By Isabella Daley
Students have many opportunities to meet their goals and be proud of their personal accomplishments throughout high school. A student might lead a sports team to victory, earn a high grade on a test, or implement a new club activity. Sophomore Katie Limberg has written a novel.
Limberg realized that she had a story she wanted to develop into a novel about 2 years ago, and she worked to strengthen the idea until the summer of 2017. She spent this past summer writing for 3 to 4 hours every day until she completed the book, often going to work with her mom to use a spare desk to concentrate. The finished product is about 82,000 words making up 31 chapters.
The first concepts Limberg developed before writing the entire book were her characters, and they encouraged her to further develop the story. “They are each very individualistic people with lots of problems,” she said. She mentioned that mental illness was one of the problems she had her characters face in order to talk about the issue in a genre other than realistic fiction.
Katie wrote her book as a high fantasy novel about a “group of unlikely heroes” who become “unknowingly involved in a prophecy [and] the overall saving of the planet.” She gave the novel the tentative title Dawn of the Savior because the prophecy calls for a savior to free the planet from darkness. She said her story is “totally disconnected from earth.”
Aimee Limberg, Katie’s mom, agreed that Katie’s book is part of the high fantasy genre. “I would describe it as a high fantasy adventure,” Aimee said. She has read about twenty pages of Katie’s book including the prologue, first chapter, and an excerpt Katie submitted to a Scholastic writing competition. “There is a whole lot of action happening. It is fast-paced and suspenseful,” she added.
Katie credited Robert Jordan and Sarah J. Mass, two of her favorite authors, as inspirational influences that made her want to write. She was influenced by Jordan’s own fantasy novels, and she looked up to Mass as being an “incredible person.” “I’ve always wanted to write, but she made me think of [writing] as a job rather than just a pastime,” Limberg said.
Now that she has written her entire book, Limberg has entered the editing process. She has been revising since the summer, and she is beginning to look for beta readers. The beta readers will evaluate the book’s characters, story line, and entertainment value. Limberg said she will use their critiques to revise the book another time before she gives it to beta readers again for more feedback. “The best part of the writing process is actually writing the book. Editing gets tedious,” she said.
Limberg will repeat the process of revising and listening to beta readers about three times, and then she will look for a literary agent to help publish her book.
In spite of the lengthy editing process, she said that she is happy with the overall process of writing her book and with the book itself. “I don’t even believe I [wrote] it. I feel like I’ve always written,” she said.
“I am so proud of Katie,” her mother Aimee said. “I cannot believe that someone who is my daughter has the ability to write 80,000 words. I can’t take credit for her because she’s her own person, but I hope I gave her the freedom to express herself.”
“If you have a passion and drive to do it, anybody can [write],” Katie said.