Tomorrow is a big day for me. It marks the completion of a project which has been eating away at my brain and heart for three years now. And yeah, you’ve heard me talk about this before so I know you’re over it. But I’m not, so maybe this post is more for me than anything else. But you know what, I’ve earned this post.
When I started writing Anomaly, well thinking it up, it was on a whim. I kind of envisioned a fight scene in Audubon Park while I was taking the long way home after work one day. The best I can remember of that day was that it was warm even though it was November– it was always warm in New Orleans. The sun was shining though it wouldn’t be for long and it was just a good day to be out and about. But it was also five p.m. and I’d endured working with a rather miserable woman all day. So while cathartic, I kept my trip short. I sped through the CBD, took a short cut through Central City and then took my happy butt to Sucre in Uptown. From there I drove around. Yeah, I’d been living in the city for almost two years at this point but I still loved to just get in the car and poke around. It’s the kind of place that is so beautiful that even if you’ve seen it all before– and since things rarely change after a while you have seen it all before– you still haven’t seen it.
So as I was driving around Uptown I remember parking the car along St. Charles Avenue (a miracle I found parking!) and taking my milkshake from Sucre, and walking around the park. As I walked, the fight scene before a little clearer. And as I walked, even though I’m not entirely sure where it came from, but there was Miss Eliza Beth Landry kicking some vampire ass. And there I was, a non-writer who had an idea that just wouldn’t leave her alone.
I remember getting in my car and driving home and making notes. Most of what I wrote down for ideas has since been chucked. I kept building on the story and as I went I realized I had a great cast of characters and a miserable plot. Eliza went from being in high school to being in college to being back in high school and then back to college. As I played with her story her character grew and evolved into who she is now and that alone is worth the years and headaches I’ve spent getting to this place.
It’s an amazing thing to look back at where I was and where I am now. My journey with Anomaly has only strengthened my resolve to see “it” through, whatever that may be. Coming out the other side of a project which has sometimes been the bane of my writing career and sometimes been the very reason I even have a writing career.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know much about much and half the time my advice is just drivel. But here’s one thing I do know: figure out what’s important to you and don’t let it slip by, not for anything. I did my time figuring out how to tell Eliza’s story because it matters to me. I spent years toying with stories, learning how to write (mostly by writing poorly) and have finally found myself in a place where I can say that I’m completely content with what I’ve accomplished so far.
That being said, Anomaly releases tomorrow. I’m a mix of shy, nervous, giddy, terrified, horrified, impassive, grouchy, and numb. Anomaly started off as a vague idea and eventually morphed into what it is now through the on-going support of writing buddies, family, friends, and even at times, strangers. I tried to write Anomaly for NaNoWriMo each and every year. I tried to tell this story that refused to be told. And even though I didn’t get it at the time, I get it now. *I* wasn’t ready to tell the story then, but when I finally was, I did.
And the absolute best thing about this journey is that it’s taught me two very important lessons in life: it’s not worth having if it’s not worth fighting for; and regret is futile. Just do, just be, just live and see where it takes you. Sometimes you picture yourself signing with an agent and seeing your book on a store shelf. And sometimes the reality of being un-agented, thus free, is better than the picture you had in your head. Sometimes stubbornness is the only thing that keeps you going and succeeding. So like I said, this post is more for me than anything else. It’s a bit cathartic to sit here and type it out and to remind myself of the journey it’s taken to get to this place and to just a deep breath and to just be for a few minutes, enjoying coming out the other side of a project I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to write “The End” for.
And after this breather, it’s back to the grind and to writing book two in The Birthright Series.