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Monthly Archives: February 2013

18 and Writing

It appears it’s that time again.

As you know- or have guessed most likely from the name of my blog- I’m 18, and though perhaps it doesn’t govern everything about my life as an author, it kind of is an important part of where I am. When someone grabs my book having no idea who I am or how old I am, they don’t go into it with any preconceived notions about the writing. It is, for all intents and purposes, just another book they’ve decided to read.

Then there are the people who know me, have met me, or even who have just seen this blog at a glance.

Let me explain. I, on one side of my family, come from a long line of writers. We’ve written our entire lineage down to me, and now here I am, self-published and realizing a dream that many in the Stephenson family have never been able to realize. So, when the members of that side of the family pick up the book to read, they go in expecting a certain level of writing. If it’s wonderful, they’re not shocked. A few of them have told me they love it.

On the other side of my family, they’re great at telling family stories, laughing, and making jokes, but none of them are really writers. They struggle with the common block most easily summarized by, “If only I could write down the ideas I have or the stories of my family; then I’d make millions.” So, though they know I write, they just pass it off. That resulted in a call most specifically from my uncle who was on base in Germany when he got a chance to read my book. What I most remember about that call was a line I’ve come to hear a lot recently from family and friends.

“I knew you could write, but I didn’t know you could write that well! I wasn’t expecting that.”

I took it as a compliment of course, because he was telling me that he really liked my book, but I realized then that maybe people who knew a little about me didn’t really know how devoted my passion is. And then I started hearing that last part everywhere. It’s like I plopped my book down and caused some eye-opening experience.

As an employee- well, when I was as employee at Pizza Hut, many of my coworkers bought my book, and it was like they’d buy it just because. Then they’d come back to me- some the very next night, some a few nights later- and they were just completely baffled about how much they liked my book.

In a recent- and also my first- review on Amazon (thank you SO much Ionia), I saw it again. There, in the review, she even states that she wasn’t prepared for the intensity or intelligence of the book or the level of editing I had managed.

Now, I don’t take these as bad things- not in the least. I love opening people’s eyes to the fact that young authors and self-published authors can far surpass expectations, but I also find it intriguing how a couple things that I think so minor because I’m doing something I love and have never really stopped to think about them, can give people a certain view of a book before they even open the first page.

I’m 18, I’m writing, and I’m living a dream that keeps growing with every day I open my eyes. To those of you who are following my story, thank you. For those of you who have bought and read my book, thank you. For those of you who support me in thoughts or prayers or just in a simple, “Go you!” Thank you. You are the reason that all of this is even possible.

So, don’t underestimate. Don’t judge a book by its author. You might be surprised if you do. And go live a dream because if I can do it… SO CAN YOU!

To Delete or Not To Delete

Sometimes a writer does research. Topics that are unfamiliar to them- time periods, family situations, state systems- are necessary things to research. There is always going to be that reader who picks up a book and says, “They are wrong. That is not what really happens.” You don’t want to give them any cause to be able to say that if avoidable.

The effects of research are interesting, though. Say you’re me, picking up a text on the topic of a new novel you’re working on that you haven’t let anyone really know about yet. You start to read, and you begin to wonder, what about this specific text can I use in my story?

And then it happens.

I decided to scrap nearly all three of the chapters I’ve finished and the beginning of the fourth one to completely change the way the story goes and what exactly it’s about. The joys of being a writer is that you can. The pain of being a writer is that you want to, and the difficulty of being a writer is that you’re not always sure which is the best way to go.

I love the way my story is now. I like how it’s progressing, but I’m at a point of being stuck, not knowing where to go, and when I think of going a different way, my entire soul just lights up. I’m not changing the character or her end game, I’m just thinking of starting a little ahead of the game.

Who knows, I may just add a little extra to the beginning of the book. There’s really no telling. The thing is, where I’m at now is important I think, but since I’m in the business of telling stories that could really happen, there is no telling if I’ve earned what exactly I’m trying to write at the moment. I need to know a little before my character got here, the how and why she’s here. If I can do that by writing a different novel, why not write a different novel?

I don’t believe I’m the only author to go through this, but maybe I shouldn’t encompass all of us. This is me. My joys, my worries, my pains, and anything else that might pop into this character-crowded head of mine.

To start at the beginning or the middle or the end? To delete what I have or not to delete? These are the questions that plague me now.

Pick up a pencil, a laptop, or a pen. Write the first thing that pops into your head. Who knows? An entire story may evolve.

With a salute and a smile, I’m off-

Megan