I don't remember most of these doors (although the idea that MegaGiant, the largest giraffe in my collection, might come to life and carry me away to another world does stick out in my mind), but one of the stories I invented stuck with me and developed a life of its own.
It is an established fact that the best ideas come in the shower, and the same is true for this one. I was in the shower, and I had a random thought of, "Hey, what if I were I were to close my eyes and when I open them, I would be under a waterfall and I'd be a Waterfall Princess!"
I revisited this idea every time I took a shower, and eventually, I decided that it'd be a good idea for another play. Only ... not in a shower. I moved the Waterfall Princess's entrance point to a swimming pool, and I liked it a lot better ... except that she needed a love interested. A ... Fire Prince! Who could have fallen into a campfire!
I really liked this idea, despite the fact that neither of the main characters had anything resembling a name. That wasn't an issue, however, as I could call them by their titles and say that they had forgotten their real names. Of course, I needed a reason for them to be called to this other world - a plot, if you will - so I decided to put it into Rizkaland as a prequel to Petra's story. As a villain, well, I could just recycle the villain, Amber. She's over five thousand years old, so she was undoubtedly still around a thousand years before, and she was surely doing more than just biding her time on Amber Island.
With all that decided, it was time to tell my mother about Waterfall Princess, as I was calling the story. She ... decided that we needed to make a few changes. Including the princess's title. I should shorten it to simply the Water Princess. Also I really ought to give names to the pair. And have them remember them! I chose Clara for her, because of the Nutcracker, and I decided to name him Andrew after my dad. (It's my dad's middle name.)
Armed with this brilliant new plotline, I pulled out the shiny blue notebook that I had picked up at the AWANA store and started writing.
Of course, even with a brilliant plot, I kept writing myself into corners, so I'd set it to the side and work on book 2 instead. Eventually, I finished with book 2, and I got distracted by a whole slew of shiny new ideas. When I got my first laptop (a super old thing that couldn't handle internet and I had to share with my sister), I decided to start over with the story in a word document ... but then I got frustrated and deleted the whole thing only to put Cayra in it's place. (We won't discus the fact that it was the third story to live in that document, and that the second of them had reached over 10,000 words before I deleted it). The notebook version ... got buried in a drawer.
When I got my own laptop, I started a new document for the story ... and again wrote myself into a hole. At some point, when rearranging my room (something my mom does frequently for fun) I ran across the notebook. And I realized that if I just went ahead and had the two meet (which was a scene I had been really looking forward to), it'd flow out beautifully.
So I pulled some strings, and got the story going again. I had hoped that it would limit itself to one notebook as its sequel had ... but I soon ran out of pages and had to commandeer the notebook I had planned to write book four in. A pretty red one.
And the story continued to flow. I think I blew through that notebook in two months ... and I found a nice purple one that I only had to tear a few pages of Faerie Realm related notes out of. And ... I again wrote myself into a wall.
So I decided to finally bring the villain physically on scene. And it was epic. And then I got to the battle ...
And I remembered how much I hate battle scenes.
But about halfway through last month, I decided that, since I didn't have much left of the story, I needed to buckle down and write it. So I challenged myself to finish it by the end of the month. And truth be known, while I did start focusing on it rather than Kingdom or Unforgiven as I have been writing when I've had my notebooks on hand, I didn't actually buckle down and start writing hard until Saturday knight.
And I finished it at at 10:35 yesterday morning while on break. Yes, all of my coworkers heard about it. Most of them were quite impressed and wanted to know when I'll get it published. (Almost all of my coworkers know that I have four books published. I'm always writing on my breaks).
And I'm sure all of you are wondering the exact same thing. Unfortunately, my answer is "It'll be a while."
You see, since it's taken me five years to write this story, it has unavoidably gone through a few changes. Clara has a few changes to her appearance and personality (she's not Classic obsessed as the official version of her will be). Andrew has received some changes to his backstory (the smallest not being the fact that he's now the oldest among his brothers rather than the youngest). I plan to change the starting location from Hawaii to Yosemite. I need to plot Laura back into the story. I had had plans for her back when she was Sandra, but then I took her out, and by the time I decided to include her again, I was too close to finished for her appearance to be anything by tacky.
I even changed the prophecy! The original was an eight-line thing that didn't rhyme. Now I have a short, sweet thing that I think will go on the back of the book when I finally do get to that point.
When the Lady Dragon does come,
Hold fast, do not fear, do not run.
The Water Princess will fight,
Fire Prince will set all to right.
Each shall come from a fall.
Their union will save you all.
I'm pretty proud of that little thing, poetry not being my strength. (Though I wouldn't call it my weakness, either.)
Oh, and and I intend to take out a really weird doll that I gave Clara. My writing motto is, "If you think an idea is too weird, write it anyway. It may work, and if it doesn't, you can just edit it out later." Well, this is one of those times where I need to take it out.
But I'm quite proud of the fact that I have persevered to the end, and while I'm not yet ready to begin the rewrite, I think I'm going to type it up so I can evaluate it in something other than my own handwriting and find out exactly how long it is. My estimate is around 80,000 words. Which is longer than any other project I've ever finished. The Ankulen was only around 70,000. And since the first part of the story is pretty thin, and I do intend to expand upon it while typing it up, it may be longer by the time I finish. At thirty-four (or was that thirty five?) chapters, it definitely takes the record there. Sew only has twenty-seven chapters. When I get it typed up, I may ask a few people to read it over for me (to help identify what needs to stay and what has to go), and so start volunteering now!
I love the ending, by the way. I had an unexpected allusion to The Magician's Nephew that is all sorts of awesome.
So, anyways, in honor of this momentous occasion, I'd like you guys to ask me any question you'd like about the book, its characters, the world of Rizkaland, even the sequels if you'd like! Have fun. I hope to be back with a "best of" snippets post, and the CE this month will allude to the book. If you want to read what I have written about Rizkaland, Click here to read every post I've ever written about it.
And now, as they say in Rizkan, Twa!
(Oh, and if any of you want to give your congratulations, the Rizkan word is Nicargi. Just thought I'd point that out.)