2017: A Year in Review

What is there to say about 2017…

It made me better.

It yanked my insides out and rearranged them, stretched them, reexamined them, dragged them through the mud for good measure –

And it made me better.

Honestly, I will never look back upon this year fondly. It was difficult in a way I had not encountered before, in a way that I hope not to encounter again.

But in the midst of it all, there were the words.

The words saved me.

This year, I discovered that pain can be pulled from the body and molded into letters and syllables and sentences and in so doing become a more manageable thing. Not every feeling and emotion is articulable, but I tried my best to make them so. I pushed and pulled at words and meanings until I could mold them into what I needed them to be. Until they said what I needed them to say.

Even the things we don’t ever want to experience are a rite of passage. It all serves a purpose. Lately, for me, that purpose has been becoming a better writer. I have a deeper, broader well from which to pull both because I have loved and because I have lost.

The Weight of the Fire was born from the ashes. As I said in my blog post about the process of writing it, it would not be what it is without this year having been what it was. And what it is, is something I am very proud of and excited about.

So, 2017 was the year I wrote my second book.

2017 was also the year I signed my publishing deal for All That We See or Seem and its work-in-progress of a sequel A Dream Within a Dream. I am immensely proud of the former, and so excited for what the latter will become.

I attended a writing seminar hosted by Maggie Stiefvater and Courtney Stevens in San Francisco.

I cultivated a small but encouraging and supportive following on my writing Instagram account.

I had three pieces published on Thought Catalog.

I took steps forward in pursuing my dreams, and I could not be more optimistic about what 2018 will bring. It will be the year that people will be able to buy a book with my name on it, with my words within it. It will be the year I finish writing the sequel to that book and start getting that one ready for publication, as well. It will be the year I revise The Weight of the Fire. And… I’m thinking it will be the year I write another book or two, as well.

Because in the words of the great Neil Gaiman… “Writing may or may not be your salvation; it might or might not be your destiny. But that does not matter. What matters right now are the words, one after another. Find the next word. Write it down.”

This year, writing was my salvation. And so, on to the next word.

On Revisions

The patient is still cut open on the table, so I should not be taking the time to write this, but here I am.


You guys, revisions. Are a thing. A whole thing. At first I poked and prodded and tiptoed through my manuscript, not wanting to make any big incisions for fear of breaking the whole thing irreparably.


And then I remembered that nothing is irreparable. I mean, I literally have saved versions of the completed manuscript in multiple places. It’s not like this is a handwritten copy that I am taking scissors to. Microsoft Word even has a handy “undo” button!

I realized all of this, and then I still was too scared to make any real cuts.


Because this thing? It’s my baby. On the operating table. It’s two years of my life, of my sweat and blood and words, and I have to open it up and rearrange its organs and hope that when I finally close it back up, it will still be alive.


But it’s open now. I made the cut. It’s sliced and diced and I am literally standing with its innards dripping from my fingers and kidneys and a liver and, most importantly, the heart sitting out on the table beside me. (Okay, not literally. Not at all literally.) I am doing some repair work on these pieces outside of the body, and then I’m hoping when I put them in, the kidneys will… do whatever kidneys do, and the liver will… process alcohol or whatever, and the heart! The heart needs to beat. That is the most important part. This story can live without its kidneys but it can’t live without its heart.

(I am riding this metaphor to the bitter end.)


My deadline is fast approaching. It’s a busy time of year at my day job, in the world of numbers, so I am splitting my time between the numbers and the words with little time for anything else in between.


But I have my eye on the prize. And the prize is making this baby of mine the best baby it can be before I send it out into the world. Wait, I need to improve the baby metaphor. Is it growing up over the course of its operation? Is the operation making it mature enough to go out into the world without me? Or am I just sending an infant away?

If I explore this too deeply, this post will never end and I will never get back to work on that heart sitting on my operating table. So… let’s just pretend all of my metaphors came together flawlessly, okay?


“That’s the magic of revisions – every cut is necessary, and every cut hurts, but something new always grows.”

– Kelly Barnhill

On First Drafts and Timing

“Writing a book is hard. It turns out, writing a second book is twice as hard.” 

– Kami Garcia

I started the Google Document for The Weight of the Fire on September 29, 2016. As a reminder, it’s a novel based upon a short story I wrote in May of that year called Cade and Abram. I will have a better synopsis to give you at some point, but for now, think along the lines of… immortal twin brothers (to Abram, immortality is a curse, to Cade, it’s the BEST THING EVER), a kingdom divided between them, the sisters they are gifted as brides. Umm, what else… bloodshed, stars, guilt, fate, love in all of its forms, etc, etc. Really, stand by, I’ll have a real synopsis some day.

Anyway, I finished the first draft on October 15, 2017.

So, one could fairly conclude that it took me a little over a year to write this book. But, here’s the other fact: I wrote only 12,970 words between September 2016 and June 2017.

YIKES, past self.


There are a few factors at play in why I was such a slacker.

First was that starting a story is easy. It’s fun! I had this shiny new idea, and I got to dive into it and play with it and everything was sunshine and roses at first.

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But then, as happens, the shine and excitement wore off. My outline went left and I went right. I knew the voice of one of my perspectives like the back of my hand, but the other perspective’s voice eluded me. In other words, it got difficult.

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I eased out of the beginning and into the middle, and MIDDLES ARE THE WORST. They are setting up this elaborate dominoes arrangement and trying to get every piece just right because if you don’t, nothing will fall into place and the ending you’re working toward will not happen. I got very, very in my head about my dominoes.

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Alongside that, I had things going on in my personal life that shifted my priorities in strange ways. I MET A BOY, OKAY? You know how that goes.

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And while I don’t regret giving that area of my life the attention I felt it needed at the time, I do wish I’d been able to balance the two better. I still wrote, because I can never not write, but it was in shorter form (hello, Instagram account), next to no novel progress.

And then, the final factor is… I was querying ATWSOS. I was getting rejection letters. I was wallowing in those rejection letters.

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I would get a full manuscript request, and my hopes would lift, and then months would pass, and I would eventually get a rejection that was always kind and complimentary, but also, nonetheless, A REJECTION. It made it hard to sit down and write.

So, TWOTF paid the price for a long time. A more accurate accounting of how long this book took me to write is that, after those 9 lackluster months wherein I wrote just shy of 13k words, this is how I wrote:

I wrote 9,291 words in June.

I wrote 3,072 words in July.

I wrote 17,725 words in August.

I wrote 10,321 words in September.

And I wrote 29,188 in the first two weeks in October.

It should probably be noted that 17,127 of those October words came in two days, as I finished the draft. My brain was broken by the end of that weekend, completely out of words. I was Kermit, except taking brief intermissions to drink iced tea and walk my dogs. 

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Once I got back into the story after my lengthy hiatus, I fell back in love with it. It isn’t that it got easier. But I found my rhythm again, I realigned myself with my goals, and I wrote.

I tend to think that everything happens for a reason, and I believe that the timing of this book ended up working to my advantage. I am a different person now than I was last year when I started this story. Everything that happened over this past year – the relationship, the rejections, life in general – shifted me. It shifted my writing, and it shifted the story. This story would absolutely not be what it is if I’d written it last year, and I think that this version of it right here is what it is meant to be, what I always wanted it to be but couldn’t have written without the experiences of this past year. (Look, I just came out of a story about fate and the stars, cut me some slack here.)

So anyways, to summarize, to get to the part of this that gets exclamation points, I FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT!

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I like to do a paper-copy readthrough to get a feel for what on earth I’ve just created before I start revisions, so I sent it on over to Kinkos, and yesterday, I got to pick it up and hold ALL OF THE WORDS. (It also got to entertain me during a very long freight train stop.)


My words have weight! They have heft! There are 82k of them full of love and life and yikes, a lot of darkness, but ALSO, hope.

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I will keep you guys posted on how revisions go. I’m hoping that I created the story I set out to write. I can’t wait to find out.

“Writing the last page of the first draft is the most enjoyable moment in writing. It’s one of the most enjoyable moments in life, period.”

– Nicholas Sparks

In Which I Hand You Baseball Bats

Nobody knew I wrote for years. Literally, years. I was super stealth about it, and somewhere, there is an old Vaio laptop with some terrible attempts at novels saved on it. Nobody but me has ever (or will ever) see those.

Becoming an author was a pipe dream, completely and utterly. Something that didn’t or couldn’t happen to someone like me. It remained that for years, and so, there was no reason to ever show anyone my writing or let them into that side of me. I wrote entirely for myself. To get stories that lived in my head onto paper, to create characters who lived lives I didn’t live and made decisions I’d never make and said things I was never brave enough to say, and to play with words.

I’m trying to remember the first piece of writing I ever showed anyone. I believe I showed a friend snippets of a contemporary novel I was working on, some six or seven years ago now. I pressed ‘send’ on the email containing the file and then did some frantic googling to see if there was any way to pull the file back, to pull my words back, to not risk being quite so vulnerable. But it was fine! She liked it! All was well, for a little while.

Until the next time I showed someone something I’d written. And the time after, and the time after, and… yeah, every single time I have shown anybody anything I’ve written. Every. Single. Time. I am never not terrified. I compare it to handing someone a baseball bat, closing my eyes, and waiting for them to hit me with it. Even the people I trust, the people who I know appreciate my writing and would never insult it.

Because that’s the thing. My plot, my characters, my worldbuilding? Critique away. If it is constructive and presented only with the intent to improve my story, I welcome it. But my writing, my use of words, my sentence structures and my love, my adoration, my obsession with the rule of threes (see what I did there?)… those are me. Those are as me as I get. That is who I am as a writer.

They say you need a thick skin to be in this industry, and I believe it. Because these are not just words on a page to me. These are pieces of my soul YES I KNOW IT’S CORNY but that’s how it feels. When I write, I am showing people a part of me that I do not wear out in the open. I am showing you what lives in my head, in my heart, and I don’t know, my stomach? I’m sorry, I needed a third thing there, damn you rule of threes.

Some of you have stumbled upon my other project, It’s Only Words. It’s an instagram account I keep to play with words more, to process emotions and events in my life/in the lives of those around me, and THE most vulnerable writing you will ever find from me because it is not hidden behind characters or in make-believe worlds. It took me a long time to reach the point of making that account public, a long time for me to connect it to my website, and an even longer time to actually point it out to anybody.

So, here. I am handing you each a baseball bat. And I am asking you not to hit me with it.


“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

– Ernest Hemingway

On My Publishing Journey (So Far!)

You guys… All That We See or Seem is going to be a book. A real book. A book you can order on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or a number of other places, a book you can hold in your hands and flip through and bookmark and read. (Or download onto your Kindle and read the new-fashioned way!) It’s everything I wanted for this book. I adore this story and these characters, and I so badly wanted them to have a life out in the world.

How did I get here? Well. It’s been a journey. Total cliché, I know, but looking back, it really feels as though it has been. My sister had the dream that inspired this book way back in early 2014. I can still remember standing in her kitchen when she told me about it. A dream about a girl who falls in love with a boy she meets in her dreams. Super meta. Some day, once the book is out and you see what direction I took it, I’ll tell you about the many weird directions we originally discussed this story going.

So from there to here… a little over three years. Granted, some of that is slacker time. I would write intermittently and noncommittally, working on it in fits and starts, and it wasn’t until mid-2015 that I fully buckled down and committed to writing this story. I finished my first draft in February 2016, and then I attended the Aspiring Writers Workshop in March 2016 and learned a mind-blowing amount and realized that I could do so much better. So I got home and rewrote the book from scratch in about three months. Obsessively. I don’t know what else I did over those three months. I assume I went to work and ate and slept? But all the while, my head was firmly in my book.

I did a round of revisions, sent it out to my five wonderful beta readers, did another round of revisions based on their feedback, then went back in to trim some 7k words (I call that stage “hell”), and finally had it ready to start querying in September 2016.

The querying process as a whole? 10 months of refreshing my inbox and stressing out. Over the course of those 10 months, I had 15 full requests and 1 partial. I got a lot of positive feedback, but it wasn’t until I spoke with Janeen Ippolito over at Uncommon Universes Press that I felt the enthusiasm of someone truly believing in my book and wanting to make it a reality.

It should also be noted that it was #PitMad over on Twitter that first got the attention of UUP. I can’t recommend Twitter contests like this enough for getting the attention of agents and editors. This was the pitch:


Based upon them liking that pitch, I sent them a query on June 8, 2017. On June 29, they requested the full manuscript. And on July 5, they told me they would like to move forward with publishing my book.

One of the best parts of all of this: I get to write the sequel! I had heard the (entirely logical) advice not to write the sequel immediately after writing the first book, because if the first book doesn’t sell, why bother with the second one? Which was honestly a little heartbreaking for me, leaving my characters with their unresolved stories and unfinished business. But, it made sense, so I moved on to a different novel which I’ve been working on for the past several months.

But now… Book 2! I could not be more excited to dive back into this story and get reacquainted with Reeve and Bran and Arden. (You’ll meet them soon, promise.) They get to have an end to their story after all, and I am incredibly grateful for it.

So, all good things. One of my biggest life goals is to be a published author, and it’s on its way to coming true. Thank you all for coming along with me on this. Everyone’s enthusiasm and congratulations have meant the world to me.

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela

It Takes a Village

Actually sitting down and writing a book is a fairly solitary pursuit. It’s me and my laptop, sitting in a room in silence, watching a cursor blink annoyingly back at me. It is a story that lives in my head, and my head alone, waiting for me to find the words – the right words – and get to typing. Nobody can do it for me, and for the most part, I can’t write with distractions. So it’s a solitary pursuit.

In that way only, though. In every other way, it takes a village.


The village starts with my sister. She is the first person I discuss story ideas with, the first person I bounce plot lines off of, the one I turn to when I cannot think of what to name a character. (True story: I am terrible at coming up with names. Once I hear a name, I will know if it fits what I’m looking for, but coming up with them… nope. Awful. My sister, however, loves it and is therefore my go-to name generator.) The day I finished my outline for my New Project, I gave it to her, and only her, to read. We discussed. I got her support and enthusiasm, which fueled my fire for the story.

From there, the circle expands. A few of my closest friends also serve as my earliest readers, and the ones who don’t read for me still listen to me whine about plot holes or writer’s block or the querying process. Their support and feedback has proven absolutely invaluable to me, and without them, I can guarantee that ATWSOS would not be what it is. And as I am immensely proud of that book, it means a lot that they helped make it what it is.

Beyond the friends who have been my friends since before writing was such a huge part of my life, I have the friends I have made because of writing. My writer friends. They are the ones who get it, because they have lived it. Because they are living it alongside me. They know the frustration of searching for the right words, as well as the joy of solving a gaping plot hole. They know how painful each rejection in the querying process is, how much each full manuscript request feels like you’re handing an agent a baseball bat and hoping they won’t beat you with it. The writing community is something I only discovered after I completed the first draft of ATWSOS, but it has changed the game for me. It’s given me a support system I didn’t know existed, and one for which I am so very grateful.

So yes, only I can sit and write my book. Only I can put the ideas floating in my head onto paper. But there’s no way I would be able to do it without the village that surrounds me, buoys me, cheers me on through it all.

“Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don’t have to makes speeches. Just believing is usually enough.” – Stephen King

Finding Time to Write

One of my greatest struggles – one of everyone’s greatest struggles – is the careful balancing act of making time for all of the things, all of the activities, all of the people you love the most. Not wanting to short-change any part of it. Not wanting to say no to people when they ask to see you, or ask a favor of you that will take up time.

But, as I discovered when I was in the gory depths of my second draft of ATWSOS, it is absolutely essential. I had to say no, and I had to say it often.

One of the wise mentors at the retreat last March made the brilliant analogy of treating writing like a part-time job. Scheduling time to write and sticking to it. Not viewing it as flexible, or moveable, or negotiable. If it’s scheduled, it’s required. It’s my job. I have to do it. And that simple little mind trick had a monumental impact on how quickly I completed my second draft.

Whereas I meandered my way through Draft 1, completing it in almost exactly a year, I powered through my second draft in just over three months. I blocked off evenings and portions of weekends to dedicate to writing. I set word goals for each writing session, and I stuck to them. I am the type of writer who can’t bring myself to write an ugly draft, who can’t move on until I’m happy with every word I’ve chosen, so I need time to sit and really focus. If I’m going to write, I need at least an hour, preferably two or three.

In order to stick with my schedule, though, I knew that I’d have to be reasonable. For instance, I knew that at least one evening a week, I go over to my sister’s house to spend time with her and my four nephews. I knew that I had to have a night to catch up on shows on my DVR (okay, “had to” might be a stretch, but it felt necessary). I left gaps for those things. Sometimes I had to slide a writing block over, like if my sister was available Tuesday night instead of the usual Monday night, or if I had a friend who wanted to come watch a show with me, but the writing block never got cancelled. It got moved a day earlier or a day later.

And yes, there were days when I’d come home from nine hours of work, of staring at numbers on a computer because that is my day job, and the last thing I’d want to do is spend my evening in front of a computer, as well. That is where I didn’t make it optional, though. I made it that part-time job. I made myself at least open the laptop. At least open the document. Back up a bit, read what I had written last time. And then, the story would sweep me back up, and I’d inevitably want to continue. To add a little to the story. And a little would almost always turn into a couple thousand words.

Last night, as I left my sister’s house after dinner, I said to her, “I don’t feel like writing tonight.” But my short story was late, and so when I got home, I made myself open the laptop. And when I typed that opening sentence, it was like a balm to my soul. It was a moment of shaking my head at myself for thinking that writing was a chore instead of what it actually is: a pleasure. A delight. A necessity. The next 2500 words made it onto the screen in less than two hours, and I am so proud of that story. (It’s this one, if you’re interested.)

So to summarize, I guess I don’t find time so much as I make time. Because writing fills my soul in a way I sometimes forget unless I’m actually doing it, and my dream of becoming a published author will never be realized if I don’t write, and write, and write some more. If I don’t put in the hours, and put in the practice, and open my laptop, and type one letter after another. After another, after another.

After another.

After another.

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan

The Opening Line

To me, as a reader, the very best part of opening a new book is reading that first line. It sets the tone for me, tells me what to expect from this book. Is it heavily descriptive, setting-based? Is it some kind of punchy bit of dialogue? Is it a short, *bam* kind of sentence that sucks you right in? And the books I love the most… I can recite their opening lines from memory.

He nearly called you again last night. Can you imagine that, after all this time? He can.

It’s been a few years since I’ve done a reread of one of my favorites, Seven Types of Ambiguity by Elliot Perlman, but those few lines that kick off the whole topsy turvy book are glued to the inside of my brain. The use of “you” in it, the familiarity of it… It is one of my favorite book intros of all time.

It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.

Talk about a *bam* kind of line. I was instantly yanked into The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, wanting to know why someone was going to die, why it always happened on the first of November, how it would come about. There was no chance of me reading that line and then putting the book aside.

I’ve been locked up for 264 days.

I just read Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi this past weekend, in two sittings. Maybe not read so much as devoured. I wasn’t sure anyone could ever top what Maggie Stiefvater’s writing does to me, the amazement I derive from her turns of phrases and metaphors, but Tahereh Mafi has been giving her a run for her money. And that first line, just like Maggie’s, pulled me right on in.

And so I placed a lot of weight on the opening lines of ATWSOS. I have several possible intros sitting in a Google Doc somewhere, which I should just delete because they’re all awful. Part of the reason I struggled is because I wasn’t sure where to begin my story at first. It was originally going to start way back in time, with a wizard and a curse, but I realized quickly that this story is Reeve’s, and as such, the opening lines had to be hers:

I wake up in the same place I always do, the same sense of dread in my stomach. 

It stayed that for a long time, and in many ways, I still consider it the start of the story. But it’s not the first thing you’ll see when you open my book. Because I am a person who loves a prologue.

There are mixed feelings about prologues within the publishing industry and amongst readers. I’ve heard of some people skipping right over them, which frankly appalls me, because personally… I adore them – if they’re used correctly. And as my prologue evolved through revisions, I discovered that mine was not being used correctly. It was really freaking long, as well as essential to the plot. If anyone was to skip it, they would be extremely confused. And so my prologue became Chapter 1, and my opening line became the first line of Chapter 1, not the first of the book. The very first sentence became and remains:

There is a distinction to the sound of skin torn from bone.

And I love it. It sets the tone I needed set, an eerie sort of vibe, preparing the reader for what’s about to come. Because skin gets torn from bone a lot in this book, you guys. A truly unfortunate amount, for the residents of my fictional world.

All of this is to say… I finally came up with the opening line of my next novel. After a few failed attempts that sat uncomfortably in my brain, and then even more uncomfortably on paper, it came to me in my car, in the silence, my speakers broken and my brain free to wander every which way. It was truly a eureka moment. I was feeling really stalled, because of the importance I place on that first line, but this line came to me, and swam pleasantly around in my head for the rest of the drive, and when I typed it out that first time… It felt right. It felt necessary. It felt like what I want the whole book to feel like.

And so I have finally, officially, begun my next project.

“The real art is not to come up with extraordinary clever words but to make ordinary simple words do extraordinary things. To use the language that we all use and to make amazing things occur.” – Graham Swift

Short Stories are Writing Playgrounds

I could spend hours, days, weeks talking your ear off about the wonderfulness of the retreat I went on this past March, the inaugural Aspiring Writers Workshop hosted by Madcap Retreats, but for right now, I’m going to focus on one piece of the wonderfulness: the creation of Band of Dreamers.

Inspired by The Merry Sisters of Fate, my writing partner Jenna and I decided to write a weekly short story based on a long list of prompts we created. I had never written a short story before, and the idea of writing a fully-realized story in such a small amount of words was daunting. Jenna and I originally set the word limit at 1,000, but our first attempts blew that limit out of the water. We decided to give ourselves more flexibility, and I believe my first story came in right around 2,500 words.

From that first story, though… I’ve been hooked. After over two years spent working on the same novel, taking little breaks each week to divert my mind and explore fresh new prompts was vital. Sometimes I’d be resentful of the need to shift focus away from the book, but in the end, I’d always appreciate it. And in return, writing short stories has had a monumental impact on my writing.

Because short stories are really and truly a writing playground for me. I get to explore themes and metaphors, character traits and setting descriptions, moods and emotions, and play with them freely. In each of my short stories, you’ll find some turn of phrase or metaphor that is purely me playing. One of the examples that comes to mind is from a story I wrote called Soul Song, about a girl who can heal others but loses a piece of her soul each time.

She doesn’t look away from his eyes, but she sees in her periphery that the rest of him is also an ocean, that his face is an ocean and his body is an ocean, all of it swaying, lapping wonder. She thinks to herself that she wouldn’t mind swimming in this particular ocean.

I remember writing that and thinking to myself for a moment, “Well, that is ridiculous. A face and a body can’t be an ocean.” But something about the imagery or feeling of it captured me. I couldn’t delete the words, and I didn’t feel any obligation to do so. Because it’s my playground. I write the stories for others to read and hopefully enjoy, of course, but I also write them for myself, for my own love of words.

If you read the first draft of ATWSOS, and then you read the second draft, I think one of the things you will notice is the evolution of my writing. You will also notice that my heroine cried A LOT in the first draft, but, uh, mostly the evolution of writing thing. I think that you can see my comfort level change, my word-play change, my willingness to take risks with words change. You can see anger as a lit match clenched between two fingers, a storm that turns out to be a hurricane brewing behind the eyes of a damaged man, the stillness of the forest fall in another man’s green eyes.

Words are now my swingset, my slide, my seesaw. And that is all thanks to the short story project.

“A short story is the ultimate close-up magic trick — a couple of thousand words to take you around the universe or break your heart.” – Neil Gaiman

The Next Thing

After 2.5 years spent almost exclusively in the world of ATWSOS (you’ll see that acronym frequently from me – it stands for my first novel, All That We See or Seem), with only brief forays away from it to work on short stories, it’s been really hard to move on. Because – this is heartbreaking and don’t even bring it up to me if you don’t want me to be really dramatically depressed about it – I’m not supposed to work on the sequel to ATWSOS. All advice is to move on to a brand spanking new project, in case the first book doesn’t sell. So I’m leaving my characters hanging a little bit, and I feel a lot of guilt over it. I’m battling an overwhelming desire to finish their story.

But, unfortunately… all I can do for now is hope that Book 1 sells someday so that I have the opportunity to write Book 2. Until then, rather than sit with all of my fingers crossed, searching for four-leaf clovers and falling stars to wish upon, I need to start a new project. A new book. I know what it will be, and I am EXTREMELY EXCITED about it. One of the short stories I wrote has been nagging at me for months, insisting that there’s more to that story, and I’m so pumped to write it. I just need to shove ATWSOS aside, let it do its querying thing, and focus on this new project.

I sat down one evening and told myself to at least start an outline. At least feel out a plot. I know a lot of things already about what I want this book to be because of its short story basis, but I need to actually plot this thing out to novel-length. So I sat down, and… I wrote the first chapter.


Confession: I am a pantser. I wrote an outline for ATWSOS before I started the first draft, and then I laughed in its face and wrote whatever I wanted.

But I want so badly to be a plotter! So when it came time to write my second draft, I made a plot map, I wrote scene breakdowns, I was ALL OVER THIS.

And then I ignored them both and wrote whatever I wanted.

The second time around, I kept to my general gameplan much better than with the first draft, but still… I’m not sure I even once referred to my intricate, monstrous, time-consuming scene breakdown.

I wanted to do this new project right from the get-go, with an outline I stick to and a plot map I follow and a scene breakdown I actually reference, but… maybe it’s time to embrace being a pantser. Maybe what I really need to fully step off of the ATWSOS ship and onto the new project ship is an opportunity to play. To write chapters if they want to be written, to write scenes if they’re haunting my brain. To get into the minds of my new characters, in their new world, with their own set of problems that don’t involve nightmares or monsters.

It’s time to get started.

“The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.” – Vladimir Nabokov