Last night, I entrusted my soul with someone new.
So I met Jack in the fourth grade. We didn’t really start becoming friends until the sixth grade, and then, by seventh grade, we were thick as thieves. I started writing Harry Potter fanfiction in the sixth grade, and by seventh grade, we were both writing it and Good Charlotte fanfiction. Oh, I shudder just thinking of those days. We were always reading each other’s stories, though. We even co-wrote one for Good Charlotte.
At the end of eighth grade, I said to him that I wanted to write about dragons, and for the next 11 years, I did just that. I created five different versions of the same story, over and over again. He read and edited every single version. There were others–Patrick and Maggie read the first version, maybe the second. One of my creative writing teachers in high school read the first and told me I would one day change everything. I disagreed, and then I rewrote it four times. I’m so grateful to him for even looking at the horrible thing.
In college, my second roommate, Katie, also read a lot of my fanfiction, and one version of “the book”, as I always called it. One of my friends, Jen, from high school, whom I met in my sophomore year, also read one of the versions. Jack continued to read everything I wrote for Ronan. He stopped reading my fanfiction, but our interests were vastly different by then, and he’d left that world behind long ago. Then, I met Erin. In my junior year, we started bonding over music, superheroes, boys and their butts, and every forever-friendship thing that we could think of. She read almost every single fanfiction I churned out for Marvel (there’s one that both her and I cringe just at the thought of), as well as anything I wrote for Supernatural, and then laughed fondly at me when I kept writing Panic! at the Disco fanfiction. I’ll never stop, I can’t, it’s awful. She read one of the versions of Ronan, listened to me ramble on endlessly about him, and though it was a new person, Ronan was also transforming for the fourth time, and so I felt comfortable handing him out.
In 11 years, only two people have stuck through the mess. Jack was there at the beginning, and is still there now, and Erin has seen me through two different rewrites and helped me realize it was finally time to let him go.
So, I let Ronan go. This is all old news. I’ve written about this before. But it was crazy, stepping back from Ronan after 11 years and turning toward Mason, who I’d known for all of 8 months.
And then, last night, I sent a PDF version to Matt, and had another copy printed for Jenny. I’ve had this very small circle for my entire writing career–Jack and Erin. They’ve read my fanfiction, good and bad, they’ve read multiple versions of Ronan, and they’re both reading Mason. But now, for the first time, I’m handing it off to someone new. Someones new, really, because after Matt and Jenny are done, it goes to Kelly, Hannah, and Joyce. I’m freaking out a little bit. There are going to be brand new eyes peering into my soul and giving me feedback on it. (Thankfully, this blog is still private, and my five new people don’t have to go oh god I have to be nice just hearing all this.)
Deep breaths. It’s going to be okay. It’s scary as heck, but this is good. I have a very wide audience now, and this time, I’m going to do it right. I’m going to get it right. I’m not going to rewrite it five times and hate it every single time. In fact, I’m going to have edits finished by April, and I’m going to have an agent by September. I’m going to keep saying this until it happens.
Here we go.