Tag Archives: The Poppet and the Lune

Rambling: On Milestones, Stories, and Happily Ever After

Bear with me, this might get strange.

So, as a writer and a reader, I think a lot about imaginary people, and I think a lot about story, and what aspects appeal to humans, and how, when things are taken too far, maybe people sometimes expect real life to be like stories, which isn’t impossible, but unlikely. And I think sometimes about these characters that go through so much and finally achieve their huge, massive goal—and then what? What drives them forward? Do they get their happily ever after? Or does the story go on? Or rather, do they begin a different story?

Happily ever after is widely accepted as a myth these days, because we know that time and life doesn’t stand still. You can’t stay at the top forever. Problems arise, solutions must be sought. Stories must be lived.

Anyway, I think about that a lot: what are the characters’ lives like after the story ends?

And then I hit my own milestone/climax-resolution on Thursday. I finished the first draft of GHOST CITY, the first novel I’ve started and finished since 2010 when I posted the last chapter of The Poppet and the Lune (unless you count my massive rewrite of a novel that came before TPaL). I felt like I should have been more exuberant, more over the moon for my accomplishment. I had to check to make sure I wasn’t suppressing the vulnerable state of joy in favor of the safety of doubt (as I do). I wasn’t. I was excited, but no more excited than I’d been the days before. I’m excited for the book! But the story goes on, well after the first draft, as any writer knows. And I’m more excited to move forward onto the next stage of crafting this story than I am excited that I finished one stage of it.

It’s a little bit like me getting fired. I’m far more excited and enthusiastic about being free and living my life as I’ve dreamed, than I am excited to be free of my terrible day job.

That’s not to say that when I do finish a final, polished, ready-for-submission draft that I won’t be exploding with joy, but that’s a slightly larger milestone to meet.

Relief is more the feeling I had Thursday. I was relieved that I made it through the whole thing. I was relieved that I had it in me, another story, another novel. I was relieved that my decisions about the novel, whether they were the “right” ones or not, were good decisions. I was relieved that I could do it. I can do it. I can write novels, and more than just the ones I’ve already written.

I have a feeling I will feel that same relief with the first draft of every novel I will ever write. And I’m okay with that.

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Happy Half Birthday TPaL!

The Patchwork Girl

A sketch from the original TPaL manuscript


Six months ago, today, was the official release of my first (and only, so far) independently published novel, The Poppet and the Lune. Far from its roots as a free weekly web serial, the story has been polished and primped, the words carefully wrapped and transformed, into A Real Book.

When I began to write and post the story of the patchwork girl and Faolin, I had only one thing in mind: I wanted to tell a good story, simply for the fact that that is what I love to do. At the time, and even not until recently, I did not realize how much this act would mean to me. When the web serial was “launched,” quietly, in the middle of the night, halfway around the world where I was studying abroad in Oxford, I was embarking on my own journey. More than just the incredible challenge of providing reliable quality content two or three times a week–I was putting myself out there, to a world that had yet to vet my skills. I was something of a big fish in a small pond called Buffalo, leaping into the ocean called The Internet.

I was in new territory, literally and figuratively. Writing TPaL was unlike anything I have ever experienced, and all the while I was in a country that was not my own, meeting new people, seeing new and far off places. I was discovering how self-reliant I could be, how unexpectedly brave.

Like the patchwork girl, I was, and I am, learning. I am made from the pieces of those who have come before, as we all are to some extent.  I have my mother’s tenacity, and my father’s serenity; my generation’s academic/economic frustration, but my peers’ unflappable hope. We have all the history and advances of the world behind us, rising up like an ocean’s wave to propel us forward on our travels–if we don’t let it overcome us. The key is, we must make all of those pieces come together as one, and claim them for ourselves.

On this half-birthday, I want to take the opporunity to thank those of you out there who have helped me get to where I am. These past six months, I have recgognized how tremendously fortunate I am, and not just because my friends and loved ones support me. I am fortunate because I am surrounded by people who are constantly rising victorious from the tumult of life. Like Faolin, I am in awe of these people who seem so brave, so fearless. They inspire me to bravery, to face a world and a career that is uncertain. Even in their moments of weakness they are an inspiration, because they remind me that we are actually very much alike.

And to everyone who has taken the time to read The Poppet and the Lune, and who has helped spread the word, or left a review, or pointed out a typo on page 2, or helped me choose the best cover, or long ago commented on the web serial asking what happens next?! Every single one of you has helped make these past six months (and the year before that) an incredible journey.

Thank you, all of you.

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