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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,

Saving the World... Among Other Things (Beautiful Books #2)

Last time we spoke, I was torn between writing Metal and Bone and Leo Andromedus Saves the World. Well, Leo Andromedus Saves the World won. (Sometimes I fondly call it Leo A., or just Leo. Yeah, it's a weird title. You could also call it The-Book-That-Sky-Was-Barely-Managing-to-Write-But-Is-Now-Cooperating-for-the-Most-Part. Your call.)

1. Is the book turning out how you thought it would be, or is it defying your expectations?
Haha. Um. No.

If you'll recall, in Beautiful Books #1, I said that Emily and Allan were the wild ones, and Leo and Raven were the quiet ones?

No. It totally switched on me. Instead of a quiet, Steve Rogers type, Leo has become an energetic--almost manic--character. Emilie is his logical friend who focuses on facts and rationality. Allan is a flat-out enigma who never speaks and apparently reads minds (cool, bro, thanks for enlightening me on that). Raven is... well, she's a creator; lover of making things beautiful. But for what it's worth, she's wild like Leo, too.

They're perfect together... and they're quite the rebels. Obviously. Since they totally switched the plot on me. (Of course, that's been a trend since they appeared out of nowhere and sabotaged my NaNo plans.)

This is what my characters have to say about my best laid plans.
Other things are a surprise, like the fact that this book takes place in the Pacific Northwest and apparently involves murder.
I also have two new characters, Brooke and Declan, who made my plot 100% more complicated (but somehow, they are worth it).

I'm having trouble staying motivated, but on the whole, things are going really well. They weren't earlier this month, but now I'm starting to get a grasp on the story. There are so many different story threads, all of which were a total surprise to me (the Pantser). It's like I'm finding the story out as I write it, which is amazing. It's the best feeling.

2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
I’m pretty sure Leo Kelly was convinced he was invincible. He feared nothing, and he inspired others to live the same way. If Leo was one thing, it was dangerous. He’d jump off a cliff and not care if he fell at the bottom of it.
And he had three of us who would jump off with him: Allan, Emilie, and me. Maybe that was the dangerous part.

Raven narrates the beginning. And it's a dang good beginning, too. Unfortunately, she doesn't even keep narrating the rest of the novel. Leo does. And then Emilie does. And we don't even know if Leo will narrate a chapter ever again. It's kind of a mess. I will edit it later.

This is pretty much 100% what NaNo is like.
3. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Have you ever tried both methods and how did it turn out?

I'm kind of a plotter, but I'm mostly a pantser. I do this weird kind of plotting called the Headlight Method. I come up with a plot point, then I plan the next one in my head. It seems to work for me.

I have outlined before, particularly in the past. I did this with my NaNo 2011 novel, Silver Tears. It worked fine (though I did never finish the book). However, some of my favorite projects have been unplotted and written as they came to me--Because I'm Irish is one of those, and it's one of my favorite novels of mine to date. So I'm okay with being a pantser. I absolutely love it, actually, because there's something amazing about discovering all the plot twists as they happen. It just can take a while to get into the swing of things, but once I do, I start finding out things I never dreamed would happen in the novel. And that's the way I like it.

4. What do you reward yourself with after meeting a goal?

Usually... Um. ...Nothing? Maybe I should change this.

5. What do you look for in a name? Do you have themes and where do you find your names?

Naming is weird for me. Usually I pick whatever comes to mind. Sometimes I'll see a name and I'll think, "Ooh. I'm using that." Sometimes there are characters that I can't name for years.

I can't even sum up my naming process. It's literally gut feelings, like, "I feel like this character's name starts with A." So I'll Google names that start with A. (One of my favorite sites for this is NameBerry.)

6. What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?

All of them are cool in different ways... and all of them have their weak spots. I love the rush of starting a new project, but sometimes it's hard to know how to continue (or even begin). While middles are the worst to write since you don't know what's happening most of the time, some of the best character development and ~cool stuff~ can happen. And endings are amazing, because ohmygoshyoujustfinishedabook... but sometimes it's impossible to know how to end something.

Upsides and downsides to everything. I don't really have a favorite. I'm being too difficult and overanalyzing this question.

7. Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

I think I'm going to go with Emilie, my POV character. She's pretty deadpan, logical, and sarcastic, so she's fun to right. (Especially since her opinion on magic is less than stellar.)

But Leo is pretty dang awesome too. It's his goal to save the world. (Obviously.) Okay, but Raven is sweet and compassionate and lovable and... feels. And Allan. He's like the rock of the group.

Then there are Brooke and Declan, whom I didn't expect to even exist. They're kind of both being antagonistic right now, but we're working through it.

Declan. What a goober.
8. What kind of things have you researched for this project, and how do you go about researching? (What’s the weirdest thing you’ve researched?!)

For Leo A, I've researched nothing. It's a weird book involving magic and murder, so there hasn't been a lot I've had to research. (I'm sure I'll find something later.) For right now, I'm making it up as I go (and probably wrecking it horribly, but whatever).

As for the weirdest thing I've researched, I've looked up how to gut a deer, as well as different ways to subtly poison people. (I promise it had a purpose. Also, the fruits of my research led me to a poisonous food called cassava. You're welcome.)

9. Do you write better alone or with others? Do you share your work or prefer to keep it to yourself?

I thrive on the motivation that word wars provide, so often I use that to help get myself to be productive. I also like writing alongside friends at the same time because there's a sense of camaraderie that can't be duplicated (and sometimes we even co-write books). I do okay as a solo writer, though, if I can get in the zone.

As for sharing my work... Nah. I have sent snippets and full books to some friends, but overall it's hard for me to share my work. I'm a perfectionist.

10. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!

It's a lot easier for me to write with music. It's almost imperative. I can write about it, but it's really hard. It's background noise more than anything (helpful with a noisy house).

As for time of day, ideally I usually do best in short spurts throughout the day. It doesn't often work out like that because it takes me forever to get up the motivation to write, so by the time I'm writing, I'm cramming in 2,000 words at midnight (or later!).

My writing space is in the kitchen nook, in the middle of everything. So it can be quite the toss-up what will be found there.
What about you? How's NaNo going? Sound off in the comments, and don't forget to enter Beautiful Books!


  1. I totally do the headlight method (I'd never heard of it until now, so thanks). I don't ever write it down but I've got the ideas in my head & I see where they take me to develop the next plot points.

    Also, I'm glad things are picking up for your NaNo novel. If I saw the title "Leo Andromedus Saves the World" on a bookshelf, I'd pick it up and read it just to see what would happen. Magic & murder just make it even better. :)

    1. Yesss. The headlight method is my favorite. It makes things coherent but still leaves enough room for there to be surprises still.

      Thank you so much! Fun fact: You gave me the advice on Twitter to kill someone. So I randomly did, and that paved way to the murder-mystery vibe that Leo A now has. So thank you! *bows and tips hat*

  2. Ack ack ack ack ack! I've fallen in love with your collage. I just want to stare at it... forever. o.O How did you make the watercolor brush streaks and such?

  3. Your story sounds interesting and quirky. I love it when surprises like that happen. It makes writing more fun. I wish you the best on the project! Happy NaNo!

    I did BB too!


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