Have you ever gone found something magical when you cleaned your room? I'm talking. giant clean—you take everything off the shelves, dust and put everything back on in a new order; you remove everything from your closet and get rid of what you haven't worn in 3 years; you open every box, every bag, every container... everything and discover little things you forgot you ever had.
Cleaning like this is an effort but I can't tell you how many times I have suddenly found some precious item or lost memory because I decided to do a deep clean.
This time, the deep clean was not of my room but of my email inbox.
I have had the same email since before I was even allowed to have an email (the cutoff age is technically 13 or was when I was 12). I know this because, when my parents and I went in to set up the email, we had to put in my mother's name instead of mine (and it still shows up on my email address!!).
That being said before I cleaned out my email, I had a TON of emails left in my inbox not only sent to me recently but sent to me when I was a young tween. I do a pretty good job of deleting the emails I don't need immediately (so it could have been a lot worse) but nevertheless, I decided to clean.
And boy am I glad I did because I truly did find something magical.
Before Once Upon a Tome (my current series of fairytale twists) I truly struggled to write a full book. Very little inspired me to the point of being able to stick with it. Prior to working with this series, I had very little hope that I would be able to reach my dream of publishing a novel (with a regular publisher).
The closest I ever came to that dream (prior to Once Upon a Tome) was a fan-fiction I began to write after the completion of the Heroes of Olympus series. I had an idea for how the series could be continued and I was passionate about it. Passionate enough, even, to complete a manuscript for the first time ever. I remember the exact moment I finished that first manuscript in a cabin my family and I were staying at on a family vacation. I know now that the manuscript will never be published but I truly believe that the first manuscript that an author finishes is important because it lets them know: "You can do it!"
But I told you I found something magical...I promised something amazing and that manuscript certainly wasn't it.
Rather, when I was deleting my past emails, I came across something I had sent to myself on the 11th of March, 2016.
I know I have mentioned where Once Upon a Tome came from before but let me say it again:
I got the idea from a simple writing prompt. I do not remember what it said. I do not remember exactly what it looked like because I do not have the photo saved. I recall it included a blond girl turning and running, a castle in the distance, and a forest surrounding the girl. I don't remember what about the picture or the words inspired me to write a fairytale twist. Maybe it was the fairytale twist books I was reading at the time. But whatever it was, I fell in love with the story that began to form in my head.
Before going through my emails, I did not recall the exact time I began to work on Once Upon a Tome. Now, I know I have been working on the series for over six years.
But that is not all I have.
Though I may not have the prompt (the picture would not download not matter what I tried) I now have the response I typed up to the prompt. I have the very first paragraph I ever wrote about Once Upon a Tome (read below) and I can look back today and see where my story developed from.
She rushed through the forest, the flapping cape flowing behind her, her scrapes and bruises from the fight with the trolls stinging as the branches around her hit them. She pulled her cape tighter around her arms, blocking out the cold. She stopped in the clearing for a second to remember the way. She turned right and kept running. And running. And running. And… falling? As she fell into the trap she felt the hood of the cape falling off and her golden curls falling out. She landed with a thump, the stolen coins tumbling out of her boots where she had stuffed them. She saw a face peek over the edge of the trap. She screamed.