Two Years Ago Today

Followers of my twitter feed, or just my life in general, know that yesterday was my 29th birthday. (Many thanks for all of the well wishes, by the way!) What most people don’t know is that two years ago today was the day I finally caved in to the pressure of my friends and took the steps to self-publish. It has been a really wild ride since then. On January 27th, 2010, if I suspected anyone but my closest friends (and not even all of them) knew that I’d written something, I would have been mortified. Today I’m eagerly clicking over to my forum and checking my email to see if I’ve got any new comments from people I’ve never met. It has been a blast, and I want to thank everyone who took a chance with a new author and ended up here.

It has become a running theme that, if my friends want me to do something that I don’t want to do, I should probably do it. Thus, last night I decided to dig through storage and pull out a pile of books that one of my friends has been hounding me to find. And here they are.

This represents years of stolen time. It also represents the largest clean, flat surface in my apartment.

That mound of biodegrading spiral notebooks represents The Book of Deacon in its original form. Countless grammar school, high school, and college teachers saw me scribbling diligently in one of these books during their classes and foolishly thought I was taking notes. To be fair, not all of these books are filled cover to cover with plot. One of them has a few pages of notes and outlines, and one or two of them are half empty because I lost them for a while and had to pick a different notebook. Let’s take a look inside, shall we?

Note that this "brief summary" ended up filling nearly a dozen notebooks.

It is worth pointing out that where it says “1st Book,” I don’t mean book 1 of a trilogy. The entire trilogy, in my head, was one book, and it was a prequel to the book I’d originally intended to write. Flipping through the pages of this pile was an interesting experience. I didn’t actually transcribe the book from these pages, for the most part. After I had completely finished the story, I typed it in from memory. My reasoning was that anything I couldn’t remember wasn’t good enough to make the cut. Every now and then I’d flip through and find the exact wording of a scene that I was particularly happy with, but the rest was typed while these were tucked away in a drawer somewhere. As a result, the actual story bears only a passing resemblance to what shows up on these pages. Looking into it now brings back memories of plots I dropped (Myranda had a long sequence involving Tresson soldiers at one point.) or characters who were completely rewritten (Trigorah used to be much more ruthless, and was more of an investigator than a soldier.) or names that had to be changed. (Ivy used to have a much sillier name.)

Also, looking back through these books managed to completely restore my paralyzing embarrassment about them. I quickly shoved them back into storage after snapping these pictures, because I do not want anyone to pick them up and flip through them. Don’t ask me why. Maybe it is a remnant of the extreme lengths I went to in order to conceal them during their creation. For instance let’s look at that top cover again.

Note that I hadn't picked a name at that point.

That big, clear label indicating that it was a book written by me, and that there were other parts? That wasn’t added until had completely filled the book and was ready to lock it away and move on to the next one. Heaven forbid someone see that and start asking me what I was writing about!

I’ve come a long way, I suppose. Now the characters that I carefully cultivated in my brain have gotten loose and are running around in other people’s heads, and I’m constantly thinking up other things for them to do. Since I’ve finished writing Unstable Prototypes, and it is now being proofread by my friends, it is time to dip back into that world and see what I should write next. Direct sequels? Side stories? That book I’d originally intended to write? We’ll see.