A New Direction
Earlier this week, I wrote about how I was struggling with changes to my manuscript that had left me unsure of its direction. I was frustrated after the comments I had received at the residency, and for a moment, I even considered scrapping the first manuscript in favor of continuing to work on my second.
But then, I had a sort of epiphany. I decided to go back to my original story, before I made all the changes based on feedback from one of my professors. Instead, I took that feedback and added a character, which I think addresses his concerns, but still allows me to tell the story the way I want to tell it. It’s going to take a lot of editing to go back to the story I had originally envisioned, but I think it’s worth it. The changes to the story just weren’t working within the context of my original vision, and I don’t know that I could have made the manuscript work if I deviated the way my original professor had suggested.
My plan now is to spend the month of August making corrections to my original manuscript with this new (or old, I guess, depending on how you look at it) direction in mind. Hopefully, by the end of August, I will have completed my corrections. Then I hope to return to writing my second manuscript in September. I would like to finish that manuscript before NaNoWriMo in November, but as I am losing a month to making edits on my first book, I don’t know that I’ll have enough time to finish the second. I may even just wait until NaNoWriMo to even continue the second since I do seem to do better when I have a deadline in mind for my writing. I’m learning a new job right now, so that may impact my ability to write as well.
Hopefully, I’ll at least be able to make the edits to my first manuscript in time for #PitMad. I definitely want to participate. I’m also planning to attend the Chesapeake Writers Workshop, which is a virtual conference. I’m hoping to pitch a couple of agents live, which is insanely nerve wracking for me, but worth it if it gets my pages read!
What are you working on? Do you have any goals for the month of August? Sound off below!
Today, I wish I was a horror writer. I'm back in my physical office for the day to pack up my cubicle in preparation to move to a new desk. It's a literal ghost town here. Most employees of my agency seem to have opted not to return to the office and right now it's on a volunteer basis. I thought that might change in the coming months, but both my agency and subagency have recently issued mandatory mask wearing in buildings again. It had been lifted a while ago, but today they reinstated it because of the Delta variant. I'm vaccinated, but brought a mask anyway, and now I'm glad I did.
I took a stroll through the building to check out my new desk and it's so creepy. They've shut off some of the lights to save power, and there's very few people here. In my section, there's only me. I don't mind the quiet, and that part isn't that far from what it was like before. I often worked in the office on days the rest of my team worked from home. It's the silence in the rest of the building that is unnerving. A new coworker reminded me of a book I read for my MFA last fall. Severance by Ling Ma. When I read the book, I thought it was surreal that we were assigned that book in the middle of an actual pandemic. If anyone isn't familiar with it, it's basically a zombie apocalypse, but the zombies aren't "eat your brain" zombies and the disease is airborne. There were a lot of similarities between the story and COVID.
As creepy as it is, it's actually kind of nice. I prefer working in quiet surroundings and at home have to actively tune out my daughter. The set up here is nice, too. While at home I have a door, the need to close it during meetings makes my office/bedroom a bit stuffy in the summer months. Here, the a/c is set at a comfortable temperature and the constant whirring I hear overhead is a nice white noise. Additionally, while I have two monitors at home as well, I like the set up of my work monitors better. The desk is wider, allowing for more room to push them back and they are at a decent height. Sometimes my monitors at home give me a crick in the neck even though I've tried to adjust them to a lower setting. They sit on a shelf because there isn't enough space on my actual desk to accommodate them.
It'll be interesting to see what our return to work looks like, assuming that the new variants don't further delay plans. My agency was supposed to submit a plan by July 19th, but I haven't heard anything about what that plan looked like. We had a pretty awesome telework policy in the before times, but there's been talk about increasing the accessibility of telework post covid.
In the meantime, I might submit future requests to come into the building just for a change of pace. If nothing else, it's really helped my step count!
Changing the Story
Now that I've gotten a bit of distance from my residency, I want to take some time to talk about something I had to process. Let me start this by saying that I am very much a planner, not only in my writing, but in other aspects of my life. I can sometimes be a plantser with writing as I do deviate from my original outline as new ideas for scenes come to me. That said, the basic framework remains the same.
When I first started in my program, my tutorial instructor was quick to point out that, aside from my male main character, I didn't really have any likeable male characters in my story. After some discussion about a side character or two that didn't have a lot of time on the pages, he suggested that I needed to make one of the more prominent male characters more likeable. As a result, I decided to give this character a redemption storyline.
The problem is, the redemption storyline has softened, if not obliterated, the big black moment in my romance. When I changed the story to allow for his redemption, I didn't really alter some of the details, and when my new instructor read these chapters, she couldn't understand why the characters were reacting the way they were. It dawned on me that while I had changed one character's storyline, I hadn't significantly altered how the other characters behaved. Their behavior and reactions didn't make sense anymore now that the one character was being redeemed.
My story no longer works within the original framework I had created. So, I have a choice to make: do I alter the rest of the characters so that their reactions fit the new storyline, and if so, how do I work those reactions into the big black moment? Do I go back to my original storyline and maybe add in a few male characters to bring better balance? I could go back to the original storyline and just say to hell with my first instructor's concerns about the lack of relatable male characters beyond the main one, but I don't want to alienate potential readers. I also removed some of the original storyline because I felt like it was too much of a twist to be believable, and I am happier without that twist.
However, at the same time, one of the problems I have had with the instructors in my program is that none of them write or read in romance. For example, many of the comments I received during this residency didn't take into account some of the nuances of my genre. I took a romance writing class at my local community college right before I applied to my MFA program and one of the things discussed was the importance of "scene and sequel" in the story. Here's a direct quote from the material we received: "While a scene shows your character in action, confronted with a conflict, a sequel is the deep breath your character takes before heading back into the fray to deal with the consequences of the disaster. It's the opportunity to analyze the situation, consider options, and express emotions." It continues: "In the sequel, the reader gets a better picture of the character's inner thoughts, motivations, and feelings—all things romance readers want to be in touch with."
My instructor kept pointing out how much "musing" my characters do between scenes, especially my male character, who is a former marine. I was trying to break free of a stereotype or caricature of military men with this character. He's not the strong, stoic, silent type who is struggling with PTSD. I'm well aware that there are actual military men (and women) who suffer from PTSD. I also know there are men who do fit into a strong, silent depiction, and that these types of men are often used as romantic leads. However, that is not the person I'm writing. My character is extroverted, funny, and open with his emotions/feelings. Some of that is due to his work to repair his relationship with his estranged sister. His sister is a therapist, and I'm sure some of his "musing" comes from her influence. But even if he was a more stoic type, I would expect at least some of a reaction or processing from him after upsetting scenes with the female lead.
So, there's some concern that I'm not receiving the best feedback for my genre. I think overall, the feedback has been helpful to improve my writing, specifically the use of the same words over and over again (my first instructor would have a field day with the number of times I've used the word "character" in this post alone). But I wonder if I should try out the different versions of my story on romance beta readers and see if it works for them. And maybe through the process of trying out multiple versions, I could bring in additional male characters to balance the cast a bit more.
Honestly, there's a part of me that is ready to scrap the story altogether because it just doesn't work the same with the changes I've made. My second manuscript has a much more diverse cast of characters and is coming along well. I hate the idea of stopping my progress on it to try to salvage the first manuscript. At the same time, I'm not ready to completely give up on the first story.
Thankfully, it's not something I have to decide right away. I'm taking a break from my first manuscript this week to focus on my new job (yay!) and continue working on my WIP. Hopefully by the weekend I'll be ready to revisit the first one to see where I want to go with editing.
Have you ever had feedback that, if accepted, would have completely changed your story? Did you do it? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments!
On Wednesday, during my afternoon seminar, we had the following writing prompt:
Take the phrase you want me to be and repeat it. Keep someone very specific in mind in terms of who you are speaking to. Tell them who you are instead of what they want you to be. Keep the images and descriptions strange and interesting to you.
The prompt comes from a poem by Alfonsina Storni, and it was interesting how many people in my class chose a parent as the specific person they were speaking to. I chose my own mother, who I had a complicated relationship with before she died. I wanted to share what I wrote, again in rough form, below. Feel free to share your work in the comments if you are inspired by this prompt!
You want me to be like my brother
Tall and confident, smart and wise
You want me to be extroverted
Comfortable in a crowd
You want me to be happy
To erase the shadows from my peripheral vision
You want me to be successful
But success has many definitions
And mine doesn’t match yours.
You want me to be with someone
That you find physically appealing.
But you’re so blinded by their outward appearance
You fail to see the ugliness on the inside.
You want me to be a cog in the machine
To follow a straight and narrow path
You want me to be a dreamer
But you keep dowsing my dreams with your reality
You want me to be popular
But you can’t see the value in being the wallflower
You want me to be shallow
Stillwater in a puddle
But I have depths you refuse to see.
You want me to be beautiful
But my beauty lies within my soul.
As writers, we will receive various thoughts and opinions on our work. From beta readers, to developmental editors, to (hopefully) literary agents, and eventually publishers, there will be a lot to take in. Something I struggle with, and I assume other writers do as well, is what to take in and what to let go.
To give an example, in my MFA program, students can only work with the same instructor for 12 submissions. Most people move on after one residency and one semester (which can average anywhere from 6-8 submissions). I stayed with my first instructor for 2 semesters and one residency, so I submitted 10 chapters to him. I'm with a new person now, and it's interesting to me the differences in the advice I'm seeing.
The one thing they have both said, and I am well aware is something I struggle with, is detail. I struggle so much with detail, and it's one reason why I've shied away from writing the fantasy triology I have in my head. All that world building gives me anxiety. I'm much more interested in telling the story and discussing the characters. My husband and I joke about this often by referencing the Sims games. I love the Sims for the characters and the storylines I can create. Their interactions with each other and building their relationships, their lives, that is what keeps my interest in the game. My husband, on the other hand, prefers the Sims games that involve world building, like SimCity. He couldn't care less about the sim characters, he wants to build that world, create something more abstract.
Last night, when we were discussing the latest comments I received on my submissions (which mostly boiled down to "you need to provide more detail on the setting and character mannerisms), I compared my writing to a book I'm reading: It's For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten. I've been reading a lot of contemporary romance this last year for school, so I wanted to take a break with some fantasy. I really enjoy the book, but I have to tell you, it is difficult for me not to skip all the world building detail to get to the heart of the story, which is the mystery of the woods and the budding relationship between the Wolf and Red. However, because I know I struggle with detail (and have a bad habit of skipping those descriptive paragraphs when reading), I'm forcing myself not to fall into old habits. I need to embrace the detail, and write out what I see in my mind on the page. Reading these detailed descriptions will hopefully help me to understand how to create more vivid images for my readers. It will also be good practice for when I finally overcome my anxiety to write my own fantasy series.
The more interesting thing, to me, is how different my instructors are in other feedback. I asked my new instructor if she found my teenage character believable. She said she thought she was a "nice teenager," which made me laugh at the implication that teenagers are often not nice. But what struck me was that she noted how surprised she was by the lack of eye rolling or snark in a conversation between three teenage girls. There's a reason for that: my last instructor cautioned against too much eye rolling because it was "overused" among teens. This irritated me because my daughter is a teen, and perhaps it is a fallback for writers of YA, but. . . it's not without merit. My daughter rolls her eyes at me multiple times everday!
My husband recommended that I do whatever feels true to the character, and while I think having her described as a "nice teen" is fine, because she's very empathic, it's more true to the character to have her still have the mood swings and attitude of a teen. It is very "on brand" for the genre I'm writing in to have "nice" teenagers, but the brand itself isn't adverse to eye rolling, so I think I'll sprinkle a bit more of that reaction into my book, while being careful not to go overboard.
The other thing my instructor noted was that the teen seemed really invested in her mother's relationship with the tenant/love interest. My instructor said that her experience was that kids were more ambivalent about their parents' romantic relationships. In my experience, my daughter was initially very invested in my relationships with men, and even now, she and my husband (not her bio dad) are a lot alike. We often joke about the nature vs. nurture argument in regards to her mannerisms as she grows. She's a bit more ambivalent now, but I think she would still have some vested interest were things not to work out with my husband if for no other reason than how her life would change.
That said, my book is heavily influenced by Hallmark movies and many of the children in those movies are very invested in their parents' relationships. In one movie, A Christmas Melody, the kid literally writes a song about Santa helping her mom find love again. So, it's very "on brand" for the teen to be invested. It also helps that she is emulating her extended family's meddling. Her aunt and her grandmother are both doing some amateur matchmaking behind the scenes, and I think that influences her actions as well.
I think I might tone down her enthusiasm a bit, but overall, I think it's true to her character. For example, she works to protect her mother early in the book from potentially harmful information. I have been working to give her more of her own storyline, just so she's not so tied up in her mother's romance, but overall, I think it fits with the genre I'm working in.
I'd like to open up this discussion. What do you struggle with in your writing? What criticisms have you taken to heart and worked to correct? What comments have you set aside because it didn't feel true to your character? Feel free to share in the comments!
First Day of MFA Residency
It's the first day of my virtual residency, and so far it's going well. My first seminar just ended and we completed a few writing prompts. I thought I would share one of them here.
I didn't write down the whole prompt, but the main point was to discuss two images that keep coming back to you. We could discuss them in any format: prose, poem, etc. Since the professor teaching the seminar specializes in poetry and the book we were discussing was a book of poems, I chose to write a poem. This is what I originally wrote, so it's very rough without any editing to make it pretty, but I wanted to share.
Crimson against pure white
Come to visit again?
What truths hide in those black eyes
Beak pecking at frozen ground
What lies beneath cannot be brought back
Spring is far away, and sustenance is scarce
No southern flight to happier climates?
A bright, welcoming, warm light awaits
Yet here it stays, bright red against the cold snow
My two images were a cardinal in snow and a longely graveyard at dusk (with all the lovely haunting shadows). I would say these images have been on my mind a lot because my WIP deals heavily with the aftermath of the death of the main character's mother and the legend of cardinals. For those unfamiliar, the belief is that when one sees a cardinal, they are being visited by a lost loved one.
In my book, my main character receives visits from a cardinal right before major events in the story, and she starts to suspect the cardinal is trying to tell her something. It's a contemporary romance, although much heavier than the first romance I wrote. I think that's one reason I've struggled with coming up with pitches, like for #CarinaPitch last week, because some of my pitches for my first romance are much more light-hearted.
I have my first tutorial session with my instructor this afternoon to go over one of my chapters. This program has really helped me improve my writing and has provided excellent feedback, so I'm really looking forward to what I learn today!
Writing While Working
Today is my last day at my current job, and I thought it would be a good day to look into the topic of trying to write while working a full time job. I recently saw someone on Twitter ask how people could work all day and then come home to write. I actually do things in the opposite order most of the time, and my new position is going to help a great deal with that.
I'm a morning person, and my current position allows me to sign in pretty early to start my day. This means that I get to end the day in the middle of the afternoon, and for a while, that was when I would do my writing. However, since things have started picking up at work as the pandemic is coming to an end, I have usually been too exhausted and worn out to write. The schedule for my new position requires later hours as there are several meetings that occur in the afternoon, so I will have less time in the evenings, but more time when I'm fresh to write.
To get in the habit, I've started writing more before my workday begins to try to get used to the change. It's not easy, and sometimes if the day has a lot of meetings or I'm anxious about something, I can struggle to write at all. However, I try to at least add a few words to my WIP, even when I don't feel like it. Sometimes, pushing myself to write just a paragraph leads to me finding my writing headspace, and I manage to complete much more than expected.
It can also be difficult to find time to write on days off because there are other things that require our attention. For instance, kids sports, laundry, grocery shopping, and cleaning are all things that we typically complete on our days off that reduce the available time to write. Experts suggest maintaining the same wake-up time every day, even on the weekends, to keep our sleep clocks in order and to avoid the grogginess on Monday morning. I don't know about you, but I finally have a teenager, and I love getting some extra Z's on a Saturday. However, if I try to maintain the same writing schedule, with a slight variation, it helps. For example, I normally get up around 5:30 during the week, but on the weekend, it's closer to 8. But if I still set out to start writing soon after I wake, my mind becomes used to being in that headspace within a certain timeframe of waking up.
Playing around with the schedule and finding something that works for you is also helpful. If you're more of a night owl, maybe give your brain a break between the end of your workday and when you start writing. Workout, have dinner, relax with a show or two, and then write before you go to bed. This may work better if you either are a pen/paper writer or you can reduce the blue light from your screen, as that may interfere with your sleep.
Alternatively, if you get a long lunchbreak (my husband gets an hour, though he rarely takes the whole time), perhaps use some of that time to write. In the before times, my agency had set up computer stations in the courtyard to allow employees to work outside. If you can take your laptop (or notepad and pen) away from your desk (or just to a place that doesn't feel like work if you don't work in an office) to change the scenery and get you out of the work mindset, it may help.
Trying to pursue a writing passion while working full time is not easy, and you should give yourself a pat on the back for even trying to make it work. If you miss your word count goal, or just aren't feeling inspired for a day, it's okay to take a break and try again tomorrow, or the next day, or even wait until the weekend. Writing is a marathon, not a sprint, and it's important to give yourself time for self care as well.
Happy Friday, everyone! I'm looking forward to closing out this chapter in my life and starting fresh with my new job in a week. Next week, I have my MFA residency, and I'm excited to get feedback on the four chapters I submitted to my instructor!
Twitter Pitch Events
The most fun and frustrating fun way to write an elevator pitch for your manuscript!
I'm very new to the phenomenon of Twitter pitch events, but since today marks #CarinaPitch, I thought it would be a great day to write this post!
For anyone even more new to the concept than me, basically writers attempt to pitch their stories in 280 characters or less, including the required hashtags for the event. It really forces you to get at the heart of your book while also being entertaining. If you succeed, you may receive a heart from an agent/editor. You then go to their Twitter page (or in some cases, they may DM you) to find out how to query them. The pitch is only the icebreaker, you then have to follow-up with a query letter, possibly a synopsis, and pages from your manuscript. It's no different from normal querying, except in this case, you go to the top of their slush pile because they specifically requested you to query them with their "heart."
Each event has its own rules. For instance, with #PitMad, you should only be pitching if you have a polished, complete manuscript to pitch. However, for today's #CarinaPitch, they are requesting proposals and pages, so even if your manuscript isn't complete, you can still pitch. I'm pitching one complete manuscript and one WIP. Before participating, I advise everyone to review the rules for the event you're interested in. These events happen throughout the year, some are open to the general public and others are tailored to specific types of work and/or writers.
The other important thing about pitching via Twitter is the hashtag game. Again, each event has its own set of hashtags, though they're often similar. I noted for #PitMad, they require pitchers to put the age for their audience (e.g. #A for adult, #YA for young adult, etc.), but #CarinaPitch I think only works in adult fiction, so they don't require that hashtag. Most importantly, you must include the event's hashtag so that the participating editors and agents can find your tweet! The upside is that with additional hashtags, you can really cater your pitch to an agent who is looking for exactly your book. If an agent is seeking, for instance, a romantic suspense from a person of color, you can include hashtags if you fit that criteria that allows an agent to find you. The downside is that a lot of hashtags can eat up your available characters. Spaces, letters, and punctuation all eat up characters, so consider whether each hashtag is necessary.
Most events allow you to pitch more than one tweet per book you're pitching. Today's #CarinaPitch allows two tweets per book and #PitMad allows three tweets per book. It's good to have different tweets ready to go because you never know how a tweet might hit an agent or editor. Last #PitMad, my most popular tweet was actually a recipe using the "ingredients" of my book. I received a heart from an agent for that one, and while the query ultimately resulted in a rejection, it's one I plan to use again today. If you have two main characters, try doing tweets from their different POVs. I took a class called "Pitch Perfect" (not to be confused with the movies) and it really helped me to narrow down my focus for my tweets.
One of my tweets during #PitMad was liked by a questionable publisher. I won't name names, but I include this tidbit to warn writers to vet whomever likes their tweets. Unfortunately, there are many vanity press type publishers who are participating in events. Additionally, sometimes our family and friends don't know what these pitch events are and they like your tweets, which can be really disappointing when you get the notification. You can try to counteract this by either warning them ahead of time or posting the morning of the event, but there's no guarantee they'll see it or remember. Most fellow participants know the drill and they comment and/or retweet to boost your visibility.
My final word of advice is to not take it too seriously, especially if you don't get a heart. I don't recall the exact numbers, but there was quite a turnout for last #PitMad. Even if your favorite agent was participating, and didn't like your tweet, that doesn't mean they might not like your book. As the teacher of the Pitch Perfect class said, you still have to do the work after the event to query agents whether you received a heart or not. So, have fun, enjoy reading other people's tweets, and best of luck to everyone participating in #CarinaPitch today!
For more information on Twitter events, I recommend bookmarking these pages:
2021 Pitch Contests
Crafting the Perfect Pitch
Journey to a MFA
My colleagues asked me why I decided to pursue my MFA when I had already completed a master's degree. For me, the reasoning was simple: my first master's degree was for my career in government, the MFA is for me. I wanted to get back to my passion for writing, and while pursuing another degree wasn't necessary to do that, I do best with deadlines and structure, which a degree program provides.
I've only been in my program for about a year, and already its paid for itself in spades. I had been struggling with writing a novel I had started at the end of 2019. I wasn't motivated to write, and I had hit some extreme writer's block in trying to get to the next chapter. The MFA program changed that for me. Suddenly, if I didn't finish the next chapter, I wouldn't have pages to submit for tutorial or workshop. Having always been a good student (well, except in Math), it was the push I needed. I signed up for National Novel Writing Month in November of 2020, and managed to pound out over 50,000 words in 30 days. Since my manuscript is a holiday romance, it was easy enough to finish it during the Christmas season.
That said, my experience hasn't been all sunshine and roses. The director of my program was also my first tutorial instructor, and he had several ideas for how I should use the program to my advantage. Unfortunately, none of them actually panned out. Nonetheless, I've found my own way to take full advantage of my program, by starting a second manuscript! If I play my cards right, I can push almost the entirety of both manuscripts through the program to receive revisions and feedback from experts in the field. At this point, I'm set to finish the program by next summer, and I hope to have two complete and polished manuscripts to pitch.
In the meantime, I plan to participate in a few pitching events just to get my feet wet. I participated in June's #PitMad and received a heart from an agent. She declined my query, but it was a great experience for ripping off that Band-Aid. I plan to participate in #CarinaPitch this week, the September and December #PitMad, and I also have plans to live pitch at the #ChesapeakeWW conference. Many in my program have agents and/or book deals by the time they graduate, so it would be amazing to join their ranks!
There were actually three MFA programs that had caught my eye before I settled on the one I joined. Seton University was a great option as they specifically catered to genres, and romance was one of the genres. Arcadia University was actually my second choice as they travel to Scotland during the second year. But ultimately, I chose Queens University of Charlotte for a number of reasons: 1) they allowed a lot more flexibility in their program, which I needed; 2) they travel to South America every summer (though Covid has changed that); and 3) they have a book development program which puts writers working with editors in the field on their manuscript to polish it for publishing.
That last reason has taken on less importance for me. One of the options the program director had recommended to me was to submit my book to that program; however, none of the editors they have contracted with had experience with a Christmas romance. I've since learned that what this program offers is something writers can access by hiring a developmental editor, so that's something I may pursue in the future.
I've heard from people who have completed MFAs that their writing has really matured from what they wrote for their degree. There's also been discussions on the problem with MFA students and their writing. I can't remember exactly what I heard an agent say recently, but whatever it was caused me to remove my pursuit of a MFA from my first query letter. The degree may not help me to publish any books, but at least it helped me finish them!
Thanks for visiting my website. I'm so excited to share my writing with you! My plan is to use this space to discuss books I've read recently, excerpts from my WIP, and share the joys and sorrows of my publishing journey.
So, who am I and why should you care? I'm a 30-something woman who is married and raising a teen daughter while working full time in a government job. My career has mostly focused on the legal field, and for a hot minute, I debated going to law school. However, after years of assisting attorneys defending cases against poorly written or implemented laws, I decided I wanted to come in at the beginning. I obtained a master's degree in public administration and policy from American University and was the first graduate from their online program to become a Presidential Management Fellow. After completing the two year fellowship, I couldn't help thinking: now what? I had the career I wanted, a great salary, and a wonderful family, but still, something was missing.
When I was younger, I had dreamed of being a writer. As I noted in the "about" section, my mother had made me promise to write her one "kissing" book. While what she was seeking was a romance bodice ripper, I had developed a love of Hallmark movies during grad school. There was something relaxing and calming about their predictable plot lines and happy endings. It was like Disney fairy tales for adults. I needed that after spending long days running an office and then writing papers for school.
I decided to delve back into writing again. I started writing a novel at the end of 2019, but found myself struggling to get past the first three chapters. So, I signed up for a fiction writing class at my local community college in hopes of starting from scratch. I wrote several short stories (which you can find on my "Work" page) and completed the assigned writing exercises, all of which gave me several samples for grad school applications. In the summer of 2020, I applied to three schools and was accepted to all of them, but ultimately I chose to pursue my MFA at Queens University of Charlotte. Their program had the flexibility I needed with my job, and it felt like the best fit.
Through that program, I was able to finish my first manuscript (well, technically third. I wrote two novels in middle/high school, but I have no idea where they are now). I'm working on revising that, with the help of tutorial instructors through my program. Currently, I'm working on a second manuscript which I hope to complete by the end of this year, if not sooner.
My goal is to update this blog a few times a week. In addition to writing, I'm an avid baker, so I may include recipes I've found or photos of sweet treats I've made my family. But mostly I want to share my writing and my experiences in trying to pitch my debut novel. I hope you will visit often and join me on this journey!
Book reviews, random thoughts, and writing samples from an aspiring author.