It’s startling to put this into print, but I’ve been working on my novel for six years now. I write mainly during the summers, but even during the school year my novel has been a weight pressing at the back of my mind. And I’ve loved every moment of it.
The inkling that I wanted to try my hand at writing a young adult novel began in my classroom. I had a student who had decided that he wasn’t a reader, but I was determined to convince him otherwise. I scanned the shelves of my classroom library and found Rick Riordan’s The Lightening Thief. I put the book in my student’s hands and then left him to escape into Riordan’s world. 30 minutes later I checked in to see if he liked it, and he gave this sheepish grin and nodded. I think it was the first time he had enjoyed the written word. From that point on, I knew I wanted to craft a world that could do this for others.
Just weeks later I shot up as I was falling asleep and started scribbling in my notebook. For an hour, the ideas just poured out of me. The beginning sketches of the plot and world of Shifter had begun.
Much has changed since that time. The first year I spent mainly world building, and most everything that was written that first summer was scrapped by the second. Characters were condensed into one; others sprouted into several. But the core vision of the world and main character have remained constant.
Now years later, I am nearing the end of my first draft. Then it will be on to a round of revision (so much to revise!), and then another round of revision with some beta readers, and then finally I’ll be ready to send out query letters to literary agents. One never knows how long the revision process will take, but I plan to be ready to send out queries within a year at the most.
And that will lead to more revisions, a longer process, but one I welcome. However laborious it gets, I love my craft.