Last month, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society debuted on Netflix and strangely catalyzed several similar emails coming to me. One person after another started to “follow” and “favorite” a Guernsey fanfiction piece I started in 2012. I haven’t updated in years, but occasionally I request a new password to see the reviews and stats, momentarily feel bad for not updating, and then forget about it again. And while I’m happy to see that the movie’s popularity has create a new wave of fans craving some more Juliet and Dawsey, I doubt I’ll pick up that work again.
The Guernsey “Sequel” is not the only writing project I’ve ever abandoned, by far. Most of these stories are ones I hold in my memory from middle school, but they were once so vivid and detailed to me that they’ll be there for a long time. I think you’ll get a kick out of the “honorable mentions” of my literary works that were never to be.
The Little House meets Swiss Family Robinson meets Reality Television Extravaganza:
I’m pretty sure I titled this book “Lost,” which of course never would have flown with a publisher. I had the characters all laid out – eight teenagers (maybe 16?) won an Alaskan Cruise for doing something special in school. The catch? It was a re-enactment cruise that held only items that would have been available in the 1880s. Shockingly, the ship goes down in a storm and only the eight kids survive, washing up on a shore far away from Washington State on an island so far they have NO HOPE of rescue. Why an Alaskan cruise you ask? Even in my fictional imagination, I could not fathom not having a proper winter. These kids end up living and roughing it on this island for fifteen years of something, and magically the four guys and four girls pair off, get married, have kids, etc. They are rescued at the end (woohoo!). I was about 13 while writing this.
The Story Where the Heroine Goes Blind:
This one never got beyond the exposition (a word I’m trying to teach the kids these days). I remember the girl woke up blind – there wasn’t a traumatic accident or anything. She went to the hospital and asked them to turn the lights on….BUT THE LIGHTS WERE ON SHE WAS BLIND WHOA. I liked to throw those little twists in to keep the readers interested. She ended up being visited by a boy (Nicholas? That was a favorite character name of mine after my sixth grade crush). But alas and alack, the story was never finished to know how they ended up getting married and having kids.
You are going to sense a pattern so quickly. In this story, there is a WAR. Full disclosure, my maid of honor Elizabeth and I each wrote one of these stories in college-ruled notebooks when we should have been learning 8th grade physical science. Oops. My story started, “Half an hour. Plain, cold, mean, half an hour.” Pretty silly, yes? Not very clever, huh? I kid you not, I have not been able to get this line out of my head for A DECADE. Anytime someone says “half an hour,” my brain finishes the line. It’s a little self-flagellation I suppose, keeping me humble about my writing ability as I go through life.
This story, after its heroic start, moves with the heroine to the high school gym, where students are being sent by train to a convent in Canada to be safe from the WAR. Older children (16, again), were asked to care for younger children who could not be without supervision. The heroine, heroic-like, takes four children with her – the kids she babysits. Then she asks a boy to help her watch them and they, along with another two teens with kids they can’t possibly control, head to Canada. But wait, another twist. The only clothes the Canadian nuns have are from the early 1900s. Whaaaaaaat. Bet you didn’t see that coming. Well it all ends sweetly with the teens growing up, turning twenty or something, marrying, and adopting the kids (because the parents died???).
This post is not to illustrate the flakiness of my youth or to announce I’m abandoning another writing project. Instead, I’m going in the opposite direction. I am writing a book, officially and irreversibly. As you might have noticed, the link to this blog is now professionally without the “.wordpress.” In the next few days, I’ll be launching my Author’s Facebook page, and hopefully soon (sooner than you think, later than you hope) I can get an email list going.
Maybe you already know about my project, but if not, look forward to coming posts about it. I’ll tease a bit for you – it involves eccentric women, laundry carts full of books, grabbing judges by their arms, and maximum security prisoners.