Turn the page

Yesterday morning, at around 7:45am, I finished the second draft of hail the pumpkin king –a novel whose first draft I finished almost a year ago today (I wasn’t writing Draft 2 that whole time, I swear, just for about 4 months on and off).

This is the first book I’ve written multiple drafts of while also working full-time. It’s also the first book whose first draft I’ve underwritten. And just when I feel like I’m learning things, I look up the D2 wordcount and there it is: 11,000 words that were not there before.

Still, it’s not all bad. If you recall, this summer I decided I needed a break from blogging and social media to take a f***ing vacation, phrasing brought to you by My Depleted Vocab, you’re welcome. I took about a week and a half off from social (well, social for pleasure; my job is social media management), and then came back… slowly. I haven’t really posted much of anything in the past few months. I’ve stayed off-blog.

I’m here to report that the hiatus really did help my tired, burnt-out heart. But not for the reason I thought it would.

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Even if He does not

So. This has been a week.

Today while I was scrolling through Instagram, I was struck by how my own posts really don’t accurately reflect the state of my heart. And all of a sudden, I felt this bizarre and urgent need to ask how everybody’s doing. To ask how you’re doing.

Or maybe it’s not so bizarre. I guess I’ve been asking that question a lot this week.

On Tuesday, the public transportation systems in Brussels were attacked by terrorists and just like that, 31 lives went out like candles. That was halfway around the world, and yet most people I know felt it hard, like we were reliving 11/13 Paris or 4/15 Boston all over again. Then the next day, just as we thought we could wake up to a better world, a woman was fatally shot outside my workplace in Skid Row.

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5 ways to revise a 1st draft

Diving into my first draft revisions this time around feels freakishly different than last time.

The last time I started a second draft, it was 2012-ish (…WHAT IS TIME, YOU GUYS). I had never revised a novel before, and I thought I was going to shift a few commas around and have a bestseller on my hands.

It took me five drafts and three years to figure out that I am not, in fact, historical fiction Jesus. So, like, my first drafts? Yeah. They don’t come out perfectly the first time.

I know, right. *brains* *’splosions* *side-eye*


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I finished a novel. Again.

On Saturday, October 17, I sat at my dining room table in my empty apartment and accidentally wrote 8,500 words over the course of eight hours. By 6:40pm, I was staring at a blinking cursor after the word “END” and thinking, What. The hell. Just happened.

I texted a few writer friends who knew I was working on this novel, that I’d just finished the first draft of hail the pumpkin kingI texted my parents, who sent me a lot of pumpkin and crown emojis.

Then I collapsed onto the couch where I stayed for two hours, staring at the ceiling and listening to the same angsty David Bowie song over and over.

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hail the pumpkin king: #FirstDraftSeries

Click here to see more of my #FirstDraftSeries on IG!

Click above to see more of my #FirstDraftSeries on IG.

Hi. I’m currently attempting to meet several deadlines and will soon disappear until December probably. But I wanted to just pop by to say I’m in the home stretch of the first draft of my WIP hail the pumpkin king.

Two days ago, I broke 100,000 words in the draft and admittedly sort of hated myself. This is because my first draft of Privateer was 135,000 words long and editing that sh*t was not very nice, precious.

BUT then I decided, you know what, self-loathing is dumb, I should really be impressed that I actually keep 100K words just lying around in my brain. So I told myself I was going to finish the first draft by Halloween, because I figure… I can totally do this in a little more than two weeks, right? Right. Sure. Good.

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Confessions of a plotter: why I’m “pants-ing” my novel


Shut up. SHUT UP.

About me.

RAPID RECAP: You may or may not remember my post from back in July when I documented my decision to embrace the insanity that is early morning writing.

I  then did the 777 Challenge and shared a 7-line blurb from my current novel-in-progress hail the pumpkin kingwhich is sitting at a lovely 85,000 words right now and on the downward slope (please, God). I don’t usually do blog challenges, but then, I also don’t usually write first drafts that are shorter than 100K, so there’s a first for everything.

THE POINT: this novel has had me doing a lot of things that I don’t usually do while writing, including but not limited to:

  • Not outline
  • Write in the early mornings
  • Sketch my characters
  • Not outline
  • Post videos of myself live-writing part of a chapter
  • Create a “story bible” to help myself remember all the character names and world-building details I’ve totally pulled out of my… brain
  • Not outline

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Writers who retreat together

Last Friday, I crammed a duffle bag full of crap I probably wasn’t going to need, stopped at LA Union Station to pick up one of my favorite fantasy-writing gurus Emily Warren, and drove us a hundred miles south to the Ranch.

And we ended up here.

And we ended up here.

It was a few months ago at a café in the Arts District when I first suggested that the three of us—Emily, me, and our friend and fellow writer Spandana Myneni—go on a writers’ retreat. I’d only known them for a couple months, after meeting up throughout the year (including at YALLWEST).

But, y’know, it seemed like a good idea. YOLO and whatnot.

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