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note to self: i’ll be there for you, always

written june 6, 2021. Photo by Kristine Cinate on Unsplash I have always looked for myself in other people. I think the idea was that they would somehow hold the pieces of me that I felt were missing. That maybe, if I wrapped my identity up in theirs enough, we would somehow make a whole person. It's not healthy to live like this, but I did it anyway — burning through relationships and searching for something I couldn't quite name. It was never enough, not to be myself, but it was never enough to latch my identity to other people, either. I got close, several times — I thought I had reached the pinnacle of self discovery. I thought I had completed myself. But in the end, relying on other people to help build yourself is never a viable way to do things. It's only recently that I've started to become comfortable with the idea of being enough, as I am, on my own. Several years ago, in this same position, I would have searched for another person to attach my identity onto,

Lost Girls & The Saga of Impending Rewrites: Beautiful Books #3

If you're just joining us, welcome! I'm participating in my meme with Cait, Beautiful Books. I'm talking about my novel Lost Girls, which I just finished on December 2nd after writing it during NaNoWriMo. I'm super excited. You can read more about Lost Girls in the previous installments here, and here.

And for the record, the people in the graphic are my three main characters: Jem, Evee, and Hal. In that order. And I love them all. 

1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best), how well do you think this book turned out?

A 6? A 7? It's not all the way there, but I was actually pleasantly surprised with how it turned out. Well, the second half of it at least.

2. Have you ever rewritten or edited one of your books before? If so, what do you do to prepare yourself? If not, what’s your plan? 

Technically I'm rewriting for the first time with another novel, Because I'm Irish. But by the time I get to editing/rewriting Lost Girls, my n00b rewriter status will still stand.

To prepare myself... well, I'm planning to let Lost Girls sit until maybe January, or whenever I get done with Because I'm Irish rewrites. Then I'll probably cry a lot and then try to fix the sagging and confusing first half of it.

3. What’s your final word count? Do you plan to lengthen or trim your book? 
Final wordcount is 53,117. I'd hope to lengthen it, but I think the first round of edits may end up having the opposite effect, since there are some useless plot details I need to take out. Then again, I have to add some scenes so that I don't have a severe case of instalove. So we'll see. I don't think I'll know until I'm actually doing it.

I couldn't find a gif for this, but to quote The Incredibles, "WE'LL GET THERE WHEN WE GET THERE!"

4. What are you most proud of? Plot, characters, or pacing?
Characters. Jem, Evee, and Hal grew leaps and bounds throughout this novel, and now they're in perfect (albeit slightly unstable) emotional states for the sequel.

5. What’s your favorite bit of prose or line from this novel?
(Slightly edited to take out spoilers.)

"I pick up the hoodie, my hands shaking, and press it to my nose. It smells like the sea, infused deep into the fibers, but it also has the earthy smell of him. He was never one to fuss with fancy colognes. Instead it smells like a weird mix of tobacco, chemicals, and peppermint, but it’s [name redacted]; every stitch of it is.

... I will carry on for both of us. [name redacted] is a part of me now; we’re one. I’ll live the life he never got to have. I’ll cure cancer, I’ll help people, I’ll be kind, like he was. I’ll let his love for humanity seep into every portion of my being.

With my life, I will make him proud."

  6. What aspect of your book needs the most work? 
The first half. The Lost Girls plot kind of took backseat throughout the whole thing, so I need to figure out if I am keeping it in or leaving it out altogether. (Which is unfortunate, since that's the title and I'm rather proud of it. Do you think I can make it work? "Why did the Lost Girls go away halfway through the book?" "Well, because they're lost, of course. THE CLUE IS IN THE NAME.")

7. What aspect of your book is your favourite? 
All the plotlines regarding science and major corporations. It was very evil and diabolical and I loved it.

8. How are your characters? Well-rounded, or do they still need to be fleshed out? 
I think they still need to be fleshed out in the text, but as far as in my head, they've grown tons since I first came up with this novel idea, and even from the first Beautiful Books here.

9. If you had to do it over again, what would you change about the whole process? 
I'd put my character Cooper in even earlier, since he turned out to be a major character. I'd also maybe rethink the whole Lost Girls thing, since it wasn't a huge part of the novel, unfortunately. (Yet.)

10. Did anything happen in the book that completely surprised you? Have any scenes or characters turned out differently to what you planned? Good or bad?

Ha. Yes. It started out pleasantly with the appearance of Dr. Susannah Lovelace, my main character's boss. I was not expecting her. (She, along with everyone else, disappeared halfway through the novel--why me?!) Then there was a Barry Allen cameo that took shape and became Cooper Matthews, a character whom I love. Then there was Cooper's sister, Bryn, who helped Jem get out of a sticky situation and promptly disappeared. (And created her own novella centered around her family and her other brother, but more on that later.)

Then there were the lost girls themselves--Joie was unexpected, as were Daiyu and two lost boys, Scrapper and Freddy. And then there was that character I unexpectedly killed. Mm. Yes. Lots of unexpected things. Overall, I'm incredibly glad these things happened. They took my novel from drab to fab.

Oh, yeah. And then there's the fact that Lost Girls now has a sequel. More books to write. Ugh. But also yay.

11. What was the theme and message? Do you think they came across? If not, is there anything you could do to bring them out more? 
Hahaha. What theme? What message? Mostly this was a lot of people running (or wheeling) around and dealing with Bad Things and People Dying.

I kid. I think the theme and message will have to come out through later stages of editing, because right now I have no idea what it is. I think the main goal I had was that I wanted to show Jem coming to terms with the fact that she's in a wheelchair--embracing it, and actually even liking it. I wanted her to realize she wasn't broken like she thought. In some ways, that did come through, but I need to edit some of the scenes to make it more clear and distinct, I think. And, of course, it'll take even more shape in the sequel, I hope.

12. Do you like writing with a deadline (like NaNoWriMo) or do you prefer to write-as-it-comes? 
Both. If not for NaNo, this book wouldn't exist, much less be finished. But at the same time, I do like the freedom of being able to write what I want when I want. So... compromise between the two?

13. Comparative title time! What published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men.) 
Well, first of all, Inkheart meets X-Men is something I want to see now. Write it, my fiends.

Secondly, I guess you could say this is Divergent meets X-Men meets Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. meets The Fault In Our Stars. Weird, yes? I know, I know. This novel is so weird.

14. How do you celebrate a finished novel?! 
I cry of relief and then go start the novels I wanted to write all during November. (Like Because I'm Irish and Metal and Bone.)

15. When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with?
I want them TO WEEP! I want their hearts to be simultaneously broken and cheering over the events that transpire. I want them to miss the characters we've lost, sympathize with the ones that are left living, and completely feel it with every fiber in their soul. (That sounded a bit toooo evil.)

If you want to join us, there's still time! Head over to the Beautiful Books linkup here.

plot details and excerpt copyrighted by sky walden, 2014.


  1. Very cool! I like the name.

    The characters sound interesting too. And the excerpts are very intriguing.

    Divergent meets X-Men. I would totally go for that!

  2. Oh my gosh. I love your comparative titles so so MUCH. Aaand I feel a little better because mine is going up in a day or so and, heh, I felt soooo bad for not putting it up sooner. DECEMBER IS CRAZINESS. lol
    I think there is a sad lack of The Incredibles gifs around the place. I'm always looking for ones and caaaan't ever find them.
    I also want to read Xmen meets Inkheart. ;-)
    YAY FOR THIS BOOK. I love the sound of it and I'm so so glad it finished with awesome potential after that rocky start. ;-)


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