February 2016 was a difficult month for me. I was incredibly happy and utterly heartbroken. Ylva offered me a publishing deal for Shadow Haven and on Valentine’s Day my brother passed away.
Mixed emotions are always strange, but when your life-long dream happens at the same time as your worst nightmare, life becomes a roller coaster with twists and turns everywhere.
February was a new beginning.
The beginning of me as a writer.
The beginning of my life without my brother in it.
I had to learn the fundamentals of editing and grieving. After almost seven months I can honestly say that editing is a lot easier to figure out than grieving is.
Editing has rules.
You learn how to show, rather than tell. You learn how to work around the whole ‘her-her’ situation in a novel that features two women. You learn that there are way too many ‘the blonde’ and ‘the brunette’ referrals in your novel. You learn that point of view is incredibly important and that character A cannot see character B roll their eyes when character A has their eyes closed. You learn that there’s a shortcut to change all the straight quotation marks into curly ones after you have changed them all one-by-one. You learn someone shrugs every three other sentences and that this is way too much. You learn to no longer be sad when you delete five-thousand words and replace them with one sentence that says it all. You learn, you learn, you learn.
Grieving doesn’t have rules.
Grieving happens and sometimes it doesn’t. Or at least, it feels like that. The seven stages of grief are a myth. I have yet to meet the first person who goes through them stage by stage. Grieving is an endless loop of waiting for that moment when you fall apart and sometimes…it just doesn’t happen. Grieving is smiling at memories and being annoyed at well meant comments like, “He’s in a better place now.” It’s shaking hands with people you’ve never met before and it’s eating cake when all you want to is reverse the clock. Grieving is hard, but then again…so is editing.
February 2016 was the start of a new beginning. I am learning the fundamentals.
Hi. I’m AJ.
Shadow Haven is the name of my first novel. It started out as a fan fiction for the Swan Queen fandom. I am in the middle of the editing process to turn it into an original work.
The fundamentals of the story haven’t changed though: woman loves woman, her and her, she and she.
I’m excited for this new beginning. I hope you will be as well.