Friday 21 June 2013

You Always Remember Your First - The Creative Process

You Always Remember Your First

We all have to start somewhere. Many writers will tell you that their first story is one that they worked hard at to make it into the final product. That's true for all works really, it takes a lot of work to get it to what you want it to be. However, your first book, that first story that made you dip your toe into the writing pool, it's not something you easily forget. For me, that was THE FRIENDSHIP TRIANGLE. I started writing the story when I was thirteen, and then spent the next nine years or so pulling it apart and making it into what it is today. In the beginning of my writing career, I was immature and unaware of the massive mistakes I was making.

My first characters - Chloe, Sarah & Charlotte - guided me through the minefield of book writing and helped me come to a point where they would tell their story effectively. I remember being sat on my bed, with the original story notes, crossing out and writing whole new pieces and paragraphs, keeping some bits and throwing out others. It took me a long time to get them all right. I wanted thirteen year olds who would be able to help other people in similar situations. With Chloe, it was dealing with the death of her father. Sarah had an alcoholic mother and gambling father. Charlotte had just found out her dad wasn't her biological father. They all  helped to guide me and began the process that made me into the writer I am today. I do wonder sometimes how my characters would be if they could age outside their story. In the book, the girls are thirteen, facing major issues and only really being able to rely on each other for support. I wanted a story that would show how special friendship can be to tweens and how it can also be the rock in our lives that gets us through to adulthood.

I know that my own experience is pretty rare - I'm still friends with my best friend from school and we've known each other for about nineteen years now - which is terrifying and makes me feel *very* old! However, as a teenager with her own versions of upset and drama, I lent on my close friends and I know that I am not alone in doing that. What I wanted to do with THE FREINDSHIP TRIANGLE was add a little bit of magic to the lives of tweens. The majority of my work is focused on the age group of 13+, but that first book was aimed at people of the age I was when I wrote it. However, now that I'm older and have written more and, some would say, better books, I can see that my first is probably more aimed at those under 13.

As most writers will tell you, your first book holds a special place in your heart. I wrote other stories before being published and when BLACKOUT was finished, and picked up by AuthorHouse, people always assumed that it was my first, but I kept THE FRIENDSHIP TRIANGLE to one side. I planned to release it at some point, but I wasn't sure at the time whether it was well and truly finished. Some would say that it is not my best work, others would disagree. I personally feel that it is finished. It was a huge chunk of my life: nine years from start to finish and about two hundred edits later, it's done. (I may only be slightly exaggerating with two hundred, it was closer to twelve!) As mentioned in other pieces, there comes a time when you have to tell yourself that it's finished, it's over and that by taking apart and adding more and more, you are losing what you wanted in the first place. I got to that point with THE FRIENDSHIP TRIANGLE.

So, although reminiscing is fun, and you never do quite forget your first completed works, there is a point when you have to put it to bed, close the edit box and just allow the story to stand on it's own two feet. It will either crash, or it will fly and as the creator, you have to be prepared for both. If you're not ready to hear the bad critics, you're also not ready to hear the good ones either.

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