In a place called Lowell, in the state of Massachusetts, one can find a quaint, beautiful, perfect, everybody-in-their-life-should-experience-it-at-least-once town.
This town plays a major backdrop for Immortality Awaits, and even though it’s only in the beginning of the novel, my discovery of it was something I never expected.
The random, fateful story of events goes like this:
When I started writing Immortality back in 2007, I had no idea what kind of journey I was about to face.
I, of course, had always wanted to publish a book.
As far back as I can remember, the only job I ever truly dreamed of doing was something that would allow me to write.
It didn’t matter if it was music, movies, TV, novels, news stories — just give me that pen and paper and let me come up with something to put on a blank canvas.
With all of that in mind, I was very naive.
I thought my writing, was, for lack of a better term, the shit.
Who could not love this? This was the best thing that could ever happen to the world! Where did I come up with this incredible piece of literature?
Now every time I read something I did before, like, yesterday, I feel like vomiting.
I knew nothing.
As I said in the previous post, I always wrote fan-fiction so I could better understand the purposes of general plot.
Once I had the plot for Immortality Awaits written, and I had decided to make it all my own, I had to start doing just that:
Making it my own.
I wasn’t using someone else’s setting.
I wasn’t using someone else’s characters.
I wasn’t using anything of anyone else’s.
(Which, I do understand is a major “issue” seen behind fan-fiction, but I also believe in the purpose of “disclaimers.”)
I wasn’t a twelve-year-old writer anymore, and I had to start learning how to make all of the tough decisions, and answering the tough questions like:
Where am I going to put this story? Who am I going to choose to lead it? How, now, can I find a way to mix inspiration from other works with my own voice while avoiding plagiarism along the way?
Looking at those questions now, I can talk for hours and hours and hours about each answer.
When I was 18, however, I gave simple answers:
Somewhere near Salem, Massachusetts. This guy Donovan, this chick he’s with Kaylee, his best friend Logan, and then his girlfriend Gabrielle. The inspiration will be easy and come along the way.
If you’d have asked me, then, why I picked Lowell as my location, I would have said, “Because I just Googled, ‘Places near Salem, Massachusetts,’ and it was just the first one I clicked on, honestly. It looked like it would work, and I figured I could just write around it until I had a chance to check it out.”
I’ve now come to realize why a lot of people thought I was crazy for taking this approach, because how could I write a book in a place I’d never been?
Now that I’m on the other side, honestly, it actually helped me build my own world.
I researched Lowell after I picked it, of course. I Google Earthed it. Looked at pictures, read the history, familiarized myself with their lifestyle as best I could before I could see it all for myself.
I built my “real” world inside of my fictional world around an outsider’s perspective of the real location.
It was not an easy thing to do, but it helped me expand my imagination and fantasize my actual fantasy world.
Because that world is allowed to be fabricated.
That one, after all, is mine.
Perhaps it was a bold exercise, but I do believe it paid off.
If you ask me now why I picked Lowell as my location, the answer is, “Because I couldn’t have ever dreamed of a more perfect location, and I couldn’t be more thankful I just randomly picked it.”
Seriously, I was walking on a cloud the entire time.
Seeing the town in real life made me fully realize my own dreams.
I was terrified before that trip.
I kept journal entries that had frequent blurred words from the sweat pouring out of my body as nerves controlled me.
What if it blew up in my face?
Where would I put this story if the place didn’t work out?
Oh, man, every terrible “what if” question fueled every thought and action for the last two weeks before the trip actually happened.
But then being there, seeing my fantasy, my dream, put in real life, and enjoying every second of it, made me finally feel confidence.
All of a sudden, all of the questions I had were answered.
Don’t ask me how.
It just all — clicked.
It was literally a “snap” sound in my brain and I just — understood everything.
The 18-year-old amateur just…died.
It was among the most beautiful, fulfilling experiences of my life that helped me take my work more seriously.
Never be afraid to dream, because even if the destinations you envision scare you, you never know how much getting to them might pay off.
Have you ever visited a city from your dreams? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments!