At one point in every writer’s life they have THE MOMENT. There is a novel or story you’ve read in your past whether it be at age 7 or age 38 that ignites a spark in you to be more than just a casual reader. It is a hunger for stories–for faraway lands, technologically-advanced alien planets, and characters that seem more realistic than your own neighbor. The story can be from any genre or any time. Most importantly, it has affected you in a way nothing else has before. Sure there are books that you’ve enjoyed, but this one was different.
For me, it was Into the Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville, 2nd grade in Mrs. McClelland’s class. Now not every young girl is swept away by the idea of unicorns, but at 7-years-old there was nothing sweeter than a lonely, neglected girl finding her destiny with these beautiful, magical creatures. With Coville and McClelland’s help, I was fell in love with the limitless potential of storytelling. Although it wasn’t the first book I had ever read, it was and still is the most powerful.
Coville has a simple, straightforward style that works well with his 80+ children’s and young adult novels. It was my first real glimpse at world-building, and I was in love with the fantasy and of course the unicorns he brought to life. Later that school year, I attempted to write my first story, which at three pages long was a harrowing adventure of a fairy princess with a shape-shifting blob for a companion.
Before Coville and his Unicorn Chronicles, I had a satiable appetite for reading much like any other enthusiastic child. Not anymore. It was after journeying with Cara Hunter and her faithful new friends in Luster that I found my passion. My love of stories intensified from that moment on. Several years later I discovered the second book in the series and in my delight I fell into the world of Luster all over again. No matter how long I spend away from Coville’s world I came right back within the first few pages.
Thanks to the wonderful world of Google and Goodreads, I’ve come into the possession of the third installment of my beloved series rather recently. It’s been, I’d say, around 8-10 years since the second novel, Song of the Wanderer, and getting back to my roots is exactly what I needed to rekindle my creative mojo.
By the second chapter, the adorable and slightly annoying voice of the Squijum (part monkey/squirrel) threw me headlong into a heavy case déjà vu, which I was all to happy to allow. There is nothing more satisfying than characters who instill a sense of contentment in a reader as a youth AND an adult. I only wish I can do that with my Cassie for one person, and Coville is guaranteed hundreds if not thousands in the forty years he’s been publishing.
We finally reach the meat of my post with the fact that this book and this author being my moment of “revelation,” if you will. It was the moment I knew that I had it in me to escape whenever I wanted if the story came to me. I wouldn’t write again for many more years other than fan fiction, which is a good start anyways. And even when I revisited the most important book of my career, I still found the magic bubbling on the pages. Sometimes the books we remember as kids don’t always ring true when you’re older.
Coville’s books have been an integral part in my decision to become a writer, and following the 17 years apart from this particular reader-author relationship I had some catching up to do. So, I decided to take a trip over to Mr. Coville’s web site to re-acquaint myself with the man behind my inspiration. What did I find? Some of the greatest advice I have ever come across.
I encourage you to head on over to BruceCoville.com because he is both simple and coherent no matter what kind of stories you are writing. Hey, he even uses the same tag line that I use at the end of all of my blogs. Coincidence? Since this is the first time I’ve visited his website I’d say no. It’s a powerful feeling when a complete stranger guides you down the right path because it’s one you share with them. I am almost finished with Dark Whispers and Coville still gives me the chills in all of the right places. He gives me hope that I can someday give those chills to hopeful writers that their dreams are just like mine and they can come true if they believe.
Do you remember the first story/book/poem that made you want to be a writer. Share your “back to roots” story in the comments below. I’d love to hear them. And in the spirit of a lovely Sunday morning—-Happy reading and writing, my lovelies!
Oh and—-interwebz kitteh picture!