In searching for an old drawing someone from my college days drew for me, I looked first in an old folder I’ve kept since my earliest days of writing. As you might guess, I started “In a Wolf’s Eyes” back then. I might’ve named this blog post “The Story That Wouldn’t Die”, since all through these years I kept the novel alive in my mind and in my heart. It wasn’t named “In a Wolf’s Eyes” then, of course, and it was written on notebook paper and in pencil. Pencil can be erased, you see.
Over the course of the years, I finished the book using a word processor (remember them?), then finally my first laptop computer. I’m now glad I never published my first attempt at writing. Seriously, it sucked rocks. As a writer, as a person, I needed time to develop my style, my voice and above all my maturity. Because I’m a sentimental sap, I kept my precious folder all these years, even if I never looked inside.
But that’s not all I want to say in this post. In going through this tattered and stained folder containing my first real writing, I came across the notes I made to myself. I even wrote an outline. I never do now – as I’m a renegade seat of the pants writer. It’s funny how I’d long forgotten how I made notes to myself – just as I do this day. ‘Change this name’, made notes about medieval clothing, or armor. Did you know the long steel protrusion from a warhorse’s head armor was called a “chanfron”? I did – then. I’d forgotten it until now. Yes, I still make notes on pieces of paper. Then I transfer to my computer and my notes program. Yet, that may change since I lost my laptop’s motherboard to its excessive party habits, and thus all my notes are on my old hard drive and inaccessible right now. Grrrr.
I felt truly stunned when I reread a list I never remember writing. I don’t remember why I wrote it, or what prompted writing it in the first place. I’d written five down, while I had a numeral six with nothing beside it, I’m guessing I never finished this list. I will copy it here verbatim:
If you picked up this book in the bookstore, would you buy it?
Can you see this book in a store?
Can you relate to the characters?
Do you laugh when it’s funny, feel sad at sad parts (does it invoke emotion in you)?
Do you see imagery in your mind’s eye?
I feel like the past me, like a spooky ghost, reached forward in time and planted this in my head while I wrote the current “In a Wolf’s Eyes”, and its subsequent sequels. That’s because the answer to every question is YES. Yes, I did all that. You folks reading this will, hopefully, pick up “In a Wolf’s Eyes” see for yourself how I created my own self-fulfilling prophecy. That it is indeed in bookstores (albeit online stores), I invoke the gamut of emotions in my readers, and see imagery in my mind’s eye? Yes, indeed. Every time I sit down to write, I visualize what’s happening and then write it. Weird, eh?
I might have to take a second look in that school-days folder with the picture of a winged unicorn on it. Some of those ideas from it are still valid, even from years past. I might even have a use for that bloody chanfron.