A Novel Idea: Reese’s Pieces

This week's A Novel Idea prompt is so exciting! Let's get started.
Tell us about one of your first stories. When did you start writing it, and why? Do you remember the characters’ names? Are you still writing it? If not, do you think you’ll ever rewrite it? What did you learn while writing it?
Tell us about one of your first stories.

I've had a few different "first" stories--the first short book I ever finished, the first time I decided I wanted to be "serious" about writing, and the first novel-length story I ever finished. (I touched a bit on all of those here.)

For today, I'm focusing on that last one: Reese's Pieces, the first novel-length story I finished.

The title, a spin on the main character's name (Reese), is proof that I've always loved puns.

When did you start writing it, and why?

I started it in August of 2010 (a date I discovered through old blog posts). I finished it in March 2011.

I started writing it because at the time, I was really into books about ordinary girls just like myself. Miss Match by Erynn Mangum, In Between by Jenny B. Jones, and Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson were all inspirations that fueled me to start this novel. I also had a huge unrequited crush on someone at the time, which was a major plot point in this book too. I wrote Reese's Pieces at night after the day was over, entirely by hand in two or three notebooks. I often put events into my real life into the story, and I lived vicariously through it. And yes, it ended up being a bit of a trainwreck, but I had so. much. fun.

Do you remember the characters’ names?

I do, I do!
  • Reese St. Clair: My main character (but you already knew that). Socially awkward, hopeless romantic, and in love with Converse. AKA me when I was fourteen. (Self-insertion into stories, guys... we've all done it.)
  • Justin St. Clair: Reese's adoring older brother (who was probably too perfect and didn't pick on Reese nearly as much as he should have).
  • Janae McAlister-Kingston: Justin's crush. The girl Reese dreams will be her sister-in-law. Loves Mr. Darcy and coffee. Possibly a walking cliche.
  • Ella Kingston: Janae's daughter. Cute little baby. Enough said.
  • Addison Rhodes: Reese's best friend. Adorable. 
  • Ben Carter: Justin's best friend who quickly becomes Reese's friend and pseudo-older brother.
  • Trent Knightly: Reese's unrequited crush whom she's irrationally obsessed with.
  • Charlie McAlister: Janae's sister. Reese's new friend. Potential love interest. Cute and laidback. I want a real Charlie McAlister still.


Are you still writing it?

No. I finished the draft, then got a proof copy, which was awesome. It's an amazing feeling to hold your book in your hands.

(Cover made by my friend flambeau!)
I always intended to rewrite it, but the plot was such a mess (and way too similar to another plot), so I had no idea where to begin. As you may know, I only really did my first rewrite recently with another novel, so Reese's Pieces never went anywhere. (Poor baby.)

If not, do you think you’ll ever rewrite it?

I'm not sure! After writing this post, I kind of want to... (stay tuned.)

What did you learn while writing it?

Reese's Pieces taught me so much. I learned...
  • To not make my characters perfect. One running trend you may have noticed from the list above is that my characters kind of... didn't have flaws. (If I rewrite it, that will be remedied, just FYI.)
  • To not try to copy other people's plots. This is a huge one, and it's nothing to feel ashamed about. I think other people do this when they're young writers, and it's just something you have to learn from as you grow.
  • To write about what makes me happy. Reese's Pieces was by no means perfect, but it filled me with so much joy, and it was so fun to write.
  • It taught me to write consistently, work hard, and to stay motivated. I wrote Reese's Pieces almost every night, which paid off--I actually finished it! Towards the end it would get difficult to write, and sometimes my hands would cramp, but I was so determined to finish that I kept going. Though I'm still bad at staying disciplined as a writer, Reese's Pieces did teach me what can happen when you heavily pursue your dreams, and I definitely won't forget it.
A lot has changed since I wrote Reese's Pieces. I can no longer write by hand because of chronic pain. I now give my characters flaws, and I flesh out my plots and make them as unique as I can. I'm not the same person or writer that I was when I wrote this book. In some ways, that makes me nostalgic, and it makes me miss who I was. But it also makes me realize how much I've grown, which is a really good thing.

So thanks, Reese's Pieces. You were such a beautiful part of my early adolescence, and you taught me so much. You taught me who I am, how to write, and to never let anything stop me. Kudos.


What's one thing your first novel(s) taught you?

1 comment:

  1. Sounds super cute, I went for a high fantasy when I was fourteen, bit off way more than I can chew.

    ReplyDelete

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