Why I Decided to Write a Fiction Novel
I’m always one to delve myself deep into the very fibers of the crisp pages of books in a plethora of genres, for reading and writing books allow my authenticity to bloom, occupying my free, peaceful and me time. I’ve always had an unconditional love for books; the beauty of books is that when one chapter ends, another begins. As I read the final sentence in the last chapter, close the book, clasp it against my chest in a warm embrace, I take a deep breath and feel the words, stories, characters and lessons penetrate through my heart and course through my veins. However, one particular genre of books gives me something else — a bit more — that other genres cannot.
That genre is fiction (specifically young adult fiction and fantasy-like stories).
And that something is an escape, a reality check — renewed hope.
Growing up, my well-being and authenticity was cherished while casting spells with the Golden Trio, discovering a new world inside a wardrobe and walking alongside an unlike hero who carried the weight of the world in their pocket — these beloved series that have now become classics, had a profound, joyous and moving impact on generations. Having the innocent yet defiant ambition to one day write a book, I crafted early drafts of what would have been my intentions for a fiction novel — think the Marvel multiverse but combining Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings.
But, when my world turned on its head in the year 2012, all my writing became very reflective, essay-format and journals after journals full of my story navigating my father’s cancer diagnosis — a story that desperately needed to be told but unexpectedly result in growing up far too quickly, hitting the pause button on my wild imagination. Yet, when the air wasn’t as thin or when I felt like I could briefly be a kid again, I seemed to gravitate towards reading a chapter or two from my fictional works, granting me the opportunity to monumentally escape from the traumatic reality that I lived in.
Nine years later, following the successful publication of my debut novel and memoir, Beyond Life’s Moments, I knew there would be more stories in the future, more books I would write.
Did I ever think that I would have written and published my second novel eighteen months after my debut novel?
Did I ever imagine I was capable of writing a fiction novel?
Did I enjoy the writing process for my fiction novel?
Absolutely I did!
For almost a decade, little did I know that my mind and heart, building up and flooding the reservoir was my imagination, aching to create a story — from scratch. Starting the writing journey of my second novel, my heart was all in, knowing that I needed to exploit my creativity to new heights, while continually giving me something to do that fulfills my passion project. My mind, on the other hand, was spinning, constantly thinking.
If I thought writing about my life, exposing my most internal thoughts, emotions and most intimate stories for the first time was hard enough…. I learned rather quickly that writing fiction was a challenge — a feat like summiting Mt. Everest.
Since the early brainstorming stages, this second novel pushed me while beyond my comfortable zone. Throughout your academic career (predominantly through high school and all of college for most students), you are taught to always write in a structured formatted: introduction, body, and conclusion. Already, those rigid instructions and grading rubrics, let alone any instructions at all, limits creativity. Everything we’ve been graded on and written most of our lives is so methodical, formal and standardized.
Writing both of these books, but especially my second novel, had me tucking all that knowledge in a filing cabinet and locking the key. For this second novel, I extracted the brief, yet paramount lessons back in the day that taught us all the figurative language elements that can be found in all the classic works we’ve read: personification, situational irony, onomatopoeia, etc., while taking a few creative writing courses in my free time.
I had to relearn how to write — creativity and authenticity.
Yet, despite my love for writing and all my time spent in a classroom, there was a laundry list, a CVS receipt long-list, of additional elements that went into a fiction novel compared to a memoir that even my creative writing classes didn’t educate me on such as:
- Creating characters (including but limited to: their backstories, physical characteristics, personality, their relationships with other characters, their fate, etc.)
- World-building (while I didn’t create a new world, I had to make my setting come to life — breathe it new air, have it amplify various scenes or moments of paramount dialogue, extract unique aspects to create metaphors, themes, and ironic elements, etc. I created a little bit of symbolism in my debut novel, but this writing process allowed me to take a real-world place, as it is, and transform in a marvelous manner like seeing the galaxy far far away, Hogwarts or Pandora for the first time).
- Time & History (it’s the ultimate balance act to decide how much of your story will include a unique mixture of the past, present and future, especially without my book being a part of a series, for you want to leave enough details left unaddressed for ambiguity).
- Narrator/Perspective (deciding and keeping it a secret for a while who’s telling the story was a back-and-forth battle for me and difficult at first, because I’m so used to writing in the first-person.)
It took a few months, as I simultaneously crafted up chapter drafts, to receive proper praise from my editing team that I hit the marks of what was required to have an outstanding, stand-alone fiction novel. Almost every week on the feedback that I received, they always asked that I take my imagination one more notion up and each time I was afraid I had already drained all my creativity.
Yet it was always there; I didn’t have to dig very deep to find what I needed to give a plot point a bit more of a twist, make you sympathize even more with a character or make a comparison that would blow my readers’ mind into another dimension. For how ever many hours that I poured into this story, I hope my readers spend quadruple that on finding all the intricate details, symbols and ironies, the Easter eggs, and real-world references I weaved into this narrative.
I’ll admit that I was a bit sad, a few tears were shed, when I had to officially send my manuscript off to print after many months of revisions. Not because I wasn’t ready to or I thought it wasn’t good enough.
But because I loved writing this story. It was a beautiful experience. It granted me so much more than just simply being my passion project.
Rather than pouring my life story onto the page as I did in my first novel, I utilized my fiction writing to explore a new topic in unique circumstances, like a scientist testing their hypotheses on a variety of experiments they’re conducting. Writing fiction granted me an escape from my current life anytime of day, serving as a reality check and a form of self-care for myself.
It allowed me to get lost but know I’ll return safely right where I was seated, either reading or writing the story.
Most importantly, I wrote a story that I would want to read.
A story with characters I cheer on, want to be friends with and those that cause me pain points before their astonishing comebacks. A story with teaching moments that I need to adhere to — ones that I wish I knew when I was younger. A story that I could revisit and continually fall in love with. A story that can inspire generations — and start a conversation. A story that lives on.
Sometimes, the story that you need to read the most is your own. I’ve said that about my first novel, Beyond Life’s Moments, for it illustrates my transformation over a span of a decade learning how to view traumatic events in a more positive light. And the same goes for my fiction novel The Reason Why — writing about topics that I’m fascinated by yet is still perplexing to me in a setting that I created, characters that I brought to life and an idea that once was a spark but now brilliant light shining through life’s moments.
Stay tuned for more articles going in depth on The Reason Why which is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and where most books are sold in eBook format! Paperback is hitting the shelves on May 23rd. Check out it today and dive into your beyond!
Here is the link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09ZPWQFLX