The First One: Ciara Bagnasco's Journey to Her First "Real Book"
We all start with the blank page. Every time we attempt to create something new, we’re greeted by its absence. But how do you start if you’ve never begun before? With “Beginnings” being our theme this month, I thought it was appropriate to speak with someone beginning all over again. Today, we talk with Ciara Bagnasco to find out what it’s like to be in the midst of writing their first “real book.”
First, who are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself
Hi! I'm Ciara, and I currently live in Orlando, FL. I like to think of myself as always having been a "creative person", and I love finding new outlets for my creativity. I've been a singer/songwriter, a graphic designer, a cross-stitcher, a set designer, and now I've ventured into one of my long-loved passions… writing!
What’s your current project?
I'm currently working on a novel, and I'm about two to three years into working on it at this point. My book is about a young boy named Charlie who discovers that he is a part of a magical, underwater community which he accidentally almost destroys. He must then set out on an adventure to save this community and the magic or else it will be lost for all eternity.
What did this project come out of? How did you overcome that first blank page?
I wrote my first two books in high school for English projects, and I was hooked. I wrote a lot of poetry in middle and high school, but after discovering how much fun it can be to write a book, I could never get over the idea of writing a real book one day. About five years ago, I started brainstorming about what kind of book I'd like to write. Originally I was going to write a post-apocalyptic type book, but halfway through planning it, I realized I didn't really like what I was planning. It was all too sad, and there wasn't enough fun. And if I didn't like it, why would anyone else? So I started the process all over again. I've always loved Fantasy and the idea of magic, so I picked up my main character (Charlie) from the first book and plopped him into this one! It originally started out as a book about mermaids, but of course so much has changed since that first day I started planning it. I'm so excited about the direction it's currently going!
As far as overcoming the first blank page, it helped me immensely to plan out the book before I started writing it. There are a lot of people who can just start writing without any idea of where they're going, but that is NOT me! I love the process of brainstorming and planning out details that will come back later in the story and make you go “OH! OH MY GOSH!!! WHAT?? DID THEY PLAN THAT?” And the answer is... yes!
What is your routine when writing, if you have one? How do you keep your work consistent with all the other distractions life provides?
To be honest, I don't have much of a routine. Having a full-time job can be really challenging to work around, so I've found that if I plan "writing dates" with other friends who write, I'm much more likely to get work done! Having people who keep me accountable has made a world of a difference when it comes to actually writing my book. In 2019, I made it a goal of mine to have the first draft completed by the end of the year. I decided to post about my writing and my goal on my social media in hopes that others online would help keep me accountable, too. And so far it's working!
You aren't done with it. When do you anticipate finishing it? How can we help encourage you to finish it?
As I said, I want to have the first draft done by the end of 2019. This is a totally achievable goal since I already have the entire book plotted out - all I have to do is write it! (Which honestly is much easier said than done…) I'm hoping that in 2020, I can finish all of my edits and start working on getting it published. But we'll see what the future holds! Again, accountability is key for me. Having people check in on me and set up writing dates with me is the most helpful way to encourage me!
What is your goal with the book?
My goal is to get it published. Obviously, I would love for it to be wildly successful, but I will be so proud of myself for finally telling this story that I find fascinating. I hope that others will fall in love with the story as much as I have!
What are some of your other creative outlets? Also, what is inspiring you lately? How do you think those feed into this project?
I'm a craft person, so I love to crochet and cross-stitch. Music is also a huge thing for me, as I love to play piano and guitar and sing. I've honestly been so inspired by my other writer friends. Seeing them work hard and getting their work published pushes me to want the same for myself. They are so full of helpful advice and encouragement, and of course they always check in on me to make sure I'm still making progress. They showed me how to utilize music (like Spotify) to create playlists that I can listen to while I write that will inspire the scenes. They've also shown me how Pinterest can help create a visual board of my book that can inspire me in new and creative ways, too! These have helped me come up with new ideas and find creative solutions to problems I find in my scenes.
I'm always looking ahead, so you may not have an answer for this, but let's say the book is done... What's next?
Well, this book is only Book 1 of 3. I've always loved reading books that are a part of a series, and I thought a trilogy would work perfectly for my story. I've already got the skeleton plot for both books 2 & 3, so the next step would be for me to start plotting out those chapters and writing those books as well! I'm so excited about Book 3 and how everything is going to end that it might make writing Book 2 a bit challenging. But I'm looking forward to facing that challenge and expand the boundaries of my creativity!
If you want to keep up with Ciara and her work, you can find her on Instagram at @ciarasunflower.