If you’ve read my post on the Creation of Immortality Awaits, you’ll know there’s a story behind how I found the quaint, beautiful, perfect, everybody-in-their-life-should-experience-it-at-least-once-in-their-life town of Lowell, Massachusetts. It’s kind of a random, fateful story of events, so I will delve further for those of you wondering — specifically those of you who reside in this fairy tale town.
When I started writing back in 2007, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I, of course, had always wanted to publish a book. As far back as I can remember, the only job I ever truly dreamed of being a part of was something that would let me write. It didn’t matter if it was music. It didn’t matter if it was movies. TV. Novels. News stories. Just give me that pen and paper and let me come up with something to put on a blank canvas.
With all of that in mind, I was very naive. I thought my writing, like most authors, was, for lack of a better term, the shit. Who could not love this? This was the best thing that could ever happen to the world! Where could I come up with this most amazing piece of literature?
Oh, God, every time I read something I did before I was 22 I feel like vomiting.
I knew nothing. About anything. As I said in the above mentioned post, I always had a fondness for fan fiction for purposes of novice writers understanding the purposes of plot. Well, once I had the plot for Immortality Awaits written, and I had decided to make it all my own, I had to start doing just that. Making it my own. I wasn’t using someone else’s setting now. I wasn’t using someone else’s characters. I wasn’t using anything of anyone else’s. (Which, I do understand is a major “issue” seen behind fan fiction, but I believe also in the purpose of “disclaimers.”) Then I had to start making all of the tough decisions.
Where was I going to put this story? Who was I going to choose to lead it? How, now, can I find a way to mix inspiration from other works with my own voice and avoid plagiarism along the way?
Looking at those questions now, I can talk for hours and hours and hours about each answer. When I was 18, though, I gave simple answers.
Somewhere near Salem, Massachusetts. This guy Donovan, this chick he’s with Kaylee, his best friend Logan, and then his girlfriend Gabrielle. The inspiration will be easy and come along the way.
If you’d have asked me, then, why I picked Lowell as my location, I would have said, “Because I just Googled, ‘Places near Salem, Massachusetts, and it was just the first one I clicked on, honestly. It looked like it would work, and I figured I could just write around it until I have a chance to check it out.'”
A lot of people think I was crazy for taking this approach. How could I write a book in a place I’d never been? Well, honestly, it actually helped me build my own world. I researched Lowell after I picked it, of course. I Google Earthed it. Looked at pictures, read the history, familiarized myself with their lifestyle as best I could before I could see it all for myself. I built my “real” world inside of my fictional world around an outsider’s perspective of the real location. Yes, you may have to read that a few times, and it was not an easy thing to do. But, it helped me expand my imagination and fantasize my actual fantasy world. Because that world is allowed to be fabricated. That is, after all, mine. Perhaps it was a bold exercise, but I do believe it paid off.
Now, in 2014, if you ask me why I picked Lowell as my location, the answer is, “Because I couldn’t have ever dreamed of a more perfect location, and I couldn’t be more thankful I just randomly picked it.”
Seriously, I was walking on a cloud the entire time. I’ve obviously included various pictures of the town within this post, but I will be delving further into my time in Lowell in different posts, because I have a tendency of getting excited and never shutting up. It’s the writer in me.
Anyway, seeing the town in real life made me fully realize my own dreams. I was terrified before that trip. I kept journal entries that had frequent blurred words from the sweat pouring out of my body as nerves controlled me. What if it blew up in my face? Where would I put this story if the place didn’t work out? Oh, man, every terrible “what if” question fueled every thought and action for the last two weeks before the trip actually happened.
But then being there, seeing my fantasy, my dream, put in real life, and enjoying every second of it, made me finally feel confidence. The beginning of my story is most certainly better, a complete and total 180 from the utter malarky it was before, and it even inspired me to change various parts in the rest of my novel. All of a sudden, all of the questions I had were answered. Don’t ask me how. It just all — clicked. It was literally a “snap” sound in my brain and I just — understood everything. The 18-year-old amateur just…died. It was the most beautiful, fulfilling experience of my life, and I have never taken myself, nor my work, as seriously as I do now. My next dream in Lowell is getting a copy of my book inside of the Pollard Memorial Library, which everyone should Google right now, as it is the single most beautiful library I have ever seen in my life. And I’ve been to Europe. 🙂
Also — Happy Anniversary to my wonderful parents, who allowed this trip to happen by sending myself and my best friend for Christmas. I love you two very much, and I’m eternally grateful for what you have done for me.
Don’t have your copy of Immortality Awaits yet? Get it here!