Have you ever had a goal you wanted to achieve, but lacked the effort to do anything about it? When I was about sixteen years old I bought my first novel. Sure, my parents had bought me books and I had read some from the library for book reports and things like that, but I actually spent money on a book. It was “The Incredible Hulk: What Savage Beast” by Peter David. I was a comic book nerd and hated reading, but I thought I would give this book a shot. I mean, the cover looked awesome and it was based on a comic book character. How could I go wrong?
That book changed my life. Now angels didn’t descend with trumpet blasts or anything like that, but a thought crept into my mind after I read the last page. “I kind of want to write a book!”
I continued with my high school education and began reading more books which I enjoyed like “Brave New World” among others that I can’t really remember, but I never started writing my own book. When I was seventeen I joined the navy and started reading books like it was going out of style while I was on deployment. I’ve read the entire “Vampire Chronicles” , “Left Behind”, “The Circle Series”, etc. after three combat deployments you’d think I would have taken a step towards my goal I established for myself when I was sixteen. I did take one step, actually. I wrote three paragraphs towards a book and realized very quickly it was hard work and I didn’t feel like doing it. I quit for a simple reason. I didn’t know how to set goals for myself and I didn’t have a story worth telling (in my opinion).
Fast forward to my thirtieth birthday and I began to contemplate all of the things I wanted to accomplish in my life and hadn’t. I wanted to be a professional musician. I’ve played on stage in front of a few thousand people on deployment and most people complimented my playing. I’m pretty good on guitar, but no record deal ever came my way. I wanted to be a pilot, but my eyesight wasn’t good so chunk that in the never going to happen bin. I wanted to be a comic book artist, but not drawing for several years made trying to relearn a pain so I quit. Then there was the write a book goal.
I started another book by writing it on paper and then copying the text onto my computer. My first draft had to be written twice and after several thousand words guess what happened? If you guess I quit, then you are a genius. But something happened this time around. I knew why I quit. The story wasn’t very fleshed out in my mind and it felt stupid the deeper I got into it. I needed a reason to continue and I quickly found one. It’s called National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The gist is you have to write 50,000 words in 30 days (Nov 1-30). If you do that then you win, but you get the added benefit of an award system. 2012 winners were able to have five paperbacks made of their book for free. Boom! There was the gold at the end of the rainbow for me. I would be able to hold my book in my hands!
When November 1st rolled around I typed out about 3,000 words all on my iPhone. In fact I wrote all 50,000ish words on my iPhone and emailed the files to myself. It wasn’t the most efficient way to write, but it worked for me. I was able to complete 50,000 words before Thanksgiving and I won my first time doing NaNoWriMo.
The story? The Dead Planet Series, Book 1: Exodus. Yeah, it’s kind of a mouthful, but I wanted to do a trilogy because of “The Hunger Games”. It made sense to me. During that time I was just discovering the TNT scifi show “Falling Skies” and envisioned the actor Drew Roy as the main character of my book, Serus Blackwell. I wrote the story to take place on Mars where an artificial atmosphere allows people to inhabit that planet. As the power grid is found to be failing the government entity known as The Syndicate prepare to leave everyone to die. It’s a classic dystopian story about a corrupt government who doesn’t care for its people. Lives are at stake and someone must rise to the occasion to do the right thing and save them.
I’ll openly admit that it might not be the most original plot in the world, but I think my interpretation of it is done pretty well. I was also able to put my struggle with faith into the overall theme of the series which had been very therapeutic for me. It’s not a preaching about God series, but the characters do struggle to come to terms with the possibility of God and having hope after everything they had been through. As it stands right now I have books 2 and 3 in work and plan to publish those early 2015. I love how this series is ending and I’m very happy with the fact I learned that I love to write. Thanks to that book I bought when I was sixteen and NaNoWriMo I have become a published author. I learned to not quit and I learned how to set goals and achieve them which has made me more confident in life. I hope you can find a little inspiration in my story and find your own story.
Thank you for reading The Story Behind The Story!
Click her to grab Exodus & Verity, the first two books in the series!