I don’t suffer daily now the way I did when I was in school. I’m not constantly bullied or having to deal with terrifying fear of people’s ridicule. I mostly get to do what I want to do. Work on the things I love. Stay away from painful experiences. Leaving school was a necessary shift in my life. I know that for certain now. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things I miss. Things I missed. They’d be over now, anyhow. High school is long gone. I’d be where I am now, regardless. But maybe not as far along. I guess it’s impossible to know that for certain, but I know myself pretty well. And I haven’t changed much.
Still, things have shifted in my life. (Just… very slowly.) I’ve been considering changes in my writing plans lately. I mentioned part of that here. I am getting closer and more open to the idea that Magic Inc. might be my first book. That story has actually been part of me the longest and the deepest. Maybe it makes sense. Maybe if I had known eleven years ago that I would be able to turn my secret fantasy world into a series then I wouldn’t have planned Dreaming in Shadow to be my first novel. But at that time, I was still in school, and the idea of sharing that world would have been terrifying. Sometimes, it still is.
But I love it. And I want to share it, even though it’s scary. Magic Inc. is wish fulfillment in a lot of ways. But it’s also the raw and real pain of a girl who often feels lost and alone. Who is bullied into feeling she can never be loved and accepted. And who, eventually, is shown that those fears were wrong. That she has a strength inside of her that makes her important in the world. That she belongs somewhere.
Dreaming in Shadow deals with a lot of those same things. But it was never as personal of a story for me. Oh, I always loved it. Depended on it. Poured my heart into it. Feared its end would break me. By no means do I feel like it is less important for me to put out there. It’s all just a matter of when.
But that’s not the only thing I’ve been thinking about. The past year and nine months, I’ve been working mostly on second drafts. I’ve been typing and revising Magic Inc., Dreaming in Shadow, and even some of Spun of Silver. And I’ve gotten so used to typing. I’ve started to (mostly) make notes in more organized Word files instead of scribbled in notebooks on my desk. And when I’ve occasionally gone back to writing by hand with The Town of Raindrops or Miss Masquerade it all feels so awkward. I used to love writing first drafts in notebooks. But it just doesn’t feel right anymore.
So, what do I do? The idea of writing out Magic Inc. Book Two and any future stories by hand makes me want to cringe. And I’ll be able to edit things more easily and quickly in Word. But I’m scared it won’t be the same. That I need that extra step to properly flesh things out. It worked so well for so long. But if I cling to something that isn’t working anymore, it might suck out the joy of writing new stories. I already feel honestly exhausted thinking about things continuing the way they have been.
I talked to Jill about it. I’d been meaning to for a while, and I finally mentioned it last time. What we both thought was to test it. Raindrops is only a few chapters in. If I start revising what I have now, then pick up the new stuff where I left off, I should be able to see if typing new stuff really works for me. So, that’s my plan for now. I’m still scared. Shifts, even good ones, can feel terrifying. But sometimes, you hold onto things that no longer work for too long, and when you finally let them go, you wonder why you waited. I feel like this might be one of those times. But I guess all we can do is wait and see.