Monday, March 5, 2012

My Dream

I honestly don't know when I thought "hey, I want to be a writer". I don't think there was just one thing or one time, I think it just happened. In school, I always did well on the creative writing exams and portions of tests (as for spelling and punctuation...not so well). My senior year in high school I had an idea for, maybe not a book, but a story, and I started writing it. I got a few chapters down, mostly dialogue, and showed it to my English teacher. She complimented me on my dialogue! I don't remember what else she said, it's been just over ten years, but I'll always remember that part. With school, starting college soon, working, I put the book aside. I picked it up years and years later and thought "this needs work" and so I did it.

Then I got another idea for another book. It interested me a little more, and so I started Dream Maker. I got to 18,000 and stalled. I was running out of ideas on how to push the story further. Then I heard this song (check back tomorrow for more on that) and an idea formed (see that post here). I jotted it down and started plotting the story out. I created a little summary and emailed it to my sister in law, Anna Banks, and she loved it! I quickly got to work on a re-write. And found a critique partner, Jamie Handling. Then something incredible happened! I won a 50 page critique from someone well known, someone with multiple positions, in the writing community. I was floored!!! When I saw the email I sat there thinking "Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit..." I emailed Anna and Jamie and they were both telling me how awesome this was. I had my 50 pages, but it needed some serious work. Over the next few months, and a few new critique partners (Jamie Manning, Jessica Leak, and Melanie McCullough) my story grew and was, what I thought, almost polished (a story is never perfect). I turned in my 50 pages, and waited. But I didn't stop, I kept going, finished the book, and edited, edited, edited. Then the critique came in. And it was both good (I HAVE GREAT VOICE) and bad (though I think the plot is pretty original, some of the elements creating the world are not). But I took them both and got to brain storming a mega huge re-write. Yes, ANOTHER ONE! Am I crazy or what?

I took Megan, my seventeen-year-old orphan who lived in an orphanage and turned her into Avery, a seventeen-year-old who, at the age of four, saw her parents beaten. She was jumbled from foster care to foster care because no one seemed to want the girl whose parents were really brutally murdered right in front of her. At least that's what the papers said, but Avery has a different story. Someone, and she doesn't know who, covered up the fact that they weren't killed, but taken. And how she lives in fear that they'll come for her too. She finally lands in a place she can call home. Kathleen, a social worker, takes her into her home because her history is similar to her niece, Danielle, who lives with her. Then strange things start happening to Avery that she can't explain. The people she lives with disappear one day and are back the next. The strange boy, Mason, who came looking for a teenage boy named Avery in her house, shows up at school as a student, but she knows better. Then one day, having spent her time in high school as an outcast, she's now the most popular girl. Something's happening to Avery, something only Mason can explain. Something that the two of them will have to learn to control because their lives--as well as the rest of the world--depends on it. Because there are people out there who want to control Avery, and others like her. They want her gift, her power, so that they can be the ones to change the future.

I've finished rewriting the first six chapters (and I mean deleting everything--except for a few paragraphs in chapter four--and starting over). Seven is being a bit stubborn, but I've got chapters eight through ten done. After that, it's not as much starting over as it is tweaking it all to fit the beginning. I've also started working with Joy Hensley as a new critique partner, and her fresh eyes have helped me find things that I've missed in the past. Now I'm more than anxious to finish and start the query process. And so far, I'm not scared. I've learned that I'm really good at taking critique and making it better. I wasn't sure I would be at first, but when I received a critique from a friend (Heather Rebel) I thought "OMG, I SUCK. THERE'S SO MUCH RED". Then I took a deep breath, read what she said and realized it, removed track changes, and my story was still there, only slightly altered, and for the better. She showed me that, while what I had was good, these small changes made it better. Since then, I have not received a critique that has brought me to tears or made me want to quit or think that I suck. Because they are all true and they will make me a better writer and make my story that much better.

And I'm not sure why I started this post or where I'm going with it. But I hope you've enjoyed a small glimpse into my writing world and my current story and it's progress. And be sure to check out my next three Tune In Tuesday posts as I give you a few more ideas about my story and how I got to where I am. And I'll end this post...finally...with my original idea for this book.

Have you ever dreamt of waking up and being somebody else?  Maybe not even somebody else entirely, but a different you, a better you?  To go to sleep and have your life change drastically, take something you weren’t so happy with and turn it around, even if for a moment?  If you have, I’m here to warn you against it.  If you haven’t, heed my warnings and don’t.  Remember what they say, “Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.”  I did, except for me it wasn’t a happy ending.  It almost cost me myself, my family, and our freedom.

Also..I want to say THANK YOU TIMES A ZILLION to all the wonderful writers I've mentioned in this post. With out y'all, I wouldn't be where I am!!!!!!!! <3


Ginger @ GReads! said...

Oh gosh Mandie, I loved reading this. You have come so far! I know you'll be a published writer one day & I can no wait to walk in to a bookstore & see your book on the shelf :) I will then run around the store & tell everyone "I know her! I know her!" - haha :)

I've always thought your story idea was unique and fascinating. The voice you give your characters is solid and so captivating. Your English teacher from high school was correct ;) Can't wait to "listen" to your music inspirations.

Christa Desir said...

Oh, this is wonderful!!! Such a great journey and so many great partners along the way.

Melanie McCullough said...

This is such an awesome post. You definitely don't suck. Your story is amazing and your voice is amazing. I'm loving the rewrites!

Jamie Manning said...

What a wonderful glimpse inside, MB! One thing I love about writer's blogs is seeing their process, their struggles, their "I can't do this" thanks for that!

And I am honored to help in whatever way I can--critiquing, brainstorming, late-night texting! Just so proud of you, and like Ginger said, I can't wait till you get published! <3 <3 <3

cherie said...

So inspiring! It's always amazing to see other writers' journey. Your ms premise sounds awesome, though, so I'm sure it's only a matter of time. ;D

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