The journey of a book, especially one written early in a writer's life, is a rocky one at best. Often a long one too. This thought occurred to me while I was looking through my 'Novels and Shorts' folder. Anyone who knows me or my computer knows that my folders have folders have folders. I like organizing things.
Within my Novels and Shorts folder I have a folder for each genre. Realistic, Fantasy, Sci Fi etc. Each of these genres have about, say, twenty-thirty files all together. That's for each genre.
Then you get to the Urban Fantasy folder. Within the Urban Fantasy folder there is another folder entitled 'Children of Ink'.
And within that folder, there are about 60 files. Extra scenes, outlines, character profiles, world building. You name it, its there. You could say this novel has been a long time obsession of mine. But because of that it has gone through many, many changes. And that's fine. Today I'm going to show the timeline of Children of Ink, my first baby as a writer.*
Early March, 2011- The first inception of the idea. I came up with my basic plot and characters in the span of a few days, writing most of it down in my journals during school.
Springbreak 2011- Writing spree of epic proportions.
April 2nd, 2011- Completion of the first draft. My magnum opus, originally entitled 'Inkpen' The draft went into storage for the rest of the school year so that I would become detached from the material (I got that tip from Stephen King)
Summer, 2011- EDITING TIME! The book at this time was dubbed 'The Gifted' because I realized Inkpen and Inkheart were too similar in title. Also the realization that maybe every word wasn't brilliant. My brother began reading and critiquing my work in this time and pointed out some fallacies in the opening pages.
Fall, 2011- Ignoring a lot of the feedback, I launched right into writing book 2. I continued to get feedback from my brother. Slowly, mind you. He's a lawyer with a busy work schedule.
November, 2011- Finished first draft of the second book in the series and put it away... now I had to wait and edit the first book. I ditched the prologue and changed up the beginning for the first time.
Spring 2012- Began seriously editing. Also began researching literary agents like a madwoman, writing query letters, and other such things.
Summer 2012- The querying began. And the waiting. When no one took the bait, I began editing again. The opening changed for a second and third time during this period. Oh yeah, and my brother finally finished reading my book (Took him longer than it took me to write two of them...)
Fall 2012- The discovery of twitter as well as competitions. Changed the opening for a fourth time and entered in a few competitions. Changed the title of the book to 'Children of Ink'. Some interest from one agent but followed swiftly by rejection. Wrote and finished the first draft of the third book in the series. Lost a lot of confidence with Children of Ink. Changed the opening for a fifth time.
Spring of 2013- The doldrums. Did little work on Children of Ink. Experimented with a few new openings (I had about eight possible openings over the course of the process)
Summer 2013- Joined a Speculative Fiction group to get feedback. Used that feedback to completely change the planned POV. Re outlined.
Fall 2013- The final (hopefully) outline and a fresh start. I plan to write the book again from scratch, hopefully with my new found knowledge about writing.
The journey of 'Children of Ink' isn't over yet. It's probably far from over. But this time has gotten me so acquainted with the characters and world that I feel an inherent attachment to it. It will never truly go into the trunk, even if its another book that eventually gets me an agent. Children of Ink was my first book child, and I love it dearly.
The point is, just because your book isn't working now, doesn't mean it will always be like that. There's always knew insight to be had. Join a critique group. Brainstorm with friends. Write experimental side stories to get your juices flowing. Put the book aside for awhile and write something else. Its okay. There's a lot of life to live and a lot of books to write. The worst thing a writer can do is get stuck in their first effort and never move on.
One day I hope to see 'Children of Ink' on shelves. But until then I'll keep writing and loving every moment of it.
- Aimee (Aka: Kallypso)
PS: I know I said I'd talk about my pen name in the next post but I lied. This was on my mind to write. NEXT post I'll talk about my pen name.