Something to Celebrate
My palms were sweating. I leaned forward, staring at my computer screen and blinking owlishly behind my square-rimmed glasses my brother hates. I was staying up way too late, but I had to finish this. My brain froze and I momentarily panicked.
No! No, no, no, no, NO! Don’t do this to me! Anything but brainfreeze!
My palms were sweating. I leaned forward, staring at my computer screen and blinking owlishly behind my square-rimmed glasses my brother hates. I was staying up way too late, but I had to finish this. My brain froze and I momentarily panicked. No! No, no, no, no, NO! Don’t do this to me! Anything but brainfreeze! Slowly my fingers picked up work again. I typed feverishly. Then I paused, staring at what I’d written. It was good. Not perfect, but good. If I could finish it tonight, I’d be satisfied until I started editing. Then I knew I’d rip what I’d written apart, frustrated because it didn’t say exactly what I wanted it too. But for now it looked good. I’d worry about the fine-tuning when I got to it. I’d started this three and a half years ago. Three and a half years ago, sitting bored to death at my uncle and aunt’s house (which was amazing…I’m usually never bored there) I picked up a yellow legal pad (one of my favorite writing tools) and a scratchy, beat-up, gnawed-on pen (back in the days before braces and I could chew on things like that). I’d scribbled down a title… “The Second Crown” and started writing. I had no idea what it was about, why I was writing it, or where it would go. All I knew was it was a story about a girl named Rhia, raised as a peasant when she was actually the daughter of an overthrown duke, and somehow she would help her father get his dukedom back. How? No idea, except that the second crown of the title came in there somewhere… I gave it up after three chapters. But the idea wouldn’t leave me alone. A month later I came back to it, rewrote the first three chapters, and kept going. My brain filled with ideas. Rhia’s guardian, Mabel, was a weaver. She would die as she traveled in a merchant train to another city to buy supplies. Rhia had to get a job at the castle, where the duke Ruper now reigned. She meets a teenage boy by name of Jakon, who is a mercenary and has beaten the duke’s son Melthon in swordplay (which is a big deal, since Melthon is the best swordsman in the country). Rhia finds out about her noble birth and decides to help her father regain his dukedom by finding the second crown, a treasure long hidden by a duke of ancient history who died without an heir. The king back then had decreed that whoever found the second crown would become the duke of that dukedom, but because of the hardship no one ever did and the king had been forced to appoint a duke. So Rhia and Jakon and three friends would find this crown, but they had to have an adversary. Ruper’s son Melthon fit that perfectly. He was a good villain…handsome, brown hair, blue eyes, and a nasty temper. And a grudge against Jakon. There was my story. But it had expanded since those days. I’d learned how to write better, more gripping, tense action. I knew how to expand my characters and let the reader know about them without shoving it in someone’s face. Character names had changed. Jakon went from Bryan to Jakon. Rhia’s friend Aislinn was first Ryse, then Rysa, then finally Aislinn. Joshua became, instead of Jakon’s friend, a duke. Jakon’s two friends, Quenton and Arlen, underwent various name changes. Character attitudes had changed. Jakon’s shallow, gruff character melted away to change into a young man who genuinely cared for his friends, but who sometimes had a hard time showing his emotions. His friend Arlen changed from pure comic relief to a fun-filled young man trying to find his place in the world and model himself after the man he most admires, Jakon. Jakon realizes this and it puts additional pressure on him, on top of his role as the leader of the five young people. I also found that a romance had sprung up between Jakon and Rhia. It was annoying at first, because I wanted my book to be pure fantasy adventure, but then I realized a little wouldn’t be bad. After all, I reasoned, what do you call Aragorn and Arwen in Lord of the Rings, or Eowyn and Faramir? Even the story between Eowyn and Aragorn was of a girl’s crush on a handsome, cool guy. But I didn’t want my book to be a “*sigh*, he’s sooo handsome and she’s sooo perfect for him” type story, where the hero gracefully defeats the villain without getting a scratch, scoops up the madly-in-love maiden, and rides happily off into the sunset. Gag! So I focused on the adventure, every now and then putting in a hint about Jakon and Rhia. At the end they get engaged with parental approval and in the epilogue, a year later, they get married. End of romance. Amid all that was the fact that, foolishly, I had a wonderful idea that I’d write the whole thing out by hand and revise as I put it into the computer. My dedication to that idea lasted precisely six months, whereupon I typed out everything I had and continued on the computer. I honestly don’t know how Charles Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Louisa May Alcott did everything by hand! And typewriters for Lewis, Tolkien, and Harold Bell Wright had to be little better (for anyone who’s every used an old-fashioned typewriter, you know what I mean. For anyone who hasn’t, find one and try to type anywhere near what we call “fast.”) I like the nostalgic feel of typewriters and hand-written papers, but for quick typing and something I work on long-term, give me a computer any day! Digressing…sorry. It’s one of my problems. Anyway, with all that and the fact that I changed computers exactly four times during the book, I was becoming frustrated. If one of my good friends hadn’t been bugging me constantly to finish it, I honestly think I would’ve scrapped the whole thing. As it was, Josiah and my own stubbornness saved the book from extinction. I’d determined last Christmas to get the book done (not finished, merely done. There is a difference) before it’s fourth birthday, which was October 10th, 2007. So here it was, June 13th, 2007, 10:50 P.M. My mom was reading in her bedroom opposite where I sat in the living room, typing away. I was so close, just a paragraph or two to fill in the gap between the time Jakon recovers from almost mortal wounds in his fight with Melthon, to the epilogue. I was stuck. I hated to admit it, but two paragraphs way from finishing my story, I was stuck. I get writer’s block at the worst possible times. I scanned the screen again, trying to make it fit together. And suddenly, BAM! Something hit me, something literally under my nose. That’s why the scene hadn’t been working right! Of course! I erased a paragraph and started over, typing so fast I expected my fingers to start smoking. Three minutes later I sat back and smiled. It flowed now, smooth as a piece of nougat. Wahoooo! I was done! Yay! I got up and shot to my parents’ bedroom. “Mom, I’m done! I finished The Second Crown!” I whispered, trying not to wake up my dad. He cracked an eyelid anyway. “That’s great, honey,” my mom whispers, half-asleep. Dad grins and gives me a thumbs-up. “Good job, kiddo.” I slipped out and shut down my computer, grinning. It felt so good. Right now I wasn’t worrying about how hard it was to break into the awe-inspiring circle of publishers and authors, nor was I worrying about how realistic and good my writing was. My heart was light and my brain-wheels were spinning. How was I supposed to sleep? I had something to celebrate! “Thank You, God.”
copyright 2007 by Magical Ink (magical-ink.blogspot.com)