The Story Behind “Our Family” [a behind-the-scenes look at its journey, from awful beginning to unexpected end]

As many of you may know by now, my second published flash fiction came out in March! It is titled Our Family, and it was no easy story to write (as I’ve said numerous times on my various social medias because I cannot get over how crazy this whole process was). Today I want to share more of the behind-the-scenes in hopes that other writers may be encouraged.

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The Set-up

I keep an eye on Splickety Publishing Group’s upcoming themes for their three imprints: Splickety, Havok, and Spark. The theme for their March issue had caught my attention way back last year when the 2018 themes were announced, but I had no ideas for it. And I don’t mean no “good” ideas for it; I mean no ideas whatsoever. But my mind kept circling back to that issue and that theme: Dystopian Disaster.

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Then, less than a week before the deadline, a seemingly unrelated idea I’d had for a while came to the surface, one I’d thought of after all the hurricanes last year.

What about the lag time between the hurricane and when relief starts to come in? What if no relief came at all? What then? What about all those people?

I decided to give this idea a go, to see if it could be worked enough to fit the theme.

Sunday, January 7: 5 Days to the Submission Deadline

I’ve never tried to draft and then edit a flash fiction in so little time. I always want to let it sit and get more distance from it, but there was just no time for that.

I cranked out a rough draft about three teens trying to escape a gang that had gotten control of what little supplies were left after the hurricane. It was violent and intense but with a bright spot of hope at the end. It wrecks the world, I thought to myself.

Tuesday, January 9: 3 Days to the Submission Deadline

After letting the rough draft sit as long as I dared, I cut out the third teen, worked in a twist, and then went in for a little more tightening. It was more intense. More violent. The bright spot of hope nearly nonexistent. It kind of made me cringe.

Out it went to the first line of critique (aka: my parentals). Things were a little confusing with my gang of baddies, so I went in for another round of edits to clarify things. I was also starting to freak out a little about the imminent deadline.

Wednesday, January 10: 2 Days to the Submission Deadline

I finished off draft three, and it took another turn for the worst. Even more violent. Even more intense. And whatever that spot was at the end, I don’t think “hope” is the word to describe it. I was really starting to squirm.

The deadline was so. close. and something significant was still so wrong with it. I had no title and no idea how to fix whatever was wrong. It was something deeper than the violence (I am a firm believer in dark stories because they are truer to reality, more honest about our fallen nature, and they give hope the starkest backdrop to shine against).

But the darkness in this story was just confusing and bleak. The twists and violence were there for shock value more than they told a good story. But off it went to the next wave of critique (aka: my brother Caleb and two others) while I paced and squirmed and cringed, stress levels rising by the minute.

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Thursday, January 11: 1 Day to the Submission Deadline

Two of the three received it pretty well. Some things were still confusing and there were some plot holes that need clarification or removal, but over all they seemed to like it. Which, considering I’d been winging it since Sunday, I thought was not bad. Could be worse, I reasoned.

But the third, Caleb, did not like it. Like, at all. He tried to say it kindly, and I had anticipated such a response from him… but I had only one day left to make changes. Why not just go for more clarification and hope for the best? And, besides, he was just one of several critique people, so why not go with the majority? I couldn’t possibly rewrite it in such a short amount of time and actually expect something good to turn out. Could I?

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This was when I finally started to get a clue. As a little bundle of frustration, conflict, and uncertainty, I finally decided to have a real talk with God about it. Up to this point, I’d just prayed in passing “help me write this story, Lord” or “bless this story, Jesus” or other little nothings in passing when I wrote or prayed, staunchly avoiding really praying about it.

Alas, come Thursday, I was out of options and time, so to God in prayer I went (one would think by this time in my life I would have done this sooner, but unfortunately not).

The rest of Thursday passed more-or-less thusly:

Me: So, um, what’s the deal with this story? Will You help me with it? Should I just send it in basically as is? It’s not that bad, is it?

Holy Spirit: You wrote it by yourself.

Me: Yeah, but it’s not that bad. I mean, I can submit it and get feedback at the very least. The last five pieces have been rejected, so I doubt they’re going to accept this one since it’s kind of a wreck.

Holy Spirit: But what if they do accept it?

Me: Then that would be good…?

Holy Spirit: Would it, though?

Me: Why would it not be?

Holy Spirit: You’re very vocal about Me online.

Me: … Mhm…?

Holy Spirit: But where am I in this story? When people read it, where will they see Me? Are you going to tie My Name to this dark story and call it good? How does this story make My great Name known to the world? If you’re going to say you write with Me, then you need to actually write with Me.

Me: *sinking feeling* So you mean I need to rewrite it? *whining* But I don’t have time for that! It won’t turn out!

Holy Spirit: Are you sure? Do you doubt me?

Me: *grumbling* When you say it like that it sounds bad. *more grumbling* Well, if we’re going to do this, we need to get to it. I have no idea how to fix it, so, um, the ball’s in Your court.

Holy Spirit: You know I always take the weight off you when you come around to owning your weakness and ask for help. Remember, My power’s made perfect in your weakness.

(Sometimes I swear it’s amazing I haven’t been smitten by God for all the times I’m so casual and whining and petulant. Not even kidding. He is so patient, so gracious.)

That’s the basics of what passed between me and God a few times on Thursday, and then I got a breakthrough, a really good one.

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So I sat down at my computer, released my death grip on control, and rewrote the story, and this time it had a heart, a soul that made me smile. This time, I could see a piece of Jesus when I read it, and I had full confidence that this was not a story to be ashamed of or worried about what people would think.

Some people wouldn’t like, but that didn’t matter because I liked it, because it was hopeful and subtly sent arrows pointing to the God I love. I was confident because I finally had peace with it, finally knew that God was pleased by it.

Friday, January 12: The Day of the Deadline

After a few more rounds of small edits to tighten things and reword a few things, I sent it in… But then there were issues with my email, and it wouldn’t go through. At that point, I was done. I wanted to be done thinking about it, but no, it wouldn’t go through. Even after four tries. Four. tries.

Me: After all that, it’s going to get stuck in the submission process, God? What?! Technical difficulties are going to take it down?

Holy Spirit: After all that, you think some technical difficulties are going to take it down if I want it to go through? Trouble shoot and try again.

(As I said before, God pours out His grace and patience on me by the oceanful.)

After some trouble shooting and some untraditional detours, it went through. And a few weeks later, it was acquired. And a little while after that, it was out in the world.

And then God really blew my mind.

People have been so encouraging in their response to Our Family, and while I believe flash fiction has the potential to be powerful, I did not dream that Our Family would touch people as much as it has. I was expecting “Aw, it’s a nice story”, but I’ve been so floored and humbled by what people have said.

God has touched people’s hearts in ways I hadn’t ever thought of, things were huge to people that I never thought were huge when I wrote it, pieces of God so much clearer than I thought they would be. A few people have cried over it. Cried. over. it. WHAT?!?!?!?!?! How did that even happen????

I guess I was just expecting little from God. Again.

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Conclusion

This is a long post, and maybe it’s got far more detail and drama than you ever wanted, but it is what it is.

I want people to know that Our Family wasn’t anything to get excited while I had my death grip on it. I want people to know that it only got its heart because God.

I want other writers to know that amazing, unbelievable things happen when you give a story over to God, when you write it with Him.

I want other writers to know that He is so patient and gracious, especially since I know I should know all this stuff already.

I want other writers to know that God can blow your expectations out of the water, that He can work little miracles in stories that, by all rights, shouldn’t work or succeed.

I want other writers to go out on a limb, go out on God, and keep working even when it’s stressful and tough.

So let’s talk. Is there a story you’re struggling with right now? What does your writing process look like? Tell me about a time when God did something you hadn’t even imagined!

With much love,

Rosalie

P.S. – If it isn’t clear from the rest of this post, praise God. For all of it. Glory to God. For all of it.

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Cap-tivated [a flash fiction]

I’ve decided to share a flash fiction I wrote a while back with you all on the blog. For those of you who don’t know, a flash fiction is a story in 1000 words or under. Cap-tivated (the flash fic I’m sharing today) comes to 971 words.

Note: I’m under no delusions about my romance writing skills, just so we’re all clear from the outset. I just know that the way to get better at something is to practice, so here’s to practicing and jumping out of the comfort zone and writing romance even though you don’t really know how to write romance.


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She sported that awful St. Louis Cardinals tee and baseball cap the first time Cal saw her in the fifth grade. Any decent person would know better than to wear Cardinals stuff in Chicago Cubs territory, but Cal supposed that it was more proof that she was not a decent person.

It was just another Saturday of backyard ball with Jimmy, Nate, and Alex. Cal had struck Alex out twice and was about to start on a third thanks to his wicked curveball when she came up to the edge of the yard, baseball glove in hand and Cardinals cap shading her face. “Hi’ya! Do you have room for another player?”

The other boys looked to Cal. His yard, his job to get rid of the girl. He rubbed his thumb across the baseball and shrugged. “Ah, nah, two-on-two works pretty well for us.”

She adjusted her cap. “Oh, okay. Well, I’m Molly. I just moved into the house two doors down, so just give me a holler if you have room for another player.”

Cal nodded, as if they would ever want a girl underfoot for one of their games, and she disappeared down the street with an overly cheerful wave. Trying not to smirk, Cal wound up for his next pitch.

But she came back the next Saturday. And the next. And the next. And every single Saturday after that, even when it was raining. Always in that awful cap. And each time, the other three boys would look to Cal to handle it. His yard, his job to get rid of the girl. And each time, he’d come up with something to send her away.

But then Mom happened to be there one day when Molly showed up, and all hope was lost. “Cal, you let this sweet girl play with you,” Mom said before disappearing inside.

Sweet girl? Psh. Just look at that cap! There’s nothing sweet about her. But he had no choice. Molly bounced up to Cal. “Can I pitch?”

He shot a glance at the kitchen window. Mom’s silhouette lurked by the sink, probably watching their game with her Mom-eyes. Crud. No getting out of it. He reluctantly tossed the ball to Molly, teeth grinding. “Sure.”

The summer before high school Cal’s friends went off to camp while he stayed home. He sat on the swing set in the park, baseball glove on one hand, baseball in the other. One week in, and it was shaping up to be the loneliest, most boring summer in the history of summers.

A pair of tennis shoes appeared in the corner of his eye. “Hi’ya, Cal! Your mom said you’d be here.”

Mom, why do you do this to me?

Molly ground a woodchip under her shoe. “I thought we could maybe play some catch.”

He glanced up and took in her dusty, summer appearance. Two braids, an ever-present smile, and that awful Cardinals cap. She didn’t seem to ever change as the years passed. It was either that or he couldn’t get past that hat. “Eh, I’m not really in the mood.”

But she wouldn’t let it go. She straightened her cap and flipped a braid over her shoulder. “Or you could finally teach me that curveball.”

Of course she had to mention his famed curveball. It was like she knew he couldn’t resist the offer. She was that annoying. But by the last week of summer when his friends came home, Molly was throwing a better curveball than Cal, and Cal was carving a C and an M into a tree in the park.

“Tonight was really the best, babe.” Molly toyed with the brim of her Cardinals cap as they pulled into their driveway.

Cal shot her a smile and killed the engine. “I’m glad you liked it.”

She laughed. “I loved it. I still can’t decide if it’s harder to believe that you, Cal Foster, took me to a Cardinals game, or that it took four years of marriage for you to finally get around to it.”

“You know I work in baby steps.” He opened his car door. “I just wish you would have let me buy you a new cap. That one’s a mess.”

“Agh, Cal, this cap has so much sentimental value!” She pulled the cap off and gave the brim an affectionate brush.

“Then I can get you a glass case for it.”

She rolled her eyes. “Let’s pretend you didn’t say that. Anyway, babe, I’m gonna need some help getting out of the car.”

“Ah, right.” He swung his door closed and went around to her side. With a grin, he took her hands and helped her stand.

“Phew.” She put a hand on her rounded stomach, breathing a little hard. “He’s going to be a big boy.”

He led her up their front steps. “Boy? Since when did you decide that it’s a boy?”

“He carries so differently than Emma did, and Emma needs a little brother.”

Fishing the keys out of his pocket, he quirked an eyebrow at her. “That sounds so scientific.”

She grinned and twisted the end of one of her braids. “It is. And, your mom agrees with me.”

Cal groaned as he pushed the door open. “Of course she does.

Molly kissed his cheek. “And, also, I got Emma a little something special while you were getting refills.” She smirked and wandered inside, dropping her purse as she dug some cash out of her pocket for the babysitter.

As she disappeared into the kitchen and started chatting with the sitter, he opened her purse to find a toddler size Cardinals cap nestled next to the baseball she caught at the game. He rubbed the cap’s red and white stitching. “Well, boy or girl, this next baby gets a Cubs cap.”


Cap-tivated was submitted to a magazine and rejected in June 2017, and so it shall live out its days on Penprints. :)

Thanks for reading! You can find my published flash fictions here.

Are you a fan of flash fiction?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – here’s a shout out to my favorite sister-in-law, Janie, who came up with the adorable and brilliant title for this story!

An Introduction to My Latest Novel (the nanowrimo 2017 edition)

So I wrote a new novel last month. I’m pretty jazzed about it (it’s a major mess right now, but I’m ignoring the First Draft Disaster and basking in the satisfaction of it being well on its way to Wonderful).

Today I’m going to introduce you to it as much as I’m able. I’m going to be using some of the questions from the Beautiful Books link up put on by Cait and Sky.  Let’s get to it.

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~ What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea? ~

I don’t know even know what inspired the original bits for this novel. Over two years ago, I somehow (I have no remembrance how) ended up thinking about wolves and a medieval mage with a strong sense of justice who traveled between worlds.

And then a little over a year ago in my imagination wanderings, I came across a sassy creature who was worshiped as a god and in dire need of a humbling experience.

And then a few months ago, lightning struck my brain…

~ Describe what your novel is about! ~

I think this is the part where I’m supposed to give some sort of blurb.

Lol, that’s not gonna happen.

I cannot currently write an understandable blurb about this novel (I know, we’re all so despairing), but here’s the general gist: I plucked my world-tromping mage out of her travels, dropped her in the sassy so-called god’s world, and pitted them against each other. Thus, this novel was born.

~ Introduce us to each of your characters. ~

Adele is my mage. She’s… so amazing. The natives call her the Moon One for her pale skin, moon tattoos, and the crescent moon on the hilt of her sword (between you and me, the sword’s pretty amazing too). She travels to various worlds to set captives free and make truth known (aka: JUSTICE) in the name of her Lord. And sometimes she’s a wolf.

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adele 

Asha is my sassy creature who thinks he’s the god of fire and ardor (among other things). He’s the eldest of fourteen siblings, each with unique power which they refer to as their “birthrights”. Asha’s birthright is fire (hint: his power with fire is not limited to the everyday candle variety), and he’s been worshiped by the humans of his world as a god in the pantheon since he was born thirteen hundred years ago. Worship and bad parenting have made him quite the something-something who thinks quite a lot of himself.

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asha

~ List three things about your novel’s setting. ~

1. The myrtle tree. There are many myrtle trees, but I’m talking about the myrtle tree have fun figuring out what that means. Lots of things go down at the ol’ myrtle tree. Most of the book occurs in a landscape similar to the near to mid-east of our world, hence myrtle trees among other pieces of beautiful near and mid-east landscapes. But this myrtle tree is a special one.

 2. A river that was bent to flow in a circle by one of Asha’s younger sisters (Gomti, the water goddess). (And, no, the river does not have a name; I’ll figure something out in the next draft.)

 3. The temple of Chanderkala. Chanderkala is the ruler of Asha’s family of gods (he also happens to be Asha’s father, but they have issues–father/son/firstborn problems), and his glittering temple sits in the heart of Chena, the holy city of the humans where they worship Asha and his various fellow so-called gods. Just like the myrtle tree, Chanderkala’s lavish temple is also the setting for many pivotal scenes.

~ What’s your character’s goal, and who (or what) stands in the way? ~

Asha’s goal is to become the ruler of the gods. His father (Chanderkala <—–that name though; it’s so over the top, just like Chanderkala himself) and Adele stand in Asha’s way.

More than anything, Adele wants to hear the voice of her Lord one more time, but she doesn’t know what’s in the way (spoiler alert: it’s herself, and later on, Asha).

~ What are your book’s themes? ~

– Spiritual dry season. Dealing with loneliness and silence. Remembering the truth you knew in the beginning. You are not meant to be alone, and you are not alone. –

– Owning weakness. Living alive. You are not the end all be all. Lose your life for His sake and save your soul.  –

Perhaps that’s too many themes, but those are the things that kept cropping up as I went through the characters and story. I guess we’ll see what it looks like after a few rounds of edits. You can read some of the verses at the heart of this story here, here, here, here, and here.

~ And is there a title? ~

Um, that would be a no. Back when they were two separate stories, Adele’s was called Howl and Asha’s was False Gods. Now that it’s become one story, neither title seems to fit, and I can’t come up with another one to save my life. For now, I refer to it as False Gods in all my notes and such, but that title is likely to change as soon as I can come up with a better one.

And that’s about all I’ve got.

What about you?? Did you write a novel for NaNoWriMo? What’s it about? For my non-writer friends, did you have any big projects you tackled in November??? Also, any title ideas for me?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – if you want to check out a really amazing novel that was written for NaNo this year, stop over by Katie Grace’s blog to see the info about her superhero novel (that is, if you haven’t seen it yet).

P.P.S. – have any of us really gotten over the cover for Fawkes? (No, no we have not.)

P.P.P.S. – tomorrow I start in on edits for Beasts. Send help.

P.P.P.P.S. – so this whole “p.s.” thing is getting a bit excessive, but I just want to publicly acknowledge that I used way too many parentheses in this post. Wait, actually, that’s impossible (mwahahahaha!).

11 Things I’ve Done to Avoid Working on My Novel

Procrastination is a thing, kids.

It’s a real issue.

You likely struggle with it (or have struggled with it at some point in your life). I struggle with it. It’s amazing—all the things we do when we procrastinate.

No, I’m not saying it’s okay or cool to procrastinate (even though we sometimes do cool thing when we procrastinate); in fact, I very much advise against it. But, I don’t typically take my own advice.

So I’ve fallen into another procrastination rut, and today I was thinking about all the things I’ve done to avoid working on my WIP. The list is fairly varied—from things everybody does (like mindless hours on social media) to a few slightly more… unique ways to NOT be working on my novel. No, I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth.

So let’s dive in, shall we?

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  1. Doing dishes.

This is lame on a few different levels. First, I’m supposed to be doing dishes anyway, so this shouldn’t be a phenomenon. Second, dishes? Instead of writing, dishes? Instead of plotting rebellions and battling dragons, dishes? Something is very wrong with this picture.

  1. Sleep.

Everyone probably does this, but I got it bad. Napping, guys, so alluring on a day off or a Sunday afternoon. Should I be writing? That would be a yes. Am I going to take a nap instead? Probably.

  1. Marathoning Limitless.

I can justify this a few different ways. Relaxation. Creativity recharge. Unique storytelling. It feeds my mad genius. Blah, blah, blah. (p.s. – you should probably watch Limitless the TV show. It only lasted one season, but that one season was en pointe.)

  1. Planting tomatoes under a blazing, blistering sun.

Yes, those tomato plants did need to get in the garden and all that jazz, but it came down to tomatoes or novel, and I picked tomatoes (and did I mention that that sun was blazing and blistering?).

Also, since planting said tomatoes, I’ve been able to opt out of more than one quick writing session to go water the tomatoes because apparently you can’t just stick them in the ground and expect great things (something about care and horticulture or something or other), and so that has resulted in several occurrences of “Oh, I should go write, but it’s a real bummer *wink wink* that those tomatoes need water to survive”.

  1. Reading various blogs about editing and revisions.

In case you’re new to Penprints, you should probably know that I’m in the editing stage of my WIP. Most of the heavy lifting is done when it comes to big revisions, but there are still a few things that need to change to redirect the story in a better direction. This is where the wonderful internet comes in.

The Story of How I End Up Reading Blog After Blog About Editing:

Me: “I’ve got half an hour of free time! I should go write!”

Also Me: “But do you really know what you’re doing? You should probably do some more research on this whole editing thing before you, you know, actually do editing.”

Me: “But I’ve read a couple books on editing and lots of blogs already! I just have to muscle through this and do it!”

Also Me: “Shhhhhhhhhhh. Just go find some more blog posts that talk about the ten thousand things you have to keep in mind while editing. It won’t overwhelm you at all.”

Me: “Good idea. Overthinking this is definitely the way to go.”

  1. Cleaning my room and study.

In case you didn’t read that right, I’ll say it again: cleaning my room and study. Wut? I thought about working on my novel, and the idea was so frightening to me that I decided to tear apart my room and then put it back together (that was three evenings down the drain this time) so that I wouldn’t have time to go through revisions. Something is very wrong with me.

  1. Starbucks trips with my friend, Amanda.

Now, this may not sound like a bad thing, and it isn’t (it’s that whole iron sharpening iron jazz). However, when Amanda and I get Starbucks, it’s not like an hour of chatting it up and talking about all the things. It’s like three solid hours of greatness. (Full disclosure, I actually see no down-side to this one because relationships trump writing every time, but I felt like I had to mention it because our latest hang out may or may not have resulted in neither of us finishing our to-do’s for last week. #oops #sorrynotsorry) (ALSO, Amanda is the gardening guru who gave me those tomato plants I told you about a minute ago, so there’s that too.)

  1. Lying around on the couch thinking about editing.

This is when I’m “trying to get motivated” because apparently a rapidly approaching deadline is not motivating enough. I sprawl on the couch and think wistfully of how I wish my novel would edit itself, and, please, for the love of all that is good, actually turn out to be the stunning, amazing, earth-shattering novel it is in my head. Too much time is passed in wistful reflection on the couch. Far too much.

  1. Marathoning season 3 of The Flash.

Yeah, this also has happened. I’ll tell my sister, “Arielle, I don’t have time to watch a movie tonight because I have to work on my novel. All I’ve got time for is an episode of The Flash.” But then, five episodes later, no editing has occurred.

  1. Rereading the earliest versions of Beauty and the Beast.

I convince myself this is a good thing because it’s “research”. Lol, it’s not.

  1. Writing this blog post.

First, I spent half an hour trying to come up with something to blog about this week. Guys, I can edit almost a whole chapter in half an hour sometimes. Then, of course, I chuckled manically while reflecting on all the things I’ve done instead of writing and spent the rest of the night (aka: Prime Editing Time) writing up this post on all the things I’ve been doing instead of working on my novel instead of working on my novel (see what I did there?).


So now I’m going to actually go work on my novel and stop procrastinating. Or not. We’ll see.

What about you? What sorts of things have you done in the name of Procrastination? What are some projects you’ve been avoiding? How do you not procrastinate (and you can’t say you “just do it” because that is cruel and unhelpful for those of us ailed with procrastination tendencies)?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – don’t forget to enter to win a print copy of The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson (this giveaway is open only to you, my dear followers).

P.P.S. – I find this whole post depressingly amusing and ridiculous, just so you know.

Finishing Draft Three {somehow an excuse to post baby animal pictures}

Peeps, I did it.

I finished Draft Three (aka: The Draft That Wants to Kill Me) of Beasts. And I did it without dying, so I feel like I should get extra points for that.

And I’ve recovered ALL of my files from my dearly departed laptop due to the tireless efforts from some of my amazing church family members (needless to say, there was much relief and thanking God). Also, I kind of owe a life-debt to the people involved with the finding and preserving of said files.

Instead of telling you about Beasts itself (because that would make sense), I’m going to tell you how the last week of my life was like trying to finish this beast (oh, see what I did there?).

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To put it frankly, this draft was really hard.

Here’s a bit of backstory: Draft One was written back in 2015, and let me tell you, it was awful (is “plotless” one word or two?). A marginally better Draft Two came out in 2016, but I don’t like to speak of that draft.

Draft Three is where all the heavy lifting happened. I took about 5,000 words from Draft One, maybe 8,000 words from Draft Two, and then I scrapped the rest (yeah, that was tough). Work on Draft Three lasted six months, and all that work boiled down to this past week when I faced a hard deadline.

The Story of How I Got a Hard Deadline:

Me to me: You can’t watch Beauty and the Beast until you finish Draft Three.

Me: What? You wouldn’t?

Me to me: Wanna bet?

Then I came up against The Face of Great Distraction.

The Face of Great Distraction:

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“Hi! I’m a week old, and I have a sister and five brothers, and we’re all really adorable and make such adorable sounds, and you should love on us instead of work on your novel.” — actual words this puppy said to me.

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“Hey, I’m very needy. You need to pet me and pay attention to me and give me treats and talk to me or else I’ll be forced to jump on you to make sure you know I exist.” — Bear every single time I try to be productive.

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“I’m Boots, just an adorable goat kid with four kid cousins, and you must come see me and let me chew on your clothes and climb in your lap and dance around in goat kid happiness.” — Boots the goat kid every. single. day.

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And let’s not forget My Precious.

I knew I was avoiding my novel when Graham said to me: “Rosalie, I’ve been stalking this mouse hole for three days now. You should help me hunt this tasty morsel.”

But instead of saying: “Graham, you don’t speak English, and I have to finish this draft,” like a normal person would, I said: “Oh, great idea, Precious! I’ll bring coffee and my BB gun, and it’ll be just like old times when you were a kitten!”

After two hours of our stakeout, I had to face the reality that it was all in my head and that I needed to get back to finishing Draft Three. That’s when My Precious gave me this look:

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Um, this face. :O

Okay, I did not spend two hours on a stakeout with Graham, but let me tell you I THOUGHT ABOUT IT.

But, guys, in The Face of Great Distraction, I prevailed.

It was making coffee at 9:30 pm some nights to fuel me for a night of writing. It was getting up at 4:00 am (aka: Stupid Early) to write before work some mornings. It was coming up against all kinds of fear and hate for my story and writing anyway.

It was reviewing my outline and throwing out what no longer seemed to work. It was word wars with lovely writing friends (a shout out to Brittany, Katie, and Nadine). It was taking a break to write a flash fiction and then coming back to my novel after a week with fresh drive.

It was my sister asking “Are you going to write?”. It was sharing my wordcounts with my dad and him cheering me on. It was my mom telling me some nights that I needed to sleep instead of write because I really needed the rest and my writing would be better for it.

It was praying for God’s hand in this story more every day. It was realizing that since He’s given me the green light, I need to go, no more indecision, no more fear.

It was hard, and my novel still needs a lot more work.

There are still several more drafts to come, but it’s finally starting to look like a story. When I read it next week, it’ll probably be awful, but it’s so much better than it was.

The Draft That Wants to Kill Me is finished.

It came to just over 93,000 words (a number I hope will shrink with more editing), 33 chapters, and an epilogue.

And for those of you who have made it to the end of this babbling post, here’s an aesthetic board and then the premise of Beasts (so I guess I’m telling you a little about Beasts after all…).

beasts collage.jpg

I own none of these pictures.

Premise: a retelling of Beauty and the Beast told in the words of the witch who cursed the Beast.

Let’s chat, peeps. What are your struggles with your WIP? What part of the writing process are you in right now? What are the faces of your distractions?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – seriously though, guys, Graham’s face in that last picture causes me some concern.