...in the Fall of 2013, I attended an Intro to Creative Writing class at Saginaw Valley. My teacher, Dr. Samarco had a lot to teach me. I enjoyed the class so much that I decided to take the next class that he taught, Creative Writing: Fiction.
This class was a little different from the Intro Class. Our final project was to write a short story. Then we workshopped it with the rest of the class. Workshops were done much like a critique group. I had just joined a writing group, Flint Area Writers, in January of this year so I knew how it worked. Students heard the piece, then they went around saying what worked, what didn’t, what they liked, what they didn’t like. Dr. Samarco would ask questions about theme, about what the purpose of the story was, and so on. During all of this, we weren’t allowed to talk or respond.
It was this class I got the idea for a war between dragons and humans and wrote, This Side of War. A fellow classmate of mine, Kayla, liked the piece a lot. On the other end of this, I enjoyed her piece that she wrote about a theft breaking into a prison to speak with a demon. We chatted some and hung out outside of class. We learned we had a lot in common, and that she lived just down the road from me. Which was funny considering we both drove about half hour to get to classes. This led to some carpooling trips.
At the start, it wasn’t anything more than a casual friendship. (I also learned at this time she had been in my intro class, strangle enough the girl I couldn’t stand). During the following semester we found ourselves in another Creative Writing class. This one a Seminar class. All we did for this class was write. Three solid short stories written and work-shopped. I was thrilled. I worked on a piece about a healer who went against his nature, and an orphaned born who was mute. I couldn’t figure out my last story though, and Kayla too was struggling with an idea for her last one.
After much consideration I went back to my first piece about the human and the dragon and thought, what if it wasn’t just the dragons and humans were fighting. What if it was all supernaturals? So, the idea formed to write a piece about a human going to a vampire school to prove they could live in peace. I struggled with how to make both voices present and unique. I ran my idea by Kayla and she was excited, she wanted to help.
We discussed with Dr. Samarco about writing the same short story only told from different points of view. Mine from the vampire and Kayla’s from the humans. He was a little hesitant at first, but we promised to give him two completed short story, under twenty pages, and different enough that they could be read as stand alone.
I’m sure if you know about Double-Edged War, how this story ends. Our short stories were under twenty pages, after a LOT of cutting and thinning and… yeah… but we loved the story and characters so much we spent the next several months with each other every waking free moment we had. This led to Ruins of War and Slaves of Peace and hundreds upon hundreds of pages of stories.
Since our first classes together and meeting the stories have changed some and the characters have grown. Ideas have passed and things have changed. But some of our original short story is spread into the published novel, though those pieces are more than twenty-pages in.
Without Dr. Samarco’s classes we never would have this world that we’ve created. Though things have slowed with both of us working and the addition of a new child on my end a couple years later, we are still writing and hoping to one day give you the whole series and world. There is so much we can do with these characters and hope to one day, share them all with you.
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