When I first put pen to paper, figuratively speaking, in a serious effort to write a book, I tackled a storyline that had been in my head for many years. It was a world peopled by a few characters developed in part through a collaboration with my sister just for fun, back in the days when I had free time and was utterly clueless to the notion that writing could be a “thing” for me. I knew these people, had spent time with them imagining their world, their lives, their struggles, their flaws. All that was necessary to turn it into a book was to write an outline and then put their story into words.
I finished that rough draft in about five months. The plot was rich and complex, my characters interesting, but something was missing. My construction was good, but my writing was voiceless. I needed something more… something unique and authentic to me, the author. It needed to be more grippy… more… funny.
Have you seen the 1992 Disney movie Aladdin? There is a scene early on in the movie where viewers are introduced to Aladdin and his monkey friend Abu. They steal an apple from a fruit vendor but get caught in the act. As they elude city guard after city guard, they sing a very Disney-esque song about life on the streets. If Kassia’s story had a seed idea, this was it. What if a girl found herself in the same situation and had a chance to tell us her own story? Beyond that, what would it be like to write in first person? An experiment was born. Kassia had a tale to tell.
Good thing it was only an experiment though, because as a planner, I usually need an outline. I need back-story, lists, themes, a plot arc… something, anything, to go on. But somehow this Kassia was getting more and more interesting as the words flowed. She had some rough edges, some spunk, and she knew how to use a witty one-liner. What a great experiment!
Then something happened to her; something so significant that it rattled me to the core. I was so shaken by the event that I wasn’t sure how to proceed, taking it so far as to talk to some friends about it. In the process, I discovered that I owed it to this girl to help her, to follow her journey and see how she kept going, how she grew, and how she changed. And beyond that, I knew there had to be many other people in the world who would be able to relate to her and could perhaps benefit from her journey.
This writing experiment turned into The Scribe’s Daughter, and my hope is that not only will it entertain, but that it will also provide a voice for those who connect with this courageous, strong, sardonic young Kassia.