What I’ve Learned Along The Way by Kathryn L. James


Next month my status will change from aspiring author to published author. Crazy Beautiful Lies will be going into the wild for the world to read. I had hoped it would be ready for publication in October, but I didn’t have a clue how much preparations are involved. Currently it’s in its last round of editing.

I thought I would share some surprising facts of what I’ve learned along the way. First, my journey started out fun with endless ideas firing around in my brain. I went to bed thinking about my characters, only to wake up with them still doing the tango in my mind. Honestly I can’t recall when the tears came, or subtle groans tampered with my excitement..but they came. Still, I trudged on and kept writing. I had a story to tell about Blake DeLuca and Jenna Capwell.

The delete key became my friend, and then my enemy. I remember deleting a particular chapter several times, before finally reaching satisfaction. And then another set back when approximately half-way through the novel, I changed a few minor details. It affected so many chapters and caused me a lot of grief. I didn’t regret that decision, and still don’t, yet I can’t begin to tell you how many times I wondered if I’d lost my mind. I spent hours, upon hours, upon hours, combing through, making sure I edited all the changes.

And then there’s commas. I sprinkled them in my work, and after all the critiques and beta reads, I found I didn’t have a clue about basic rules of use. The tiny puntuation mark caused me to grit my teeth, and increase my font size to find all the itty-bitty highlights to either add or remove. And to think once upon a time English was one of my favorite subject, always making good grades.

Receiving critiques and forming a circle of talented friends on Sribophile made my story blossom and shine. I will forever be grateful for all the support in helping make my baby better.  Fresh eyes picked apart and found little things my own missed…even after I’d read it time after time again. If you’re writing a novel, I strongly suggest becomming involved in a critiquing community. I recommend checking out Scribophile!

Last but not least, in the art of creating a novel, there is no such thing as instant gratification. (Maybe in your world, but not mine.). At times one sentence took hours, and one paragraph took a week. Learning to juggle writing between family and the day job made me dig deep for patience…something I wasn’t born with. I tried making a writing schedule. It failed. Often times I made plans to write, only to have unexpected obligations arise. Adapting to accepting ‘when it happens, it will happen’ was painful, but I did it.

The day I typed the last period, I cried. It was a bittersweet moment. It felt like a break-up, like I had to separate myself from my characters since the story was finished. Little did I know I was going to spend hours with rewrites and editing. The main characters, Blake DeLuca and Jenna Capwell will stay in my heart forever.

Enjoy a little teaser!

close up portrait of young caucasian couple kissing

Until next time!

Kathryn L. James (KJ)

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