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The Adventure Continues…

Message in a Bottle #7

I have always been captivated by books, the smell of them, the way the bulk of a hearty tome feels in my hands. Even as a little girl, I loved the way (what I would learn was called) the front and back matter was set up. Always the same. Dependable. Even across genres it remains uniform.

I take giddy joy in reading author’s dedications and acknowledgments.

I never wrote a lot of stories as much as I used to “copy books” as a kid. I don’t know if thats a thing. I would trace the pages of picture books and encyclopedias, color them in, and right the words in. I just loved the thought of making a book before I ever thought of writing a story.

Then How to Train your Dragon came out when I was ten years old. I didn’t realize it till later, but this story unlocked something in me to create. I needed these characters to exist past their hour and forty minutes of run time. But most importantly it inspired me to make something as meaningful as it had been to me.

I broke out Pages on our old Mac and started to write a fan fiction, before I even knew what that was. My mom encouraged me to write something original, something wholly mine. So Hiccup and Toothless became a story of a girl (I think her name was Sally) and her horse. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it, but for whatever reason it never went very far.

Not that it really mattered. Something had woke up inside me that I could not put back to bed and almost six years later, before I turned sixteen, I would start the story that would later become my debut novel, Forbidden.

I have racked my brain, trying to figure out what started the idea for the subterranean world of Caverna, or what made me decide it would be my debut novel, but I was reminded once that sometimes authors don’t know. Other than the little out of context pictures, we call ideas, we can’t be sure what stared it all. Our imagination feeds us these images until they can’t be held in a simple photo album anymore and start pouring out as words.

I saw a dark world and one lonely candle burning on a table.

I saw lost, little red head in a sea of sameness.

I saw her hideaway. Cozy but terribly friendless.

A strange man locked away in a room cluttered with cogs and gears.

Sorrowful blue eyes of a boy I still had yet to know what made him so sad.

Then the words began to pour out. I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer, but they came for me and I couldn’t make them stop, didn’t want them to. I blead what I could spare onto the page. I pantsed this story to its bitter end and only when I went back did I see my errors. Not all of them, mind you. Oh how we writers are blind to our own plot holes and cringe. It took multiple rereads, returning to the same old journey, to see a lot of it. I walked Kiara’s path so many times, I grew sick of it. I couldn’t imagine how this was ever an interesting story to me.

I gouged whole scenes, and added even more, too much some would say. But I wrote the story that was on my heart.

And before all that, I began to see more pictures.

I saw a blue flame this time, flickering just as lonely in a dark forest.

I saw new faces and new adventures and began to write them, until I realized this was another story entirely. One became two and I cried before it became three. I probably cried again when it settled on four, because for some reason this was stressful to me.

But one is already out there, and after all this time it feels like I hardly blinked and it was out of my hands and into the world’s.

So much of the rest is already written, some of it is still just pictures.

I can’t imagine the day when every last image is full of words.

Fair winds, fallowing seas, and God bless, my friends

—El Capitan


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