storytime!

Well, everyone… May was a kinda sad month for me. I mean it was incredibly amazing because I finished high school and I got to do a ton of amazing stuff but in the writing area… it was not so great. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw my story asking if anyone knew how to recover documents from your google account that got deleted somehow when your account was on low storage and you hadn’t accessed them in a while. Well, I never really explained that so here I am! I posted a reel about it yesterday, so if you saw that, you got the short story. But here’s the long story…

I was at my grandparents towards the end of May, hanging out with them and catching them up on my life. My grandma mentioned that she wanted to read my books so naturally, I was like “ok, let me look and see if there’s an easy way for me to share one with you”, and pulled out my phone. I go into Google Docs on my phone and start scrolling through my files, knowing that I’ll have to go back a ways to find The Warrior’s Daughter, since I haven’t been on it in a while. But then I keep scrolling. And scrolling. And scrolling (I have wayyyy too many documents in Google Docs). And I reach the bottom with no sign of it. So I go to the search bar, and I search for it. The only things that come up are the sequel to it- because it has a similar name-, a version of the first chapter or so that my friend shared with me when I asked her to help with editing, and the notes that I had for it. So naturally, I’m a bit confused and I start panicking a little (internally, of course, because I didn’t want my grandparents to know something was going on).

So then I start searching for all of my different books- there are seven in total at this point, though two of them are only half finished- and I find all of them. All but one, that is. “The Strongest Jewel” is nowhere to be found. I began writing The Strongest Jewel somewhere late in the summer of 2019, and finished it October of 2020. Along with The Warrior’s Daughter, it was a story that I had written in my head when I was like 10, so they both had immense sentimental value to me.

The good news is, I had already published all of The Warrior’s Daughter- the last post had come out just a month before the day I found all of this out- which you know if you have followed me for a while. There are also two paper copies of it right now- I have one, and my best friend, Morgan, who has been a constant help with all of my books (check her out at Natural Design!), also has one. So The Warrior’s Daughter was safe.

But I have never gotten around to publishing The Strongest Jewel- immediately after publishing The Warrior’s Daughter, I switched to Traitorous Hearts, obviously. And quite frankly, I didn’t want to publish it. That book has my heart stitched into it, but I will be the first to admit that quality wise, it is probably my least favorite. It would have taken a LOT of editing work for me to publish it, and I wasn’t really willing to put in that time. And I never got a paper copy of it because that’s a fair amount of money spent on paper and ink for a 300 book page. So unfortunately, The Strongest Jewel was lost.

I was really disappointed at first, naturally. I was texting Morgan, who had access to it, asking if she could still see it (she couldn’t). I was texting my younger sister at home, who had my computer- she couldn’t find it either. I talked to my dad when I got home, and he couldn’t find it anywhere.

I felt very weird about the entire thing- that book was one of my babies, and now it’s gone. How was I supposed to react to that?

Most people probably would have been really upset, and would’ve cried and it would’ve ruined their day. And believe me, if it had been like any of my other books, I probably would have been extremelyyyy upset. I probably would have tried to shut myself in my room and cry for a couple of hours.

But I didn’t want to have that mindset. So I chose something different.

As soon as I had found out something was happening, I had had my little sister save all five of the other books to my computer, so that they were backed up there. I knew that those five- and The Warrior’s Daughter- were covered.

So it was just The Strongest Jewel that I had to deal with. And here’s how I’m dealing with it: I’m going to rewrite it, as soon as I finish Traitorous Hearts. Admittedly, once it sunk in, I believe that I did cry a little bit just in memory of the time I had written it through, and the memories that I associated with it. But I haven’t really cried about it since then, or been upset.

I still have most of my notes from that book. I have the basic plot points written down, I have some of the smaller events written down, I have some character descriptions written down, and a few other things. By going through my archived stories on my personal account, I was able to find the chapter names for last 21 chapters- and my chapter names were pretty good clues as to what happened in each chapter. That helped a lot. Eventually, I plan to write down everything I remember from the book, and the different scenes that I remember and where they might go.

Most importantly, I plan to switch perspectives, and fix everything that I have regretted about that book but have never changed. I originally wrote that book in first person, like I wrote The Warrior’s Daughter. After The Strongest Jewel, however, I switched over to writing in third person. Now, I have the opportunity to rewrite SJ- sorry guys, I’m tired of writing all that out, and y’all are smart enough to figure out abbreviations- in third person perspective, writing it from both of the main character’s- Leslie Angelo and Parker Sloane- perspectives, rather than just Leslie’s. I was too lazy to do it before, so I guess this is God’s way of telling me that I need to get off of my butt and do the work that I’ve been putting off. I’ll also get to tone down the drama of the book a bit- 15 year old me went a littleeee overboard so I’ll be able to fix that up a bit so that I don’t cringe every time I read it 🙂

I don’t know yet if this will be easier than just starting from scratch. On the one hand, I have a basic plan for the book. On the other hand, however, I’ll have something to compare it to (and probably not in a good way). If I am forced to take something out to make way for a new thing- new perspectives call for new scenes, that I’ll need to make room for- I don’t know if I’ll be sad or okay with it. We’ll just have to see how it all goes.

Obviously, however, all of this is several months down the line (at least). It’s taken me seven months to get to the halfway point of Traitorous Hearts. I would LOVE to be able to get it done by the end of the year, in five months. However, in August, I’ll become a full time college student. So who knows what will happen, and when I will finish it? And then it will likely be several weeks after that that I actually begin writing it, since I’ll probably have to do a lot of work with logistics and planning. But we’ll just have to see what happens! And by that time, who knows if you all will even be interested any more? Comment here or on the reel on my Instagram page (@rcalife) if you want me to start posting those chapters as I go along, once I finish posting Traitorous Hearts.

On a whim the other day, I created a new document for SJ, that I will write in once I begin the process of rewriting it. It felt really strange to write the words again, and think of everything that had gone into that book. Sharing it with my two best friends so that when the time came, they would have access to it, was weird. Writing that book- and beginning the next book after that- was what got me through quarantine. The memories that that book hold for me will always be incredibly special, even if I’m rewriting a newer, better version of it. I cannot wait to see what memories this rewrite brings for me. And more importantly, I’m so crazy thankful that I have the opportunity to share it with the same person- who has always been so incredibly supportive of my writing- both times around, which I am forever grateful for. Morgan and I started this together, and it seems almost fitting that 5 years later, we are nearly right back at the beginning. There are several other people that have been massive contributors to my writing, but I don’t want to get too sentimental and boring and lose you all right here at the end so I’ll end it at that 🙂

That ends story time with RCA, the lesson being this: if something is important to you, SAVE IT TO MULTIPLE SAFE PLACES. Do not assume that it’ll be fine, and it won’t happen to you. You never know. So save your stuff! Make sure that you don’t make the same mistake I did and lose it! You’ll end up doing a lot of work to make up for it.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful week, and I am praying for you all!! I’ll be back next week with another chapter from Traitorous Hearts, so look out!!

Check Me Out On Instagram @rcalife For Updates!