When I started writing, I didn’t know I was going to write a book. I just had a scene in mind and a handful of other vague ideas. It was a dumb story that I never dreamed would evolve into a book, let alone a trilogy.
Why am I telling you this? Because if I could do it, you can too. And because I need you to understand that despite the fact I knew nothing about creative writing when I started, the book wasn’t a complete failure. Yet, because I learned the craft as I went, the first book took me about six years (on and off) to write. So, the start was rough, but that’s not important for this story. I only brought it up to set the stage for the second book of the trilogy (Blue Shadow Prophecy). I learned fast that I sucked as a pantser. Some writers have a natural talent to write by the seat of their pants. I don’t. What I need to craft a good story is structure.
After I published my debut, Forget me Not, I realized I needed an outline for the second part of the trilogy. But, like I said, I learn as I go. My initial outline wasn’t good enough, or so I thought, and I improvised until I got stuck. Writer’s block hit me and my mind went blank.
I was so frustrated, so I vented on Twitter. Unexpectedly, Michael, who loved my first book, offered a playful solution: “Name a character after me and kill him.” Now, you need to know that Michael was a funny guy who read a lot, mostly fantasy and horror. We’d banter back and forth every week. I know he said it as a joke, but I took it as a writing prompt. Instead killing him, I wrote Michael into the story. Joking aside, once I created his character I figure out how to fix some plot holes and that got my creative juices flowing. He became a pivotal supporting character, complete with an inner struggle, aspirations, and a vampire identity adorned with a Guns N’ Roses tattoo (molded after the real Michael).
Out of all my books, that one was the most fun to write. Michael and I chatted often, because I wanted to craft the character as closely as I could, down to personal grooming habits and mannerisms…