Truman Capote once said, “Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it.” I think he was right in that assessment. I recently finished the third and final book of a story I started almost 14 years ago. It’s possible it may have been even longer than that. The story was a special one to me because it was also the start of my writing habit.
I started playing an online game of sorts in the old Yahoo chat rooms. It was more a social site than a game site but there were certain rules to follow. I would write these little scenarios for what was going on in the game. First one, then another and then more of the people started telling me to write the whole story. So I did.
From a writer’s standpoint, it was horrible. No, that is too good a word…atrocious is better. But, it was a start, and to me it was a masterpiece. I was certain it would be in the top 5 of the NY Times best seller list within a month of publication. I dutifully sent copies out to publishers and sat back, waiting for the offers to roll in. I waited days. I waited weeks. I waited months. I’m still waiting for some of them.
I did get one reply. I had submitted it to a popular RPG Game company that I will not name and bless their souls, they replied. It seems, they did want my book. Not for the story mind you, they were going to trash that completely. They wanted the characters I created. Artistic integrity whispered for me to refuse the offer and so the book sat quietly for a few years. Then, just like the One Ring, it found me again. This time, I was ready.
I had done a lot of writing since I sat it down, including a massive fan-fiction work that was getting great reviews from the gamers that were reading it. So, Fire At Dawn was pulled out and rewritten. She was dusted off and spun until she sounded better. Then, unable to publish the fan-fiction work, I rewrote that and published it. Doing that book helped me see writing a lot differently as I had lots of critiques about what was missing and what could have been done better. So, that was taken out of publication and fixed before going back out.
I took another look at Fire At Dawn (FAD) and saw everything that needed to be polished and yet another rewrite happened. This time I bit the bullet and sent it to publication. It got good reviews. Not OMG, I have the new #1 title, but people liked it. I started immediately on a sequel to it called The Stormrider. I was more confidant as I wrote this one and a bit more skilled at writing. A keen observation showed me a missed opportunity in FAD, but there was no way I could capitalize on it in this book. That was when I realized that both books were just parts of a huge story.
That story found its ending in the third and final book, A New Dawning. So 14+ years later, the child I had brought into the world was complete. Then I took it out into the yard and shot it. As I knew I would, I stood over the bloody body and thought of how to resurrect it. I had already made provisions for that even before I knew I was doing it. There was a good amount of story just hinted at in the first book, that would form a prequel of sorts.
Then, I allowed a twenty year span between the ending of the 2nd book and the start of the 3rd. This, was genious on my part. I could bring that beautiful child I had just shot back to life. 20 years is a long time and I’m quite sure that someone was writing down all the little adventures that happened. In fact, I’m almost posative there is a Lost Tales series of adventures out there somewhere.
So rise little dead child, your creator has returned life to you. This is the power we all have. None of the children we take into the yard need to stay dead. There are always ways of breathing life into them again.