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THE WRITING JOURNEY Alex Zhang, a sophomore at the Spring Branch Academic Institute, published a book called Spark. (Photo: Quy Tran Photography)
For a long time, I’d felt the urge to create – to leave my mark upon the world. It didn’t come from nowhere – I’d dabbled in writing, even won a few competitions. But lots of factors went into the success of my book Spark, from wonderful teachers to amazing editors to a general supportive climate.
The thing most writers will say about writing novels is that it is relentlessly difficult, and they’re correct. As I continued to write, to plan out plot points and character charts and new environments, I began to sink into a calm routine. The difficulty was still there, sure. There were times I felt like giving up. But I kept going, day by day. And as I wrote, I realized that my book wasn’t just words on a page – in the process of pouring my heart and soul into the text, a little bit of me had stuck inside of the book as well.
The book, for readers ages 10-14, is a sci-fi fantasy about a normal high-school boy named Jack and how his life is changed after he's dragged into an adventure. This is the first book in a planned trilogy, where the main character will face surprising challenges and confront dastardly villains in the places where he least expects them. I mainly drew the inspiration for my characters from my friends and settings from places that I've visited. The plot was inspired by series like Harry Potter and The Magicians.
The experience of writing was a roller coaster of emotion – the elation of finishing my first draft, the crushing despair after realizing that there was still a year’s worth of editing before the release and the final triumph of seeing my book on the shelves of a bookstore. This journey was indispensable in shaping who I am today. I would urge anyone who’s even remotely interested in writing to give it a try.
Editor’s note: Spark can be found at LongTalePublishing.com and other online retailers, plus Nook and Kindle. It will be translated into Chinese this fall.
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