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  • Writer's pictureR.F. Hurteau

How Did We Even Get Here?

If you write, you know there are a few basic kinds of writers. The kind who plot everything out, and the kind who fly by the seat of their pants. For the longest time, I was the latter.

Antiquity's Gate was born into the world and subsequently thrust into a whirlwind, convoluted adventure. So convoluted that I hesitated to share it with you at first. Would people find me "unprofessional" or doubt my skills as a writer if I showed them how often I stumbled along the way? Would they walk away without a second thought if it appeared that at some points during this process, I had no idea what I was doing?

Well, guess what? I'm beyond all that. I've reached a point where I feel comfortable sharing this so that maybe some other aspiring writer who stumbles upon my site might get a chuckle or a little encouragement out of the way my story began. Without further ado, I present to you…my method.

"You want to get your name out there," my husband advised. We had been discussing, after eight years of parenting consuming my every waking moment, carving out time each day for me to write. It's always been my passion, but kids have a way of making time disappear.

There's always something else that needs cleaning, another booboo that needs kissing, another snack that needs making. But Chris knew that sooner or later, the need to write would overtake me. We both committed to doing whatever it took to making it happen.

And so it began. I was supposed to write a short story. I'd had plenty of ideas kicking around in my head, but I knew just which one I wanted to write first. I went to the library, hunkered down in the big cushy chair by the window, and set to work.

It was so difficult squeezing that story into 20k words, the maximum allowed for the magazine I hoped to submit to. Realistically it was much too long for most submissions already, but it took everything I had in me to contain it.

Only, I couldn't. Not really. There was so much more, so many layers to explore. Every side character had their own story to tell, and I knew them all. How could I let this go?

Again—I couldn't. One chapter at a time, the story evolved. And as it did, so too did the ramifications. Suddenly this whole imaginary world existed in my mind, the fates of imaginary people predetermined and the consequences of each action cast in stark relief. It wasn't long before the short story became a novella, and the novella became two. Then a full length novel followed suit.

But when the novel was written, I realized how little of the world's potential I'd actually tapped. I went back and split up the first two, making each a book unto itself. And then I realized that I'd found the perfect point at which to insert a story that I hadn't thought I'd have the space to tell. That story became book three. The other novel became book four.

Then came book five. And now the final three, fully outlined, are only waiting their turn. The story is more than half told, and each time I sit down to write, I revel in the excitement of telling it.

I am so excited to share this world with all of you. It was a twisted, winding path I took to get here, but I'm here. I'm at a place where I can share this journey with confidence and say look, however you get there, just get there. Whether you can't write a single page until you've outlined every minute detail, or whether you can't see any further than the stair you're on, just keep going. You can make it.

We both can.

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