About a week ago, I quit
By: Charmain Brackett
I threw in the towel and gave up on the dream. I announced to the Facebook world that I was done with novel writing – kaput, finis, over. It was back to the reality of the newspaper grind and time to forget all of this science fiction and fantasy. I’d played on the other side. It was fun, but now, it was over. I was tired of tweeting, Facebooking, blogging and announcing to the world about my efforts.
And it felt so good. The pressure of trying to create a fourth novel in my Key Guardian Journals’ series and one-up myself was over. My brain was free. I could breathe.
However, in that brief span of 12 hours or less when I tossed the idea of writing another book, a new idea came into my head. My characters appeared and almost begged me to tell their story. I saw it from start to finish all at once. I’ve never had that happen. My three novels, The Key of Elyon, Elyon’s Cipher and Elyon’s Light, are all young adult with science fiction and fantasy themes but without sparkly vampires or dragons. I don’t plan out my novels from beginning to end. I hated writing outlines in school. If I had to turn an outline in with a paper, I wrote the outline after the fact. It was hard to predict what I’d write because research often played a key role in developing a paper. It’s the same with newspaper features I’ve written over the past 25 years. An idea forms, but other factors influence the end product. I often finish with something totally different than what I envisioned at the beginning. Why would writing a book be any different?
I didn’t know where I was headed with the trilogy, and along the way, plot twists developed that even I didn’t see coming. I disciplined myself to write every day until I finished it. “Words on the page every day” has been my Facebook status so much in the past 18 months that other writers I’m friends with quote and tag me in their statuses.
Now I have a complete work stuck in my head, and I’m trying to get the words on the page as fast as they come.
And it’s different from the rest. This book seems to be tailored for a different segment of my readers. My target audience is young adult for the Key Guardian Journals, but I’ve discovered I have many fans who are middle-aged women. They’ve usually read the books before giving them to their children or grandchildren who also seem to like them. What did they like? Many of them liked the themes of second chances and a renewed hope.
My work in progress deals with those themes as well. I’m crossing to a different genre for this one, but I’ve never been able to stick with one story type. In a typical newspaper week, I could be writing a story about an event at a local school, focusing on the latest fashion trends or interviewing the Grammy-award winner coming in to perform at the local arena. Variety is important for my creative brain. So maybe I’ll find a pen name. I’ve actually used one of those before. I may have to resurrect her.
Where this leads I can’t tell. I do know that I’ve put more words on the page in the first week with this one than I did with my three previous. They flow, and I’m going with it. People always tell you not to quit, but maybe letting go of something for a short period of time isn’t such a bad idea after all.
Charmain's facebook author page is facebook.com/thekeyofelyon and her website/blog is www.charmainzbrackett.com. She can be found on Twitter