Travel back in time with me to July of 2018.
I had just finished up something I was working on (probably for the Kingdom of Fraun series) and needed something new to write. So, I sat down with my idea journal. My process, which I think I’ve explained before, basically involves perusing old ideas to see what strikes me. I try to write a scene with what I find and see what comes from it. Well on this particular day in July, I found a little character outline that I really enjoyed. I remembered that I liked the idea of this girl, but didn’t have a place for her in anything I was currently writing. Angela is a nice person to her core, usually pointing out the best in other people, but she’s in a competition people keep telling her she needs to win. She’s not sure she sees the point in it, and she’s not sure she’s truly the best person for it. I wrote a new scene with her. I still liked her.
The next day, I sat down with the idea journal again. I flipped through pages until I found a little scene I’d written. I read it over. I liked it. I wrote a second scene starring this character named Tanya. Tanya is strong-willed and convinced that she is right. She’s gifted in Magic and wants to be the absolute best. She comes across as a mean, cold-hearted. But I was intrigued by the idea that she may be something more.
Day three, still no new idea really speaking to me. I sit down with the journal again. This time, an idea hits me. What if the competition Angela needs to win is against Tanya? Since Tanya is gifted in Magic, maybe it’s a Magical competition?
The Academy was born.
I spent the month of August really working hard on the story I tentatively titled The Academy. In fact, on August 1st the girls took over my #characterstell Twitter game. I had a blast playing around with these characters and writing their story. But I was writing scenes out of order. I was all over the place. I wasn’t outlining. It was a hot mess.
On August 30th I finally was able to outline the full story. It forced me back to the drawing board. I wrangled old scenes into the right order. I wrote missing scenes. I added a side plot that gave the story life. I flushed out my antagonist. I answered big questions.
In March I was inspired to write a poem that Tanya would’ve written. I was finally connecting with these girls.
Why am I telling you this?
Because today, just around nine months after I decided these girls belonged in the same story, I finished the first draft.
It’s a really rough draft. It will need work. It will need editing. It will need betas. It’s a long journey. But the first draft is done and we’re one step closer to getting your their story.