Or rather...maybe I should be shouting: It's finished! My creation is complete! It took nearly two years, but it's finally finished! And while I'm not exactly talking about my monster made from disembodied deceased people (that one's still in the works!) I am talking about my first novel.
Writing is something I've always loved to do. Through out elementary, middle and high school I won small certificates and awards for entering poetry and short story contests. One of my favorite non-major related classes in college was my Creative Writing course, in which my professor strongly encouraged me to enter one of my short stories into a big contest, but I never did. I kind of regret that.
When I was applying to colleges, my mother often wished out loud that I would apply to Notre Dame and major in writing. I never did. I don't regret this per-say, but I often wonder what could have happened.
Anywho, at school each teacher (unless you teach a science/chem lab) is assigned 5 classes, two preps and one duty. Each year your duty changes- the newbies are often volunteered for Lunch Duty- which I've successfully managed to escape each of my three newbie teaching years. (Major score!) Other duties include sign-in, study hall, library and hall pass duty.
Most teachers use these duties to get some grading or lesson plans finished. The arts kind of get shafted in this aspect, because you can't just lug 50 relief sculptures into the north cafeteria and appropriately assess them while trying to keep the kids in study hall in check.
Never one to just sit around, last year during my library duty, I began writing a story. Maybe I was inspired by my environment, but something about the silence of the room got my mind pumping. A small, unique idea popped into my brain and each day for the 50 minutes I sat at the library doors, when I wasn't checking students in and out, reminding them there was to be no food or drink, or "not noticing" when students fell asleep in the super comfy, over-sized arm-chairs, I let the story grow.
It was amazing to me that all these characters and scenes just kept popping into my head. It was as if the story was literally writing itself. And I can't begin to tell you how much I looked forward to my duty every day. I found that even on the weekends I was missing it. It didn't matter what kind of crazy, messy, hectic day I had, when I got into the library and started to write, I just felt so calm and relaxed.
By the end of that year, I was about 12 chapters in.
This year, my new duty isstudy hall, which most teachers hate, but I find quite relaxing. Sure it's a little louder than in the library, but I lucked out and got 1st period with only about 30 kids. (Some study halls have over 100!) It's been quiet enough where since September, I was able to write an additional 14 chapters and complete my very first novel!
I am extremely excited about this. Even though I've written a lot in my life, I've never been able to really see anything through. Poems and short stories- even blog posts- are one thing, but a novel? A whole novel with a beginning and a middle and an ending that all make sense together? I hadn't been able to do that.
When I finished my first half, I sent it off to a friend of mine who teaches 6th grade English. She reads more than anyone else I know and has a passion for tween novels. (I'm pretty sure she finished the Twilight series before Stephenie Meyer had even finished writing them.) She made some minor edits and suggestions and told me that she thought it was worth finishing, so I did! I just sent her the other half last week.
So what is it about? Well, in the most basic description: It's a teen novel about loss, love and self-discovery. (Boring!) The more fun, intriguing description: It's a book about a girl who was born at her mother's funeral.
Gotcha, right!? You're thinking, What? How is that possible? Guess you'll just have to read it...
Anyway, as happy as I am to have finished writing it, I'm sort of sad at the same time. Kind of like when I finished the Twilight series and was sad that all my 'friends' were moving on without me.
(I realize the Twilight books aren't that great but I was totally drinking the kool-aid, okay?
Stop judging me, damnit.)
I'm also kind of nervous. I want to send it out to people- real people- not just my friends- and see what they think. I contacted the head of the English department at my school and he very kindly offered to take a look at the finished manuscript and even pass it on to some publishing friends of his in New York. That'd be so fantastic! But it's also kind of scary. I've done a lot of research on how to get published and most places say that the first thing you write rarely gets anywhere. After all, it's the first time you've written anything- the odds that it is fantastic to anyone but yourself are slim to none.
Anywho, I'm just proud to have completed it. I feel like it's a strong story and I believe in it. And it's inspired me! I've already started planning out a second, new book.
Anyone with any kind of novel writing/publishing experience out there? Any advice?