Pantsers and Series: A Tale of Writing

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Yesterday I finished revisions on Doors, the first in a three book series.

I have posted before about how after writing books two and three, book one was, well, a mess.

Truth, Doors was written as a stand alone. When I began drafting book two, then book three, some stories hadn’t been told. Some worlds hadn’t been built. There were secrets. SO MANY SECRETS!

Until I finished the first draft of book three, when all the information had unfolded.

I don’t plot. I don’t plan. When I have tried, I have failed. It just doesn’t work for me. So to write a series, I have to write the series, let it evolve, learn as I go. Then fix everything.

My Bryn is a powerhouse. A survivor. I didn’t even know what she could do until book three.

Somewhere in book two the Dorn announced themselves as a non binary race, pronouns they/their. Their world, their purpose for being was also revealed as I wrote book two, and, holy moly, are they important!

The Gether world has a history, one I didn’t know until book two when I returned. A war. An outsider. A jewel. Hints at all of this had to be added, a few key characters had to be brought in book one.

The Darkness. He appeared in book two. He snuck in and took control and made book two a bit dark and AWESOME! But he wasn’t what I thought. Only while drafting book three did I really hear him.

The Doorman. I love him, but he surprised me. That’s all I’m saying.

Languages. I made up so many worlds, I stopped keeping track. Every world has their own rituals, their own way of speaking. As I went through book one, I learned how I messed them up. Suddenly the nots were speaking like the Neathers, what a mess. I think I straightened it out. Maybe.

The ending. When I started book two, I had an idea of where Bryn’s character arc was headed. I was wrong. Slowly she let me know what she wanted, she let me know she wasn’t going to choose what I thought she would. And we all know fighting characters is insane.

Book one is about believing.

Book two is about doubt.

Book three is about choices.

I am so happy with how this series went. My mess of notes and strange brain made it a frustrating journey, but the whole thing will come together. I got this.

There is no way I could have known all the secrets. Even if I had sat and planned the trilogy, I would have been wrong in the end. Writing is a process for me. I have to learn with the characters, grow with the story. Let all the creativity flow. This is how I work best. I will never fight it. I will never question it.

I was afraid when I began revisions for book one. I have a habit of overthinking. I worried that I would panic. What if I mess it all up? What if my editor takes one look at the revisions and laughs at me? Seriously.

Then I let it all go, gathered my thoughts and dove in.

I had a great time! I am so happy with it. In a couple weeks, I will hand it off and wait for fresh eyes to show me all the possibilities, all the places to make it better. EDITING TEAMWORK BABY. I am super excited for the next step in the publishing journey!

I’ve done the best I can. This is enough.

Tomorrow we leave for vacation. A week of camping in Glacier National Park in Montana. I will leave Bryn and all her doors at home. I will let my brain digest everything in peace, to make sure nothing else pops into my head.

So now I shall go clean and pack and panic at leaving. I will go run around and hopefully get things done. Hey, I blogged. Point to me.

To Fit or Not to Fit…In

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This week is going to be a bit crazy, with preparing for vacation…cleaning and packing and gathering all the camping things…band practices, a softball game, dentist visit, writers group, and revisions, I was perfectly happy ignoring my blog. Then I read Cassandra Chandler’s blog today and it stirred a memory in my head. Go read her post 11 Years on an Alien Planet. It’s short…I’ll wait.

I was different than the other kids. Though I never really knew it. I tried so hard to to be like everyone else, to fit in, that I never truly appreciated me. My own uniqueness was lost to my need to be like others, to the voice in my head screaming that I should be like them.

I still fight this.

Though now that I’m in my forties, I really don’t care as much.

As a kid I read a lot of fantasy. I watched a lot of fantasy. I wanted to live in a fantasy. However, in all those fantasies, the warriors were men. Well, I had a character in my head…another me, if you will. Her name was Tyra and she was strong. She was independent. She was a woman of few words. She was a warrior. The story of how she found and gained her sword…a special sword…was a tale of adventure and danger.

I lived in my head so much, I thought I had been born on the wrong planet. Unlike Cassandra, who thought she was an alien, I thought a portal would open up and take me home…the difference between a sci-fi geek and a fantasy nerd, I suppose. Not that different really.

That portal never came…except it did. Kind of. I am a writer. All the worlds in my head live on the page, in the imagination. Maybe I wasn’t born on the wrong planet, but on the exact right one, the one that needed me to share what’s in my brain.

Embrace your weird. Embrace what makes you unique. Never think you don’t belong, because maybe you’re in just the right place.

The Great Social Media Adventure

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Social media is an adventure.

For some it’s a way to have fun and connect with people who have the same interests. For some it’s a way to market.

For authors…it’s both.

And we struggle to discover how it can best work for us. So, I am sharing my social media story, my adventure.

Social media is a tool. To build friendships. To research and find agents, editors, cover designers, and publishers. To build your brand…to be yourself, to show people who you are and what you stand for, to share how you see the world. To learn about writing. To find critique partners. To find support.

I am on Twitter, with 7,488 followers (as I type this). @KathleenPalm

I am on Instagram, with 133 followers (as of now). kathleen.palm

I have a Facebook author page, with 100 likes (as of this moment). Kathleen Palm

They are all my name, the name I write under. I did that on purpose, to make it easy to find me…if anyone looks, which is the key, right? Is anyone looking? No idea.

I have this blog…TA DA!

And I post twice a month on The Midnight Society blog…a place for horror fans!

Good? Bad? I have no idea. But it is what it is. I’m out there. Yea me!

Obviously, I have been most active on Twitter. My account has been active for about five years, I really started using it four years ago. I love it there. All my friends are there! Though it can get a bit mean and nasty, I try to not get sucked into the muck. I use Twitter to connect with writers, to build my CP pool, to find support when it’s been a bad day, to spread happiness to my fellow writers, to celebrate all the things. To share books that are being released, to share books I’m reading. I live-tweet a horror movie once a month, part of my “Let’s Watch a Horror Movie” series on The Midnight Society blog, which is super fun!

Hashtags are fun, use them to find people who have similar interests. Like dogs? There’s a hashtag for that. Cats? Gardening? Fantasy? There are hashtags for everything. People who aren’t following you…could find you through the hashtags.

Great tags for writers?

#amwriting, #amreading, #amrevising, #amediting…there are so many more, including ones to share lines from your WIP. We find each other as we face frustration and victory. The writing community is awesome.

I have started a few, mostly to make my friends smile. #MountieMonday #MomoaMonday #MyLittlePonyMonday #MuppetMonday #MinionMonday (All those to help make Mondays happier) #Theosday (to celebrate Theo James, which happens on Tuesdays and Thursdays) #WeDEANsday (for Dean Winchester) #FRYANday (because Ryan Gosling). These are fun. I like fun.

My Facebook author page…well, that’s where I post anything writing related. I will post updates and sometimes lines from my current WIP. I will share blogs about writing. But I struggle with it’s purpose, to really enjoy using that spot. It’s there, maybe I’ll stop forgetting about it. Maybe.

This blog. It’s here. I try to post consistently, but sometimes I have to let it go. I try to post about writing, share what I know. I post about things that make me smile, to make others smile. I like to share the magic of the world. Because the world is magic and we sometimes we forget.

When I was asked to joined The Midnight Society blog, I was over the moon excited and honored! I love horror and I love the people who blog there. We are a family who love creepy. I have learned so much from them, my horror horizons have been broadened. THANK GOODNESS!

Now onto my newest project…Instagram.

I am a YA author. So I need to market to teens. Twitter? Maybe. FB? Maybe. Instagram? YES!

Though I will say that my thoughts on selling to teens is through the actual teens. Word of mouth. Friends telling friends…so I will be using my daughter and her friends. BECAUSE THEY ARE AWESOME!

I joined an Instagram for authors FB page, to learn from others and share what I learn so we can rock the Instagram.

#igauthorlife, #igauthor would be that group. We did a #myfavoritereadsweek last week where each day we posted a pic of our favorite books and why we love them. There are people out there searching for books to read! I know…shocker, right? They are happy to find books they didn’t know existed. I had one person so happy that I posted about Amy Lukavics’ THE WOMEN IN THE WALLS, because she didn’t know about it. Someone else was very interested in MG book THE SEARCH FOR WONDLA by Tony DiTerlizzi.

Through this group, I hope to connect with people on Instagram. Because it’s fun…because someday I’ll want to share my books!

Tip…I linked my Instagram to FB and Twitter, so the one post goes to all three. That is a life saver!

What I am trying:

Being myself, sharing everything me.

#adventureswithKathy and #magicexists…where I post pics of the things I see, odd things with my strange way of viewing them…where I take everyone out into the world with me.

Reading.

#amreading, #booksofinstagram, #ilovebooks, #yalit, #yabooks… also hashtag the title and author…to share my reactions while I read. To share what I love. To introduce others to a book they might not have known existed.

At the moment it is #scythe by #nealshusterman…OMG THIS BOOOOOOOK!

Other life things.

#catsofinstagram, #dogsofinstagram, #gardening…anything else that I love.

I am seeing a lot of likes form people I don’t know and a few have followed me.

What else have I learned? Hashtags can be overwhelming. There are so many, type in #book…and the list is enormous! Do I need them all? Do I choose the ones with the most posts? I have no idea. I tend to be a less is more person, so I don’t overwhelm my posts with hashtags. Right…wrong? It is what I am doing.

Tip…do what works for you. Don’t stress over what might work better, what you should be doing. All the guessing could kill the fun.

AND IT SHOULD BE FUN! If you’re not having fun…no one else will.

Overall, it comes down to being consistent. No one is following…no one is following…keep going! Try not to focus on the followers and turn your attention to you, how you want to portray yourself, really stretch your wings and FLY!

Be yourself. One of the best compliments I ever received when I met a Twitter friend in person was “You are just like you are on Twitter!”.

It me.

It always me.

See you around the web!

Skipping Along the Path I have Chosen

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In the world of writing and publishing, there are so many choices, so many paths to take.

Get an agent and try traditional publishing with the big houses or small presses.

Don’t get an agent and query small presses or self-publish.

And one is no better or worse than the others.

Choose the path that speaks to you, the road that is a right fit. Only you can know which way to go. And there is nothing wrong with changing your mind and carving a new path.

As you travel your road, find friends to support you, because each way is full of waiting and doubt and frustration and excitement…a roller coaster of emotion. Find people who will stand by you, cheering you on as you go, people who will never add to the frustration and doubt, people who will be there to remind you that you are doing what you want, doing what feels right.

Listen to your heart. Follow it.

I chose to sub to small presses. No agent, just me and my words. I signed with a small press, the one I wanted, the one that clicked with my wants, the one that spoke to me. The publishing process has been long, a lot of waiting. Some frustration. It’s been a ride, but every choice has its ups and downs. Never have I regretted signing with them. Never. This is right for me and my ms.

Through all my waiting, I have had to defend my decision. I have had people tell me I was wrong. I have had people warn me of impending doom, that I would be lost, forgotten. They did it because they care (I think)…they want the best for me and my words. I would smile and nod, and on the inside SCREAM. Scream at how I have chosen my path and am happy with my decision. So you aren’t happy with my decision…I DON’T CARE WHY MUST I EXPLAIN MYSELF I AM AN ADULT AND AM OKAY!

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I am happy with my choice therefore everything will be fine, it will be better than fine. IT WILL BE AWESOME!

No matter your intention, no matter how much you care, continuing to tell people what they should have chosen, how their choice will lead to bad things will hurt that person.

Be there with a smile. There is already doubt and frustration, adding to that will not help.

You would choose a different path? Go choose it…for you and not anyone else.

If they face the choice and are looking for help, tell your story, tell why you chose what you did, explain the positives and negatives that you have experienced along the way. Then let them take the information and do what they will.

When a decision is made, it’s made for a reason, a valid and perfectly acceptable reason, one that makes sense to that person. This is always the right decision, no defending or explaining is required. If doubt surfaces, encourage the exploration of other roads, not how to fix it. (seriously, that is my hubs, I want to strangle him)

There is no right or wrong in a personal decision.

In writing and in life, when someone has chosen a path, support them and we will be a stronger community, stronger people.

Much Sand in the Sandbox!

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So, just stopping by to say hi…

AND I FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT OF DOORS, BOOK 3: THE DARK TRAVELER!

That’s all.

No big deal.

HAHAHAAAAA! Such a big deal.

25 chapters.

One epilogue.

99,404 words. A bit more than I thought it would be, but it turns out tying everything up the way I wanted, wrapping up a series needed a few more words…that’s fine!

And 99K? That’s a lot of sand in the box. A friend of mine told me that first drafts were all about words, about shoveling sand in the sandbox, a foundation on which you can sculpt your castle. Without material to work with, your idea means nothing.

So I have a big heaping pile of sand. A couple piles.

Because this also means that I have written a trilogy. My first finished series. I talked about my struggle with writing a series in my last post.

I did not know that Doors would lead me into a series. When the characters came back to me, telling me they weren’t done yet, I went with it. I had an idea where the story was going, but it changed as I wrote it. Now, even if I had a plan for it to be a series, I can guarantee that the story would have evolved and morphed away from any plan I would have had, because that’s how my brain works.

So having the entire series written before any are published is super good.

So, I will now gather my wits and revise book one. Hopefully it won’t need much, though I will have to resist my LET’S REVISE EVERYTHING attitude my brain will latch onto. But it will need help before my editor gets her hands on it. She doesn’t need to edit a book around my WELL ALL THIS IS DIFFERENT NOW stuff. I need to fix the continuity, to match it to what happens later, to add little things to link to book two and three, to tweak things. Maybe go a bit darker…

Okay, probably go a bit darker.

DARKER!

Make it a super tight series. One that when you get to book three, you can see all the bits I added in book one.

BUT LET’S JUST FOR A SECOND FLAIL AND SCREAM BECAUSE THE FIRST DRAFT IS DONE!

Seriously. Drafting is hell. Knowing you have to fill the empty white with words is overwhelming. But one word at a time I did it, we all do it.

A Series of Unfortunate Lessons

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Book series are so much a thing…the thing? Something. People want characters’ stories to continue, they want to live in a world longer than the span of one book.

We love series! LOVE THEM!

I mean…Harry Potter…

So, many authors are writing them.

When I wrote DOORS, oh so many years ago, I wrote it as a stand alone. I wrote it because at the time being a new author meant the chances of having a series published was zero to none.

“At the time” means before self-publishing was a choice, before the big publishers closed to unagented queries, before small presses had grabbed their piece of the novel pie, before Twitter, and back when querying meant a letter on a piece of paper (ah, snail mail) and a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope, for those who don’t speak the language of long ago).

I began my writing journey with a series, one that had been rolling around in my head for years.

I wrote three out of four books. I queried the first book (way too soon, but a mistake so many make, so many need to make) and as I waited, I researched this whole getting published thing (without the Internet help that exists now, without writer friends on Twitter, without a writing group…ugh, seriously the stone age). I read publishing books and took classes. First time authors were less likely to be signed with a series, publishers were not willing to risk that much on an unknown. Funny how different the publishing world is now…

So I wrote a stand alone.

But it wasn’t. The story wasn’t done. I had told the very beginning.

Book two is drafted and book three is very close to being drafted…like two or three chapters close! OH MY GOOD GRACIOUS PLEASE LET IT END SOON!

Book one is signed with Reuts Publishing and is waiting for its turn in the edit cave. Books two and three? We’ll see if Reuts wants them. Why write them if I don’t know? Because I needed to.

However, writing a series has been taxing. Frustrating. An adventure. Pure insanity. Writing this series has been one mighty big mess.

Because I didn’t have a series in mind when I wrote book one, I had no idea where the whole story was headed. As I scribbled notes and began writing book two, I had an idea of where the series would go.

But…well…I was wrong. I’m not sure when I realized this…somewhere in book two…somewhere in book three? Both? Yeah.

The story evolved into a beast. A beast with wonderful backstory, a lot of history. A massive tangle of emotions. A web of people and actions. When the Darkness showed up…it all went awry. In a good way! But awry. As I talked to characters, as I delved into the worldbuilding and the past…the story came to life.

And wow, I am exhausted. I am ready to have this thing drafted so it can go sit in a corner.

But I am wiser.

What I have learned from writing a series:

  1. Paging through books one and two searching for what you previously wrote is fun. Not incredibly tedious and frustrating. Nope. OKAY YES IT IS
  2. Continuity. Is. Hard.
  3. Be prepared to go back and change everything in book one to match what ended up happening. Be prepared to add things to book one for the same reason. (Sorry, Kisa…well, not change everything. BOOK ONE WILL BE FINE I SWEAR…IT WILL BE BETTER!)
  4. Get really good at making notes that say things like, “DID HE EVEN SAY THAT?” “WHAT DID HAPPEN THEN?” “WHAT DID THIS PLANET LOOK LIKE?” “GO BACK AND CHECK THIS CHECK THAT CHECK EVERYTHING.”
  5. The end is going to be quite different than I thought. THIS IS FINE. Go with the flow. Go with the story. To be honest, my story is much better now than it would have been.
  6. CONTINUITY. IS. IMPOSSIBLE. Did I say that already? Did I? This is my main struggle BECAUSE MY NOTES ARE A BIG MESSY PILE OF MESS.
  7. Never do this again. Okay, that’s a lie. I will do this again. What I hope to not do again is start a series without knowing, though controlling the voices in my head is not something I can…or even want…to do. The next project will be a series BUT I KNOW IT WILL BE. Knowing is half the battle. *gets my sword*

 

I cannot guarantee that my next series will be easier to write. I’ll still have a mess of notes, cause that’s how I roll. I’ll still open myself up to the possibility that I don’t know how it ends and will have to tweak the beginning to fit the surprise ending. Though this next series won’t take place on a million different worlds. So there’s that.

I learned so much. The best thing I discovered, was that I can do it. All the things that have to be changed, tweaked, or added will be done. Revisions are where the miracles happen. First, I need a break to untangle my brain from the web of everything.

Want to write a series? Do it. Scared? Don’t be. Let the story talk to you. Let it evolve into everything it is supposed to be. And fix all the things in revisions.

With my entire series drafted it will be easier to fix. Because I KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NOW! OH GLORIOUS KNOWLEDGE!

 

 

#Magicday…Sometimes Nope is the Correct Answer

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The magic for today is to decide not to…

I didn’t blog last week. I let a few days go without my workout. I just said nope.

For me, learning I’ll be okay when I let the routine go, when I deviate from what I think I should do is a big deal. I get wrapped up in the list I have in my head, the list that makes up the perfect me. When I start to obsess about what I have to do, the magic of stepping back can refocus me, it can remind me what is important. I am important. My calm happiness is important. The stress caused by the pursuit if perfection isn’t worth compromising that peace.

So, sometimes I have to not. Just run away from the stuff.

I have to remember that I will be okay if I don’t, to prove that I won’t end up like…

I get more done when I’m not trying to check all the perfect boxes on my perfect list. I feel more accomplished when I don’t have the things I didn’t do staring at me, accusing me of failing.

I didn’t blog last week.

The world didn’t end.

I missed some workouts.

The sun rose.

I didn’t panic. I didn’t stress. I let it all go.

I can like me for me and not because I lived up to my impossible expectations, but because I allowed myself to simply be.

Don’t forget you in all the things. Don’t forget to live in all the doing. Step back to remember what makes you happy and let go of all the stress.

Not doing can be magic.

 

#Magicday…Choices

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I just read a blog post by the FABULOUS Julie Hutchings. Go…go read it…I’ll wait…here, let me help.

The Joy of Not Playing Well with Others

Isn’t she great? She’s my Gorky.

Anyway, her post made me think, as good posts do.

Taking control of your life is the greatest thing you can ever do. Having control means different things to different people. Everyone is different. Control means seeing the choices, it means not allowing life to put you in a box, afraid to take a chance, afraid to live.

We’re here. Alive. We should be living.

When you’re not happy, look at the choices. There are always choices! Always.

As Julie says, “WAIT I CAN DO WHATEVER THE HELL I WANT PERIOD THE END OH MY GOD.”

Words to live by.

For writers, we have multiple ways we can go, agents, small presses, self-publishing… Like Julie, if you aren’t happy with previous choices, you can forge another path. Things in publishing (as in life) rarely go as planned, a big giant awful fabulous mess, one we jump into because we love it. But don’t ever feel like you don’t have control over your life. You do. In this glorious time, writers have so many choices, more than ever. Even if those choices are scary. Even if those choices mean more work, mean stepping out of your comfort zone.

Sometimes we forget. We forget we can leave the rut we have carefully worn. We forget to look at the things in life that frustrate us or make us unhappy and ask what else can we do.

Remember that when you climb out of the rut, when you find another path, there are people who will always be there to help. As I will be there to help my Gorky, and happily read all her books! Though, dude…five books in one year?

YOU ARE A MAD WOMAN, JULIE!

 

When you find what works, go with it. Happiness will follow.

Heart vs Brain: Facing the Great Writing Dilemma

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I have a friend in my writers group who is always telling us that she did everything wrong. She was always writing the wrong thing at the wrong time. She’s no good at marketing. To get a readership, don’t do what she did and jump around to other genres. We should learn from her mistakes.

Let me just say, she is the ONE person in our group with an agent. She just finished writing The Mill Pond romance series…if you like cute romances, these will make your heart sing. Go here and check them out!

At the beginning, she wrote mysteries, but she didn’t think that would get her anywhere, so she went with urban fantasy. Norse Gods, witches, and battles…OH MY! Her Babet and Prosper novellas are pretty darn fun. Go check out those books here! Well, she signed with her agent with her urban fantasy.

BUT…

Her agent just didn’t think they would sell. The market for that genre was glutted. Publishers weren’t asking for UF. After a long fight, trying to get her UF published, she finally got the go ahead to put them on Amazon. Then she was encouraged to go romance, because romance sells.

Now, me? I would have fallen over laughing if someone had told me to write romance. No way. I would have failed completely. Remember my whole thing with kissing…we won’t even get into my Happily-Ever-After feelings (saves that for future post). But this writer took the challenge and wrote a romance. Then another…and another… she liked writing them!

Now she’s doing what she told us not to and is preparing to switch genres again. BECAUSE SHE WANTS TO. Because the writing muses have been spreading their magic. This started a debate in our group… Write what you want to write? OR Write what will help you get a readership, write to make money?

Heart vs brain.

You should like…NO, LOVE what you write. And write what you love. And don’t let anyone tell you not to. However, be realistic. Be prepared to wait, to get rejections, to struggle with the fact that publishing is a business. If there are a million books like yours, you’re going to have a hard time finding an agent and/or publisher because they want to make money. Be prepared to leave certain fans of your work behind if you switch genres.

None of us writes to make money…well, most of us. Don’t get me wrong, it would be great to earn a bit of cash, but we do it because it calls to us, because we can’t live without creating.

I’ve heard discussions on how we shouldn’t write certain genres because they are “dead”. A few days ago, I saw tweets proclaiming the ridiculousness of “dead” genres. I wholeheartedly agree.

We’re told not to write to the market. As much as that means, don’t look at what’s selling and write that, hoping to get in on the fun…because by the time yours is ready, the fad will have moved on. But also the opposite. Don’t look at what’s not selling and decide to not write that book that’s screaming in your creative brain.

Remember the shelves labeled Paranormal Romance? When that genre was everywhere? And now it’s faded. The wave has ebbed. But the wave isn’t gone. People who read PR will always be there. But the money is elsewhere, so publishing follows.

And fads always come back. Eventually those PR readers will start begging for more and BLAMM-O, you know that manuscript you have sitting in a drawer, start querying!…or that PR you self-pubbed, start marketing!

I write YA fantasy. You know how many people write YA fantasy? A BIG FRIGGIN TON LOT OF PEOPLE. But I have to write it. I choose to face the odds of being lost in the sea or of never being published, because I love it. The writing faeries in my mind don’t know how to make up anything else.

I’m soon going to dip my toe in MG and YA horror. Switching genres? Maybe, but not really, my fantasy gets a little dark. Will the market allow those to swim? Who knows? No one knows. I’m going to write them and LOVE every single second. Then I’ll see what happens. Maybe it’ll be what people are looking for…maybe not. Not now…but maybe later. I’ll wait. I am patient.

And if you’re not patient? Self-publishing could work.

Mistakes? Nah.

Following your heart is always the right answer.

 

#Magicday…Hope

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Yesterday was Easter Sunday. And whether you’re religious or not, the magic of that day is for everyone.

Hope.

Humans have an abundance of this power, we cling to it, raise it when it’s needed. Hope is so woven into our beings, it’s impossible to separate it from our souls.

The best kind of magic. The kind that persists. The kind that drives us forward even when we face terrible odds. The kind that keeps us smiling even when we want to cry…or helps us cry only to return stronger after the tears.

Pure magic.

The Human spirit is amazing.

Today, a contest RevPit comes to its dynamic conclusion. I have no idea how many, but A LOT of authors sent their words to a group of editors, who each offered their time and will each help one person make their manuscript shine. Authors sent their words to a certain number, three or four, of these editors depending on the editor’s wish list. The editors have been reading queries and the first five pages, tweeting about which ones they like and the reasons why they pass on others. Teasers. The stress and nail biting has been off the charts. Today, the announcement goes live, the participating editors make their choices, choose one manuscript out of the pile they had…(was it 50?). Together, editor and the author will work on revisions. I am not participating. I am not one of those brave souls who submitted, holding onto hope that their name will be announced.

@ReviseResub…the contest’s Twitter. Go see #RevPit on Twitter and meet all the fabulous people involved. I’ve been lurking there for days, and followed all sorts of cool people.

Go see their website here for all the details.

I remember being one of those people, in past contests. One of those many people sure they wouldn’t be picked, yet still stuck to the screen waiting to read the list of those chosen.

Because that little voice talking to me that…

Maybe…maybe…maybe…

Because hope.

I remember not seeing my name and that terrible sinking feeling of failure. I remember how I hated that hope for whispering those maybe’s. Yet that darned hope never went away. It came back.

The voice of light told me I hadn’t reached the end of my journey, just as those chosen in the contest hadn’t either. We were merely on different paths. That bright voice of never-give-up said that my time would come. Those shining thoughts of next time, of wait until you see what happens tomorrow made me keep working.

I have a dear friend who is participating in RevPit. She’s brilliant and marvelous and her time is coming. Maybe today she’s chosen for this. Maybe not. Like I said, her time is coming. Entering this contest is a step. Don’t know if being chosen is a step…yet. As her hopes soar in these final hours before the announcement, so do mine. Whether her name is announced or not, I’ll be by her side ready to cheer her one as she continues her journey. Just as she will be at my side as I walk my path.

Let the hope fill you today…everyday. Acknowledge those moments when it fades, when the shadows of failure and doubt nearly extinguish its light. But pay attention. Because hope doesn’t die. It will always return. Embrace it when it does.

Hope is the best magic.