On the way to YA…

This is my journey toward my YA fantasy project.

I’ve always been a fan of “YA Fantasy” and I admit that I must have read  TOO MANY books in this genre. My icon, Jennifer L. Armentrout, and authors such as Jennifer Estep, Veronica Roth, Cassandra Clare, Sally Green have made me adore this genre with a passion. Yet I never thought I would write in it. I always saw myself as a NA and Adult author. Well…I’m glad that illusion is over!

How did this idea come to me?

In bed.

One night in the beginning of December, I was having trouble falling asleep. I remember thinking, “Book one in the Emily Winters saga is done. What now?” I could continue with its sequel, but I wanted a change. I needed to write something else, about someone else –despite my fierce loyalty and affection toward Emily.

“Hmm. I’ve written 30K in my NA Contemporary and another 30K in my Romance Suspense novels. I had even edited those. Perhaps I could continue with one of them. The Romance Suspense novel is clear in my head so the choice should be obvious.”

It was NOT. It didn’t feel right. Something was missing, but I had no idea what.

“Okay,” I said to myself. “If you don’t want to write any of those books that you have already started writing, what DO you want to write? Perhaps one of the many ideas you keep in your precious notebook?” I sighed, for the answer was a big no. Those ideas are great –naturally– but they weren’t developed in my brain. They weren’t ready.

“What would I like to write?” I asked myself then. With no genre or age group in mind, I started brainstorming. In bed. At night. When I should have been sleeping, because it was THAT late. But alas, the wheels kept on turning.

One of my best friend’s books is set in a colorless world. (Yes, that’s you, Julianne.) “Hmm, color. What a different and special concept to play with.” Color may be the source of racism, but it can also bring joy. It can make us feel more alive, and it can tear us down. “This I like.” I’m a sucker for ambiguous concepts that are open to interpretation.

Color. This was my base to build an entire story! Color. It didn’t intimidate me at all. Something about this first clue made my tired brain giddy and ready to burst from excitement. I was intrigued by something I hadn’t even thought of yet. That intrigued me even more.

What about color, though?

THEN it came to be. Everything fell in place. I’m not kidding. EVERYTHING. One detail brought an element which raised more and more and more. Until few minutes later when I had an inspiring young woman to write about in a world that I was looking forward to building.

Suddenly not only did I have a brand new idea to write, but also a story that made me want to screw sleep, get off my bed, and start writing it that very moment.

I wasn’t just excited about this new story. I was stoked. Mesmerized. No, I didn’t have every key event planned. No, I didn’t even know the names of the characters or places. I didn’t know how this book was going to end. Unlike the stories I had already started writing. BUT this story was THE story. The minute the details fell all over me like dominoes, I knew. I could feel it. This is THE story. 

Two months later, I still feel it. Every single day in between I felt it. The nights before significant writing sessions that would occur the following morning, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t fall asleep because I couldn’t wait for the night to pass so that I could return to this story and write.

As I was writing Elusive Heart, I knew everything. I knew exactly what was going to happen, who would do what and when, the ending of the book. The facts were in my head, safely locked and ready to be unleashed. With this one, *enter laughing* I didn’t know a thing. I took it as I went. Honestly. Whatever came to me, I wrote it. And I was lucky, for it fit. Every newly created scene fit in the book, with these characters in this setting. I had taken a huge leap of faith into the unknown, into a story that was laughing at the mere concept of “outlining.” I. Am. Not. Kidding.

But luck ran out at some point. No newly created scenes that fit came to me. I tried. And tried. I tried. Nothing. For the first time, I had writer’s block. I knew it was real, but I had never felt it before. “Did it have to happen in this story that thinks that outlines are jokes?” That was what I kept thinking. “Seriously?”

I took a break that lasted two days. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to write, because I was afraid that this amazing story that came to me out of the blue would run away from me, and that I wouldn’t be able to catch it. I forced myself to sit and stare at my laptop, wishing that Scrivener would give me the answers I sought. The first day after my break, I wrote 1K that is extremely low for me and my usual pattern. The second day, I wrote 2K. Hours after I had finished writing those very important 2K, those newly created scenes that fit returned from their vacation.

This was it. The book was in my head. I knew what was going to happen, how the book would end. I even knew how the entire story that will be a series would end.

Of course I had another problem. The title. Even when every detail was in my head, I couldn’t find a title. Sure, I had –still do– a list of potential titles that made me cringe –they still do. It was ridiculous! The series had a name, but I didn’t call it official.

I wouldn’t name the series before I named book one!!

A name that came to me AFTER I finished writing the book. Yeah. The entire book was finished, and I didn’t have a title. I was extremely happy for finishing the book, and astounded that it was still freaking untitled.

POOF! Title flew to me, and it stuck. I made it stay, to be honest. (Fear of ideas running from me rings a bell? Yeah. Exactly.)

In conclusion, book one in my YA fantasy series is written. It’s done! And it even has a name. In fact, I’m not sure which one is a cause for applause. Naming the book, or writing it? You tell me. Actually, don’t. Stick with the applause. (xoxo)

Congrats to me!!!!

My second book is written!!! 

~Athena

Author of TWO books! (It sounds so cool!!)

P.S.

If you’ve read the entire post, Congrats to you, too! ❤

 

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