Monday, June 24, 2013

Why this means so much!

In 2008, I was carrying a back-log of story ideas inside my head.  These were stories that I wanted to create music for, I wanted to write the musical scores for these 'ideas' that one day, somehow, some-way, a screenwriter would have magically written the identical stories, offering me the opportunity to score music(yes, I was really that short-sighted). Problem was, there weren't any screenwriters banging at my door suggesting that we work on our similar musings.
     But then, one day, something rather 'strange' began to take place. You see, prior to this I had been working on a little 'screenplay' about this guy who helplessly watches his wife dying from cancer.  I didn't think much of this 'tinkering'.  The way I saw it, in order to understand writing a 'film' score, one had to be somewhat familiar with a 'script'. Right?  But little did I know that this 'tinkering', would lead to the genesis of my very first novel.
     Let's face it!  I had NO idea what I was doing. This was painfully evident in the very rough version of the notes I had been taking on "Blindfolds". But in those 'badly' put together notes, was the catalyst of this stirring deep within my heart. The slow awakening of a long lost childhood dream. Becoming a writer.  I remember the look on my then girlfriend's beautiful face when I, ill-advisedly made my plans known to her.  I should've known better.  Most people's ideas of writers are that there are long periods of no money, struggling to pay bills, and always the promise to our loved ones that it'll get better.  "You just wait and see", I said. Besides the way I saw it, I was already 'struggling' just to maintain my one bedroom apartment with the job I had.  It couldn't get any worse, right?  BOY WAS I WRONG!!!  But now I'm getting ahead of myself.  Anywho, there I am slaving away at the first draft of "Blindfolds", and I must admit, it was HORRIBLE!   It was GOD FREAKING AWFUL!  THE CHARACTERS, THE PLOTS, THE TWIST AND TURNS!  YUCK!!!  So, I did what any rational writer would do in a situation like this, I considered taking my girlfriend's advice and become a Personal Trainer.  I mean, hey, its what I enjoyed doing for free.  Why not get paid for it?! But "Blindfolds" had other ideas.
     The damn story wouldn't leave me alone. It followed me on my runs, whispered in my ears at work, hell, it was even popping up in my dreams.  "I'm not a writer", I kept telling myself.  "I don't know what I'm doing".  "This was a stupid idea.  No one is even going to read the damn thing." The way I saw it, my chances of ever getting published was slim, to none. Sooo, after giving it some thought, I considered allowing "Blindfolds" to "sleep with the fishes". But then, one day while out on a run, something literally 'clicked' inside my head.  I had an idea. A different plot, from the one I had so badly mangled.  This new plot was 'smarter' and involved a great deal of imagination.  Quickly I raced home to begin anew.  But after months of trying to fashion this new plot into a 'reasonable' line of logic, it wasn't happening.  However, something else had began to take place. I noticed, my writing, had gotten better.  My characters, were actually becoming more interesting. But after 3 drafts, it just wasn't happening.  But in 2011, some changes in my life would allow me to have laser like focus on my writing.  I lost my place, my 3 year relationship was on the verge of crumbling, and I still hated my job.  At this time, I had all but giving up on "Blindfolds".  I had began to write other stories.  Some lead to novels, others became short stories.  One, was even published. In the course of a year, I had managed to write 3 novels, 3 short stories, and a novella.  All in a single year.  You see, I may have began "Blindfolds" in 2008, but in 2011, I had become a writer.  It was time to give my old friend one more look, before totally ignoring it.
     I worked on it some more, but again, it just wasn't there.  I knew the type of story this novel could be, but I wasn't seeing it in my writing. It just wasn't there.  In September of 2012, my short story, "Evelyn Thayer" was published by Etopia Press.  Excited, I had hopes of having more than just my short story published.  But after sending manuscript after manuscript, I got nothing.  I was growing frustrated. Then in January of this year (2013), I made myself a 'promise'.  I was going to have a novel published by June, 2013.  I didn't have a clue how this was going to happen, except, I was becoming more acquainted with 'self-publishing'.   I found a great editor to work with(Melissa Gray) who quickly got to work on the novel "Sword of Billum", which was the novel I had chosen to be published on my own imprint. After SOB had been proofread and edited, I was certain I was ready to dive into the full pool of self-publishing.  But then Melissa asked me a question, that would literally change everything for me.  We had spoken before about the troubles I was having with "Blindfolds".  She informed me that she had an opening coming up, and if I wanted to, send her "Blindfolds".  Now even though I had agreed to do so, in my heart, I knew that it wasn't ready.  But I figured, what the hell?!  Maybe she could work some sort of 'magic' on it.  However, her 'magic' wasn't required at all.  While going through the manuscript, I was still being greeted with the same frustrations.   But this time, something was different.
     You see, I could actually 'see' the problem, the source of my great frustration with this novel.  I have a tendency to pace around as I'm musing.  I literally stopped in my tracks, as the solution to this almost 4 year dilemma, bullied its way to my attention.  "He says, "No!"  Yep!  That was it!  This was the solution. Now armed with a new fire in my belly, I got to work on the 5th and final draft of "Blindfolds".  It only took me two whole days to complete it.  Instead of allowing my small 'beta' readers have a look at "Sword Of Billum"(Now titled, "Hand Of the Warrior Priest") I gave them "Blindfolds".  It would be the first time, anyone had read the complete story.  I was humbled by the reaction it received.  People actually 'loved it!'   Quickly, I made some adjustments.  "Sword of Billum" was pushed aside, and now, "Blindfolds" would be the very first published novel. But here's the thing: I knew this, two years ago.  I felt this two years ago, even before I understood how to resolve the issues I was having with it.  The timing involved in making the publishing even possible, is truly hard to figure at times.  Had someone told me back in January about "Blindfolds" being released in June, I would've laughed at them.  Had someone told me, that the avenues that weren't available to me then, would literally come out of nowhere, making publishing "Blindfolds" even possible, although plausible, I would question their confidence.  I sure didn't have any.  This novel, I believe, is just the beginning of some amazing writing I'm looking forward to doing. Bottom-line, you have to believe, even when it doesn't seem possible or even, feasible to reach for dreams that others may feel aren't within your reach.  You have to believe in yourself, don't wait for others to believe in you first.  And when everything seems to be working against you, that's when you have to dig down the deepest.  Tape your feet to the pedals and keep pushing. Grunt it out!  Don't lose focus.  I'm expecting 'big things' from "Blindfolds", because I'm expecting 'big things' from myself. Like the birth of your first born, you're expectations for them are set much higher than those for yourself. On  June 11th, My first born took his first steps and now, I can't wait to see when he begins to take large strides.  Leaping high into the air, and with the majestic beauty of an eagle, begins to soar, higher and higher.  RET :)