Vlog: Was I Ready to Write a Series?

Today's question digs into my experience debuting with a trilogy—and whether I felt ready to tackle three books when I agreed to do so.


Have you ever considered writing a series? 

Twitter-sized bite:
In today's vlog, @Ava_Jae answers whether or not they felt ready to tackle a trilogy with their debut. (Click to tweet)

What Feels Like Home

Photo credit: gary.hge on Flickr
From May 10-15, I was in Michigan, visiting family in the house I'd lived in for roughly two years.

I've had a rather migratory life.

In my twenty-six years, I've lived in six homes and two dorms scattered across three states. My late teens and early twenties in particular were especially uprooted—between colleges and family moves I was constantly aware that wherever I was was temporary, that I wasn't going to stay. This made a lot of things awkward—especially relationships—but the most lasting effect was I never really felt at home.

Which, you know, comes with knowing you don't plan to stay. You don't want to get attached to anything—not even a building—if you know you'll be packing up and going elsewhere soon.

But as I flew back to my apartment, in the lovely city that welcomed me back in September, I was struck by a realization. Though I've only been here for about eight and a half months, for the first time in literally years...I really feel at home.

For the first time in ages I'm planting roots. I'm planning to stay. I'm making long-term relationships and collecting things of my own and most of all I feel good here. I can really say it's good to be home.

Which, to put a writing spin on this, has me thinking: what is home to my characters?

The answer, of course, will vary manuscript to manuscript and character to character. But I think it can be an interesting question to consider while drafting—and you never know what insights it might give you into your characters' minds.

What is home to your characters? 

Twitter-sized bite:
After 6 homes, 2 dorms, & 3 states @Ava_Jae considers what feels like home to them—& how to use that question to develop characters. (Click to tweet)

Vlog: On Book Ideas and Organization

Answering more related AMA-week questions! This time on idea generation and keeping track of ideas for your WIPs.


How do you keep track of your ideas?

Twitter-sized bite:
How do you keep track of your ideas? @Ava_Jae shares their strategy in today's vlog. (Click to tweet)

On the Cusp of an Exhale

Photo credit: Marcelo Campi Amateur photographer on Flickr
I've just walked out of my last day of class of my first year of grad school.


I'm not 100% done with everything—have one more thing to turn in, but that just requires light revisions before handing it over. And that has weirdly coincided with my publishing deadlines, which also still need to be turned in, but only require light revisions. So I can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. I'm on the cusp of an exhale.

I've had an incredible first year. And an incredibly busy first year, lord I've been juggling so many things. And this summer I'm going to be ramping up the writing and reading with the time I had to spend on school stuff.

But overall, I feel good. I made it (almost). I've done the hard part (all of it). It's been a wild time and I'm so glad I'm here.

Now the things I'm looking forward to:

  • finishing revisions on my YA Thriller and getting that out to my CPs and agent
  • plotting and first drafting my first MG ever (!!!)
  • playing Assassin's Creed: Origins. Also Horizon Zero Dawn. 
  • having an actual social life (whaaaat?) 
  • my first Pride :)

Lots to look forward to, lots to do. But the hardest part of this too-much-work mountain is over, and that feels really damn good.

What are you plans for the summer? 

Twitter-sized bite:
What are your writing/reading plans for the summer? Join the discussion on @Ava_Jae's blog. (Click to tweet)

Vlog: On Finding Motivation to Finish Your WIP

Got two related questions during AMA week on one important topic: how do you stay motivated to finish writing a whole book? So let's talk first drafts and making it to The End.


Where do you find motivation to finish your manuscripts? 

Twitter-sized bite:
Struggling to find the motivation to finish your WIP? @Ava_Jae shares some thinking that helps them reach The End. (Click to tweet)

Guest Post: On Inclusion and Representation by Ariel Kalati

NOTE: Hey everyone! As I buckle down to try to finish final papers, I've got a special guest post for you guise from Ariel Kalati, of the Ch1Con and Ch21Con convention team! It's a great annual convention I absolutely encourage you to consider, and this year they'll have speakers including Karuna Riazi, Amanda Foody, and Christine Herman, which is pretty cool! Hope you enjoy the guest post!

Hi, I’m Ariel Kalati, and I do want to talk to you all about Ch1Con and Ch21Con. First off, though, I’ve promised some insightful publishing thoughts. Over the last few years of being part of publishing Twitter, I have met so many amazing people and seen so many organizations working towards diversifying publishing. What particularly intrigues me is the need for #OwnVoices work- not just representation of marginalized groups, but the presence of marginalized people in all parts of the publishing process.

The need for #OwnVoices is there for many reasons: more accurate representation, providing income for marginalized people, and ideally one day, a shift in the power dynamics of the publishing world. However, I’ve noticed a reason that is more personal and emotional in nature, but not any less important. Being surrounded entirely by people who don’t understand your identity and your struggles can be scary. Even with allies, it can be alienating. And seeing books that are only published by privileged authors can cause that same sense of alienation.

Panels and attendees at publishing conferences can be just as important. To create a truly effective and open publishing community, you need all sorts of voices. Groups like We Need Diverse Books have been calling out whitewashed panels for years now. But smaller organizations and individuals can also work to ensure a diversity of voices. At Chapter One Events, for example, one of our foremost goals is to make sure that every young writer who attends feels safe and feels that their individual voice can be heard. A major way to ensure that is to support all kinds of marginalized identities, in places like our author panels and speaker lists, and by using our online presence to support #OwnVoices books.

I don’t think we’re a perfect organization in this regard yet. But I think that moving towards diversity is about wanting to help alleviate that sense of alienation for marginalized people. And creating a safe space for young writers to congregate and learn about their craft goes hand in hand with that goal. I hope that Chapter One Events follows in the footsteps of other great nonprofits and writing organizations in creating safety and community for all voices.

Make sure you check out Ch1Con and Ch21Con! 

How to Revise a Book

Photo credit: freestocks.org on Flickr
  1. Get your edit letter from your critique partner.
  2. Go over everything you need to fix.
  3. Wallow in the enormity of what you have to do.
  4. Eat your feelings in ice cream.
  5. Look at that edit letter again, this time while taking deep breaths.
  6. Translate your edit letter into actionable checklists.
  7. Figure out a solution for each issue you need to tackle.
  8. Make some tea.
  9. Tweet that you're in your revision cave for the foreseeable future.
  10. Put on your noise-cancelling headphones and favorite playlist.
  11. Revise.
  12. Keep revising until you're too tired to continue.
  13. Rinse and repeat the next day.
  14. And the next.
  15. And the next.
  16. Until
  17. revisions
  18. are
  19. done.

How do you revise your books?

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