falling series

A Little Spark

I don’t have many words to spare this morning as I work toward today’s word count goal. Last night, however, I reached 25,164 words; the halfway point of NaNoWriMo 2018! To be honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to take part this year because I couldn’t fathom going back to that place from last year. But I’m doing it. Throughout writing, it feels somewhat like madness. Some days, it’s a little spark. Other days, it’s a blaze. Yet, it’s kept me going in these beginning days of NaNoWriMo!

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The last time I wrote here, I was just weeks away from the publication of my first collection, These Are the Women We Write About. Amidst waiting for that book, I was outlining a short story, which today, is published in Mistletoe & Magic: A YA Holiday Anthology.

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My short story, “in the Valley of Stars,” features three women from and a hint of magic from current work-in-progress. The anthology is now available for purchase from Amazon as an ebook for $.99 for one last day. And all too soon, print copies will be available, too, just in time for the holidays! There is also a giveaway running to include the authors’ books (my collection included), which can be entered HERE!

Now all these months later, that short story helped bring me back to my NaNoWriMo project as it grows like every story: word by word by word. There’s a very good chance I’ll “win” NaNo this year by making it to 50,000 words. But there’s also a chance I might finish the novel I dreamed up 9 years ago. I like the odds.

And yet, to say the writing is easy would be nonsensical. To say anything other than writing is work would be a lie. I love the work. And some days I stare out at the blank sea of a wordless page with blurry eyes knowing I should get to bed lest suffer the next day at my day job.

This time, however, the work of this story is urgent, even when the page appears wordless. I want to finish this not so first draft. I need to write this book. Whatever it takes: tired mornings, notes on my lunch break, talking out plot points with myself in the dark of night. I’ll make it happen. It’s what I do. And while I drifted from that place in September and October, I’ve written myself back to better. So here’s to better writing. Here’s to progress. And here’s to finishing my next book by the end of the month!

All That Remains

Amidst drafting my current work-in-progress, I have found myself reevaluating my writing process. With DREAM CATCHERS still out in the query trenches, I have found this current project to be just as magical as it's always been. After nine years working on the Falling series, it feels like I finally know what BOOK ONE needs to be. And through this learning process, I've reminded myself how I've grown as a writer and how writing this book can be different than the last four years spent on the Dreamer Duology. 

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What I've discovered since being back in this fantastical world, is that writers can change many things: the process of plotting and writing, revision and editing. But as my best friend reminds, "you can't change your emotional truth." While she may have said this in reference to another moment and memory in time, I've continued to repeat the words through my mind like a mantra. Much can change. But when hurts and heartbreaks and heeded warnings are all that remains, it is best to remember them.

It is with this knowledge that I proceed into the drafting of the WIP, taking my burdens with me. It is the best gift and the greatest curse of writing that we may spill ourselves into fiction. Such remains a reality in this WIP. There is darkness and there are shadows within these new pages. But there is also goodness and light and hope; everything I know to temper the harsh reality of feeling too deeply about the world and its inhabitants.

As I continue to craft the beginning of this book, I won't try to change my emotional truths because to do so would deny the validity of feeling. But I will keep writing. I'll keep building a world of my own creation. I will plot and plan because that is the kind of writer I am. Unlike the early experience of writing DREAM CATCHERS,  I won't shy away or detach from writing the difficult scenes within this book, because those are the ones which ring and resonant with truth.

If anything, I have learned what works for me in the here and now instead of focusing on what I can't change about my lyrical style and voice. These are the things which I've never had to force, because they've always been there. I'm not sure it's worth dwelling on those things when there is so much power to be had in creating myself anew. So this time, I will write the chapters in a linear way. I will share them with my critique partner as I go. I will check in with the story from time to time to make sure character motivations are clear, that voices remain distinct, that what I am writing feels true to the story I'm trying to tell. But such are the fickle foes of writing.

Much as I would like to imagine writing to be magic, it is work. Alas, it is work that I so love. Maybe that emotional truth is the greatest of all because it reminds I will make this story into something real. And even as the world tries to break my spirit, as people depart and new ones emerge along this writing journey, I will cling to the dream of the Falling series and all it has done to make me into the writer I am today. 

Should you find yourself in the middle of burning bridges broken beyond repair, or breaking bad habits, writing or otherwise,  I hope you'll remember that even if you can't change your emotional truth, you can acknowledge the fear, the hurt, the joy, etc. and use it to grow. Become better. Remain true. 

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A Little Perseverance

Today is the last day of National Novel Writing Month. Though I managed to reach the 50,000 word goal two days prior to this post, I still wanted to commemorate this ending.

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In years past, I’d always wanted to take part in NaNoWriMo. But alas, other writing projects seemed to dominate my Novembers, and I never felt I could properly commit, and so, I never took part in the magic and insanity that is writing 50,000 words in a month. 

Until now.

For those of you following my journey to publication, you will know I am currently in the query trenches with the novel I conceptualized during graduate school. With that project done, and waiting for agent responses growing by the day, I knew I needed a distraction. This realization occurred last month and afforded me the time to take part in Preptober to get myself ready for the official start date of NaNoWriMo. I took the month of October to begin outlining for a somewhat new work-in-progress; BOOK ONE in the Falling series demanded to be written again. This time I knew it would be better. 

I originally wrote the first book in this series back in 2012, and it was the first novel I wrote. But long before that, I’d written a short story, and from those fourteen pages came the formation of this projected pentalogy, which I outlined in a British literature class during my undergrad. It’s been eight years since I first delved into this world, and it remains one of my greatest loves, and favorite escapes. This story is the one I took to grad school, too stubborn to let go my first semester, and then later set aside to begin the Dreamer Duology. In the three years I spent writing my other novel for grad school, I never gave up on the Falling series. Though I wasn’t writing in that world every day, I spent that time getting to know my characters better, and brainstorming all that will come to pass over the course of these five books. 

And now, at the end of NaNoWriMo, I have 51,032 words of this new draft, and it’s just as magical as I remember all those years ago. 

Before undertaking this challenge, I feared (what I now know was somewhat irrational) that I couldn’t write another book. Maybe other writers experience this same thing after working on one project for multiple years. You see, the novel I’m querying was not easy to write, and if you ask those closest to me, they might mention the toll completing this novel took on me and my writing.  Now that’s not to say I don’t love that book. I wouldn’t be querying agents with it now if I didn’t adore what I’d written. But the actual process was difficult. And through it, I’d started to doubt the magic of writing. 

But I digress. 

Starting this newish project for NaNoWriMo proved that writing and drafting are still magic, and not just because there is a fair bit of fantasy within this WIP. Writing this story reminded me how extraordinary it feels to get swept up into a world crafted entirely from your own mind. And while there were days more difficult than others this month, days when I did not write a single word, I still achieved that 50K goal. 

I think it is a common misconception that writers need to write every day to be writers. Frankly, that’s bullshit. Most writers, myself included, have day jobs, which pay bills and student loans. And we have family and friends and pets and other obligations, which sometimes prevent the act of writing every day from actually happening. But through NaNoWriMo, I discovered there is a difference between writing every day and writing consistently. Though I went four consecutive days without writing, those days away were much needed to prevent creative burnout and to brainstorm a rather difficult chapter. But still, my mind never left this fictional world I so love. 

As I scroll through the 183 pages I managed to complete thus far, I know I’ve tackled something important. I also discovered a new tool to help drafting, which was born out of my proclivity toward visual learning. With the help of Pinterest (which for those interested in what inspires my many fictional worlds, you can follow my book boards HERE) I created inspiration boards for each chapter, which are pictured below! In doing so, I had to narrow down what I was trying to accomplish most, which helped in the process of outlining, all while keeping me on task. 

And with the help of friends cheering me on from near and far, a fantastical Spotify playlist curated the month before, and many cups of coffee, I have a start to a story I’d always hoped to return to one day. 

I’m not sure where the querying process will take me in the months to come, but with the start of this newish story, I now have an escape for when rejection feels too real or the world feels too wrecked. I’ll make my art. I’ll write my stories. And with a little perseverance, and a little uphill climb (and maybe, even the Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack), I’ll write the next 50,000 words. 

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A Very Merry Unbirthday

Although yesterday was Lewis Carroll's real birthday, I thought it would be more appropriate to wait until today to celebrate this amazing writer! After all, today is his unbirthday, a term coined by Carroll himself in Through the Looking Glass. Looking back, Disney's Alice in Wonderland is probably my favorite film from childhood. I used to watch it at my grandma's every time I was sick, and now, I'm just as enthralled with Wonderland. 

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I think it is Carroll's world, among others, that taught me it was okay to have an imagination, to dream, to create a world of my own, which, I now have done with my writing. I still think about the beautiful, mysterious, and dangerous world Lewis Carroll created, keeping that as one of my touchstones as I write fiction, and especially while I write the Falling series.

Despite any controversy that surrounds this story and its creator, I think it's fair to say that he deserves a shout out on his un-birthday for everything his books have given to me. I agree with Einstein who said:

 "if you want your children to be intelligent read them fairytales."

It seems today, so many people are afraid that fairytales and fantasy will rot children's brains, or worse, turn them into practitioners of black magic. And so, they ban these books, they hide them in locked cabinets. But what these people seem to have forgotten is that the heroes in fiction mirror our real life heroes, and so too do the villains.

Before I get too far off on my quest to end book banning, let me just say Happy Unbirthday to Lewis Carroll, and to all you invisible readers out there who are also celebrating your unbirthdays today! 

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I Spy a Writer

I organized all of my writing materials today, and seeing tangible reminders of all I've created proved writing is just as much a part of me as my fingers or toes. I started playing "I Spy," a game I so loved as a child. I guess I loved it because even then, I was a tiny observer; someone who loved searching, who loved questions, and clues. No one ever guessed mine because I always picked the most minuscule thing, finding it so beautiful.

Today I did the same thing! I played "I Spy," and discovering I am a person who has had the strength and dedication to finish writing a novel, to revise it, to believe in it, and to keep going with a vision I've had for almost five years now.

I realized I am someone who is a collector of sorts. I have envelopes stashing every note I've every taken for the Falling series, all of my files for character development, and copies of every manuscript I've worked on, showing just how far I've come as a writer. I have folders with first drafts, revisions, and feedback. And I have it all stored away so someday down the line, I can look at all those ideas.

I've learned I'm someone committed to the craft of writing. I have over nine books, which have to do with this craft. Sure, I've only read about half of them, but it is my dedication to being a better writer, which I unearthed among these books.

I also found that I take advice (well some of it anyway) very seriously. I have over eleven notebooks filled, or almost filled, and it's all because I read you should always keep a notebook handy. Now I have a notebook or journal for everything, and I love that I can tuck away notes and quotes and book ideas until I'm ready to see them again

Along the lines of being organized, I also realized that I am somewhat binder obsessed. I have seven binders right now, spilling over with too many pages. I have a binder labeled Writing, which houses everything I've ever written from a limerick about pickles written back in seventh grade, all the way up to the latest short story I've finished.

I have a Keep Calm and Write On binder, keeping all of the feedback I've gotten for BOOK ONE. I have one binder with general information, character sketches, notes, and even sections for every book I've planned in the Falling series. There is a binder for poems, short stories, and even other book ideas I'd like to pursue. I have a skinny binder with the pages of my first manuscript, one which shall not be named. And the behemoth of them all is my binder with the research I've done on publishing with practice query letters and feedback from my earliest BETA readers. Somehow, having all of that stored in brightly-colored binders assures me I'm organized, I'm passionate; I am a writer.

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Positive Thinking

Sometimes all it takes to make things happen is a little positive thinking! After tackling all the items on my list today, I was feeling like I needed to make a plan for my writing for the next two months. Here's the plan:

December--I would like to finish edits on BOOK ONE! I also plan on finishing the last five chapters of BOOK TWO before the New Year. I'm not sure if it's going to happen, but I'm going to try!

January--I plan on doing two read-throughs of BOOK TWO before I start revising. I've spaced the two read-throughs a few weeks apart so I can leave a little time to let everything simmer.

Also during the month of January, I'll be in New Hampshire for my graduate school residency, and other days will be reading days. I think as writers, it is important that we still read. And for myself, I know I need to read, because I love words and paper and ink and falling into the pages of a story.

Looking at what I've planned for the next few months makes me see how much work I still have to do in these books. But it also shows just how far I've come as a writer! Even if I don't meet these deadlines each day, I'm not going to stress. Life happens, and it's these great moments in life, which help me the most as a writer. I can't just ignore them. Lately, however, I've had a difficult time getting everything done. But with my undergrad completed, I feel like I finally have the time to devote to my book and I couldn't be happier!

There are days when it feels like the chapters will never be finished, and that maybe,  no one will ever want to read this book. But then there are days like today, when I know without a doubt that this book is going to be published. I suppose, sometimes, we need to listen to ourselves, and maybe J.M. Barrie, who said:  

"The moment you doubt you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it." 

I don't want to lose my ability to fly, or to write, or to dream. And I think, sometimes, all we need is faith and trust and pixie dust, or so says Peter Pan. Regardless, I'm going to wake up every day and tell myself that I will get published. And then I'm going to have a cup of coffee, sit down, and write.

The Process of Revision

For the past three months, I have been revising and editing BOOK ONE with the two  amazing peers in room 309 of Ketchum Hall. Our time together is almost done, and so, too, are the changes I've made. Before this whole process, I thought my book was finished, but this experience has taught me the benefits of a writer community when it comes to both revision and editing.

You see, invisible reader, sometimes being a writer is solitary. Sometimes it's lonely, and somewhat painful. But it's also wonderful and exhilarating and rewarding and filled with   characters created from the writer's own imagination! But getting to work and revise with fellow writers is something, which makes this whole process of bettering a manuscript more enjoyable.

I'm sure you've noticed that updates about the progress of BOOK TWO have somewhat stalled for the last few months. But fear not. I haven't given up on this sequel! On the contrary, I've learned that trying to work on revisions for one book while writing the next installment at the same time is just too much.

So what's to come in this new year?

To begin, I will attend my first winter residency of graduate school where I will be able to share this book with another writing community, and hopefully I will be able to make this book the best it can be!

I think it's true when people say you shouldn't rush your first book. It needs time to be revised again and again and again. That's just part of the life of a writer. But even amidst these revisions, the future is bright and exiting! All that's left is to tell myself there is something divine found in the act of this process, and that no matter what, I have a story I believe in. After all, at the end of the day, that's the best a writer can hope for. 

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Oh, The Places I'll Go

After much debate, I've decided I needed to share my exciting news here since it is very much wrapped up in the future of my book. I recently received my acceptance letter to the MFA Fiction program through Southern New Hampshire University!

I will begin my first residency in New Hampshire this coming January, and I can't wait to continue my journey as a writer, and maybe share that experience here!

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This program caters to the development and publication of a writer's first manuscript, and I know taking the Falling series to the mountains of New Hampshire will take me to the life I've always imagined; I'm on my way to a place, which will help lead me toward my dream of publication. 

I can't wait to share my book with other writers and people in the literary world. I think as writers we continue to create work so that others can read our words and stories, our thoughts and ideas. And knowing there will be a place of like-minded people has this acceptance feeling even better! 

Help From a Little Genius

The following is the result of my discussion with my little genius. As previously mentioned, I am a visual learner, and as such, I figured it was about time to break in the new house and fill both of my closets with pictures and post-its. They are, after all, the perfect thing to get those creative juices flowing.

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Why on the inside of the closet? Well for starters I don't even have room for a desk, and second, my senior year of high school, I took AP Ceramics where I had a cupboard all to myself to store my projects, and I covered the inside with pictures, which inspired me. For some reason, I was thinking about that yesterday, and it seemed a good idea to try here.

The smaller closet door is covered in pictures from my trip to England back in 2010, including the Bridge of Sighs in Oxford, which I've been thinking about a great deal as of late (fun fact: it's pictured above!). I like the idea of bridges, and hope looking at this bridge every day will help me cross into more creativity. Among other things that happened yesterday, I also changed the course of the last five chapters of BOOK TWO, because I saw a great scene in my head while in the shower, which is where I usually get the best ideas. But I digress. I chose pictures from England because they are both beautiful, and they remind me of a time when I felt brave, and free, and inspired; all things needed to write.

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The larger closet door has the origin story behind this series, as well as maps, and the entire timeline from start to finish with dates and events spanning the frame of the door. Every time I open one of these doors it reminds me how much I love this series, how obsessed I am with creating this world, and how much I love writing. I think those are pretty great things to be reminded of every day.

Hopefully this will inspire me. And maybe this is just the motivation I need to finish BOOK TWO, and complete revisions for BOOK ONE. I guess it's true that a writer's work is never finished, because even when I'm not writing, I'm thinking about writing. This series is on my mind 24/7, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

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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."

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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!

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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 Decision To Believe

Tonight, I am leaving this here as proof that I've made it a third of the way through writing my BOOK TWO!!! It sounds so weird to say that I am writing my second book, because that means that I actually wrote a first book.

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Current updates on BOOK ONE:

I finished revising with the best friend; nineteen hours worth to be precise. I've had various BETA readers giving wonderful feedback, and a few more who still need to read. I've been actively researching agents as well! So what's the next step?

Here is my breakdown for the journey to becoming published:

1.) Wrap mind around the fact that there is actually a book to be published

2.) Get over fear of sending work out and dreading that everyone will hate it

3.) Collect critique forms from valued BETA readers

4.) Write a summary for the series

5.) Write a summary for BOOK ONE

*Side Note: Writing a summary is actually much more difficult than it seems. Writing 311 pages? No problem. One paragraph? The hardest thing in the world!

6.) Write query letters directed to each individual agent

7.) Send out query letters

8.) Pray to the literary gods that someone will like my work

From what I've gathered, the journey to traditional publication is a waiting game, and it starts with finding an agent. In the meantime, I have plenty of homework to keep me busy. Homework, might I mention, that is not getting done to the best of my abilities because my characters can be extremely persuasive in convincing me to write instead.

All best,Kayla King.png

Kill Those Darlings

"In writing, you must kill your darlings." William Faulkner said this, and many other writers choose to agree. Until you come to the point where your finger is poised over the delete button, this doesn't make sense. Growing up, I never thought I would be someone capable of killing. But as a writer, the act of murder is often necessary to rid pages of unnecessary details, scenes, dialogue, etc.

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During the first two rounds of revisions,for BOOK ONE, I didn't  kill much. Sure, I made changes, multitudes of them. I cleaned up plot points, and it felt good knowing that I had finally finished writing my first book. I suppose, because I actually killed a character, I thought that alone might be good enough. Looking back, I know I was scared of actually going through and making big cuts. Maybe I thought if I left any details out that my future readers wouldn't get it. It wasn't until this week, however, that I found out this fear was irrational, and most likely normal for someone who has never done a full round of revisions. 

I could never imagine killing my darlings, but I have to say, I did it. And I haven't broken down. I haven't rethought my entire existence as a writer. On the contrary, I feel more strongly than ever that my book matters. I guess in writing the book I love, I might have written a book other people may love someday.

That's my dream. 

I'm not sure I could live without writing, even if I wasn't actually crafting stories. I think I could be content just writing for me. But now that I have finished revising my book, killed my darlings, and gotten rid of ten pages and three thousand words, I'm not sure it is enough to keep this story just for myself. I want to share it.

So what comes next?

Well, research. Then query letters, belief, and faith. And hopefully, I'm on my way to sharing this story with readers like you.

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