The Beginning—So almost three years ago I was sitting in a classroom with my fellow seniors. The class was Experimental Writing, and with the exception of one or two other people, I was the only one who enjoyed writing. I had been writing poetry for five years, even used a few of those poems for the class. But I'd never written real fiction until this class.
As soon as I started working on flash fiction pieces, I fell in love with the written word all over again. So when the teacher gave us the freedom to create our own project I thought, that sounds like fun. I liked to write, even seemed to be somewhat good at writing, so I thought it would be easy to come up with an idea.
The amazing thing was that I didn’t have to come up with an idea on my own. My best friend leaned across his desk, mentioning something about a story involving fairytales, about fairytale characters, perhaps. I immediately started getting ideas about all the stories I'd loved as a child. I knew I wanted the final project to be an actual storybook, pictures and all, yet I waited until the last minute to write the story. Being an extreme case of human procrastination, I had a slight notion as to how I was actually going to conquer this idea, but in waiting to the final moment, it transformed into something I hadn't expected. "Falling" turned into something I actually liked.
I handed the project in, all fourteen, single-spaced pages of my short story, and I received a 100%. Perfect score. Imperfect story. Fast forward to the end of the year. To graduation. To pictures with aforementioned best friend. To a really long plane ride across the ocean to England with said best friend, and an incredible trip abroad. From there, I wrote one poem and some essays, but this story, the one you might someday hold in your hand, it was buried deep in my brain, and I had no intentions of ever digging it back up.
I was going to be an interior designer instead.
It was the plan.
Interior design was something I had planned for from middle school onward but writing…writing was a passion, which came naturally. Writing was something I'd always done. It helped me get through the difficult things. (Well writing, mixed with Time, and a best friend, the same best friend previously mentioned.) So I felt I owed quite a bit to writing, to the art and craft of writing, to my own writing. Imagine my surprise when the thing I thought I feared, the decision I never thought I could make, felt easy. You see, after about two weeks at college, I loaded a fresh document in Microsoft Word before restarting a story. THE story. The one I hope you will see on a bookshelf someday. I finished the first three chapters, and then stopped to pick up another project. The funny thing is, I never gave up hope for this story. It sat in a binder labeled BOOK as it didn’t have a title at the time, and the entirety of this magical world stayed dormant until October 2011.
The Middle—October 2011 was a rather boring month of the fall semester. I still hadn’t been admitted into the Writing major just yet. I wasn’t taking any writing classes. So I was thinking what is the point? I was taking a Literary Analysis class, Sociology, British Literature part deux, and Intro. to Math. The closest thing to my kind of writing was an essay about The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston. Imagine my surprise when one day, bored to death in my Brit. Lit. class, it was there, a seedling of an idea; instantaneous. And from there, for the next three weeks, I took pages and pages of notes, researched Grimm’s Fairytales, translations of "Ring Around the Rosie," fleshed out characters, documented what will be five books worth of information, and created a name. A working title.
Around the third week of note taking, I decided it was time to get my thoughts organized. Looking back now, I think I needed an excuse not to start writing. It seemed scary, because for the first time, I didn’t feel like I was telling the story, but rather my characters were. I always thought it pure insanity, maybe even nonsensical when people would talk about how make-believe people would tell their own story. But somehow, they did. It is something you might only understand if it happens to you.
But I digress.
Out of fear or paranoia or whatever, it took me until the end of October to actually start writing. The first four chapters were fairly easy, because much of those pages grew out of my rough draft from the fall of 2010. After that, it was new, especially because my fifth character was a brand new addition. Nine months later, I finished a book, my book, my novel! I guess it is right in saying it feels like my child (nine months…get it?). So I will beg you to someday handle this story with care.
The End—This is still unknown. The book is finished, and with several rounds of revisions under way, it is definitely much more grammatically correct. For the next few months, I will be polishing, and when aforementioned friend returns from Australia, we will sit and fix what's broken so that I can start sending this out to agents. And from there? Well, I guess I leave this to the hands of the literary gods in hopes that someday I will see this next to my Harry Potter books and my bright pink copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
I hope one day you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it. But I guess that is half the battle as a writer; truly enjoying your own book despite all the late nights, the revisions, the paper cuts, the timelines, genealogical charts, character sketches, maps, and the plethora of information that is only pertinent in your own head. But know this is the story I always wanted to write, and I suppose deep down this story always wanted to be written. It persevered through senior year of high school, a change of school and major, a change of title, and almost two years later, it is the story my best friend inspired me to write: a story about fairytales.
I am leaving this story here so that one day when the memory becomes somewhat blurry, when the details are too difficult to remember, I can look back and say yes, that is how it happened. Until then, I can’t wait to fall through!