Friday 5 – 5 Things I’m Thinking About

1) I’m scheduled to get my notes on Nameless from my agent this weekend! This means that after two months of not touching the book I get to dive back into edits, and I’m very excited to see how I feel about the writing after such a break. One thing I definitely noticed after reviewing the first chapter (I couldn’t help myself!) is that I’m still having a slight voice issue with YA vs. Adult.

2) I’m reading the A Song of Ice and Fire book series and OMG HOLY COW WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME ABOUT THIS SOONER!?!?!? I had to find out on reddit when all the other cool kids started freaking out because the 5th book is coming out (after a 7 year wait). I just started the third book last night and I love the series SOOOOO MUCH! I’ve never cared about a multi-character-POV series before. I love them all!

3) A Song of Ice and Fire is coming to HBO!!! I don’t have cable so I’ll be downloading the episodes, but that is so freaking cool!

4) Is it just me or is everyone and their brother pregnant? I know 7 pregnant people. Someone else I know knows 14 pregnant people! Wow! What was going on 9 months ago?!

5) When I was 3, my parents went on vacation to San Fancisco to visit one of my mom’s best friends. While there, they ‘adopted’ a Humpback Whale in my name. I named her Falco. Today I called up the Oceanic Society of San Francisco to see if they have any record of Falco and she’s been spotted lately. We’ll see how it goes!

Who I’m Writing For

Yesterday Chris and I went out to dinner with his family to celebrate his sister’s birthday. Half way through the meal I looked across the restaurant and saw a girl who just broke my heart.

She couldn’t have been more than 8, and a miraculous mix between what I looked like at that age, and what my littlest sister looked like a few years ago. Slightly chubby, bangs too short and sticking up, bright blond hair, round, pink cheeks, and hyperactive. When she smiled I saw my same teeth pattern. But her mother was very overweight, and I saw the same future for her. I could trace her path through middle and high school, and it wasn’t pretty. Not because being overweight (how do we define that anyway?) is necessarily bad, but because kids are cruel and loneliness is crushing.

She was the most beautiful little girl in the world to me. I wanted to talk to her so strongly I was almost crying. I wanted to tell her what it was like growing up, what she’ll have to watch out for, and that all the bullshit waiting for her didn’t mean a thing as long as she could be happy with herself.

Something was telling me I needed to talk to her. You know that feeling you get when you see someone and know that they desperately need someone to say the right thing to them? Or you just happen to be in the right place and right time to change someone’s life, and it’s like there’s a force guiding you through it? I’ve been a little off-balance lately, but as soon as I made my peace with God miraculous things started happening, and this feeling was the latest in a string of them.

I felt bad all through dinner because I didn’t have the courage to go over to that table and tell her mother that she had a beautiful daughter, who looked a lot like me when I was younger. But I finally got my chance afterwards, as both our families met in the bill paying area. I got to say hi to her, and hearing her speak was spooky, because it was the same voice I heard when I played old home videos of me.

Like most things in my life, I related this experience directly to writing, and a suspicion I’ve had for some time: I’m not writing for anyone but myself, especially past versions of me.

All of my stories are designed to entertain young!Savannah specifically. I know it’s more altruistic to say that I write for teenagers in general, or those who are misunderstood, or who escape in books, etc., but the truth is I’m just writing the books I would have loved with a burning passion if I had read them when I was younger.

If they appeal to you, too -hooray! I’m so glad we found a way to connect! But even if no one else in the world enjoyed my stories, I’d keep making them.

I guess it all goes back around to my favorite writing quote, and the one that guides me the most: “If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written, then you must write it.” -Toni Morrison.

What is your personal writing philosophy?

Thanksgiving: Plain and Simple

I wrote out a huge long post on the philosophy of humanity that I’ve learned this year, but I decided not to post it. I don’t want to focus on the negatives. I’ve endured a lot of negatives this year, and though I could have had it much worse, it was still no picnic, and the most terrible thing I’ve gone through so far. So I’m done.

Do you hear me, universe? I’m done. I’m so effing grateful sometimes I could just cry. I am violently grateful. I want to shout how grateful I am, except I know probably no one finds it interesting but me, so I’ll just post it here. Read if you like.

1) I am so very grateful that I live in America, that the economy hasn’t collapsed yet, that the world hasn’t ended yet, that I live in a safe, profitable town and I have financial security.

Recently I interviewed a girl who had been homeless for two years. Homeless, and she still held down a job, trying to save up money for an apartment. I’ve never been homeless. I’ve always had someone to take me in. Hell, I could probably find a home in 25 of the 50 states if I needed one, just from people that already care about me.

2) I am grateful that my cat’s growth was benign, that God sent me a wonderful dog right to my doorstep, that I will have years with these creatures before I have to say goodbye to them.

3) I am grateful that my family is all still alive, despite breast cancer, despite heart conditions, despite a concussion that could have turned deadly, despite horse riding accidents and car accidents and bullies and school shootings. I didn’t lose anyone this year, and I am so, so grateful I’m tearing up as I write this.

4) I am grateful that I have an agent when so many are still stuck in the querying trenches. I have a story that hasn’t sold yet but my agent still believes in me and wants to give it another go with this rewrite. My laptop still works, I can afford internet, I haven’t pissed anyone off online, I won NaNoWriMo. I’m going to finish edits in December and go back out on submissions, and God willing I’ll land a book deal and then I’ll be a published author and just pray on my knees every day how thankful I am that my dream came true.

5) Most of all, I am grateful for Christopher. My parents fell in love at first sight, my grandparents did it, and I did it. When he left this year I collapsed. I made very bad decisions. I felt cut off from myself. I knew I would always miss him, not because we’re cosmic twins or soul mates or any nonsense like that, but because we were partners and we’d grown together like trees and when he left the part where we’d grown into each other got ripped apart. And even when we weren’t speaking and I was so mad and hurt I wished I’d never met him, he was still the only person I’d want to be with if I knew the world were ending.

I had to be more brave and more independent than I’ve ever had to be. I had to confront my own issues and figure out what I could be doing better. And despite a road so fraught with bumps some of them were mountains, Chris and I managed to get back together.

I tell him I love him every morning, we take a nap together every lunch, he’s the last person I talk to before I go to bed, and every. single. day. I am grateful that I was lucky enough to find my partner, and that somehow we were both strong enough to make it work. It’s hard to talk about how much he means to me because of how badly we both acted, but I’m not going to be ashamed of that time in my life anymore.

I feel so profoundly about Chris that I don’t have words for it, and I will not apologize. It’s not puppy love, it’s not desperation, and it’s not a syndrome. He’s my Person. And I’m so grateful I could never say it enough.


I hope that you have things in your life that make you so grateful you can’t speak, or you want to cry. I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family, and I honestly hope that every happiness will be yours, no matter who you are or what you’ve done. Life is short and we mess up far too frequently to wish anything else.



6 Moments in the Life of a Young Writer

True Stories.


I walked three blocks to the bus stop in the chill Washington air, wavering all over the sidewalk because I was finishing up a book from my high school’s library. When my bus arrived -number 105- I climbed into the humid interior and plopped down on a green seat, pulling Animorph books out of my backpack.

“Gimme Gimme Gimme!”

Diana, a Croatian exchange student, eagerly took the books from my hands and returned the ones she’d read last night.

I turned around to my friend Christine, who had printed off an epic fan fiction she’d been telling me about.

“I left it on the printer last night and my dad almost found it,” she said, handing over the unbound pages.

I laughed in horror. “Omg that would have been awful!”

“I know! I’d be grounded for weeks! Again!”


My best friend and her guy friend wriggled on the bed in front of me.

“See, if you do it like this, the non-dominant arms get in the way.”

“I see what you mean. Do it with you on top.”

They rotated.

“Is that comfortable?”

“Well, she’s making my belt dig into my skin. There’s a very narrow margin where this can be comfortable… too low and she’s on the goods, too high and she’s on the bladder.”

I studied them critically. “Can you try it against the wall? I had my characters do that once.”

They got up, and assumed the position by the nearest wall. They froze, as if for a photo-op. “Like this?”

“Yeah… is that doable for long periods of time?”

He started to lose his grip, and they crashed to the floor.

“I guess not,” I said dryly, and we all burst out laughing.


I put the cap on the black Sharpie and picked up the blue one. He sighed, and snuggled further into the pillow. I thought for a moment, then wrote a line from one of my poems on the skin of his back.

“Hold still,” I said, and held up my laptop to take a picture of my artwork.

“How does it look?” he asked, voice muffled.

I re-read every line I had drawn on him, my words smiling up at me, dark in contrast to his pale skin. I smiled. “You’re the most beautiful man in the world.”


I sat in the boardroom by myself, nervous that the phone from my desk would ring, or someone would knock on the door, or my cell phone would buzz. I didn’t want to be disturbed, but felt guilty for being unavailable, even for an hour.

I sat in the chair at the head of the conference table, then moved to the side, trying to pick the one spot in the room where I was most comfortable. I checked the time on my laptop. Two minutes. My work email had been closed down, and my manuscript was pulled up. The document included the agent’s name in it.

The phone rang.


I stared at my journal on the front porch. I hadn’t used it in two years, and didn’t really feel like using it now, but my counselor thought it would be therapeutic.

It was 5:30 but he wouldn’t be coming home to me anymore. I’d promised a rewrite to my agent, but I hadn’t worked on it in months. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep without crying. I stared at the paper with nothing to say. I set the journal down and put my head in my hands.


I drove home, singing along with the CD, happy because he would be there when I arrived, and my world had been put back together. My mind began wandering, and suddenly new characters popped into my head for the first time in three years.

“Yes!” I yelled, shaking my steering wheel. “Yes! Yes! Yes!”