Story of the Story: A Reflection of Glass

HOW TERRY PRATCHETT HELPED ME FIND MY VOICE

A Reflection of Glass was my first book. I started writing in sometime around 2009, when I was a police dispatcher for the Chattanooga area.

I had, at the time, just discovered Terry Pratchett. Criminal, I know, but I don't think my parents had read him so they didn't know to introduce us. I was living in my own apartment at the time, and had just met my one-day wife, Megan. I started the first draft of my first chapter after I got the idea of the main conceit of the novel at an Old Navy.

Megan and I were out trying on clothes. As I stood at the end of the row of dressing rooms, I looked down to the area where there are mirrors for you to examine your outfit from all sides. I could see myself in the mirror, and the thought popped into my brain.

What if you saw someone get kidnapped through a door in the mirror?

The thought sort of struck my brain and rolled around in there. And, having read The Colour of Magic, I was inspired to write my own magical adventure story. My life at the time bled into the story like crazy: everyone was a sword fighter. I had just discovered the world of tabletop roleplaying, so my world oozed cosmology and symbolism. I spent a long time thinking about all the aspects of the book and how they tied together. I had talking animals and humorous asides that added NOTHING to the prose. NOTHING I tell you!

That first draft was very much me aping Terry Pratchett. I loved his silly, fun style of writing with little footnotes and jokes sprinkled throughout. I loved his voice, and so much of it snuck into mine.

Keep in mind, A Reflection of Glass was my first serious writing project. I had not written much short fiction worthy of mention, certainly never a novel-length work. I had never been published, self or otherwise. I wrote a few poems. I wrote a few snippets of stories. I'm sure if I looked back at them, I would cringe. 

Yet, here came forth a novel from me, and it was really going! 

The story involves a bit of a down-on-his-luck guy who worked for his overbearing and sleazy uncle (Harry Potter, anyone?) who sees a woman get kidnapped through a mirror. He decides to try and go through, and is aided on the way by a talking turtle named Theodore Roosevelt Terrapin.

Wacky adventures ensue, along with sword fighting, some romance, people covering their faces with things for some reason, other talking animals, and a whole lot more. The story was written, I printed it, and proofread it to the best of my ability. I shared the draft with friends and family.

Everyone seemed to like it, but it really didn't go anywhere when I finally got it self-published on Amazon. I commissioned the fantastic cover from the talented Tim Denee, a Kiwi with an eye for stunning art.

So much of this book was about me finding my voice. I'm sure if I looked at it now I would be unhappy with what I put out into the world. I've since grown as an author quite a bit. I've sold stories to professionals; enough so that I am ineligible for the LR Hubbard Future Writers Contest, and, eligible for membership in the Horror Writers' Association. I am more confident in my voice, and my voice is my own.

Yet, I owe that debt of gratitude to Terry Pratchett. His wonderful Discworld series got me going. They sparked a fire in me that continues to this day, with another book in the works, more planned, and still more yet to come in the years. I work on short stories and my new novel almost every day. 

I've always been a writer. But Terry Pratchett helped me find my voice. His stories inspired me to get going, and then a week-long suspension from work got me the rest of the way there. (I revenge wrote the second half during my suspension.) I owe Terry Pratchett a great deal. He was the only celebrity whose death every affected me. I cried and mourned the author who helped me find my voice, and take my first step in a magical world.

I know this is light on the story of the story, but in reality, the story of this story is the story (omg!) of me as an author, finally sitting down, and seeing what I could do. The people that inspired me matter, and the person who inspired me most is my favorite author to this day. Thanks again, Sir Terry.

Jeff Hewitt1 Comment