True confession time.
Oh heck, let's tell this the right way. Over a decade ago I got this great idea for a story. When I say great, I mean truly original--as far as I know. And yes I'm aware that's a bold claim. When most authors get an idea for a story, it's usually just a new spin on an old idea. And half the time we readers are lucky if there is even the new spin. So anyway, over ten years ago I got this idea, but had zero writerly skills to do anything with it. But I wasn't an idiot, either. I was smart enough to not tell anyone my idea. So in the back of my head I've been troubleshootig and plotting and planning to actually DO something with it. So back in the day I gave it a title and did a couple of drawings. Some long-time watchers might remember a drawing or two I did featuring a young girl on the surface of some strange planet with a dragon and a fairy. And that was really the ultimate tease because it gave away everything and yet gave away absolutely nothing.
At some point I figured I should probably learn how to actually write. And so along came my character, Ann Zanity. Hers was a more contemporary tale. A lighthearted look at demonic possession. Kind of. Haha. But along the way I figured Ann's story was valid in its own right. Iit might appeal to a Twilight crowd, but without all the sucking. Pun intended. The important thing is I actually started writing. And yes, I sucked at it. And I learned stuff. And then I went back to college. And I learned more stuff. And I went back and restudied things I learned at Kubert's School. And I really hammered away at that book in an effort to learn to write. And there was a point where it all become too big to handle. I had ides for a few more books and I was setting up ideas and concepts for a whole series. It was out of control and ultimately I failed.
While all that was going on, a strange thing happened. This isn't strange to everyone though, as I know some of my writerly friends have had similar experiences. Ann started talking to me in my head. For real. If I was writing, she would tell me this or that about how she would behave in a given scene. It was unnerving because she was also a pretty dominant personality. For about a month she let "Speck" (another character) play around in my head but otherwise it was only Ann talking to me. In my head. Eventually she discovered my "truly original" idea and she wanted it for herself. And I fought with her about it, because this idea would never work in her world. And a couple years later, Ann told me exactly how it could work. And it was brilliant. So essentially, Ann killed off that other character (you remember, the one with the dragon and the fairy) and claimed that story for herself. Did I mention this whole thing was unnerving? But there was problem. I wasn't good enough to write the story. The idea was solid and I knew it--any writer worth his or her salt would kill for this idea. And her I am, most likely going to my grave with it, because I couldn't tell anyone and I also couldn't write it well enough to do it justice. But Ann recognized I wasn't ready to tell the story and she backed off. Ann stopped talking to me back when I was in Omaha, a few years ago. I haven't heard from her since, until tonight.
Again, long time watchers might remember my crazy life took me to Omaha because I thought I was "in love" or some such nonsense. That ended horribly a few years ago. After that, I did what anyone else would have done--I started dating. And after a couple years of dating, I found myself with enough bad dating stories that I told myself I could write a screenplay--or a book. And so I wrote a book about my own personal experiences. And since mostly I wanted to write fiction, this seemed like an interesting idea to get first book done and out there. A confidence builder, if you will. I mean the material was already there--truth is stranger than fiction. I only had to log in the time to make it happen.
Now authors are funny people and while I don't self-identify as a writer, because I earn my living drawing silly pictures,(I use the term "living" loosely here), I know more than enough about the skillset that I can sit back and poke fun at the idiosyncrasies. For example, to many authors, word count is a source of pride. "I wrote X0,000 words last week. Nanner nanner." And I remind myself that's the least important thing about writing. The goal isn't to fill blank pages. Instead, ask if the idea is any good? Does the world really need another Harry Potter rip-off? Does the story really say anything or does it just ramble? Can the reader follow along? And honestly, the only thing that really matters in fiction is this: is the story entertaining to the reader? Everything else is insignificant. Everything. Period.
So I self-published my first book a few months back even after having mostly finished it well over a year ago. I sat on it. This was personal--it was me in those pages. And it was primarily embarrassing stories about my life. Did I want it out there? But with fresh eyes, I reread and realized, "Yes this is entertaining, to anyone who has tried to find love." And I published "Diving Back into the Dating Pool" and it is available on Amazon and Kindle. BUY ME!
Recently, I made a huge mistake. A few months back, and like maybe a week after publishing my dating book I "fell in love" again. Ugh I should have known better. At the end of the day I'm pretty certain she was only ever interested in having me draw her book cover for her. I can't prove that, but she bugged me about doing that AFTER breaking up with me, which is incredibly selfish if you ask--well, anyone with any sensitivity. But here's the mistake I made. And it's huge. I told her a good portion of my "original idea". I couldn't regret it anymore. Yes, I'm a bit nervous about that, because I recently discovered she used ALL my ideas for her current book cover. She fought me tooth and nail on it the whole time--I mean treated me like absolute crap for giving her these ideas--and then she used them. Except the final version still looks terrible because I'm guessing she couldn't find someone to execute the ideas correctly. You get what you pay for. So while those ideas for her book were freely given, it does speak volumes about her character that she wouldn't want to strike out on her own and use her own ideas. And while I don't believe she would rip my "original idea" off.... Okay I don't think she would. At least I'm certain she couldn't tell my story as well as I could. Sigh. The point is, it is time for me to get this idea into written format. I'm finally ready, and inadvertently my former "muse" has motivated me. Even if not the way I hoped.
Interestingly, I have Ann to thank for pointing all that out. And so I suppose I owe it to Ann to write her stories--before someone else does. Yes I'm an idiot. All those years I held onto that idea, and then a couple of hearts spun around my head and I spilled. Idiot. This whole love thing sucks. Don't do it. That's my advise kiddies--don't fall in love.