Like most who enjoy writing, I've been writing since I was very young. I can still remember these little stories I'd write in elementary school (fully illustrated in 16-colour pencil crayon glory... side note: boyfriend's mom tried to convince boyfriend and I that "pencil crayon" isn't a real thing. They're apparently called "coloured pencils". I remain unconvinced.) Anyway, my teacher would bind the stories we wrote in these flaps of cardboard covered in old wallpaper scraps to give them nice sturdy covers and they were THE COOLEST THINGS EVER! I'm not certain about this next part, but I think it was a bit of a "If you keep writing em, I'll keep binding em" deal and I somehow ended up with like ten of these puppies by the end of the year even though the original assignment was probably for us to write one.
While stories were clearly a big part of my life at school, they were an even bigger part of my life at home with my sisters and I always coming up with extremely in-depth plots surrounding our many stuffed animals, our Barbies, or ourselves playing the parts of characters from Jem, Saved by the Bell, Ghostwriter, you name it. Some of the Barbie-related storylines got pretty intense with the children (the skipper dolls) always throwing wild parties, getting involved in games of chicken (the pink Barbie jeep managed to withstand a lot, including many trips down the stairs) and a completely hilarious plot line wherein the Ken doll father of my family (each sister had a family of dolls and they were all neighbours) would go batshit crazy every time he ate this certain type of chili pepper and would enter some trance where he would kidnap the Barbie wife of my older sister's family and then take off with her (in the pink Barbie Jeep, which almost always ended up rolling off a "cliff" otherwise known as another trip down the stairs). This plot line got so involved that my Barbie wife eventually hung a poster of "chili peppers to avoid" in my dollhouse kitchen so that she'd remember to never cook with them again. Thinking back about this both makes me laugh uncontrollably and wonder if nine-year-old me was just a little bit certifiable. I'm going to stick with the excuse that I was just extremely creative :) We had a lot of fun.
As I got older, I continued to write in school and won both of the only writing contests I ever entered (one was a poetry contest for the Royal Canadian Legion and the other a Ghostwriter short story contest for TVO). Writing was in my blood. So much so that after finding myself extremely bored after the very first session of OAC (what used to be senior year in Ontario high schools) Physics, I marched right into the guidance counselor's office and dropped it. "How can you be sure you won't need this for university?" he'd asked me. "I don't see how Physics is going to help me study English, you foolish man of guidance!" I said, then laughed maniacally. Ok, I made that part up, but the point is I knew I wanted to study writing and that's exactly what I went on to do, graduating five years later from the University of Waterloo with an honors degree in Rhetoric and Professional Writing.
I have about fifteen or so ideas for novels floating around inside my head. The hardest thing to do over the years has been to focus on any given one for more than a month or two at a time. At one point, I was getting pretty far with this one story idea, but then the third person narrative started to feel all wrong. I realized I needed to rewrite it in first person, but it suddenly felt like such a pain and I couldn't bring myself to do it so I shelved that story, convinced I'd go back to it after a few weeks apart. What I didn't realize at the time was that it just wasn't that story's time yet. I had another story in me that needed to be told first.
A year later, the story that needed to be told still hadn't reared its head, but I was working on another story idea all together. This one was for a children's chapter book, a mystery about a kid detective (which I'm still excited about and still plan to write one day). Everything for that felt like it was coming together, but again, the excitement to pound it out just wasn't there.
Fast-forward to May 2008. Boyfriend and I are on vacation in Cuba and while floating around in the resort's pool, I'm struck by this idea that pierces my brain so sharply that I have to fling myself from the pool's warm embrace and feverishly search my bag for the notebook I take everywhere. I start writing, the words flowing from me as though they're being dictated from some part of my brain I didn't know was there. Those lines of dialogue were the beginning of what would turn out to be the first novel I ever passionately finished writing, TLNTHC (The Little Novel That Hopefully Can), which I'm going to call Lil Novey for short (actual title along with description surely to come in a future post when I feel more confident about putting it all out there...)
I think that's all for now because I really do need to go to bed, but stay tuned for TLNTHC part 2: Lil Novey's journey from Cuba to 102,000 words.