Friday, January 17, 2014

The Journey of "My Heart is Yours"

I think that I've talked about my current project, My Heart is Yours, before on this blog, but I don't think that I've ever told you much about it. There is a bit of a story behind the story. (There always is). I'm close to starting work on my third, and possibly final, draft of this story. Today, I will tell you how this story came to be, how long it's taken me to get this far, how much I've actually spent collectively working on this story, etc. In short, the story behind the story.

I started this story when I was 15, in 10th grade. The initial idea was to have it be a short story. It stemmed from a dream that I had, actually. I dreamt that I was in a family with three brothers where the parents had passed away. I woke up, sometime throughout the day remembered the dream and decided to write a story about it.  I added a prologue that added another twist to this story. I began writing and the story took on a life of it's own. It could not be called a short story anymore; I knew that it was going to grow into something larger than that. New characters and new plot elements were emerging. I knew that this was going to be more than a short story; I resolved myself to it. 

Throughout high school I worked on this intermittently. By my freshman year of college I was working on chapter 9 and wrote up to about chapter 16 or so during that year. During my sophomore year I wrote chapters 17 through 20. I put it aside after that and didn't pick it up again until January 2013. I had recently gotten home after a particularly bad hospital stay in December of 2012.  Even though I was positively exhausted, I found that I was hardly able to sleep at all. I kept my laptop at the foot of my bed. I really didn't have to worry about kicking it off of the bed because I still couldn't quite move by myself. My mom had to help me walk around, even in the house. So I would often find myself up at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning and not able to sleep. I would take out my laptop and write. Which was also particularly difficult because this hospital stay had also left me with a lazy eye; so I was seeing double. And I hadn't yet gotten the prisms on my glasses that would allow me to see one image when I had them on. Still, I wrote. One of my New Year's Goals for 2013 was to finish the first draft of My Heart is Yours and I did so before the end of January. 

Then came doing the first round of edits. I was still in college; my last full semester of my senior year. As you can imagine, the editing was intermittent. I didn't finish my first round of edits until October 10, 2013. I know this because I have an entry in my journal about it. Now, I had decided that for my first round of edits I would print out my whole manuscript and make notes on it. Therefore, after finishing the editing I had to type in the edits. I don't remember why I didn't start this in October, but I didn't. Or in the beginning of November, for that matter. Anyway, I didn't. And at the end of November into the beginning of December my boyfriend (now my fiance) was coming to visit. I didn't want to be doing work while he was here because we don't see each other in person too often. On December 7th I made a schedule for getting my edits typed in. I stuck to it and even did more than I had scheduled on some days. My goal was to get it out to beta readers by December 31st. I finished and got the manuscript out to them by Christmas Eve! (I would say that collectively, it has probably taken me about a year to get to this point). I have since received one of my beta's notes (which weren't terrifying! Phew!) and I am going to receive the other's notes very soon. After that, I'm going to work on the third draft. Hopefully, this will also be the last draft. I'm also going to be working on my query letter and when everything is ready I am going to query agents and/or publishers. I haven't decided quite how long I'm going to give myself, but if after a certain amount of time I don't get any offers I am going to self publish this. I need to get Sam and Jason's story out to the world! (Protagonists in my story). 

If you read this all, thank you, I'm impressed. And also grateful that you're interested. This story means a lot to me and I am going to share it with the world one day. Hopefully, one day not too far from now! :) 

<3 Amanda Leigh

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