Creative writing has been a hobby for the past twelve years, but it has been on and off. Made to Be Broken is my first completed novel and I started it when I was in high school. Initially it was an alternate history that took place in Salem, Massachusetts and focused on a secret war between genies and witches. There was not a lot of time to focus on it while in school and when I did have a few hours free I didn’t have a clear story arc. For a while it felt like I was making progress. When I had an idea for a new scene I would usually be able to find time throughout the week to put it on paper, but that method was not getting me any closer to a finished product. After a year I barely had ten pages worth of material, and it wasn’t a story, just a series of unconnected paragraphs. I also changed things as I went, experimenting with the character names and dialogue, without taking the time to revise the earlier portions. After a year working on it all I had was pages of gibberish, so I quit for a while.
The story sat dormant in my mind until I completed my undergraduate degree. Even though nothing had been added to it for years, I still wanted to try again. Not wanting to dwell on my failed attempt, I discarded the old draft and started from scratch. I held on to some of my first ideas; I still used Genies and one of the characters starts as an ordinary person but acquires magical powers mid-way into the book. However, it became a contemporary piece instead of a period piece, the cult was replaced with a street gang, and I came up with a different system for how magic is used.
I realized that I am not a free-writer and if I was going to get this done I needed to approach it like a job. Scheduling was tricky because I was in graduate school at the time, but I was able to set aside several hours a week to work on it. Instead of writing scenes as they came to me I outlined the entire novel and wrote consecutively. In just two years I had a finished draft of the first novel that was approximately 300 pages long.
While I was proud of finishing the book, putting it all into a Word document was only the beginning. In all my time in school, I had never taken a creative writing class. It was no surprise when the first agents I submitted it to showed no interest. I look back on it and see how I have grown as a writer.
I was offered a job in in the southwest and was nervous about moving so far away, but it turned out to be a blessing. The first thing I did when I arrived was look for writing groups, and I found one called Cyberscribes. They met weekly and every member brought in a short piece to have critiqued by the others. The feedback was honest and helpful. The people there complimented things they liked, and were willing to be blunt when something was not working. I can’t compare a weekly meeting to a professional class, but I’m sure my writing has improved on account of the group. In fact, I’m not the only Cybrscribe who has been published. Be on the lookout for books by Bill De Leeuw, Sean P. Hall, and Marie Parks!
It’s been twelve years since I came up with the title Mystic Rampage, and six of them have been spent working diligently. I’m thankful for Terra Nova Books/Golden Word Books for publishing it. I’ve feel like I’ve come a long way from jotting down a paragraph or two in my free time. When I finished Made to Be Broken I felt like this project was really starting to go somewhere. When I saw a copy in a bookstore I got that feeling again. I’m excited to put the second through the publication process. Until then, I hope you enjoy the first installment.