Graffitti on the Great Wall of China

Graffitti on the Great Wall of China

Thursday, June 10, 2010

...working on my novel...

When I was nine years old, I read Harriet the Spy. So for anyone that hasn’t read that book, it’s about a little girl that spies on people and records her observations in a notebook. Anyway after that I decide that I’d found my calling. I was going to be a writer.

Sound’s simple enough, right? Sit down everyday, think of a few plot lines or interesting people, link them together and BOOM the next bestseller ready to printed off and sent to Barnes and Nobel’s around the world. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

The first great story idea I thought of sort of a fairy tale. It would be about a little girl who is unhappy at home and then magically finds her way into a different land. Once she is there, she finds out that there is an evil ruler who only she can defeat. After a journey through this magical land, which incidentally is filled with magical creatures, the little girl defeats the evil ruler and makes her way home. Well, it sounded good and I was pretty excited when I was making notes about it in my diary…until I realized that I had just rewritten the plot line of Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, A Wrinkle in Time, The Phantom Tollbooth and about fifty other kids novels.

So, over the past few years, I’ve repeated this process quite a few times. My disutopian story set in a future that had gone horribly wrong? 1984, Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451. My historical fiction idea about a little girl going west with her family? Little House on the Prairie and about a hundred other kids books about the Oregon Trail. My idea about writing a book about a secret school where kids learn how to be witches and wizards…well, you get the idea.

At that point I realized that the only way I was going to think of something really original was if I wrote about something I knew a lot about, something that I had actually lived through. I don’t mean like a literal memoir, but I would probably be able to add more unique details to a book about a kid growing up in a trailer court in the nineties than I would about some little girl crossing the prairie in a covered wagon with her parents. I can either write about my experiences or rewrite one of the million books I’ve read in the course of my lifetime.

So with this blog, I am hoping to just write a little everyday and see what comes to the surface. If that doesn’t happen, at least it will give me something to do. Since I graduated college last year, I’ve been going crazy trying to think of things to do when I am not at work other than watching TV or housework. (Just kidding, I don’t really try and get out of watching TV).

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