Writing Log 1: Start With A Bang, End With A…Whimper?

Day One—Aug 20,2017

Last night I finished my seven-page outline in under three hours. I was so excited about this project. I thought that when I woke up the next morning I would still be excited and ready to write but I wasn’t. I guess I realized I no longer had my lack of an outline to hide behind. Suddenly I realized that this was the first book I was going to actively write with the intent of publication. I guess that frightened me a little bit. So I put off writing until after I watched Game of Thrones. I also had some problems with tense. I thought I was going to write in third person past tense limited and then I kept slipping back into third person present tense limited. I know a lot of people don’t like it but I’m used to writing in present tense. I’ve been writing films in present tense for four years. I guess it’s a little harder to shake than I thought. Prologue complete.

Total Word Count: 1,116

Day Two—Aug 21, 2017

I didn’t get a lot of writing done today although I can say it was much easier to write today than it was yesterday. I guess I was just rusty. The last time I wrote something in a narrative style, it was back in May so I can see how that happened. The Solar Eclipse happened today. That stopped me from writing earlier in the day and then after the eclipse passed, I got a headache and ended up taking a nap. I woke up from the nap a little later than I expected but the headache was gone and I was ready to write. Or so I thought. I ended up having to sit and think about what the city and certain rooms in the story looked like. I ended up looking at lots of pictures to try to match the vagueness in my mind with some real images to help me narrow down what things actually look like because I’m a visual person. But after that, I started writing and really loved it and then I started playing with Scrivener’s compile setting because…why not? I love wasting time. It’s midnight. I’m going to sleep.

Total Word Count: 2,142.

Day Three—Aug 22, 2017

So I thought I was going to get up and write but it was raining and my mom is so paranoid about the rain that I ended up pushing my writing time back. We did laundry today and that took longer than usual but overall today was a pretty good writing day. I also washed my hair today, so that’s a plus. 👍🏾 I think the hardest thing I had to do in regards to writing today was trying to figure out how to describe racial/ethnic markers on people without sounding racist. I never realized how much I relied on generalizations or cultural understanding until I tried to describe a diverse group of people in a world without our established countries and racial categories. I didn’t do as much writing as I wanted to but there is always tomorrow.

Total Word Count: 3,583

Day Four—Aug 23, 2017

Today I actually got up and wrote when I was supposed to. I only wrote for about 45 minutes before I took a break and went to the gym for an hour. When I got back, a laid around for a bit and watched a few YouTube videos before getting back to writing. Things were going well until I spent four hours on Netflix. Chapter 1 complete.

Total Word Count: 4,972.

Day Five—Aug 24, 2017

It was a good writing day, I just didn’t write for very long.

Total Word Count: 6,747.

Day Six—Aug 25, 2017

I picked greens, baked cupcakes, styled my hair and worked on a physical map of my fantasy world. I put off writing because my sister was supposed to bring my nephews and niece over, but in her typical fashion, she broke her promise. I’m going to bed three hours early because I’m irritated and I might have plans tomorrow that requires me to wake up before 8 a.m.

Total Word Count: 6,747

Day Seven—Aug 26, 2017

Oops. Not writing for the second day in a row, huh? I’m not trying to justify this, I’m just stating what happened. I had a really busy day. I actually got out of the house and had some fun. My sister also brought the kids over for a few hours and then I got drunk by myself and went to sleep early. It’ll be better next week. I swear.

Total Word Count: 6,747

Crafting The Look And Feel Of My World

If you haven’t noticed already, I took a little hiatus earlier in the month so my posting slowed down a bit but never fear, I’m back and in popular demand. I actually stopped posting because I was down in Texas for two weeks being a live-in nanny and I thought that the child I was taking care of deserved my undivided attention. I’ll do a post about that soon because it was actually a pretty cool and enlightening experience.

I would also like to note that any posts I do about the book I’m writing would be tagged as TWE. It’s the shortened title of the book I’m working on, so just in case you’re not subscribed to/following my blog or Facebook page but still want to check in on the progress of the book, you can always come to this website, go to my tag cloud, and click on TWE.

Today I’m going to explain how I came up with the environmental concepts for the book I’m working on and you’ll get to see how I worldbuild.

What I Did Wrong

For the book I’m working on now, the idea for my story started nearly four years ago when I was a freshman and college and was too overwhelmed with my school-related writing projects to even think about working on something for fun. So I just let it sit on the back burner of my brain until I had the free time, which wasn’t until I graduated from college. Over the years, the idea of the story shifted and with each new shift, the world changed a little bit. But it wasn’t until I sat down to write out the story that the world truly started to form. That’s how I worldbuild. I build the world around the story that I have in mind and if the story changes, the world changes.

That happened to me while I was in Texas. Earlier in this month or at the end of last month, I announced that I was writing a book. I knew I was going to write the book way back in January but the announcement was a way to force myself to start writing. I wanted the Internet to hold me accountable if I didn’t deliver the goods. I was struggling with my outline and I knew I couldn’t write without my outline because I had no idea where the story was headed. I didn’t have a middle or an end. I just had a killer start and some basic (and somewhat vague) plots/storylines for my three central characters which I have now fixed. That’s part of the reason that the summary of my book that I posted read so poorly (in my opinion). It’s because I still hadn’t figured out what I was doing.

I’d spent so much time world building that I’d lost my actual story. Yes, world building is that addictive to me. It’s crazy how wrapped up I get in it. So while the child that I was taking care of was napping, I would sit and try to think up ways to fix my problem. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t having problems with my outline. I was having problems with my world. I’d designed a beautiful world that had one huge flaw. It was set in the future but it had no guns. I omitted guns from my world because guns could solve so many problems so quickly and I just didn’t want to have gigantic plot holes. Sorry, not sorry. But by doing that, the story couldn’t function because it just didn’t make sense. Why didn’t they have guns? And if they didn’t have guns, what type of weapons did they have? Once I started looking at older weapons, the idea of them running around with swords (even if they were fancy futuristic swords) just seemed so wrong in a world that also had hover cars. So I scrapped it all.

How I Fixed It

I stopped fighting the enviable—I changed my genres. My story went from science fiction to fantasy. I set my world in a more pseudo-medieval world. Why was I fighting this so much? Because I’m tired of reading the same thing over and over again. When people talk about fantasy worlds, they’re normally talking about pseudo-medieval Europe and once they start talking like that, it opens the doors to arguments against people of color being in stories. This in its self just doesn’t make sense. People really try to act like trading wasn’t a thing back then. Or that Europeans were the only people who were exploring other countries/continents back then.

Following that same train of thought, I was suddenly hit with the best idea ever: when coming up with the look of the world, look at what the rest of the world looked like during the medieval period. So I did and it was amazing. The rest of the world was just as developed as the Roman Empire had been before its fall. Some places were even more developed. The reason why the medieval period/dark ages looked so dreary for Europeans was because they didn’t take care of all the infrastructure and architecture that the Romans had already laid out. As things fell apart, nature reclaimed most of what humans didn’t fight for. That combined with western Europe’s climate, religious superstitions and the dumbing down of forward-thinking lead to a lot of the darker parts of Medieval Europe. The rest of the world wasn’t dealing with that, so the medieval period looked very different for them.

When coming up with ideas to help shape my fantasy world I looked at what medieval life and architecture looked like in Africa and Asia. I can’t post any of the pictures because I don’t own them and don’t want to get hit with anything copyright related so I’ve linked some in the post.


While looking at some of these places, I tried to envision what the inside of my world would look like. Game of Thrones came to mind. It’s one of my favorite shows and I love how they blend modern touches of fashion and décor within medieval settings. So looking at the color pallets for their Southern settings (which are filmed in Spain and some other country that escapes my mind) I was able to locate a style that fits my story and the world I was building around it. I discovered Moroccan style/décor. Moroccan décor is a beautiful blend of bold and vibrant colors such as gold, brown, orange, blue, and green. The colors are linked to the environment. Moroccan décor also incorporates a lot of elaborate patterns stitched into textiles and carved into wooden furniture. There is a lot of fabric and metal that gives the sense of lushness and excess that fits well with my story. And the architectural style is beautiful because it is a fusion of Arab and Moor history.

Weapons and ClothingDSC_2161

When coming up with the weapons and transportation for the story I did return to Europe although I’m trying to incorporate more medieval weapons from Asia such as the sai. We have the standard long-swords, rapiers, crossbows, javelins, and so much more. When coming up with the clothing style for the world I wanted it to be something that was different but functional. As much as I love the steampunk aesthetic, I’ve never tried to write a steampunk novel because I don’t feel like it would be functional in the actual situations that I like to write about. So I went with something that is considered high fashion right now. I looked for the tattered and layered look. Earth-toned fabric with lots of belts to hold up clothing or to hold weapons. Since the first book takes place in a warmer climate, I haven’t played with what furs would look like in this world but a lot of the clothing is asymmetrical and extremely functional. I wanted the people to look almost nomadic—a fusion of past and future. I wanted to create something that was different. When coming up with ideas for how the people would dress, I looked at clothing that had been tagged: post-apocalyptic clothing, dystopian future clothing, dystopian future nomad, costumes from the show Vikings, and the Dorne costumes from Game of Thrones.

Religion and Political Systems

Here comes the fun part: politics and religion. I created my own religion for this project because religion and religious superstition were so important to the story that I decided to just create my own instead of perverting an already established religion to suit my needs. In my world, Church (I call it the Cloth) and State are separated but not by much. It’s one of those situations that if the Cloth pushed hard enough, the state would become a theocracy. Speaking of the State, the State in my story is a weird blend of an Absolute Monarchy and Authoritarianism and there is no feudalism. So although this story will probably fall into the genre of dark fantasy, it has plenty of dystopian appeals as well.


This is how my mind works. This is how I world build: one connection at a time until the world and the story work. And this version of my world works. The other day, I sat down and started a new outline and finished it within three hours. It felt great. The storylines for the three central characters changed a little bit, but the core is still there and I’m finally writing. Words have actually been typed into my document. The world is right again.

The Blue Sky Tag

Hey everyone, this is going to be a different type of post today. I’ve been branching out and making friends in the blogging community and I was fortunate enough to be tagged by Anne Pyle to do the Blue Sky Tag. Here is her post. Check it out. She answered a different set of questions.

The Blue Sky Tag


Describe your life story in forty words exactly.

I was born in 1995—the middle child of three. I’ve always loved writing but before writing became my only viable claim for “fame” I used to sing and had aspirations to be a ballerina. Hahaha. Look at me now.

What is your favorite dessert, and why?

I love ice-cream. I’ve had affairs with cookies and cake but ice-cream has always been my love. I don’t know why I love it but when I’m really craving something unhealthy and lovely, ice-cream is the first and only thing that pops into my mind.

How did you come to be a writer?

I don’t know. I stumbled on it when I was younger. I’ve always loved movies and television. That love came from long nights staying up with my dad—our bonding time. I guess I just really liked the way stories made people sit and listen and as a child, that’s all you ever want people to do. Thus, I became a writer.

What made you pick your genre to write/publish in?

I love science fiction and fantasy. Sometimes, it can be a nice break from reality but the genre also allows you to talk about pressing social or political issues without it being all in the audience’s face. That is why I write primarily in sci-fi/fantasy. I plan to publish in sci-fi/fantasy for a very different reason.

I started wanting to publish works of sci-fi/fantasy once I became old enough to question the lack of diversity in the genre. The lack of racial diversity. Location diversity. Economic and social diversity. Sexual orientation and religious diversity. Diversity within the authors themselves.

What is your favorite aspect of the writing community?

It is not as competitive as journalism, which is where I started at when I was trying to become a professional writer. I also enjoy the idea that we exist in all cultures and lifestyles.

How magical was your experience with your first burrito?

Must not have been mind-blowing because I don’t even remember it.

Tell me all about your love for–or hate of–a warm gooey brownie.

I love the chocolate and the warmth of one that’s fresh out of the oven. I can envision myself eating one right now with some vanilla ice-cream.

How did you learn from your worst mistake?

I consider myself a humble know-it-all so when I’m wrong or I fail, I take it to heart and I try not to repeat whatever it was that made me fail/wrong.

Cat person, or dog person? Or bird/lizard/snake person?

I’m a dog person. I grew up with dogs and they seem friendlier. I have friends who have cats and I think they’re adorable but dogs have my heart.

What has being in your family taught you about writing?

Every family gathering will unfold like a paperback novel. Complete with a beginning, middle and end.  Laced with surprise guests and plot twists.


My questions for the Blue Sky Tag

  1. If you could time travel, would you? If yes, where would you go and why?
  2. What is your favorite color?
  3. Tell me something you’re really bad at?
  4. Who is the one person who can make you smile even on your worst day?
  5. What is your favorite childhood snack?
  6. What was the last television show you watched?
  7. What country are you from?
  8. If you had magical powers, what would they be based on your personality?
  9. What is your favorite music genre?
  10. How old were you when you got your first cell phone?
  11. How was your day?

Who do I nominate?

All of you of course. Comment below with your answers or do a blog post about them.


Times Are A Changin Pt 2

So, I think I’m going to make the “Times Are A Changin” a serialized post. It will be used to update you all about changes to the website and general life updates.

The Website

So, have you looked at the website lately? Take a look around. Click on some things. Check out the homepage, about section, contact form, and the company page. Did you look? All the photographs used for the featured images are photographs I took. How cool? But anyway, the website also has a new URL and domain name because I finally own it. There has also been some cosmetic changes to my previous posts and the addition of the category cloud, to make searching for posts simpler. And a Facebook page has been created for the blog to help it get more exposure. You can find a link to the Facebook page at the bottom of the screen. Just click on the Facebook icon and you’ll be sent to the Facebook page. This is all part of my rebranding efforts because I finally figured out what I want to do with the website. Having some direction is a wonderful thing.

Traveling Thursdays

You may have noticed a few posts that have been tagged “Traveling Thursdays” and wondered what they meant. Well, I’m here to tell you that Traveling Thursdays will be serialized posts about travel and things related to travel. Traveling Thursdays are only posted on Thursdays and will become a mixture of photo-assignments and articles over time. This is my attempt to live up to my tagline: live, write, travel because there has been plenty of living but not enough traveling or writing.

Graduate School or Nah?

So, I think I’m going back to school. Not this fall, but next fall. The only problem is that it’s really expensive. Like, although the program is only one year it costs more than two years of my undergraduate education. The reason the program is so expensive is because of the amount of traveling involved and the fact that you’re doing internships and shadowing as well. Plus, it’s a graduate program so the expenses are a little bit higher.

I have to figure out a way to get the money and it probably won’t be a Go Fund Me because it’s just way too expensive to even try it that way. I’m currently looking for full-time employment that does tuition reimbursement. I’m looking for scholarships and grants to apply to and I’m looking for grant writers. And yes, I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I’ll probably still end up taking out loans but at least it won’t be as much as I previously thought. I have a network—a community that wants to see me succeed and they’re really helping me out.


I am currently developing a sci-fi trilogy in book form and I’ll probably even do a screenplay for the first book to see if it’ll sell. Now that I’m not in school, I can finally work on book ideas that have been building up over the past four years and it’s wonderful. I’m going to do a longer post about the trilogy soon, I just need to get some other content out first because I’m terribly backlogged and I can’t even figure out why. I guess these summer days are just slipping away from me.

Which reminds me, what have you been up to this summer?

The Election Messed With My Writing

Just a little heads-up: my personal political views are expressed in this post

Before the World Crashed and Burned

A while back, when I was going through all the craziness that was my senior year, I made a POST. In that post, I said that when I had the time, I would sit down and explain why I had fallen so far behind in my senior project. I feel like it’s important to note that I’m a planner and my degree required that I do a senior overview. A senior overview is just a fancy way of saying independent study. I had to write a full-length screenplay without any adult supervision. 😉  I feel like the whole purpose of this independent study was to test what I’ve learned but most importantly, to see if I could stay focused and meet deadlines like the “real world” would require of me.

Well, first off, I knew the overview was coming up so I started planning for it back in October of 2016. I came up with a few interesting ideas. I wanted to do something that was reflective of the high school experience now that my college experience was coming to an end and I had four years of distance between me and high school. I found one that I really liked and I started developing the characters and plot. I even started outlining. It was a spunky, edgy, mystery about a girl who died while attending a private boarding school. Everything was going just fine and then the election from hell happened.

After the World Crashed and Burned



“Not to be used for buying elections.”

What can I say? I saw it coming but there was still some part of me that had hope. Maybe it was because it was my first time voting in a presidential election? Maybe it was because I am a millennial and I went to a pretty liberal artsy school? Or maybe it was because I just placed too much weight on the shared human experience? Whatever it was, I wasn’t completely blindsided by the results but I was emotionally wrecked by it…and that’s something that I didn’t aspect to happen. It completely destroyed my mood for writing, for hanging out with friends, for engaging with others. Looking back on it, I can clearly tell that this was depression. And I wasn’t the only one having these feelings. All across the country hundreds of thousands of people were having similar reactions but I would like to point out one thing: we are not sore losers. The election wasn’t just about the people appointed to an office but a war of ideology. And for some of us, this was the first time we truly saw and felt the presence of the “silent majority”.

It changed my social life and the people I hung out with because, after the percentages of who voted and what they voted for came out, certain people on campus stopped hiding or pretending about their political views. It actually caused a lot of tension on campus because everything became extremely politically charged, as it should. The majority of my alma mater’s student population are White Americans but we also have a very large percentage of minority, international students (study abroad or exchange students), and students of non-Christian faith.  And so all of the political rhetoric that we’d been hearing throughout the campaign stage became a real fear for students that the rhetoric was aimed at.

So all the tension on campus coupled with my own internal turmoil made writing a no go. The edgy but upbeat mystery I’d been developing was dead. I couldn’t even bring myself to touch it. I didn’t feel like writing and I couldn’t force myself to write anything happy so I decided to write something sad…but this idea formed in late January of 2017, nearly three months later.

Three Months Later

The story that started to develop in January was very dark and moody. It was about a girl who was dealing with survivor’s guilt after surviving the car crash that killed her sister. Over the course of the months that passed, it went from being a family drama to a character study on how grief affects communities. I was still in my little slump so I really didn’t want to write but as the months moved along, I knew that I needed to write or else I wasn’t going to graduate. So as I put on my big girl pants and tried to force myself to write, life started happening to me. I got a new job, started working and then taking on a lot of hours because the place I worked at was understaffed. I started this blog (all of this is the reason the content for the blog is so fragmented those first three months). Classes started back up which meant that homework and classwork and projects started rolling in. And then all the stuff you needed to do in order to graduate started happening and before I knew it, I had 2 weeks left to write my full-length feature and I only had about 27 pages done and half of an outline.



The outline. I will gladly say that before college, I was a panster but once I went to college and started working on screenplays and teleplays I was forced to outline and I grew to really love it. But not this outline. I have five different versions of this outline. Five. And they’re not small ones either. They all range between seven to eleven pages single-spaced. What can I say, I’m detailed orientated. So, just in case you thought I was slacking, I wasn’t, life just got super busy and I wasn’t decisive and I think that’s the overarching effect of the election on me—lack of direction.

It was hell and then some. I was so excited about graduation but everything was just moving too fast. I had the honors dinner, all the last minute graduation stuff, finals, work, and that damn screenplay. I was overwhelmed and wasn’t getting enough sleep. That lead to me writing about one hundred to two hundred words a day and it wasn’t like I was writing every day either. By the time graduation rolled around, I wasn’t finished with the screenplay and it took most of the joy from graduation and left me with nothing but the stress. Over the next four days, I hunkered down and wrote 58 pages, finishing my senior project five days after the graduation ceremony. By the end of the week, I received my grade and was thankful that I’d passed because it meant that I’d officially graduated. And all the stress and emotions from the school year and graduation drained from me once I realized that I’d passed. I was done. Free. Somewhat whole again.

Short Stories, Novels and Screenplays: How I Became A Writer

The Early Days

Writing was always a hobby of mine. Everyone has a hobby when they are children. Some people paint, some people draw, some people collect bugs or stones from their backyard. Not me. Nope. I was always the writer. One of my earliest recollections of my childhood was the day my parents painted my bedroom white.

Now picture this: I was four or five and my parents painted my entire room white. I thought it was paper. So I went to my room for a few hours, I choose my favorite crayons, I searched for the perfect spot to start, and then I scribbled out a story. And it was beautiful. It was probably filled with adventure and suspense because even at that young age I was a sucker for suspense (I personally blame that on my dad and his love of horror films). So, fast-forward a few hours and my masterpiece was complete. I rushed down the hallway to my parents’ bedroom and asked them to come to my room—I had something to show them.

When I showed them my story, I was so excited and I couldn’t figure out why they were so angry. Looking back on it, I can understand their anger. After all, the paint had just finished drying when I decided to write my “masterpiece”. But after that, my parents started buying me notebooks and I started writing my stories down there. Shortly after I started writing, I also developed a taste for drawing. Look at me, being all multitalented and everything, but in all fairness, my father and older sister were great artists as well. So, after I started drawing, I started to create posters and cover art for my stories. It all started off as little doodles here and there and then it turned into actual character sketches.

Childhood drawings_1-3

False Pretenses and other Disasters

I was in elementary school when I started “publishing” my work. I would go home and spend hours writing in my notebooks and drawing cover art and posters. Then I would staple my stories together with the artwork and bring it to class the next day. I would share the stories and artwork with my friends and eventually my teachers. One of my elementary teachers, Mrs. Martin, used to call me little Stephen King. I’m not comparing my work to his in any way but she saw similar themes. I was a horror junkie as a kid and my taste for horror eventually lead me to discover the action-filled world of science fiction and fantasy. Sci-fi and Fantasy became my preferred writing genres.

By the time I made it to middle school, I was firmly in the realm of fantasy and instead of having stapled pieces of paper; I had spiral notebooks I would share with my friends. The ring of sharing was getting smaller and smaller. Everyone knew I was a writer but only about 3 of my friends ever read my musings in middle school.

My eighth-grade year of middle school, I decided to write a book. Well, let’s say I loosely decided to write a book. Up until this point, all of my writing projects had been stand-alone short stories or serialized short stories. But in eighth grade, I had this wonderful idea and it was called False Pretenses. I know, the title was a bit presumptuous for a 13-year-old to come up with but it fit pretty well. It was a story that spanned centuries and talked about tyranny and corrupt governments before I could even truly understand what all that meant. It started with a girl named Sarah. She would soon learn that her new friends at her new school were not human. And they’d been sent to find her to bring her back to another realm that needed her help because she was a lost ruler that had once saved their world and through magic and reincarnation she was the only hope. The story had three different “Ladies of Sorrows” which is what they called her because she would only manifest in times of sorrow. The story talked about teenage problems but also world problems that at the time I was aware of but didn’t fully comprehend in the same fashion I do now. It was also the first time I knowingly wrote for a YA audience.

Childhood drawings_1-2

False Pretenses cover art/character sketch.

So I gave my two notebooks to one of my friends and she came back a week later telling me that it sucked. Not only did it suck, but she also fell asleep reading it to her little brother who later told her, he thought it needed more action. I was crushed. No one had ever said they had not enjoyed my writing before and I trusted her opinion because she was my friend. Therefore, I sat down and reread the story and to my amazement or dismay, however you want to look at it, I saw that she was right. It was boring. It lagged too much on the first act (even though at the time I did not know that was the real problem). In my 13-year-old mind, I thought the problem was that I spent too much time focusing on Sarah’s life as a human. I spent too much time in the human world and not enough time in the magical world that I was starting to develop.

During the summer before high school, I typed up the story and did a second draft, although, at the time, I didn’t know that’s what it was called either. I also didn’t know that my friend reading my work and giving me feedback was considered beta reading and that it was part of the editing process. So I added more pages and more depth, death, characters and feeling to the story and ended up with 50,000 words and carpal tunnel syndrome. Also, I ended up with a great story with many layers that could be expanded upon in later books. But that never happened because tragedy would strike when I least expected it to.

Trying To Get Published

Do you believe in cosmic warnings? The universe sending you messages? God intervening? Well if you do, you can take your pick because no matter what I did something always happened to prevent me from moving forward with False Pretenses. Let me back up and explain a little bit. During that summer I’d also read the Den of Shadows series by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. She was 14 when the first book in that series, In the Forests of the Night, was published. She inspired me to try to become a published author.

So all throughout the summer, I revised False Pretenses and when I started high school that fall I continued to revise the novel. I made a new group of friends and they read my novel and gave me the praise I desired. I even tried to get my literature teacher to take a look at it. I don’t think he took it that seriously when I brought it up, but once he saw the size of the book he realized I was serious about writing. I don’t think he ever got around to reading it though, but he’s still one of my favorite teachers. Anyway, I said all of that just to prove that I was serious about submitting this book to a literary agent in hopes of getting it published by the time I was 15. But that never happened because “accidents” kept happening.

First, my sister drove over my flash drive that had the book on it and then the computer that I wrote the book on crashed. All of the files had to be erased in order for it to turn back on. And then one of the two physical copies I had disappeared. One of my friends that had read the book took it with her when she graduated and moved. So I was left with one copy of the book and when I tried to scan that copy onto a new computer, that computer also crashed. I took it as a sign that False Pretenses should never see the light of day. Ever.

I’m actually glad that I was never able the query an agent for False Pretenses because my life was determined to go another way. Throughout high school, I continued to write short stories and even attempted to write a sequel to False Pretenses titled Defying Serenity. That story was a prequel to False Pretenses. It was the story of the original “Lady of Sorrows” which was hinted at in the first book. But during my junior year in high school, I was given the opportunity to write for a newspaper.

The St. Louis Public School district participated in a program that allowed students to produce journalistic works and get their work published in newspapers. The entire system was run by students and aided by adults. My article was the only one from my school selected for publication. I still have the physical newspaper my article appeared in because I’m a collector. My article, Scoliosis in My Life, also won an award for being the most read article on the SciJourner website at the time (I don’t know if it still holds that record though.) The experience opened my eyes to a different form of writing and for the first time in my life, I considered being a journalist.


From Journalism to Screenwriting

By my senior year in high school, I had my sights set on journalism as my major for college. I applied to Saint Louis University and Webster University, looking at their journalism programs. I was accepted into both colleges but ended up going to Webster University. I was in the journalism program for a semester before switching to Scriptwriting. I hated the program. I was more excited about going to my German classes than I was about going to required classes for my major.

Scriptwriting at Webster University encompasses writing screenplays, stage-plays, teleplays, and radio scripts. During college, I had a few ideas for books but was unable to seriously write any of them because I was always busy working on other writing projects, classes, or actually working. But looking back at everything, I can honestly see how I’ve grown as a writer. All of these years of writing has helped me hone my skills and develop a specific “voice” for my writing. It’s given me the chance to learn how to market myself as a writer and provided me with the opportunity to have more work published over the years.

For example in my junior year in college, I was hired by my university to write a series of short films about sexual assault. I can’t link the produced version of the films because Webster University owns the rights to them and that’s alright with me because I was paid for my writing. Having work that was paid for and produced has made me an official screenwriter before I even graduated. Mission accomplished.

I wrote this post to show how writing has shaped my life but more importantly how life can shape your writing. Had I not had each of these key events happen to me, I probably wouldn’t even be writing this blog, let alone be interested in becoming a published author and a successful screenwriter. Big life decisions can come from the smallest of things. My entire writing career started with four blank walls and some crayons. What is your writing story?

Welcome To 2017

Welcome to 2017, congratulations for making it through 2016…also known as the year that sucked. Now I’m not the only one that felt that way, there are plenty of people on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat, and Instagram that felt the same way. But why? Why did 2016 suck so much? I could look at all of the hate, fear, anger, and social anxiety that blossomed and caused America to basically self-implode, but I’m not going to bring that up. Nope. That ugliness is for 2016 and it’s going to stay there, hopefully…just kidding, we’re only 9 days into 2017 and the world has already crapped on a lot of parades but that’s not what this post is about. No, this post is about all the good and positive things that are going to happen in 2017.

I’m Black, young, educated, and talented and I’ll be damned if I don’t shine brightly in 2017. I want to sprinkle Black Girl Magic all over the world, especially all over the lives of my grumpy Facebook friends who are always mad about something. At least when I’m mad about something, usually social issues, I balance my posting with silly memes because I’m the Meme Queen.  But enough of that, let’s get back to the point. 2017 is going to be great. It’s going to be a year that is full of everyone excelling and showcasing what makes them great and how they are bettering society. You can do it. I have faith in the human race and if we don’t, well at least I’m 21 and can drink my way to success and an early grave.

Don’t give me that look. That’s how all the tragically great writers do it. They have really crappy lives, they drink away their sorrows and in glaring moments of sobriety they pour their heart, soul, and misery into their work and then we, the consumer, devour their work and tear it to shreds…and the cycle continues.

But anyway, I’m getting off topic again. 2017. Yes, 2017 is going to be fantastic. This is the year I’m truly going to raise the bar and change my life. I might sound like every person on January the first after they’ve looked over their New Year’s Resolutions but I’m so serious. There are just too many important things that are going to happen in my life this year for me to believe this year isn’t going to be amazing. I graduate from college this year. I’m a first generation Black student that not only finished college but excelled in it. Through my college education, I was able to study abroad and visit multiple countries. Through my college education, I’ve become a stronger and more independent human being and a better person. (Insert brownie points, please.)


I don’t know about you but that’s some great stuff to do before you’re 21 and yes by this point in my life I thought I would have everything mapped out already but I was wrong. Maybe the reason I’m so excited about this year is because this is the year that my adult life truly starts. This will be the first time in 18 years that I will not return to school in the fall. That’s amazing, but freedom comes with responsibility. This is also the first year that I’ll work full-time, start paying on my student loans, start looking at apartments, and take full responsibility for my health insurance… because my mom can’t do that forever.

2017 is also the year that I’ll finally be able to pursue my writing career; make new friends; get braces (as an adult because I was stupid as a kid); travel more; love more; grow more, and just experience life more. Hopefully, you’ll be there with me. Until then, welcome to 2017–the year of adulting.

May 2017 treat you better than 2016 ever did.