The abridged history of an idea.
It is fairly common to read amongst authors, “This has always been my dream” or “I always dreamed of writing a book.” That hasn’t been exactly my path, but I have always loved to write and the idea of Roller Derby Vampire girl was loosely based on a dream, but its journey to book form wasn’t a linear one.
In 2010, I worked for a local, smalltown newspaper. At the time I was primarily a graphic designer who wrote magazine features when we were in a pinch.
For a brief moment in time, there was a group of young professionals who didn’t really run the show but were definitely the ones who kept the show running. We called ourselves, “the dream team’ and often still refer to ourselves as such.
For anyone who has ever worked in a newspaper or news environment the hours are long, the job is often unrewarding, and the money isn’t great. Being surrounded by awesome people helps keep you sane. Or at least they help you make sense of the insanity.
All this to lead into, we were a bunch of middle of the road millennials stealing half an hour huddled around a tiny table at a Chinese takeout restaurant when my friend Antonia was telling us about a nightmare she had the previous evening. She was practicing roller derby, which she did actually did briefly, and she was being attacked by vampires. I joked, “They were roller derby vampire girls.” I remember the moment pretty clearly. Even then I must have known on some level it would be important to me.
Do you ever say something as a joke and then it takes on a life of its own?
For the last ten years of my life on and off, Roller Derby Vampire Girl has been the joke I took seriously.
First, it started out as a screenplay. The first draft of which is unfinished and mostly terrible.
Then, at Antonia’s suggestion, we started participating in this Writing Wednesday challenge. It was designed to keep your skills sharp and force creativity. Maybe one day I will share some of the other short stories that were birthed from that challenge, but let me not get too sidetracked.
One week I was in a bind and decided to revisit RDVG in an episodic, or chapter form so I could be done for the day and move on. 30+ more chapters and weeks later I ended up with the first draft of a book written like the old newspaper serials, one week at a time. Posted to Facebook using the notes feature. This happened in 2011 if you are looking for a timeline of events. July 13, 2011, was when it first started.
The feedback from my seven or eight loyal readers was encouraging. So much so that I nearly immediately began work on a yet to be finished sequel. (If you’re wondering, yes, following final revision on this book my creative efforts will be channeled into finishing the second book.)
And from that point on in the back of my mind, I wanted to get it published. I talked about it offhandedly to friends, have mentioned it occasionally but never put my full force behind it.
2020 felt different. Not only is it the 10 year anniversary of the idea, but it felt like the right time to make it happen. You know, what better time than a global pandemic to publish some YA fiction?
In late 2019 early 2020, I started seriously working on rewrites.
The first version posted to my Facebook had plenty of issues, least of which was its length. Even for YA, it was pretty short.
So I buckled down, brought nearly a decade of wisdom and now, professional writing experience to the table and crafted what is very close to the version that will be printed. All of the heart and raw creativity still remains from the original, but it has a level of polish now that was severely lacking.
As of this writing, it has been through several peer edits and is currently in the hands of a professional editor, who at this point has been pretty kind. Fingers crossed.