book two

Conquering Writer's Block

Finally conquering what seems like the longest bout of writer's block has brought me here. I finished the long-awaited Chapter 22, a chapter I have been waiting to write since I got the idea almost two years ago. With this chapter done, I only have five more, plus the Epilogue before BOOK TWO in this series is completed. Notice I said completed and not finished. There will still be many rounds of revisions and edits before BOOK TWO is actually done. But for now, I'm thrilled that I finally finished this chapter!

How did I do it?

Well I stopped over thinking the chapter and the process of writing a chapter. I just sat down, and worked. I wrote word by word without thinking about how it was all going to come together. And almost miraculously, it did come together. I found this really great spot on the Buffalo State College campus and wrote any chance I got and a week later, the chapter was done!

Between finding this place beneath almost-autumnal leaves, and listening nonstop to The Civil Wars, I worked through whatever subconscious roadblock was keeping me from continuing down this road to the end of BOOK TWO. I think writer's block is as simple as tearing down the walls that you, yourself have built in order to keep moving forward. It's as simple as figuring out what tools help you. Tear down those walls. Work on those words. And write.

I mean that's how this whole thing started. It started because I loved to write, because I felt compelled to write this story. And now, all these years and drafts and characters later, I feel like I need to remember how it all started so I can keep heading towards the next part of my journey.

After all, if we're not moving forward, we're stuck. Because we can't go back, and I'm not sure I would want to go back; to the beginning, to a time when no one knew I was writing these books. Because I would lose these people who have given me more support than I ever dreamed. And it is through them that I find the courage to keep working on this series.

These books started for me, and they will end with me. But along the way, I hope to share this with the world, word by word, chapter by chapter, and book by book.

All best,Kayla King.png

Writer's Block

I didn't think I would ever have to utter those two horrible words here, but it seems I am suffering through a bout of writer's block. It's almost as painful to write those words as it is to think about them. I'm sure many of you disagree with this ailment considering I am writing these words here, which must mean I'm fine, right?

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But alas dear, invisible reader, it seems I have been able to write everything else as of late with the exception of Chapter 22 in BOOK TWO. I'm not sure why I am struggling so much.

You see, this chapter should be the easiest thing in the world for me to write. I have been waiting to write this scene since I planned it out a year and a half ago, but now that it's here I can't get past this big blank wall that seems to be standing in my way.

So how am I going to fix it?

Well, for starters, I'm writing here in hopes that I will get some creative juices flowing, or at least trick this blank wall in my head into disappearing for a little bit. I think I've been so busy planning these last few chapters lately that I haven't left room for any of the magic that happens when letters become words and words become sentences and sentences become paragraphs, which eventually become chapters in a story.

Instead, I've broken everything down so methodically that I don't think I've left room for this magic. This person I've become the last few weeks doesn't even feel like me anymore. Sure I usually plan and organize and think about what it is going to happen. But I also let my imagination take over and change things; making them better than I ever could've planned for. I think I've gotten myself into a case of trying too hard when I just need to let the words and ideas flow naturally. 


Since I've found the problem I think I am going to prescribe some Ben and Jerry's Phish Food ice cream, "Dust to Dust" by The Civil Wars on repeat, and some much needed time to let my creative stream flow without man-made prodding or interruption. I hope I can tear down the walls of my writer's block, and continue moving forward.

And in thinking about all of this, I can't help thinking about a book I just read, which deserves some mention here. I finally finished The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman, and I must say I am still thoroughly lost in the world he created. I remember Amy Hempel, a spectacular author, beginning her reading in NYC by sharing something she wished she'd written, and this new work Gaiman has given to the world is something  I wish I could've created. But alas, that story was not meant to find me. I was meant to find a different story, one which haunts me during the day and night, in the shower and the car and in class and at work. And this is the story I am determined to finish before summer. So I'll leave here with a quote from Neil Gaiman:
 

"Words save our lives, sometimes."

All best,Kayla King.png

Finish Line Ahead

I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted anything here. The past month in New York City went by so entirely fast, and before I knew it, I was home again.

While away, I only finished Chapter 20 in BOOK TWO. With that said, I wrote every single day I was there, and even did some serious planning and character development for the series.

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Getting to spend time with like-minded people for a month was so rewarding. And this has driven me to continue working on my craft, and believing in my work. I also met a really great friend who supports my book and my writing.

Coming home from the big city left me missing that concrete jungle where dreams are made of, and because of that, I've had a hard time getting back into the swing of things. I recently did some more character development and planning; finally deciding to sit down and finish Chapter 21.

Let me just preface this by saying, it sucked. Quite simply, the chapter I started in NYC completely sucked by the time I started working on it again. For some reason, cohesion in my chapters only comes when I sit down and write them in entirety. So instead of working on something, which clearly wasn't going anywhere, I deleted the chapter, and started from scratch. This afternoon I finished said chapter, and it ended up being close to 25 pages!

Now most of the pages will probably be cut, but for now, pre-revisions, this amount is rather exiting. And my book is now 279 pages. The finish line is ahead. With only seven more chapters to go, I feel like I can see the light up ahead, and am excited to finish this second installment in the Falling series!

All best,Kayla King.png

Keep Calm and Write?

In the midst of all of the stress and worry about my upcoming trip to New York City in a week, I found myself writing. I'm sure you're quite surprised. Or maybe not, given the content of these posts.

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Anyway, I saw a picture recently, one of those Keep Calm And... kind of things and this one said Keep Calm and Write. Sounds easy enough. And most of the time, it is. Most of the time it's simple to drown out the chaos and write and write until the problematic world I left behind looks like a better version.

But not today.

Today I had so many things on my mind that I found it difficult to block this world out and drift off to the one I've created. But don't worry. I didn't give up. I just continued writing. And eventually, I had a finished chapter. Now with Chapter 18 done, and nine or so more to go until I finish BOOK TWO, I must agree that to "Keep Calm" I must in fact write. And while I have emerged from my world now feeling that apprehension of my month long trip nearing mixed with everything I must do before I leave. For a moment, however, I was calm.

So I suppose even when I am doing rather redundant work in NYC these next few weeks, I will have the opportunity to escape in my writing. Though I will be focusing on the craft of writing in this program, there is something, which too often gets forgotten when this is being taught and studied. And that, my dear friends, is that writing isn't anything unless it is enjoyed: by the writer, the wordsmith, the crafter of words, the author in professional realms. And I won't forget the readers either, the people who like to fall into other places born from words on pages.

This is what I am scared I am going to forget in the next few weeks, though it seems impossible right now. I pray that I remember the keys beneath my fingers, the pen within my hand, and the words that seem to flow from this place within my head, which is inhabited by all the best people, good and evil, but all loved by this writer.

 

All best,Kayla King.png

Long-Term Relationships

Explaining this series like a long-term relationship is the best explanation I can give for this. The Falling series has become my other half.

My family has asked me if I am going to work on other things, and I tell them yes, just not right now. It's not that I don't have other stories and ideas I'd like to work on, but rather, this world needs me right now. And maybe I need it, too. It is a selfishly co-dependent relationship, and I am tied to it in ways my family and my BETA readers can't see.

I constantly find myself writing with the inability to stop,  because I want to see what is going to happen next. I suppose I want another "date." But this excitement is good. It makes me want to keep writing more and more, and really, if that is my biggest problem at the end of the day, I think I'm okay with that.

All best,Kayla King.png

Writing the Right Words

Sitting at my computer, I looked down and realized I was 160 pages into my manuscript! Those numbers, in conjunction with the fact that I just finished writing Chapter 13, mean I am halfway done with writing BOOK TWO!

I seem to be writing like a maniac lately, but I just can't help it! The closer I get to the end, the more excited I get.

In most cases, I need music to write, but for some reason my professor in history has this voice that takes to me to a world of my own creation, which means for almost an hour and fifteen minutes every Tuesday/Thursday I get some solid writing time in while still attending class.

The busier I get, the more it seems like I am able to write in the strangest of places. I'm not sure what this means other than the fact that I just can't help but write. I'm kind of obsessed! In the beginning of BOOK TWO, I didn't feel this way. Fun fact: I struggle with beginnings, but as I've progressed, words just seem to appear. Sometimes I'm not sure where they come from. All I know, is when I read back over my chapters, they work. Somehow I'm writing the right words for this story.

All best,Kayla King.png

Doing Something Right

Sometimes in writing, I have days where I feel like the story just isn't working they way I'd hoped. There are sentences, which feel unnatural, or paragraphs contributing nothing to the forward advancement of the plot of the book, or series as a whole. But sometimes, I have days where I feel like I'm doing something right.

Today was one of the those days.

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 I worked on Chapter 11 in BOOK TWO. I had a brief plan as to how I was going to tackle this chapter, but it evolved into something truly magical when I was done. Looking back over it tonight, it wasn't the words themselves, which proved I was doing something right, but rather the emotions connected to those words.

At times during the writing of this chapter, I found myself welling up, and other times the tears prevented me from seeing the words as I typed them. Alas, I completed the chapter,  and it was an emotional journey with one of my characters. Even though he thought he was taking that journey alone, I was by his side the entire time.

Somewhere between the tears and the tissues, I feel like I have done something remarkable. If my readers care half as much as I do about my characters then I think I'll have done my job. For now, I must suffer through this tragedy of my own creation alone. I might be the only one who knows a life has been lost. It makes me feel so alone, and yet, so terribly close to my characters. They will mourn the loss of their friend as I mourn the loss of my character. There is something about this experience, which has brought me closer to the people who exist within my mind. And through my own sadness, I crave their support.

To the one I cannot name, you know who you are. You will be missed, and loved, and mourned. 

All best,Kayla King.png

The Things We Plan For

Tonight was to be the night I was going to break two more book writing landmarks: the first, finishing Chapter 10 ,and the second, making it past the first 100 pages.

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For myself, I don't like to end on odd chapters when I'm writing so this is part of it but there is something about moving past the first ten chapters that is close to how someone feels on their tenth birthday. Looking back now, the age of ten wasn't exactly the most spectacular, but it said to the world that  single digits hand ended; that much closer to adulthood. So to finish Chapter 10 is a huge accomplishment in my mind. It signifies that I am once again past the single digits;  I am that much closer to completing my book.

In hindsight, passing age 10 was about as amazing as surpassing 12, 15, 17, and 19. I'm 20 now, and I know that as soon as I hit Chapter 20, it won't matter that I surpassed Chapter 10, it will just matter that my book is growing. But 100 pages, now that is something worth celebrating, at least to me. There is something so sweet and spectacular about knowing that a hundred pages have been written. It seems by this time the story is in full swing, and there are no more awkward chapters searching for their place in the storyline. It is amazing, but alas, neither of these landmarks were reached tonight.

My first instinct would be to feel guilty about not writing, about not hitting my goals for the day. I am a very goal-oriented person. I thrive on To Do lists, find success in knowing I've accomplished something that at one point seemed so far our of reach. And because of this, I push myself to finish one project so I can move on to another. Perhaps it was the beginning of another new year with a blizzard outside. Or maybe, the fact that I'm starting school in a week somehow sucked all of the guilt out of sitting and practically doing nothing today right out of my mind.

So today, I didn't reach any new landmarks.

I did, however, watch the series finale of Fringe, and for some reason, it felt like something very big was ending. Though the show was only on for five (short) seasons, so much changed for me in those seasons. I graduated high school, traveled to Europe for a summer, started college, changed my major AND my college. I discovered I wanted to be a writer, got accepted into a writing program, made Dean's list, received a 4.0 GPA, started writing a book, finished writing a book, turned twenty, and hell, I even went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Needless to say, a lot has happened with Fringe recording each week. Somewhere between white tulips, time travel, saving the world, and leaving behind beloved characters for the first time in five years, I just couldn't drag myself to write today. And what's more, I finished a chapter yesterday that wasn't just any chapter. By the time I was done, I felt so emotionally drained I don't think I could've written a successful chapter today even if I tried.

What does this mean for me? What does this mean for me as a writer?

Well I think if today proved anything, it's that sometimes as a writer, I get sucked into my work. And sometimes, the things I plan for seem to take over the other opportunities, which find me every day. Of course, in life, we need to plan for things, we need to make a plan, and follow through. But when do the things we plan for eclipse the things that are happening right now?

I don't want to be one of those people, nor one of those writers, who lets life pass by. And tomorrow I will be able to take everything I felt with the ending of Fringe and One Tree Hill earlier this week and school and work and everything else that creates a familiar buzz that sometimes just needs to be tuned out with a pair of sweatpants and a fuzzy blanket, and I will be able to spin it into my story, because all those feelings will be fresh in my mind.

Sometimes the only things worth staying up for are really good books, Ben and Jerry's ice cream, and amazing tv. For tonight, that was enough for me. As for the things I'm planning for tomorrow...well, tomorrow starts the whirlwind week of revising BOOK ONE with the best friend. We have so much work to accomplish, secrets to share, and lots of laughter to surround us when it feels like 320 pages will never be perfect.

Until then, I hope you, this invisible person I seem to be writing to in this big and scary universe, remembers that sometimes the things we plan for aren't everything.

All best,Kayla King.png

Making Progress

Last night, I broke the fifty page mark in the manuscript for BOOK TWO! And I must say, it feels wonderful! From here, the writing goes so fast (or at least it did in the last book).

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I am scared to admit that for the past month I've been stuck at forty pages, and have had a hard time writing Chapter Seven. I don't why this happens, but some chapters are more difficult than others to write. In the downtime, I have been transferring my character sketches and extra notes into Scrivener so that I have more than one copy. Going through the character sketches allowed me to get reacquainted with characters other than my main five, and I think this is why I was finally able to finish this latest chapter.

When I write, it's not as if the words magically flow from my fingertips to spin themselves into gold. Though, there are times when I read something I've written, and I think to myself: hey, this is kind of brilliant. Too often, I forget what I've written almost as quickly as the space bar is hit.

Somewhere in this trance, I have conversations with my characters, and they show me their lives. It's like a movie flashing through my head as I try to take everything in as fast as possible and write it down. So needless to say, if I don't have a good working relationship with my characters, then our conversations aren't really helpful, and I find myself having a hard time conquering that specific chapter.

My problem character (up until last night) just seemed so awkward, and I wasn't sure how to make her more comfortable around me. But I suppose she loosened up as the chapter is now done, and I exceeded the fifty page mark. I'm not sure if this writing process is cohesive with other writers out there. Maybe it's not the right way. Maybe it makes me feel crazy, but I have found a way to tell a story that I believe in, with characters who I believe in. And I'm not sure it can get much better than this.

All best,Kayla King.png

The Perks of Being Organized: Part Two

As I mentioned earlier, I have a few things I use to keep me organized. The first and most important is THE binder.  In the binder, I have created nine sections: General Information, Character Sketches, Book One, Book Two, Book Three, Book Four, Book Five, Writing, and Notes. In the first section, I have the groupings of the world, a list of casualties throughout the series, and a playlist of songs, which inspire me when I write. 

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The first and most important is THE binder.  In the binder, I have created nine sections: General Information, Character Sketches, Book One, Book Two, Book Three, Book Four, Book Five, Writing, and Notes. In the first section, I have the groupings of the world, a list of casualties throughout the series, and a playlist of songs, which inspire me when I write. 

The second section has genealogical charts, a timeline, and of course, all of the character sketches for everyone mentioned through the course of the series. 

The next sections are completely devoted to each of the books. The first two books have been plotted out chapter by chapter. This allows me to move things around if I don't like how the events are progressing. Since my series begins from five different points of view, this is especially helpful. After finishing BOOK ONE, I found it easier to do intense plotting book by book, because sometimes, despite my careful planning, things change. My characters tend to have minds of their own.  In all five sections, however, I have everything from sketches to floor plans and notes about how certain scenes will eventually play out.

The next section is a writing section. I have a copy of the original 2009 (14 pg.) manuscript as well as the first six chapters from my freshman year of college. While I have two other manuscripts, the one completed in June and the one with the newest round of edits as well, I don't have room for them in this binder as that is close to 600 pieces of paper!

The last section is the notes section, in which I have rough drafts of notes (I save everything). When I feel like I no longer need them, they will be transported to the box.

I started this box a few months ago because the note section of the Binder was getting out of hand. Currently in the box, I have the June manuscript, the majority of my notes, chapter sketches, and anything else that is pertinent to the series. I also have maps (both real and imagined), the notebook, and a leaf with a T on it, which is important, I promise.

Starting this box was one of the best things I ever did in keeping less used things in an accessible place. As I mentioned in Part One of this post, the notebook is one of my other organization tools. My first notebook was from my trip to England where I was supposed to keep a journal, but I'm not very good at keeping up with those. So it turned into book use instead. In here I have very random notes. Once it was filled, it took me days to sort out. That is now in the box, and I've started a new notebook that has sections labeled per book ( a lot of these notes come from the note section on my phone, old envelopes, random scraps of paper, which are transferred here, and then, if possible, stored in the Box).

I have finally created a book board, something I've been waning to do since I finished BOOK ONE. Because today was a Writing Wednesday, I finally had time to put the board together. I started with a piece of foam board, making all the necessary labels for each book. Next I placed a pink post-it next to it to keep track of all the POV's per book. After that, there are larger post-its, which I used to write the five biggest things that happen or drive the plot of each book.

I left space around and beneath those for smaller post-its, which I've written small things that are going to happen, or that need to happen in order for other events to make sense. It's not completely filled yet, and this is good, because it's a working board that will change and grow as the series changes and evolves.

I don't know if I'm crazy for creating all these ways to organize the important information, but this is the way I've been able to wade through the writing process and come out with a story I've loved to read as much as I've loved writing!

All best,Kayla King.png

The Perks of Being Organized: Part One

I just took a quick look at my title and thought hmm...that sounds familiar. It probably has something to do with the fact that I am going to see The Perks of Being a Wallflower this weekend. In any case, I know all about those perks, but the ones I'd like to discuss today are about the perks of being organized.

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I have always considered myself an organized person. And when it comes to the Falling series, it's like my organizational tendencies have become more precise than ever.

Before I started work on BOOK ONE last year, I gave myself a week to organize my notes and thoughts instead of jumping right in to the writing process. As I've said previously, such a delay might have had something to do with my fear of starting this project, but it also had much to do with the fact that I like order. Not chaos.

I am a total perfectionist, which has been the hardest thing to overcome in writing this series, because too often I get caught up in making something perfect right away, and in the process, all I do is stress myself out. Even now, as I look at the book board I made today (I'll get to that in part two), the fact that the colors are out of order kind of maddens me, but I digress. Through the past year, I have had to find my own way of organization for the Falling Series. Some things have worked, and other things didn't. I'm not sure how other people tackle this arduous process, but for me, I had to discover that I was a visual learner, and to keep this in the back of my mind at all times.

What does this mean?

Well, for me, this means I need to see things planned out: sketched, written, and plotted for complete understanding. Until then, it's just a bunch of weird scenes or images, which might flash through my head. I began with a binder. THE binder. Without which, I'm not sure how successful I would be telling this story. After the binder, came the notebook and after the notebook was filled, then came the box. I've been using these items for the past year, but upon starting BOOK TWO, I added a few more things to my organizational arsenal. I have created a bigger map of my world to use for reference. Plus I've added proper plotting (with color coded post-its, of course). And today, I finished my book board, which is what prompted me to write all of this down here.

You might be wondering: what are the actual perks of being organized? 

For me, the perks of being organized have happened at the most unexpected times. During my day to day writing process, I can usually remember specific things that are pertinent to the chapters I'm working on. But occasionally, (as I have found with starting the second book), I have to introduce things I know will be important later on. This is where the biggest perk of being organized comes into play. Because I have basically plotted out the big things in the series, I have what I need to reference something such as a bracelet, which will become important in BOOK FIVE. I can go to that section in the binder, and reference how it looks to use in the first book to ensure later on that the reader will understand.

While this is the most important perk I've found so far, there are others. For one, people don't think I'm a hoarder, and that is because I cleverly hide all the evidence in color coded tab dividers and fancy boxes. Another perk would be the convenience of knowing I have everything I need in one place so if I ever need to move my home office (my couch) with me, it's fairly easy to do. Want to know exactly how my arsenal of organization works? Check out The Perks of Being Organized: Part Two!

To Be Continued...

All best,Kayla King.png

The Magic of Letting Go

For the most part, I absolutely love my characters. Even the villains. 

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Actually, there are times when I find myself more interested in their backstories than my main characters.' I know this probably sounds strange, and that is the main reason why I'm saying it. To the outside reader, these people may at first seem seeped in the bad, but I know why they've become dark, what they are willing and unwilling to do; the nature of their moral fiber.

Putting such thoughts aside, I do think it's important to note that I've struggled with two minor characters for the past few months, and I've finally made an important decision. These two problematic charcters have been discontinued.

This may sound harsh, or perhaps it might even sound like I am giving up.

For those of you out there who are writers, I hope this post may help you. I want you to understand that yes, this is harsh, and yes, in a way, I did kind of give up. Just to add a little clarity to this situation, there are currently 45 characters who exist in my world. Not all of them are active or quite alive just yet, but they are somewhat pertinent to the story.

In this respect, I don't feel like I'm quitting by abandoning characters from my story. Now that I am working on the second book, it stands to reason that if someone hasn't found their place, they may not fit. This is something I wish I would've discovered earlier into my writing process, but what I have discovered with this series is that I'm learning along the way. If I'd read something like this somewhere else, I'm not sure I would've listened. I'm certainly not going to say others out there should listen to me. My hope is, however, is that by documenting it here, I will remember this lesson, and remember that I am still learning. And that's the magic of writing. 

All best,Kayla King.png