The 3 stages that lead me to write Kingdom of Measure

After receiving many questions about how I came up with the story for Kingdom of Measure I decided to write this post. My journey began two years ago when I initially got the idea for the story. Many things have changed along the way and as a result, the story has grown into something much bigger than I could have ever imagined. I have now created a world that has its own kingdoms, food, animals, economy, magical system and much more…

I feel like the best way to truly explain how Kingdom of Measure came to be is by breaking it down into stages. During the development of this story there have been many stages but there are three that stand out the most.

Stage 1: THE DAY I READ A REVIEW OR RATHER A BLURB…

I have a friend that has a book review blog. Since I am signed up to her blog I receive email notifications every time that she posts a new review. Let’s go back to Wednesday 17th June 2015 (yes, I know the exact date that I got the idea because I was so excited that I wrote it down! Lol). I received a notification for my friend’s blog and decided to go and read the review that she had posted. I read the title of the book and the blurb but never got to the actual review! Let me explain why…

The book was about a young woman who fell in love with a guy and then discovered that he was part of a motorcycle club. By that time she was thrown into his world so deeply that she had no way of getting out and, of course, she was too in love with him to even want to.

Now, the reason that I never got to read the actual review was because the blurb alone created an idea inside of me that I couldn’t ignore. I sat back after reading the blurb and asked myself a simple question, ‘what would happen if you got involved with a guy, fell in love, and then found out that he was a prince from a secret magical kingdom?’

From that point the questions kept going. Who lives in this world? How do you get to it? What is he? Why was he in our world in the first place? My mind was on a constant go. I bought so many notebooks that I lost count and I filled them with ideas about this magical world, the systems, the economy, everything…I just couldn’t stop. I hadn’t written a fantasy novel or series before, but I knew very early on that I didn’t want to write about a species that already existed. I love stories about vampires, fairies, angels, werewolves, trolls etc…but I wanted to create something new, something that had never been done before. So I set out to figure out who my people were or rather what they were.

And in that single moment of reading a blurb the origins of my story was born. But this, of course, is only a small part of how Kingdom of Measure truly came to be, so let me take you to stage 2…

Stage 2: SHARING MY IDEA…

After days of being lost in my own mind, writing down notes and scribbling on scrap pieces of paper I decided that it was finally time to share my story with someone else. So, I turned to those closest to me, my family. Now, I often hear people say that it is not a good idea to ask family and friends for advice with things like this as they can be too nice and not want to tell you the truth, because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. Well, my family is not like that. They are brutally honest in the best kind of way. So, I knew that presenting my idea before them was putting me at risk of being told that my story was awful. Part of me was scared but the other part felt like I had something special, and I needed to know if anyone else agreed with me.

I finally got the courage to tell each of them my idea (my mom, dad, brother & sister) and to my complete surprise they thought that it was absolutely fantastic. They believed that I had the beginnings of something great (I could have cried, honestly). It felt so good to know that they actually believed in something that I was now deeply in love with and passionate about.

But, of course, nothing is perfect and they all had feedback on things that didn’t work. I encouraged them to ask me questions about my world (especially my brother and sister since as teenagers they were both my target audience). They did and because of it my story gained even more depth, because they asked questions about things that I hadn’t thought of like ‘do they bury their dead?’, ‘what is their medical system like, if they have one?’, ‘what kind of jobs will they have?’ The questions were never ending and it was exactly what I needed.

But of all of my family members it was my brother (he was 14 at the time) that proved to be most valuable during this part of the process. He is an avid reader who loves fantasy novels (the Percy Jackson series is his favourite) so he was the best person to tell me what people would expect from my book. And not only that, but my brother has a knack for asking the questions that nobody else asks! So, he forced me to think about my world on a level that I never even realised that I needed to! He asked many questions but there was one simple question that he asked that changed my entire story.

He said, ‘I know that they are an entirely new species and that is cool, but how were they created? Where are they from?’

That one simple question changed EVERYTHING because I hadn’t thought about that. In my mind, they were a new species and just as you don’t have to explain where vampires come from why did I need to explain where they came from. But my brother pointed out that that’s the exact reason that I have to explain, because they are a new species and nobody knows them. So people will need some history in order to believe in the reality of this new species existing. I told him that I would get back to him, and I went away and started to think about where these characters came from and before I knew it I had it all figured out. I decided to use two existing species – that are well known to people –  in a unique way in order to produce my species and make their powers, abilities and even physical looks believable. Once I did this, not only did it give me an answer to my brother’s question but it gave my story a rich and realistic history that affected everything after that.

This was one of the most pivotal moments in the development of my book. I often look back at this stage in awe because such a simple thing helped to change everything, and I couldn’t have gotten to this stage any other way.

Stage 3: GETTING WRITER’S BLOCK…

Believe it or not the next stage is a direct result of me getting writer’s block and being unable to continue with the story.

There came a time where I knew my world so well that I could tell anybody’s story within it and whilst this may sound great it was actually a huge burden. This is because I had so many stories in my mind that I couldn’t decide whose story to tell. Every time that I thought I had it all sorted I would find a better story or another way to tell it. Eventually, this became so frustrating that I just stopped writing.

At this stage I had changed the elements of the story so many times that I lost count, my main character had been switched several times, then once I settled on my original main character as the protagonist again I changed her name, and it was just non-stop changing. I wrote over 40,000 words that just didn’t feel right. I started to feel like I had lost the enjoyment for the story because I knew too much about it. I felt frustrated because I never seemed to be satisfied with the story that I was telling and it just became disheartening. My mind froze and so did the story. I lost the passion to write because the words were just gone.

After weeks of trying to ignore my story’s existence I realised that my mind was still thinking about it. I couldn’t stop trying to fix the story’s issues in my mind and there was a small part of me that just couldn’t let go of the story or at least the world that had been created. A small voice kept telling me that I couldn’t give up on it and that there was something special about it. I knew that I had to keep going, but part of me just didn’t want to. I was tired. I was fed up. So I made a decision: I would start working on a completely different project to give myself a true break from my story. I began working on a dystopian novel about a girl called Sage who lived in a place where citizens were put into different rankings. At last my mind was distracted because I had something new to think about. I started to plot and plan the world and the excitement was so refreshing.

A short while after I started planning the new story I met up with an author friend of mine, (who is now my critique partner) and we sat down over cake and hot chocolate and discussed the problems we were both having at the time. She listened to me and gave me feedback and I listened to her and did the same. By the end of the meeting she had reminded me that there was something great about my original story and that it was ok to have a break until I could start working on it again. She encouraged me to continue working on the other story to allow myself some breathing space and reminded me that it was perfectly normal to do so. I felt so much better and less like a quitter. So, I continued working on my dystopian novel and it was truly freeing. It gave me the space that I needed and sparked a passion back inside of me that had become numb. But then something else went wrong…I got stuck on that story too!!! I remember just thinking ‘how can this be happening?’, ‘what on earth is wrong with me?’ At this point I just felt like curling up into a ball and crying. My novel wasn’t working, my escape novel wasn’t working, and I felt like a failure. Internally I was stressed out and part of me just felt guilty that I wasn’t succeeding at writing anything (I think as writers we all carry that guilt at some point). So I just stopped. I decided that I couldn’t face either project and that I needed to just take some time out. I found myself praying to God for answers, wondering what I had done wrong. I turned to family members and offloaded but nothing seemed to change. Then one night something pretty amazing happened. I had just finished praying and went to turn off my lamp when I had an overwhelming feeling come over me. It was like a voice was speaking directly to me and the words were very clear.

Put the two stories together.

I found myself staring at the ceiling in complete confusion. How could that possibly make sense? A fantasy novel and a dystopian novel put together? Two completely different stories? What? Yes the voice in my head confirmed. So I stopped for a minute and really thought about it. Put the two stories together…And in that moment it was like everything suddenly made sense. I realised that the two stories were each others’ missing components. I lay awake in bed and imagined the world so clearly. Everything that I had been stuck on slowly began to untangle. Sage was the perfect character, the world I had created for my original fantasy novel was the perfect setting, and the concept for my dystopian novel made the perfect story. It was like a gift from God himself. It was a gift. A once in a life time kind of gift and so I took it! So the next day I got to work. I started to write down notes about this new world. I didn’t go into too much detail because I didn’t want to take away the fun of discovery, but I knew enough to start writing and when I did that’s when the magic happened.

The moment that I started writing it all became clear and for every bit that I wrote the next bit would come pouring out of me. It flowed so easily and so naturally that I just knew that this was it. This was the story I was meant to tell.

And so that is the story of how Kingdom of Measure was born. It was a long journey that took over two years and has not yet finished as I am still working on it (and enjoying it!) but what I discovered was something beautiful. The journey didn’t go as I thought it would, neither did it run smoothly but it was the right journey for this book. Everything I went through led me to this point now. That’s why I wake up every morning with an excitement because I want to know where Sage’s journey will lead her to next. She’s no longer just an idea but she’s become real and every day I get to know her and her world a little bit more and that is an amazing feeling. I guess what I’m really trying to say is that this isn’t just my story but it’s my way of saying that even when the going gets tough hang on because when you finally make it everything will suddenly make sense. Everything will be worth the struggle and the fight that it took to get there.

Keep fighting, keep writing xxx

If you are interested in how Kingdom of Measure turned out and how well the two worlds merged together then don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads shelf, by clicking on the button below, so you can get notified when it has been published. Thanks for dropping by and have a great day 🙂

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