For my independent research project, I chose to work on finishing a book I’ve been writing for the past few years. Before I talk about the progress I’ve made this summer, however, I’d like to give a small summary on how my writing has gotten to where it now stands today. Currently titled Soul Twins, I started creating my fantasy novel during the summer after seventh grade. The only other experience I had with writing at the time was a couple of short stories and plays I had written for my enjoyment as a child. But as I grew more interested in the fantasy books I read, I developed an interest in using my own imagination to create not just a short story like I had done in previous years, but a novel with a plot line that would eventually expand into a series of books.
After writing an outline that numbered each event of the book in detail, I finished writing my 500 page novel during the summer after my freshman year. I had the story copyrighted and started looking for a possible mentor who could help me begin the publishing process. I talked to my English teacher, T. Ellen Abbott, author of Watersmeet, about advice on how to find a publisher and received her feedback on my book’s synopsis. I also ended up talking to a screen writer who had experience with a script of his being published for a movie. Talking about my book and the possibility of getting it published with people other than my family made me realize how incomplete my work actually was and how much room it had to improve.
That’s when I decided to rewrite, for the most part, the entire book. The characters would be the same, but a few would be added, and more background about them would be given to the readers. As for the story line, I decided to make some changes to that as well in order to better flesh out the plot and to make sure the events that happened in the story made more sense. All of these changes meant that I had to take time to look more closely at the fantasy world I was creating, how my characters fit into the world, how the world affected them, and how both the characters and the world related to the plot.
I had to spend even more time on the plot because I envisioned a story that would extend over at least two books. To better organize my thoughts, I looked at where I was starting with my current book and where I eventually saw my entire story coming to an end. After some time, I was able to create another, but more general outline that shows the over-all-picture of my story. Although the general outline still needs more work, it shows my overall plan to eventually write a series that is between four to eight books in length. Once I established what the end of my series would be, I was able to determine the point at which the first book would be able to end. I then fixed my original outline and have been rewriting my first book ever since.
My novel focuses on Angelina, an orphaned girl who was adopted and raised by the government. Trained as a secret agent for most of her life, Angelina is now ready to accept an assignment like no other. In a world half composed of humans and of people with special abilities who possess one type of power, Angelina is sent after a criminal who has ravaged many cities and is rumored to have unusual, almost alien, abilities.
With the agency being her primary family, Angelina believes everything they tell her. But encountering this bandit has caused her to question not only her friends, but everything she knows. The bandit, who she soon discovers may actually be innocent, isn’t of the world she grew up in and Angelina is not the only one who has him on a hit list. Defying her orders, and following her instincts, Angelina starts a quest for the truth behind her target.
This summer, I have finally finished rewriting the end of my book. As it stands now, the novel is approximately 700 pages and is more than ready to be thoroughly combed and edited. My writing has been a work in progress for almost five years and having read through some of the earlier drafts of my book, the signs of gradual improvement from the creative writing classes I’ve attended are displayed through the progression of the chapters. While I am excited to receive feedback from my mentor, Robert Whitehill, author of Deadrise, this is the first time I’m letting someone else read my work and it has taken some time for me to build the courage to do so. As every writer knows, when it’s time to put your creation in the hands of another, the moment can be a bit daunting. In the end, however, I believe taking on this project is a huge step up for me in my writing and I’m eager to see how this experience will change me as an author. I look forward to sharing what I learn with you all!