This is your brain on books, telling “Jenga” stories, and a PSA on how to hug alpacas.

Things have been busy busy in Victorialand, and not (just) because I’m on a mission to watch every Tom Hiddleston interview on the internet.*

(Mmhmm, right, V. Riiiiight.)

So I’ve got these three books I’m working on right now, each in a different stage of development: one is VICIOUS, which I’m editing, one is the sequel to THE ARCHIVED, which I’m writing, and one is a sekrit, which I’ve been letting sit for a year or so now, percolating, and am now poking.

Anyway, I’ve developed this delightfully mad process of working on one of them in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening. I love it, but it means living in three very different worlds (not including “reality”) on a daily basis, and that’s been a bit time/energy/sanity-consuming.

And in addition to the three books (oh, and how I love them all, these strange and different children), I’m trying to put together a grad school application list (whether I’ll be able to actually apply this fall depends on my pub schedule), figure out if I’m going to stay in NYC past summer (and where I’m going to go if I DON’T), figure out what kind of quarter-life crisis I want to have in July when I turn 25, and, well, basically, FIGURE OUT MY LIFE.**

This is all to say, I’ve been a bit erratic online. Not absent, no, as Twitter can attest, but not present long enough to post, either. Certainly not coherently.

And yet here I am! So forgive me if I become at any point less than coherent. In fact, let’s just embrace the fact that sh*t is about to get random.


As I said, I’m editing VICIOUS right now, and I’m realizing something about my evolution as a writer. I have become a creator of “Jenga” books. THE ARCHIVE is a bit of a “Jenga” book, and VICIOUS, as I’m discovering, is pretty much the most “Jenga”ish example ever. “Jenga” books, as I call them, are stories in which the narrative is fractured and then reassembled in an often non-linear fashion where short sections are combined in a precarious but balanced order. Whew, that was a mouthful.

Basically, I have lots of short scenes taking place at different points in time that make sense so long as they are kept in the right order. But every time you pull a block out, you risk toppling the whole structure. And editing is kind of necessarily taking out blocks (sometimes you get to put them back in the same place, but sometimes you have to put them somewhere else and hold your breath and hope to God that…). I’m becoming convinced that writing “Jenga” books is a seriously masochistic creative decision. Only, I didn’t make a decision. Not really. Which makes me wonder if my brain is like a “Jenga” tower. I find the thought mildly concerning…


My housemates believe I should write a picture book on how to resist over-hugging an alpaca. Because that’s a legitimate risk if you own an alpaca. Because they are cute and fluffy and they stand really still. I really have nothing to add to that right now. I can picture my agent headdesk-ing at the mere mention of this non-existent alpaca picture-book (I’m wearing her down on the narwhal book, though! Just give me five more years).


I want to direct your attention to someone who is blogging, and brilliantly. Beth Revis posted HERE about a term being used by many writers lately, the book of your heart. You should go read after we’re done here.


This is probably the only clue I will give about the sekrit book for a long, long time, because I like having sekrit things, and it’s not even really a clue in the “helping to solve mysteries” sense but there you go. CLICK HERE.


I HATE ending on even numbers. Like, I hate it more than I hate eggplant. Oh, oh, I have a hug list. It’s basically a list of artists, actors, writers, etc. etc. and instead of wanting their autograph, I kind of just want to hug them. I mean, they can sign something, too, but I’m in it for the hug. Which is a random way to end this post, but really, how can you go wrong with hugs.

If YOU could get a hug from someone, who would it be?

*My mum informed me yesterday that because Hiddleston like chocolates, we’d make a good match. Not because he’s tall, or talented, or anything. No. BECAUSE HE LIKES CHOCOLATES.

**LIFE = apparently a term that comprises everything that happens in “reality” and not in one of your three fictional projects. Who knew?

4 thoughts on “This is your brain on books, telling “Jenga” stories, and a PSA on how to hug alpacas.

  1. JP says:

    LOL that would make a great picture book. Also, a brief version of my hug list: Neil Gaiman, Maureen Johnson, Tessa Gratton, Stephanie Perkins, Lauren DeStefano, Neil Patrick Harris, David Tennant (let’s face it, probably not going to happen), Vanessa Carlton, Sara Bareilles, and Adam Lambert.

    I know what you’re thinking: “That was BRIEF!?” Um, sorry. XP

  2. Dana Bartelt says:

    Up until 2004, Gerard Butler was number 1 on my hug list. Then, within 24 hours I hugged both Nic Cage and Gerry… BEST. HUG. EVER. (Nic Cage…not so much). Now he’s been relocated to a lower position on my list since he’s already been done once. Currently, my number 1 position would belong to either Alexander Skarsgard, Joe Manganiello, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Evans or Peeta Mellark (even though he’s not real)…

  3. Oh, let’s see. Mine are all friends who have a different relationship with physical proximity and contact than I do (or just aren’t close enough to be at the hugging stage yet, and I’m afraid to press them).

    Since I’m obviously not going to creep a bunch of my friends out by naming them as hug targets in public, let me say instead that I have Asperger syndrome, I suspect that my sense of touch is tuned to a different level than most people’s, and I am desperately addicted to physical contact and stimulus. Also, my terrible, terrible anxieties about the world, my existential doubts, and all the rest can be left outside and forgotten for those few brief moments that I’m inside a loving hug.

  4. jazmin says:

    V, I ADORE YOUR TOM HIDDLESTON LOVING SELF. I may or may not be using the valuable time to study for finals in order to watch Hiddles interviews. Oh, hug list:
    Tom Hiddleston
    The ENTIRE cast of the Avengers (Clark Gregg, I will hug you forever!!)
    and you, obvs.

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