief stay at the decrepit Briar Mansion; a boarding school for orphans. With the tempting legend that surrounds the place, and his own worrying spirit, he plows into a danger from which escape means either he, or it, must come to an absolute end.
And with that, I'd like to invite you to read the first chapter! I feel very much inside my own head here, and would love some outside perspective. If you'd like to read just for enjoyment or curiosity you're more than welcome, but if you'd be so wonderful as to take the time to share any and all thoughts you have on it, I'd be eternally grateful! Compliments and constructive criticism are equally welcome -- but mostly I would simply like to know if you'd be interested in reading more.
Thanks so much for your indulgence and time in reading even this! Click here, or on the home bar tab marked "Chapter One of My Novel" to read!
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