March 05, 2024

My Writing and Publishing Roadmap

This is a long post, so I color coordinated. If you’re only interested in the journey I’ve gone on with my Secret Book Baby Series, read the green destination marks (dates). If you’re interested in what I’ve actually published or other works, read the remaining destination marks (dates) in bold white font. Anything in red font is important either way.

Twelve Years Old:

I was twelve years old when my first real story idea came to me one afternoon after school and a lone game of basketball in front of my house. I've told this story many times, but I'll share it again.

Sitting in the grass, with the basketball on my lap, I was catching my breath, enjoying the weather, and playing with the blades of grass with my right hand. My fingertips brushed something cold and hard close to the earth. Excited, hoping to find a coin or a key, I searched the blades only to discover a rusted screw with a crooked tip. The strangest thing happened while I held that screw, though. I thought about what it would mean if that screw was really a key to an unknown world, and who would be there if I found that door? A girl was there, who had extraordinary powers. I ran into my house, grabbed writing utensils, and resumed my spot outside to write the opening of that story. The rest is, well, herstory.

I had kept that screw for many years, but when my family moved out of my childhood home because of foreclosure, I got rid of it. I could've kept it. It was tiny, after all. Alas, I did not. I wish I had that screw still. I honestly don't remember if I put it in the trash or stuck it back into the ground where I'd found it. Part of me thinks I did the honor it, so I choose to believe I did.

Fourteen Years Old:

I finished writing my first novel. I had called it The Unknown World. It was a fantasy adventure and took up four hand-written notebooks. The computer document was complete at ​87,018 words/​​​​​​​426 pages.​​​

Sixteen Years Old:

Writing became my passion. I couldn't not write. I wrote on the school bus and in class. I wrote at home. I carried my current notebook wherever I went.

At ​the age of sixteen, I completed Book Two, The Face Beyond, which took up eleven hand-written notebooks. I was unable to open this document, so I don’t know the word/page count.

Seventeen Years Old:

Book Three took up seven hand-written notebooks. I apparently never typed this one up, which is surprising to me. I swear I did. I used to have so much fun typing up these stories, listening to music from my headphones, and adding to the story as I went. Alas, I can’t find that ancient document.

Book Three was the story that changed the course of my series, my characters, and my writing forever, and it was all because of a new character who came into the story. His name was (and is) Rainer. I loved him. Plain and simple. I liked him more than the love interest I had at the time for my FMC (female main character), and I struggled to justify keeping her and Rainer apart, as only best friends rather than boyfriend and girlfriend as they truly wanted to be.

Seventeen Years Old (Again):

I was working on Book Four, and I was seven notebooks in (nowhere near done), when writer's block hit. A big part of it was because of my Rainer dilemma. The other part of it, I later discovered, was because I'd matured while writing my stories and felt a disconnect from them because of where I was taking them. The first two, especially, weren't anything like the story I was working on, which was much more adult.

That's when I decided to rewrite them from page one. Age my characters. Give them interesting jobs. Change their world to be less fantastical. Dump the old love interest and bring Rainer in from the start.