The idea for this book formed back in the summer of 2007, when I had just turned twenty. I was in London for the first time with a friend, to see Orlando Bloom in a play on West End. After the play, we secured positions on the second row behind the paparazzi, but I’m so short (1.49 m/4’10) that I didn’t see anything. The crowd went wild when Orlando stepped through the door, but it wasn’t until he was right in front of me that I could see him. As we walked back to our hostel that evening, I found myself wondering: what if there were two people who’d never seen each other, yet met in their dreams? And it all started from there.
There were many short stories and pre-stories that I wrote (but didn’t finish) before I started writing the draft that formed foundation for what would become Starstruck, but it wasn’t until late 2012/early 2013 that I wrote a scene that ended up in the final version. After that scene, I didn’t write until the summer of 2013 when I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, and by late 2013 I had 35K—and was horribly stuck.
The Years In Between
I was stuck because I hadn’t figured out my characters, hadn’t made them my own, and because they didn’t have a solid background story. Bottom line; they weren’t very dimensional, and it took me years to come up with a plot that took it away from the initial inspiration, and to have characters that stood their own ground.
The First Draft
In 2015 I picked it back up again, and in just a few days, I took that word count from 35K to 50K. And then I realized I was still writing the wrong story. After all, in my head it was always intended for young adult, but my characters were in their twenties. I did the only thing I thought would help me let go of all of that—I threw 50K out, kept my initial idea and my (now fully-formed) characters, and started over. My second (first) draft was born.
Finishing The Draft
From the moment things really clicked, things went fast. I dedicated my lunch break to writing, and often wrote during evenings and weekends as well. Surprisingly enough and despite years of struggle, I was now flying as I wrote it--and eight weeks later, I wrote ‘The End’ and had 78K.
I set my story aside for two weeks before I started editing. By this time it was August. The first round I did by myself, then round two and three followed as feedback from my critique partners came in. After that, betas, and another round of revisions—or maybe two. Rachel Caine offered to have a look (I legit bounced on my chair in the office when I found out!) and she gave me absolutely wonderful feedback—feedback that caused me to write another opening and make more changes. This book really had a big learning curve!
I did some more editing, and my first queries were sent out in November. Then, in December just before Christmas, I decided I still wasn’t happy with the start of my story, and I wrote a new opening scene. That one is still there. I’ve taken querying this project slowly, and some of them are still open. I participated in several pitch events—some with requests, some without—and am (im)patiently waiting to see where this is going.
Started writing: late 2012 / beginning 2013
Finished first draft: July 2015
Initial word count: 78K
Started revising: August 2015
Final word count: 84K
First query: November 2015
That’s eight years. Eight. Years. Just saying.
If you’re writing and think you’re taking a long time, that maybe things aren’t going quick enough and everyone seems faster than you, take a deep breath and relax. Find your pace. Write your story. And if it takes ten years to get it right, that’s fine.