Being near the end of a very long journey makes it damn near impossible to not take a look back at where you came from. When I first started writing my first published work, The Class back in 2007, I couldn’t possibly have foreseen the whirlwind of everything from amazing to terrifying that would come to pass. One thing I was made very aware of, right off the bat, was how cut throat everything in the creative industry would be. “You can’t put gay characters in comics,” I was told by a very good friend who was fully in support of me, even knowing that I was out of the closet. In fact, his best friend was gay. “Webcomics don’t make money,” I was told by someone else. “This will fail,” was another response. You become familiar with just how cut and dry things can be.
Obviously, I pushed past these things and The Class WAS published and had a large fan base. Now I find myself at a new milestone, with the completion of my first full novel. Standing here, I wanted to take a look back at the long journey that got me here and also to really appreciate where I’ve been and what is still ahead. While this will be a little different than my usual posts, I hope you still find it interesting and entertaining enough. After all, when completing a project of this size, I find myself filled with heavy emotions and the only real way to deal is to talk about it. Just in case, I’ve also included a picture of a bear so you don’t think I’ve gone soft.
Back in late 2012, I was walking my dog, who you know as Izzy. Actually, everyone knows her as that. Izzy is her name. Where was I? Right, walking Izzy, when I heard a song that gave me a distinct vision of a girl, whose name was Eva Grey. She was a witch who for some reason fought other witches and I knew then and there that she had a story to tell and that I would be the one to tell it. However, as many writers will tell you, just because you have a moment of divine inspiration, it doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is perfect from there on out in the creative process. The first time I put pen to paper in an attempt to write a script for what was then being called A Love Song for Eva Grey (It was originally conceived as a graphic novel) it was clear that this was not a project that would be easy. After trying several times to put a story worth telling together, I did what many people suggest against. I gave up.
I started work on Jazu the Wanderer with artist L.W. Marks. A year later, my life had fallen apart. I had gone through a pretty intense break up and for the first time in six years, I was living on my own, with little to no support system in my immediate area. It was about this time that I decided to once again return to Eva Grey and in November of 2013, I began writing a new script for her, this time changing the title to A Love Story for Witches. I’ve always believed that when it is the right time for a story to be written, it will just naturally work out. This is how the second version of this script went. From the first Issue of the comic to the final page of the fifth, the story seemed to explode out of me as if it felt it had waited long enough.
With a finished script in hand, I started sending it out to artists, who I’d hoped would take to the project, and editors, who I’d hoped would help me make it better. In February of this year, after courting several artists who would show interest and then disappear the second I asked for character sketches, I felt that maybe this story was not meant to be. About a week after preparing to give up on Eva Grey for good, I got a call from one of those editors who had passed the story along to a friend who just so happened to work for a book publisher. This publisher had shown strong interest in the story but was only interested in publishing it as a novel. I had never written a novel before. Sure, I’d tried several times. I’d signed up for Nanowrimo websites, but I’d never once finished one, let alone published any of them. It seemed impossible. In a world of cut throat publishers who were sent millions of books a day, I had somehow gained their interest and not even with a near finished version of what they were looking for.
With the good knowledge that I could not write a novel, I sat down to write a novel.
Once again, the story seemed to flow out of me and in a very short amount of time, I had the first five chapters ready to send in to the publisher, who picked up the book. I decided I wanted to use a part of the original script, involving a montage, in order to actually expand the story. Unfortunately, when I finally got to this part, it caused me a great amount of stress. In fact, my anxiety over writing these chapters made it so that I hit a spot of writer’s block and literally did not write a word of the book for nearly three months.
In an attempt to force myself to write by way of public pressure, I did the unthinkable. I started this very blog, with the knowledge that I would have to put up a chapter of the book every week along with force myself to write other articles in order to get out of my own head.
So here we are, and yes it worked, and yes I love writing this blog, and yes, the book is finished and yes, I can’t wait for you all to read it.
I often put down my work and what I have accomplished. I often make it seem as though my accomplishments are crap and not to be celebrated. I, however, recognize when I am wrong. To come this far has been a magnificent journey and I realize that in such a cut throat industry as creative writing, I have been truly blessed with great opportunities and there is surely more to come. If there is one thing I want you to get from this long winded post, it is that I could not have done it without you or this blog. The encouragement to write has meant the world to me and in the coming months, I hope to bring you more stories, more misbehaving Izzy, more penguins, more crying on the floor, more ridiculous ramblings and more disturbingly bad drawings. Thanks for reading, now let’s get to work!
This post comes out of a weekly writing prompt I do with Carl Li and others. See his work HERE.