Thinking about years from the Gregorian calender perspective is weird for me.

I’ve spent the last 17 years of my life in academic institutions with no break (and hopefully will continue this trend for three more years).

For me, new year is meaningless. It’s arbitrary. It’s a time when I wear headphones to avoid the noise of fireworks and maybe have a drink before being pressured to stay up past my preferred bedtime.

For me, the new year starts in September. It always has.

But who the hell is going to read a new years resolution post in September?

So, let’s get on with this one by looking back at all the stuff I’ve done in 2015.

MyAutisticPov.com has exploded from just a hundred or so followers to over 1500! I love that I’ve been able to contribute to the community on Tumblr and it has truly become a second home to me.

I launched my YouTube channel where I look at examples of autism in media and it’s reached over 100 subscribers in the six months it’s been active.

I published my first book! Hunt coming out has been an incredible experience, especially with all of the positive feedback it’s been getting. I just hope it continues with the second book.

Alright, so, what’s ahead for 2016?

  1. Graduating
    This is the last year of my BA, and I’m hoping to graduate with a 2:1. It’s definitely going to be strange to leave the undergrad world behind, but I’m looking forward to seeing what the future brings.
  2. Starting a Masters Degree
    With the completion of my BA, I will most definitely be avoiding the world of work like the plague. This means hopefully starting a Masters in sociology, where I can continue looking at autism through that lens.
  3. Continuing to Grow on YouTube
    I love the little Tumblr community I’ve built up and it’s happily ticking along, so while I would be happy to reach 2500 followers by the end of 2016, I want to focus more on doubling the number of subscribers I currently have on YouTube.
  4. Publishing the Next Four Freya Snow Books
    Yep. The next four. I’m hoping to have a three month gap between each, with the second one coming out in February. The initial trilogy (the series will be divided into four trilogies) should be out by early summer, with the second finishing in early 2017. If you haven’t read the first Freya Snow book, it’s now available for free to those who subscribe to my newsletter.
  5. Starting Two New Writing Projects
    Yep. You read that right. On top of the four Freya Snow books, I’m hoping to also publish the first two novellas in the Lady Ruth Constance Chapelstone Chronicles and to get the first novel in a sci-fi romance series out (though I’m currently torn between a YA and an adult idea). Don’t worry about me taking on too many projects, though, I have decided that I’ll only ever have three series running at once and I’ll alternate between release dates so that no series goes untouched for too long.

So, that’s my plan for 2016. What about you guys? Have anything exciting planned? Any resolutions to stick to? Let me know in the comments below and happy new year!

Today won’t be a new flash fiction piece. Instead, I thought I would share part of the first chapter of the second book.


Freya couldn’t help but grin as she headed out of school, knowing that she wouldn’t have to return until September. Provided that she decided to come back here for sixth form. Her last GCSE exam – which had, annoyingly, been French listening, which always tripped her up – was over and done with.

Her grin was mostly down to the fact that this marked the end of her frumpy uniform and having to take subjects she hated. Goodbye all language-based subjects. From now on, she would only focus on what she was good at. Not to mention the freedom to leave during lunch and free periods.

Of course, Freya should have known that such things never last long. Just as she was leaving the building, a rat-faced girl with shoulder-length, dark hair approached. Freya recognised her as Jamie, Damon’s girlfriend. Jamie hated Freya and made no effort to hide it. She seemed convinced that Freya was trying to steal Damon from her and dealt with it by spreading nasty rumours about Freya around school.

Not that anyone believed them. Freya was known for having no friends, doing well in school, and being a “teacher’s pet.” No one was ready to believe that at night she headed into town in tight leather outfits and screwed anyone who looked at her.

Though, Freya did suppose that her armour for Demon-hunting was mostly leather. She wondered if she had been sloppy with her glamours and Jamie had seen her one night. It might go towards explaining the basis for the strange rumour she had generated, Freya decided, despite the usual ones being “crazy.”

“You bitch!” Jamie screamed, before slapping her across the face.

Freya instinctively clenched her fist, but managed to stop herself from igniting it in flame, or using it to remove some of Jamie’s teeth.

“You bloody boyfriend stealer!” Jamie continued, still screaming through tears.

Freya put all of her effort into clamping down on her anger as a crowd began to form. The last thing she needed was to reveal her magic over something as trivial as getting back at Jamie. Also, it would be wrong, but that thought alone probably wouldn’t have stopped her from at least setting the screeching girl’s hair alight.

“I hope you two are happy together, you bloody slut! What nasty little tricks did you use to seduce him, huh? Bloody tramp!”

Freya actually let herself laugh aloud at that. Damon had no filter, and had never really twigged that his best friend being a girl would make talking about his sex life awkward. She knew exactly what Jamie had done with him, and the hypocrisy was hilarious to her.

Oh, grow the hell up, Jamie,” Freya told her, not noticing the low vibration beneath her cold words that had Jamie staring at her like a deer in the headlights.

Freya quickly headed to the front gate where Damon, as always, was waiting for her. He hadn’t had an exam today, so he wasn’t in his uniform. Instead, he was wearing his usual black jeans and black t-shirt, despite the warm weather. Not that Freya could talk, since her own aversion to colour only made an exception for blood red. Plus, any t-shirt that fit Damon like that was nothing to complain about. The tight fabric showed off the wiry muscles beneath his skin, all across his lanky frame.

Okay, so maybe Jamie’s accusations weren’t completely unfounded. Freya had always been attracted to her best friend, but it had been made clear to her over the years that he didn’t feel the same way. So, she buried those feelings and focused on just being his friend. Especially since his friendship wasn’t something she was willing to lose.

He grinned as he noticed her approaching, a few strands of his long, jet-black hair escaping his ponytail to fall across his dark, almost-red eyes. She might have blushed, if her approach hadn’t resulted in her inhaling a sudden waft of cigarette smoke. She choked back a cough, as she always did. As much as she hated the smell of cigarettes, she was also kind of glad that Damon had started, since the smell was such a turn-off for her. It made it much easier to not act the fool in his presence.

“What did you do to Jamie?” Freya asked with a raised eyebrow as he tossed his tab to the floor before falling in-step with her as they headed towards his place.

He shrugged. “I broke up with her.”

“Why?” She could think of several reasons, but she didn’t understand why it had taken so long.

“She told me that I had to stop talking to you. I told her to shove it.”

Freya couldn’t help but snort. “That might explain why she slapped me.”

“Sorry,” Damon told her, his tone completely genuine. “So, did somebody call her an ambulance already, or…?”

Freya rolled her eyes. “I held myself back. Barely. I swear, I don’t know what you saw in her.”

He shrugged, which pretty much answered her question. He was a teenage boy and she was a willing girl he didn’t find questionable. A pretty low bar, which made Freya feel all the worse about him ignoring her. Not that it had been such a bad plan in the past. Freya had mostly been indifferent to all of Damon’s other girlfriends. Much like the rest of his friend group, Freya didn’t know them too well, and they had made it clear that, while they wouldn’t actively bully her, she wasn’t welcome to hang out with them. The problem with Jamie was that she had been the only recurring girlfriend, and she was the only one with an active hatred of Freya.

“So…” Damon started once more. “This means I no longer have a date for prom tomorrow.”

Freya rolled her eyes, feeling little sympathy. “Join the club.” She wouldn’t have even agreed to go if her foster mother, Margaret, hadn’t found out about it and bought her a new dress, assuming that she wanted to go.

“Well, why don’t we go together?” Damon asked and Freya’s heart skipped a beat. “You know, as friends.”

She almost sighed at herself before replying. “Sure, why not?”

—–

It always amazed Freya how quickly time with Damon seemed to fly. It felt as if they had only just left school when they reached his place.

“Be two minutes,” Freya told him as she headed into the bathroom to change into her workout gear.

She wondered, as she so often did, if the girl who had broken into her magic while scared and alone in the school toilets would recognise her now. She hadn’t grown any taller, but her physique had changed. She wasn’t really thinner, except perhaps a little around her face, but many of her curves were now the result of muscle rather than fat.
Maybe it wasn’t that she looked that different, she thought. Maybe it was just that she no longer hated how she looked. The spark of confidence had returned to her wild green eyes and a smile was gracing her lips far more regularly than in the past.

Her workout gear consisted of black joggers and a white vest, with white and pink trainers. It was more practical than fashionable but she didn’t think she could really justify spending her pocket money on anything fancier, given how expensive workout gear could get.

Freya moved back through to the training room, where Damon was waiting for her. Damon’s uncle worked in private security and had a thing for collecting weapons. He had taught Damon to use modern firearms, ancient melee weapons, and martial arts in what Freya assumed was an effort to grow his confidence after years of living with his abusive father.

For Freya, it was more than convenient. Amber, the ghost her mother had charged with keeping an eye on her, could teach her magic, but there was no way she could teach her the practical skills she needed to accompany that magic in a fight. Not that Amber was too happy with her fighting, anyway.

Her first encounter with a Demon had been an accident. He had latched onto her, thinking she would be easy prey. And she almost was. The second encounter, however, had been a little more down to Freya. She had sensed the Demon, not the other way around. She had been ready to ignore it, but enough pestering got Amber to admit that the high crime rate in the city was a little more supernatural than originally thought.
Though, they had turned out to be after Freya anyway, so it had all worked out.

Freya didn’t necessarily go looking for trouble, but in this city, it was hard to avoid. Not to mention, she was actually getting kind of good at taking down Demons. She liked it. It made her feel like she was doing something worthwhile for once, and not just running in place until the next set of exams.

“You ready to get your arse handed to you?” she asked Damon as she approached, picking up two small swords. Damon tended to prefer one longsword, but Freya liked to dual-wield.

“You wish,” he countered with a grin.

She was cautious, as she always was. Damon was Magic Sensitive, meaning that he was immune to spells not directed specifically at him and so often saw through the glamours she used to hide her Demon-related injuries, but he was still mortal, with no knowledge of magic. She had to be careful not to reflexively use her magic when sparring with him.

Damon was quick and he was strong, but she was quicker and stronger. He’d only had a few months’ head start on her and she’d thrown herself into training with more determination than he had.

It wasn’t long before his blade was knocked from his hand, clanging to the floor, and one of hers was at his neck, while the other was at his crotch.

“Surrender?”

He rolled his eyes, lifting his open-spread hands to tell her she’d won.

“I don’t know what it is with you and the knife to the crotch,” he said, shaking his head.

She shrugged. “Extra reinforcement to stop you from trying anything.”

As much as Damon might have thought it silly, Freya had found it a particularly effective strategy.

“Want to go another round?” Damon asked, but they heard the door open before he could answer.

“Damon?” his uncle called from the front room.

“Yeah,” Damon called back.

“Freya with you?”

“Yep,” Freya confirmed.

“Good,” his uncle said, entering the room, “because this pizza is a bit bigger than the three of us can handle, I think.” He held up a carrier bag which was straining to contain the biggest pizza Freya had ever seen.

“Wait, three of us?” Damon asked. “I thought Charlie had to stay in Durham overnight.”

“Yeah. Evelyn’s in town. We’re working a job together for the next couple of weeks.”

Freya paled as much as her already milky white skin would allow. She had been avoiding Evelyn ever since they had first met. She was a Dark Witch and had made it perfectly clear that she knew what Freya was. On the one hand, Freya was tempted to ask her questions and figure out if there were any other magic beings in the area. But, on the other, Dark Witches tended to hang around with Demons, just like the ones Freya tended to kill.

“Actually, Margaret wants me home in the next little while,” Freya lied. “She’s planning on getting takeaway to celebrate my last exam.”

“Aw, really?” Damon asked. “I thought we were going to finally finish Space Warrior: Redemption.”

Freya shrugged sheepishly. “Sorry. I guess we’ll just have to save it until next time.”

“Are you going right now?” Damon’s uncle asked.

Freya pulled her phone out, pretending to check the time.

“You know, I’d better. It’s getting late.”

“I guess I’ll see you tomorrow, then,” Damon said. “What time do you want me to pick you up?”

“Pick her up?” his uncle asked.

“I, um… I broke up with Jamie,” Damon admitted.

“Again?” His uncle didn’t seem the least bit surprised.

Damon shrugged. “Yeah. So, I’m going with Freya instead.”

“You know, you don’t have to humour this tool just because he got himself into a mess,” his uncle told Freya.

“I didn’t have any other plans,” she reasoned, making sure all of her stuff was in her bag.

“It’s not like I asked her as, like, my second choice. We’re just going as friends so that neither of us are going alone,”

Damon tried to defend.

“Yeah, that sounds completely different,” his uncle replied sarcastically. “You need a lift?” he asked Freya.

“Nah. I could use the walk.”

“Alright then.”

“See you tomorrow at, say, six?”

Freya nodded. “Sounds good. See you then.”


Pre-order the book to read the rest when it’s released on February 1st 2016.

prompt1

“Remind me why we thought it was a good idea to drive through the night?” Freya asked as she pulled herself up onto the wooden fence of the community football field. A little down the road, she could see her foster father, Ryan, struggle with the smoking car.

Margaret, her foster mother, sighed. “Ryan thought it would be easier to drive when the roads were quiet.”

“We’re only going to the Lake District.”

“I know, but he had a whole plan with calculations and everything.”

“His plan involved drinking energy drinks from the Chinese supermarket with a sheriff badge motif that said ‘devotion, courage, sacrifice’ on it. I wouldn’t exactly call that a solid plan.”

“Well, perhaps not…”

Freya pulled her leather jacket tighter around herself as she heard something that sounded suspiciously like a wolf howling. Which was quite ridiculous, given that they were within view of a Tesco.

Speaking of, Freya thought to herself, deciding that she was particularly cold.

“Want to wander around Tesco while we wait for rescue?” Freya asked. “I’m cold and they might have one of those coffee machines.”

Margaret gave a reluctant hum, clearly not wanting to leave her husband alone in the middle of the night.

“You go, if you’ve got your phone,” Margaret told her. “Get us all some coffee and snacks and I’ll pay you back.”

Freya nodded, about to do just that, when she heard the howl again. Her hair standing on end in response.

She moved towards the supermarket, away from her foster parents, before calling out to Amber.

“Okay, so, I know it’s probably not, but I am now assuming everything even slightly weird is supernatural.”

“What is it?” her guardian asked.

“I can hear howling.” As if in response, it happened again.

Amber sighed, before looking pointedly up at the sky.

Freya squinted, not really seeing anything. It was a little overcast, but not enough to obscure of bright light of the full moon-

“Oh. Wait, Werewolves exist?”

Amber, once again, responded with just a look.

“Right, okay, shouldn’t be so surprised.”

There was another howl and Amber flinched. “It sounds like it’s in pain.”

“Really? You can tell?”

“You spend a century around magical creatures and you tend to pick up a few things.”

Freya sighed. “I should go and see, shouldn’t I?”

“You could ignore it and leave them in pain.”

“I know, I know, I’m going.”

Freya glamoured herself to make sure her foster parents wouldn’t see her as she made her way around the side of the football field, trying to sense the Werewolf.

It didn’t take her long to find them, hiding just behind the trees. They were whimpering, as if in pain, though Freya could see no sign of a wound.

“There, on the neck,” Amber prompted, and Freya looked to see a small bite mark.

“What happened?” Freya asked.

The large wolf nuzzled up close to her, seeming not even slightly threatening.

“If I had to hazard a guess? A Vampyre. Their bite is poisonous to Werewolves.”

“Then what do we do?”

“Do you have your hunting gear?”

Freya nodded, indicating to her handbag. She never left the house without it.

“What about that anti-venom poultice you made up?”

Freya pulled it out of the bag with an apologetic look at the wolf. She wasn’t exactly good when it came to potions and poultices. Amber had tried to teach her when her foster parents were out, but they barely worked and often had nasty side-effects.

“This is going to sting,” Freya said as she opened the Tupperware box. “Like, a lot.”

She scooped out a significant portion of the goop.

“Please don’t freak out and hurt me,” she pleaded, with no idea of how much the wolf understood.

It let out a pained squeal as she applied the poultice, but seemed to be doing their best to stay still.

“Yeah, I know, it’s not supposed to sting. But it’ll probably work,” she said as she brought out a pack of babywipes from her bag. Amber had shown her a spell to enlarge the inside and Freya had taken to hoarding everything.

Freya wiped her hands clean along with the outside of the Tupperware box, before putting the rest of the poultice away.

The wolf seemed to have perked up at that point.

“He seems recovered,” Amber noted. “It must be working.”

“He?” Freya asked.

Amber gave one of her pointed looks.

“What- Oh! Oh, okay, that- That’s a wolf penis…”

Freya shook herself as the wolf let out a huff.

“Sorry, I just… That was Amber’s fault. She’s a ghost. It’s a long story.”

Freya turned back to her guardian. “And you can’t just assume someone’s a guy because they have a dick.”

Amber just blinked at her.

“You know ‘I died in the nineties’ only works as an excuse for so long.”

The wolf was back on their feet by that point, their breath slightly odd in a way that made Freya worry, but she eventually realised that they were laughing.

“You better now?” Freya asked.

The wolf responded by licking her hand.

“Okay, okay, that’s enough,” Freya said quickly. She wasn’t good with sliminess, though she appreciated the gesture. “Can you get home or whatever?”

The wolf gave its best imitation of nodding before giving her one last lick and rushing off.

“Okay. Now I definitely need coffee,” Freya said to Amber as she made her way back. “Or one of Ryan’s dubious energy drinks…”


AN: Btw, that energy drink is not made up. It’s called M-150 and the bottle design is just the best.

Also, I’m going to be writing one of these every day for the next twelve days, so put prompts in the comments if you want me to write something specific.

So, I wrote a post last week about happy endings for Autistic characters.

Basically, they don’t usually exist.

And, when they do (or, at least, when the author thinks it’s a happy ending) it’s often a cure ending. Though, because autism can’t be cured irl, this is usually kept to sci-fi and fantasy stories.

The Autistic character has reached the end of their quest and, as a reward, they are cured of their autism.

Except that’s not a good thing! It’s actually pretty horrifying to think about.

Like, do you understand just how much rewiring of the brain that would take? You wouldn’t be the same person. You couldn’t be.

Autism colours all of my interactions with the world. It influences the way I react to situations as well as how I interpret sensory information.

It’s not a chemical imbalance to be reset.

It’s not a disease to be cut out.

It’s a fundamental part of who I am.

Even if it wasn’t, cure plot lines are still damaging because cures don’t exist.

Cure endings say “you are only acceptable without your disability” but, in a world where the disability cannot be cured, that is a horrific message to hear.

So, don’t write them.

Ever.

So, the release for Freya Snow: Book Two is swiftly approaching and I thought it would be fun to do some ancillary world-building content. Every Monday from now until the book’s release (1st of February), I’ll do a post on an aspect of the world.

This week: Angels.

When Earth was created, the two prior guardians of Eden (the Ancients) were no longer able to guide Creation.

In their place, the Upper Council was created.

The Upper Council is made up of Death, Life, Fate and Mother Nature.

Their primary purpose is to guide Creation (though, to what end, no one knows) and this is an extremely taxing job, leaving them with no time for minutia.

That’s where Angels come in.

Angels are the most powerful beings after the Upper Council and have different powers depending on which council member they are attached to.

Reapers (Death)

Sebastian

Reapers, once they reach a certain age, are given a list by Death. This list includes all of the souls they must ferry from Earth that day. This then becomes their job, with Death organising that they be paid a wage through Fate.

The Reapers are arguably the least powerful of the Angels, with only the ability to commune with those souls which have yet to pass on and the ability to manipulate their raw Energy, which every magical being possesses.

Angels of Life (Life)

Angela

Angels of Life (most often shortened to simply ‘Angels’) tend to have the most direct involvement in the mortal realm. Life is reclusive and is never seen, not even by her Angels, which means that they are left to do as they please.

However, Angels of Life are extremely powerful, with much deeper Energy reserves than any other being, making them a force to be reckoned with. An Angel of Life is created at the meeting of certain criteria, rather than being solely genetic (though an Angel is more likely to bear another Angel), so they are often born from other magical beings. Which kind of magical being usually dictates the Angel’s abilities, and Angels of mixed blood do not experience the same dilution of power that would normally occur.

Oracles (Fate)

Oracle

Oracles (for the most part) start life as Seers. A Seer may be any kind of being, even Human, and is especially attuned to Fate’s plan. This most often takes the form of visions, though it may also be an especially accurate sixth sense or an ability to see the past of people without the need to ask.

When Fate needs a new Oracle, she visits a Seer who she has felt has either already lived a fulfilled life, or is in desperate need. She then offers then the chance to ascend.

Once a Seer becomes an Oracle, they then gain the ability to affect probability. They use this to ensure that parts of Fate’s plan occur as they are meant to.

Elementals (Mother Nature)

Juniper

The Elementals are, unusually for Angels, the actual offspring of Mother Nature. They are usually created when she feels that she needs to reconnect with humanity.

Elementals have power over only a single element until they unlock their full powers. Because they are the intermediaries between nature and humanity, their powers are only unlocked when they experience true love (in the magically defined sense of unreserved and reciprocated) for a Human.

The last Elementals to be born were responsible for the events of the Fifth Alternate Timeline, which is widely believed to be why Mother Nature has not created any in the last hundred years, despite the alarming effects of climate change.

The Angel Twilight

AT

Of course, it would be remiss to write about Angels without mentioning the Twilight.

A Reaper, born of Amber Cohen (the second holder of the last Ancient), and an Angel of Life, born of one of the Elementals behind the Fifth Alternate Timeline, fell in love and had a child.

This child, despite it not previously being thought possible, held within her the power of both a Reaper and an Angel of Life, as well as abilities born of her uniquely conflicting nature.

When the Shadows began to creep back into Earth, despite the seals Caetlin Cohen had put on the Old Worlds to contain them, the Angel Twilight proved enough to destroy them as her grandmother repaired the seal.

Once magic was revealed and the Seventh Alternate Timeline began, the Angel Twilight went into hiding and was not heard from again until she committed suicide and her blood scarred the Earth, making it so that no more Angels could be born there.

Next Week: Shadows

So, here’s the thing.

We all know the right in the feels ending. Usually it’s some noble sacrifice made by a main character to ensure the group’s victory.

I’ve written it before for a variety of reasons.

One time I was really upset and had just listened to End of the World one too many times.

One time was because I had a whole narrative thing about the inevitability of fate and making the same decisions you condemn others for.

One time I had a character who had this whole thing about putting everyone else before herself and I was really exploring that as a flaw, rather than a strength.

And more than a few times, it’s because I just didn’t know what to do with the character after the final confrontation.

The greatest secret about right in the feels endings is that they’re a great way to give closure to the audience if you don’t think you can wrap up the character adequately enough in the last chapter/epilogue.

Endings are hard.

And I don’t just mean the final confrontation.

That last chapter and/or epilogue has to say goodbye to the characters that the audience has (hopefully) become attached to. It has to wrap up their story in a way that leaves the audience satisfied and not wanting more. You have to set up what the rest of their lives will look like (or just skip forward a decade or so to show it) in a very short amount of time.

Of course, you could leave the ending ambiguous, but not a lot of writers want to chance that because it risks leaving an unhappy and unsatisfied audience.

The best way to write a happy ending (if the main conflict of the book isn’t personal in nature) is to rely on tropes and deeply engrained ideas of “happiness”.

They get to go back home is an easy one if the character had to leave home for their quest.

They ride off into the sunset with their love interest is an easy one if there was a romance sub-plot (this usually comes with heavily implied, if not outright said, “they will get married and have children”).

But then there are disabled characters.

These happy endings often require a suspension of disbelief.

We have to believe that this character will now go on to live a relatively conflict-free life.

But we don’t believe that’s possible for disabled people.

Most people have no idea what life is like for disabled people, and so think that our whole existence looks like one of those gray-scale adverts for charities with the sad voice-over, trying to get your pity money.

Which makes the suspension of disbelief required for a happy ending even harder. Because what would that ending even look like? And how would you convince the audience of it in such a short amount of time.

So, the writer has no idea how to write a happy and fulfilling existence for the character in the short space after the final conflict, which means that they get the right in the feels ending.

(Or, worse, the cure ending, which is its own post.)

Yay, resolution!

Right?

Wrong.

These endings are fine on their own, but once they become a pattern, it’s alarming.

People need to believe that they can have a happy ending, in the most Disney of senses.

Once you’ve seen it a dozen times, it does get boring, but able-bodied neurotypical writers need to understand that happy endings are a privilege that not all of us get.

You have to have something in the first place to get bored of it.

Grim/dark endings for us aren’t revolutionary. They’re all we get. And that’s pretty sad…

In the grand writers tradition, I am going to deal with my writing problems by blogging about them, instead of actually writing…

I’m editing the first draft of the third Freya Snow book and it’s the messiest first draft I’ve written in a while.

But, as I’m sitting down to sort through it all and wonder what was missing, I’m realising that I didn’t really know what I wanted from the story.

It was literally:

Thing A happens.

And then Thing B happens.

That was all I had.

This very much drives home the idea that I am not a pantser. I used to be, but then my old stories would often end up in as much of a mess as this one.

There’s no structure or narrative flow. Things happen without foreshadowing. Plot points appear at the end which have barely been touched on before the final chapter…

This is all fixable with editing, it’s just been a while since I’ve had to be this extensive with my edits. Since I’ve looked at something and gone “yeah, bloody hell, this is a mess.”

Book three exists to resolve a plot thread that has been going since the first book.

But it had no focus beyond that. Freya had no arc other than resolving this thread, and side characters had arcs that just sort of appeared and then disappeared.

So editing is now about finding that focus. Figuring out where characters are and where I want them to end up.

And, as with every time I wrote one of these books, I’m probably going to pull forward a storyline from a later book, because I really can’t put it off during the events of this one.