My first novel, Sky Stone, wasn’t a life goal of mine; I never imagined being an author. When my writing life began, I was originally writing in order to release my pent up emotions and to capture a dream on paper. Perhaps that dream was the ninja author’s first move at taking over my life? In any case, soon a story grew. I decided to enter that story into a novella competition, watching the word count increase by increments. Little did I realise that the word count would not cease at the 20 000 word limit. “Am I writing a novel?” I asked myself at this point. In response, my chest puffed out and my chin rose along with my ego. I was writing a novel, something none of my friends had done. Sky Stone expanded to reach 55 000 words and, at its completion, I felt both relief and pride. Sky Stone was finished, the energy I had put into writing spent. I wouldn’t write another novel.
People have often asked me whether I wanted to become a well-known author. Did I want masses of people to read Sky Stone? Did I want to see Sky Stone in bookstores around the world? My answer is “yes” but in reality, I don’t care if it eventuates or not. For me, those things would be bonuses as I have already reached my goal with writing: to be able to call myself a novelist. I feel pride in my accomplishment and don’t require more than that. Of course, I would like people to read Sky Stone and like it, but if they do not then their opinion will affect me very little.
The ninja author struck again when I began writing the sequel to Sky Stone. The inspiration and energy to write Guardian Core was unexpected. Suddenly Sky Stone became the first book of a potential series. With Guardian Core, the intent was always to create a novel and I went about it a great deal differently than I did with Sky Stone. Sky Stone was written linearly, in order from start to finish, with little planning. How do you plan something you never envisioned happening? While writing Guardian Core, I outlined my plot and jumped from chapter to chapter as inspiration took me. Now I have all my major scenes written and only need to fill in the gaps. I feel this has worked better for me and has been an interesting learning curb.
The ninja author in me has now taken over my life. It keeps creeping to the front of my mind, taking note of interactions around me, settings, people, anything that could be used in a story. I am a ninja author.
Scarlett Van Dijk