Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Manuscript of Firsts

There's something I tend to do with almost any writing project I've ever embarked upon and that is to try something new. It can be something as all-encompassing as a new genre or medium, or something as small as a different POV or tense.

Part of the reason is a purposeful focus on craft. Trying out new things and seeing what works (and what doesn't) is, I think, the only way to continuously grow and get better. Part of the reason is that different stories just call for different things. And another part of the reason is that it's just plain fun to try something I've never done before.

Not surprisingly, then, Three Day Summer is a manuscript of firsts for me. It is:

- my first completed YA manuscript. I loved focusing on teenaged characters and all of the inherent conflicts that they would have. Coming-of-age stories have been one my very favorite genres since I can remember, and to dive into writing one was extraordinarily fun.

- my first historical novel. Not only that, but it took place in an era that I have long had a huge affinity for (I'm talking about since I was 8-years-old). So researching it was a total blast. And, I'm going to be honest, was my primary reason for starting to write the book.

- my first book told from dual first-person POVs. It was challenging and fun to get into the different characters' heads, move the story along, and make sure they each had their own distinctive voices.

- actually my first book written in first-person at all.

- my first book written in present tense. Which it wasn't initially, until I was about 150 pages into the first draft and realized that it needed to be. Changing tenses in the middle of a draft? That was definitely a first, too (and though I was annoyed at the discovery at the time, I really think present tense ties into the themes of the book so much better).

- my first time writing from the first-person POV of a boy. I have long suspected that being a boy would be sooooo much more fun. I can definitely confirm that writing from the perspective of one was.

I have to say that I'm pretty proud and happy with all I've learned from all these firsts...and I hope that they ultimately make for an enjoyable read!