Category Archives: Writing Craft

Victoria is like a ball of yarn…but made of stress and words instead of string.

Oh dear, lovelies. I failed a little at blogging.

It’s just, things got so exciting here, what with the new book deals being announced, and then the cover of THE ARCHIVED being revealed, and then BEA, and ALA (I wasn’t there, but some ARCs of TA were), and I had all these things I could share with you!

But then those things ended and I had to go back to, you know, the writing and editing of books. Which I LOVE, but it’s not always the easiest thing to blog about. For one thing, if I’m blogging about writing/editing, then I’m not DOING it, and with my current deadlines, that’s problematic. Even though January feels too far away (I just want to be able to share TA with you), there are simultaneous not enough hours in a day.

I’m so, so happy to HAVE WORK, but I also have to learn to admit that I, well, HAVE WORK.

And that work is consuming about 98% of my mental faculties right now. I’ve been in and out of edits on my first adult book, VICIOUS, and drafting the sequel to THE ARCHIVED, and I have So Many Feels about both books that working on them, while exhilarating, has also been really emotionally taxing. There are also two other stories in the back of my mind, feeding off the 2% that’s left of me.

I struggled early on with the Archived sequel, and had to stop for a couple weeks and make sure I REALLY understood all of my characters and what they wanted before moving forward. So often when we draft, we get caught up in the action and think we’ll just figure out those pesky motivations later, but let me tell you, as someone who has done that, and witnessed the ripple effect of desire–action–reaction…

IT IS WORTH FIGURING IT OUT BEFOREHAND.

It was the best decision I could have made because the answers to the questions I asked myself DID change the plot of the book in major and exciting ways, and now I can hopefully stitch it together in a better way and safe myself the pain of ripping out ALL the seams later. But as invaluable as that pause was, it was still a pause, and now I’ve got to spend a lot of time with my book, just the two of us, and get the story out of my head and onto paper.

On that note, I will say (and I know it’s opposite for many other writers) that the early stages of drafting are SERIOUSLY MY FREAKING KRYPTONITE.

I love coming up with an idea, but holy cats do I hate realizing the first 50-100 pages, and I think the reason I hate it so is because too much of the story is living in my head, and not enough of it is living on paper. And as long as there is more in my head than on paper, I feel like I have to keep the story aloft at the front of my thoughts, and I’m so scared of dropping pieces, or taking my eye off it for even a moment and it all just STRESSES ME OUT.

It doesn’t matter how many notes I make, how many thoughts I jot down, how well I know what happens, the stress doesn’t start to ebb until I’m at least halfway through the draft. Then the balance tips and I’m like WHEEEEEEEEE. And then it’s time for the second draft, and that one is my favorite because the pieces are there, and I can build on them as needed, and make it look all lovely. And of course I’m in that evil zone right now, so not feeling terribly happy or sane and just want the world to stop until I can get more of this book out of my head and onto paper.

I’ve also been stressed because I very, very much wanted to apply to graduate school this fall. I spent the first third of this year figuring out my course of study, doing tons of research into programs, and finally felt like I had a direction. But with my current schedule, it’s not going to happen. I had to make the decision to delay the applications for another year, and as ecstatic as I am to be this busy with publishing, it was still a very, very hard call. In the end, I didn’t want to impede/take away from this incredible journey, which I feel like is just beginning, and is full of so much mystery and adventure.

But it’s strange.

I feel like there is this other me on this other path that went to graduate school, and if I close my eyes I can see her, and I wonder if she closes her eyes and thinks of the part of her that wanted to be an author. Maybe that sounds crazy but I can see myself on both paths and it leads to this often-frustrating feeling of being on the wrong one, no matter which I choose. That other Victoria is like a ghost in my life, a shadow at the edges of my sight.

On another, equally existential note, my 25th birthday is this Saturday.

Birthdays are stressful. Really the best part about them is cake, and let’s be honest I eat cake at least once a week, so…I will say that SO much has happened since my last birthday, and it’s kind of exciting so long as I think about it like that and not like OMG I’M GETTING OLDER WTF WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN?

WARNING: On my birthday I’ll be posting a “Ways to help celebrate V’s 25th birthday” and it will include things like “Vote for THE ARCHIVED on a pretty covers list on Goodreads” and other heinously self-serving stuff but hey it’s a quarter-century birthday complete with a quarter-life-crisis so there you go :p

And then the week after my birthday I’M GOING TO BE AT SAN DIEGO COMIC CON, and I just can’t really process that right now so I won’t. But you should come see me!! And, you know, the cast of Vampire Diaries, Dexter, Game of Thrones, Supernatural, etc. etc. BUT ALSO ME! I’m mostly hanging out (birthday present to self) but will be jumping in on an EPIC SIGNING. Details on the Appearances page.

Other things, in brief.

I watched Misfits and all I can say is WHY DIDN’T I FIND THIS SHOW BEFORE?! NATHAN AND SIMON.

I had a dream in which Neil Gaiman and I had tea in the woods and talked about villainy. So I told him about it on Twitter. And he tweeted back. And than I did what I always do when Neil Gaiman tweets back at me. I sat down on the floor.

Rachel Hawkins and I spent the better portion of a text chat trying to figure out the female equivalent of the word BROMANCE. Our favorite: WOMANCE.

I had a moment in an airport last week where I had a layover, and was so caught up in a bout of wanderlust while walking the terminal that I almost chose a city, changed my ticket, and went on an adventure. It took everything in me to resist. Is this what maturity looks like? God I hope not.

A reminder. There is now a page for you to Request an ARC of The Archived. It’s on this blog. Scavenger hunt!

I went home for a week, and while I was there, I fed carrots to an alpaca. As you do.

All right, lovelies, I’m off to write a book, or at least a small portion of one. I’ll be back on Saturday, but in the meantime, bear with me. I’m trying!

Excitement and Fear (and Dots) in Drafting

I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the last few days, the relationship between excitement and fear (I’ll get to the dots) when drafting books.

I’d been excitedly planning out the Archived sequel when edits for Vicious came in, and I put the first on hold for a couple weeks to nail the second.

But a strange thing happened when I came back to it.

I’d always been afraid of the Archived sequel–it’s very scary for many reasons, none of which I can talk about–but for the first time, my fear of writing the book outweighed my excitement. It smothered it. Those few weeks away from the project were enough time for the excited chirpings to quiet and the whispers of fear and self-doubt to grow. I hadn’t lost my love of the project, but it had gotten buried, and I knew I had to unearth it.

But I didn’t know how.

I tried picturing my characters, and while I was excited to see them again, the promise of their company wasn’t bright enough to dispel my fear of facing the plot.

I tried free-writing scenes, but those dark little voices crept in, telling me a book was so, so much more than a collection of scenes, and I ended up feeling more lost.

I tried rereading what I’d already written, hoping that when the words ended I would just start typing, but it didn’t work. In fact, the words on the page, while I loved them, daunted me more than anything else because I felt detached (I don’t know if this happens to you, where you read something you’ve written and it doesn’t seem as though *you* could have written it at all).

In the end, what saved me (or helped, anyway, I wouldn’t say I’m through the fire swamp by any means) were my DOTS.

Allow me to explain. I’ve mentioned this before, but when asked if I’m a plotter or a pantser (whether I plan vigorously or just let the muse drive the car), I say I’m neither.

I’m a connect-the-dots-er.

When I sit down to write a book, the first thing I do is figure out the dots, the key scenes moments that are going to make my book my book. The ones that NEED to be there. These dots aren’t just for structural integrity. They are the scenes in the book that EXCITE me, before I write, and while I’m writing, and, I’m learning, when I scare myself out of writing, they are the scenes that will help draw me back.

The problem was that the dots had changed. I’d reworked the plot of the book, and had yet to re-establish/re-discovery my dots.

So that’s what I’m doing now. I’m figuring out my dots. Every time I find one, it’s like a flicker of light, scattering one of the many shadows of self-doubt that have had time to creep in (I picture those Miyazaki shadow bunnies, nesting everywhere). It’s a process, unearthing the dots, finding some unusable, others intact, creating new ones, but I’m finding my way back into this book.

*

I asked Twitter which part of drafting a new book was most exciting, and which part was most terrifying. Overall, writers were most excited by the novelty and potential of the world and characters, and were most frightened by the possibility that they weren’t good enough to tell the story.

I’ve been known to say again and again that as a writer your excitement must always be stronger your fear, but sometimes it’s a close race, and sometimes, you fall behind. I hope that if you ever do, you can find your way back in, and if you need a path, I recommend you try the dots.

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.

THING ONE.

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…

THING TWO.

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).

THING THREE.

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.

THING FOUR.

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.

THING FIVE.

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?

Procrastination, Percolation, and Getting Back to Work

This is a post for people who are stuck.

I’ve been stuck, too. My last couple months have involved a lot of what most–myself included–might call PROCRASTINATION. I’ve been reading, but I’ve also been streaming whole seasons of TV shows, making obscene batches of guacamole (the assembly is so cathartic), walking every square inch of this city, writing to-do lists just to write to-do lists because surely the act of imposing list-shaped order is SOME kind of warped productivity…

Really, doing anything and everything BUT writing.

And that’s a problem. I knew it was a problem, and I looked got ANGRY at myself. I looked at the number of books I wrote last year (2.5) and the number I’d written this year (0.0) and I berated my behavior and filled my mind up with all kinds of fail-y thoughts. Which, of course, didn’t help. But you see, I wasn’t just angry at myself.

I was SCARED.

Most of us associate procrastination with the avoidance of something we DON’T want to do. The fact I was avoiding WRITING terrified me. Writing has always been my passion, my sanity. The thought that I had somehow, inexplicably, fallen OUT of love with it was such a horrific notion that it only made the avoidance worse. I didn’t even want to think about it.

But here’s the thing.

There are a lot of reasons we procrastinate, and they don’t all have to do with not enjoying the task. Writers are naturally fairly neurotic, and sometimes it’s just that we OVER-THINK the task. Sometimes it’s because we LOVE the task, and caring about the task is scarier than disliking it, especially when we enter the field of publishing and the external forces begin to poke at our creative bubble. All those forces at, at best, distracting, and, at worst, paralyzing.

I do think it’s important to accept that sometimes procrastination is just procrastination. Lazy days, thinking is hard, etc. etc. But most of the time, I think we can stop and figure out WHY we’re avoiding our work.

Whether it’s fear, or doubt, or love, or too many voices in our head that aren’t ours…if we find ourselves avoiding something we love, there’s a reason. And if we truly love that thing, the reason is well worth finding.

And sometimes, it’s not so life crisis-y. Sometimes we just need to give our creative selves time to breathe, think, absorb, percolate.

The difference between procrastination and percolation? I suppose it’s the difference between being smothered and being starved. We procrastinate to avoid, to escape. Something is smothering us. We percolate when our minds need something, when they’re malnourished. Maybe we need inspiration, or maybe we just need TIME. Space.

Stories take up incredible mental resources. I know there are people whose creative gestation period is startlingly fast, but most writers, consciously or unconsciously, need time for their stories to form. They’re like dust bunnies, or tumbleweeds, or planets. They need to amass enough stuff to have weight and shape and potential.

I think that when we try to rush something into being, one of two things happens:
1. We succeed, but our brains are tired afterward and will need time to recover.
2. We’ve succeeded previously, our brains haven’t fully recovered, and the attempt fails.

the problem is that, for most of us, we lack the stability and discipline to plod along at an ever-steady, always-healthy pace. Eventually the muse wraps hits and we have to go, go, go. And that’s part of the creative process, too. But we have to be prepared for the aftermath.

I didn’t set out to write almost 3 books last year. Things kept aligning and I felt good, strong, inspired, and I went with it, and am so happy I did. But I’ve spent THIS year recovering.

That “recovery” was equal parts procrastination–too many external forces interrupting my focus–and percolation–I needed to recover creatively from the marathon that was last year’s writing output. It’s taken me three full months, and while I’m done percolating, the procrastination is definitely still an obstacle. And I’m at the point where I have to stop tolerating it. I’ve acknowledged that I’m doing it, and I’ve admitted to myself many of the reasons WHY, but at the end of the day, as long as none of those reasons is that I’ve fallen out of love with my job, then I have to push on, and push through.

That’s really what it’s about. You analyze why you’re stuck. You figure out if you’re being lazy, or if you’re letting external forces distract you, or if your creative self needs a rest. BUT if you love writing, then at the end of the day, you have to figure out whatever it is you need to do in order to WRITE. Whether it’s butt-in-chair time, or no-internet time, or just TIME.

We need to understand why we’re stuck, not so we have an excuse to continue being stuck, but so we can extricate ourselves, and go back to work.

(This post was inspired by a comment from Lynette Henderson on Twitter about procrastination and percolation)

Salvaging bones from the tombs of old foes.

There was this book.*

It was the book before The Near Witch.

It was the first book I’d ever written, and it got me an agent, and it got me several trips to acquisitions, but the thing about that book was that it WASN’T GOOD ENOUGH.

God, I wanted it to be good enough. I would have sold my soul. The most painful part was that its bones were good, its bones had the potential, if set in place beneath the right muscle and flesh, to be wonderful. In addition to the bones, there were the words. I’d always a way with words, an ability to scrape them into something very pretty. But bones and pretty words are (thankfully) not enough, and that book never became a book.

It is probably the thing I am most thankful for, that book not selling.

I put it in the trunk, which is where, as we know, all dead books go. Or rather, a tomb. But as years went by and I moved on to other projects, I kept peaking, assuring myself it was still there. I kept the book alive with stolen glances, the way one might nurse a dying fire with a bit of air.

I couldn’t let it go.

I’m the first to tell you that writing a book teaches you an extraordinary amount about an extraordinary number of things, and sometimes the process is more valuable than the result. For three years, I told myself that about this book. But you see, I still believed in the bones.

A few months ago, I decided to open the tomb.

I thought, “I’m ready to try again.” I had read hundreds of books, and written four (The Near Witch, a sequel that will hopefully one day follow, The Archived, and Vagabond Puppies–not real title), and learned so much about writing and about myself as a writer, and I thought, “Okay, I can do this now.”

I couldn’t, not at first. This book and I had so much baggage. It was the book that started my journey, and nearly ended it.

I looked at it, and couldn’t help but see what it WAS, instead of what it NEEDED TO BE. And so, I did something that felt in that moment drastic. I changed the main character’s name.

It was such a small thread to sever, but it helped. It didn’t fix all of my problems, but it gave me the courage to sever MORE threads. Little by little, I sifted through the ruins of the book, and extracted the bones–and only the bones–of what had worked. I salvaged the elements that had made me LOVE this book, the fragments that had held on to my imagination over the years, the ones that had waited, sometimes patiently, sometimes insistently, to be revisited.

The salvaging didn’t happen in a day, or a week. Finding the strength to enter the tomb and face the body of this old friend and old foe took months, after I’d worked up the courage to pick the lock and go in.

And once there, I surprised myself as far as what I salvaged, and what I shed. I got rid of the spine, as it wasn’t properly formed. I kept a few knuckle bones, favorite details. Some days I would come at the corpse with surgeon’s eyes, carefully dissecting what worked from what didn’t. Other days I would come at the corpse like a grave robber, fleeing with a shiny relic, afraid of getting caught.

It took a combination of distances, determination, and a willingness to start again. Not change a detail here and there, but sever ALL ties to the book this WAS so I can figure out the book it’s supposed to be.

And so here I am, standing at the entrance of the tomb with a basket of bones and a head full of ideas, ready to rebuild.

*Yes, this is the MG series I hinted at in yesterday’s post.

Writers are like onions

[This is a messy post about want and fear and books and bravery and madness]

I’m borrowing an observation from the lovely Jo Treggiari. I wrote on Twitter that I expected writing to get easier, that the more books I wrote, the more spread out my feelings would be across them, but how in actuality, the more I write, the more exposed I feel. Jo said it’s like peeling off skin. So if we think of writers like onions, each book a layer, then yes. And maybe this isn’t true for many writers, but for me, this is how it feels.

The more books I write, the more of myself I put into those books and consequently out into the world (either in the present, or intended in the future), the more layers I seem to lose, and it terrifies me. I put so much of myself into my projects, and it scares me how attached I am to them. The attachment stems from how excited I am, how badly I WANT to share them, which is what makes it confusing, I suppose.

That WANT is a terrifying, tangible thing. Sometimes I think it would be better to not want, than to want this badly, but I know that I could never sustain that, that to want out of passion is always better than to not want out of fear.

As evidence of the happiness treadmill theory (over-simplification: our definition of happiness adjusts as we achieve our wants so that we are always wanting, and never happier), when THE NEAR WITCH sold and I found out I was going to have A BOOK, I immediately became preoccupied with the notion of having ANOTHER BOOK. Was NW a fluke? Luck? Could I do it again? Getting that second deal, for THE ARCHIVED, was very important for me, because it meant I was going to get the CHANCE to do it again. But you should also know that when D*H bought the book, it wasn’t a book, it wasn’t even an idea on the table. D*H told me they wanted another book from me, and then we worked to decide which book it would be. This meant, in my head, that NW could still have been a fluke, that D*H didn’t know. D*H believed in me, but I didn’t entirely believe in myself.

The first half of this year, while I was writing THE ARCHIVED, was the most stressful time of my life thus far because I was constantly wondering if I was capable of doing it. I threw myself into this project, committed so much of myself to it to make it the best it could be. And I did it. I wrote another book. And I love it. I love this book so much that it scares me, the return of that terrifying level of WANT.

I’m now working on a third book, one I often refer to as VAGABOND PUPPIES, and while I tease and joke about it online, the truth is that this book scares me more than any other. It terrifies me, because when I work on it, I feel that same gut-wrenching WANT. I want it to be good, and so I put more and more of myself into it.

I look at the three projects, all so different and so odd and so me, and I wonder how someone can put so much of themselves into different places and feel whole. Which is probably why half the time I feel mad with want and fear and hope. And yet I keep doing it. I keep breaking myself into pieces, keep peeling back layers.

I wonder, if I write enough books, if I peel back enough layers, if I put myself into enough projects, if it will ever get easier. Part of me hopes so, for sanity’s sake, but the other part hopes that this want and fear and joy and hope never weaken, that it never gets easy. Easy is quiet and those feelings are loud and tangled and scary.

I talk so often of being brave, of being willing to accept rejection and critique, but really the need to be brave doesn’t stop when you sign an agent, or get a deal. The hardest part is CONTINUING to be brave, continuing to put more and more of yourself out there.

Who ever thought writing would be such a messy thing.

IN WHICH I AM DELIRIOUS WITH GLEE AND/OR RELIEF.

I felt that, because I’d filmed the PANIC end, I would film the JOY/RELIEF end, too.

It’s actually 79,640 words.

And oh boy do I have my work cut out for me in revisions, BUT.

IT’S A DRAFT.

IT’S THE DRAFTIEST FIRST DRAFT IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD OR AT LEAST DRAFTS.

BUT THAT’S OKAY.

On Writer Panic and Really Small Rooms…

The title pretty much sums it up…

A short piece of backstory:

THE ARCHIVED is based on a project I fell madly in love with while I was waiting for NW edits. It was oh so lovely, but also oh so flawed. When Editor A and I decided to re-envision the project, I was so extremely excited, but also knew it would be hard to let go of what it WAS.

And it is. It’s proving so, so hard to separate the two books in my head. It’s a learning experience, and at times incredibly stressful. That said, every time I do manage to overcome a plot hurdle, a pacing snag, every time I manage to let an old piece go in favor of a newer, stronger element, I feel like I’ve made it to the top of a mountain. And then I descend, and find a dozen more freaking large hills in my way. Hence the unusually manic-depressive tweets (i.e. EEE WIN THIS BOOK ROCKS…ARGH KILL ME I HATE YOU BOOK DIE DIE).

So. There you go.

Writing is hard.

I Watched the World End on a Wednesday Afternoon…

I haven’t done a snippet of writing in awhile!!

I got tangled in a Word War just now with Tessa Gratton, Myra McEntire and Natalie Parker. I thought I’d post what I wrote, for kicks.

Please note, this was written in…*looks at clock* about 15 minutes. And I haven’t even combed through for typos, so forgive. This was just for fun, and is, at this time, not a part of any of my projects. I thought of that first line a day or so ago and stored it in the back of my head…

I watched the world end on a Wednesday afternoon.

It wasn’t like I thought it would be. The sky didn’t turn red, or fall down. I sat on the front porch waiting for chunks of blue or cloud or heaven to rain down around me, but it wasn’t like that. I watched the whole world slow, and if it had been winter and if there had been snow, it would have slid through the air slower and slower and slower until it just…stopped, and hung there like those flecks you sometimes see caught in sunlight in a dusty room.

But it wasn’t even winter. It was one of those late summer days, so calm and plain that I wished for a moment the world had waited just a little longer until fall, because it would have beautiful, fitting. The world was not supposed to end in Summer. The world was not supposed to end at all, I suppose, but there you go.

And anyway, there wasn’t snow to watch, sliding to a stop over the porch rail. Only air, that pleasant kind with a touch of coolness that brushes against your skin with a whispered summer is slipping, summer is slipping woven through. And that air began to still, as if the whole world decided one moment, this moment, to stop breathing.

Right before there had been a breeze, enough to lift the hair off my neck and then when the air froze the way it did, I must have looked like I was underwater. I felt that way, with all the sounds of the yard and the house and street dulling the way they would submerged. Voice and noise thickened in the air and hung along with everything else, a picture. A moment.

They say life happens in moments, so I guess it makes sense that the end would happen that way, too. I wish I could have captured it, the quiet world, the held breath of it all. By the time I blinked, the whole of it exhaled, and, like that, the light went out.

But I am still here.

After you click SEND…

So there’s this moment, right after you click SEND on something important, like, say, handing your agent your latest book.

The moment goes like this.

(o_o)

SEND.

(o_o)

(-_-)

(o_o)

(O_o)

(O_O)’

*whispers* …what have I done?

(O_O)’ + COOKIES => (O_O)’

(O_O)’ + ALCOHOL => (O_O)’

(O_O)’ + TV/MOVIES/EXERCISE/CHOCOLATE/VACCUUMING… => (O_O)’

Truth be told, that vaguely nauseous prickle that follows the sending of something important to someone important NEVER GETS EASIER.

But I turn Text Twist, a large bar of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate (if you haven’t seen them, they’re MASSIVE), lots of housework, and multiple viewings of Harry Potter*

What do YOU do when you need a distraction?

*OMG HOW FREAKING AMAZING WAS HP 7.1???? There was definitely an impromptu quidditch match happening in the theatre.