Since we’ve finally had some decent weather, my work schedule is closer to what it should be, and I got a lot of damned sleep today, I managed to write for a while this afternoon. Granted, I wasted a lot of time, but I also managed to do laundry and dishes today, which is more than I can typically say, writing or no. So I’ll call it a good day.
The story I worked on was one I’ve been dithering around with since college. It’s changed in form many times from the first time I handed a rough draft in to some writing professor or another. The whole world has changed since then, really, except for the main character. Grey came to me with his own history and set of stories, and while I’ve altered the details of his school and his world, Grey himself has not changed.
Grey’s story goes back to college. I went to UW-Whitewater, which is in a small college town in southern Wisconsin. It was a good distance away from home and family, but not so far that I couldn’t drive back whenever I liked. Whitewater itself had its own stories that you heard on campus in the middle of the night, ghost stories, if you will. There were rumors of the Wells Towers being haunted, satanic rituals held in the center of the triangle made my the town’s three cemeteries (of which there are actually about five and they don’t make anything pentacle-like). There are stories about the mounds and local pow-wows, and if you search deeply enough in the Anderson library, there are stories of a school for spiritualism.
And that last bit is actually true. Morris Pratt built and founded a school for spiritualism in Whitewater around the turn of the century. It’s actually still around, though the original building has long-since been razed and the school moved to Wauwatosa (Milwaukee). http://www.morrispratt.org/
The University of Wisconsin at Whitewater was originally a school for teachers (and still does have a strong education program) called the Whitewater Normal School. I can only say this inspired my thought of a Whitewater Abnormal School. Now, I was in college from 1994 to 1998, and this inspiration came about in the middle of that time, pre-Harry Potter (which came out in 1997 and wasn’t immediately on my radar). All ideas of a fantastical bent are qualified as pre- and post- Harry Potter, and I didn’t get my act together to have it done before (clearly). Of course, HP just smashed into collective consciousness in the early 2000s and simply changed how we think about the young wizard in training. Just as it is hard to say you like vampire books without being asked if you like Twilight or (previously) Anne Rice, it is now impossible to say you’re writing anything about a young boy at a school for magic without being asked, “So, it’s like Harry Potter?”
Despite having thought about this character for such a long time, having vignettes in mind and at least two stories thought through, I had written surprisingly little about him. I may find notes going back to this time if I really searched through some boxes, and perhaps also if I could scan through my ancient Starwriter disks. In 2009, with a couple of half-written old drafts of short stories, I decided to write out his novel during NaNoWriMo. In November of that year, I wrote out 50,000 words of Grey’s story. It became the first in a concepted trilogy linked by the school and the antagonists. In the year and a half since, I’ve fleshed out more stories in my head, both ideas in the trilogy and ones again linked mainly by the school and friendships formed. I turned to Ethne’s story for last year’s NaNoWriMo and eked out my 50,000 words.
It really doesn’t matter if the first stage of revision is to cut at least 10,000 of those words, right? 🙂 I’ll make it all back up plus more, like when you diet.
Where I am today, however, is seeing the need to complete Grey’s initial stories. I would love to spend this summer working out the details of Grey’s story, as well as those that link to him. I would love to get these books inside me to a point where I might consider them finished, publishable. (I must add here, I am heavily considering self-publication on e-book, given the current publishing climate and despite all my snootiness about it. I would love an experienced editor to help polish my work, but getting sales and attention first may attract a publisher later as opposed to getting rejected for ages first.)
So laid here are thoughts and goals and hopes that I may find the mental energy to accomplish something before some serious mid-life crisis sets in. (I was extremely horrified to think that, at 35, I will have to work a time consisting of my whole life so far before reaching retirement age.)