Fresh Starts and Memory Lane

Memory Lane Award

I was nominated forever ago by the lovely Kate of the Loewe Legacy, a delightful legacy story about the Loewe family in Monte Vista.  Since my schedule has been hectic to say the least, the Sims has slipped lower on my list of things to do, but it is still a love of mine. I promised not to abandon you forever, and here I am.

Here’s how Memory Lane Challenge works:

  1. Congratulations! You’ve been nominated for a totally legit award. Get a gold star and stick it on your forehead like a boss.
  2. Share 5 of your favorite moments from your legacy/challenge/story thus far. 
  3. Nominate 3-5 blogs to do the same. (Since I’m so forever late on this, I am not tagging anyone, but feel free to do the challenge if you so wish). 
Hello Gold Star!

As the new year rolls around, I am itching to get back to playing the Sims and writing SimLit. I have been contemplating a good number of things and how much has changed since I began Kass’s story in February 2015. I believe my writing has significantly improved… or at least, I hope it has.

FYI, the following post has spoilers for KCLKF, and massive spoilers for From Riverview, With Love (FRWL), Interludes & Solitude (I&S), and Colt Family Traitacy Generation 1.5 Thick As Thieves (TAT). You’ve been warned. 

The Krazy Crazy Life of Kassiopeia Fullbright

First pic

When I started the Kass series, I wasn’t entirely sure what my goal was. I wanted to write a family drama following a flawed female protagonist. She needed to have red hair. That was a must. I modeled some of my main character’s experiences and family after my own. They say write what you know.

I started with some tension…

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  1. Kass’s dad’s previous betrayal of his marriage and family and her parent’s implied divorce. Kass and her sisters stayed with their mother while their father left for some unknown place with his mistress.

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2. Kass and her sisters are mildly upset about their mother’s new beau.

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3. Kass’s youngest sister, Andi has a secret boyfriend.

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4. Kass is concerned for her best friend, Gage Briody, whether out of genuine concern for a friend or possible romantic attachment, and his recent re-connection with his biological family. Nonetheless, Kass wants to protect Gage.

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5. Kass also is fairly attracted to the new barista, Davis Lamar, the grandson of Granny Jade, the owner of her favorite coffee house.

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6. I also introduced the idea of EXCES, (EXtra Cellular Exclusion Syndrome), in chapter 4, and reintroduced her father into her life.

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I had good content to work with, and many places and directions I could go. Then the game threw many curveballs at me, and I tried to go with what happened on screen and what was supposed to happen in my outline, but things turned out differently than I originally intended. I’m not saying I regret this. I think it was a good learning experience. Kass and I were just getting our feet wet together, and I had a long way to go to understanding and loving her character. I’m not sure people “get” her like I do, and I know I had readers who really disliked her and gave up. I can understand that, and I don’t blame anyone for their opinions.

Where Things Changed

There were a good many things that weren’t supposed to happen.

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  1. The house destruction.  I quickly caused an earthquake in game to cover up some of the problems with losing the house.

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2. Due to losing her home, I sped things up in Kass and Davis’ romance, forcing an awkward conversation between Kass and her mom and a hesitation on Kass’ part even though she enjoyed “the kiss.”

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3. Kass and her mamma and sisters also moved into her Simtalian grandparents’ luxurious home because they were temporarily homeless after their house was destroyed.  This forced me to do more out of the home shoots, but I got around Sunset Valley more this way.

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Unfortunately for me, I lost this gorgeous home during game corruptions and when I moved devices. If anyone knows where I can find it, please let me know.

I will probably “level” Kass’s grandparents’ home and use a different but similar style lot on the same location in future Kass stories. I don’t have a great explanation yet, other than maybe her grandparents decided to do a total home renovation, probably with Nonno’s hip and falling problems.

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4. Davis never was supposed to have a crazy mixed-up background with sex traffickers. At the time in my life, my church was doing an awareness campaign for sex trafficking and raising money to help free women and children around the world. I felt the need to speak out on the issue but didn’t know how. What resulted was a sloppy explanation for Davis’ strange background used as a platform for an issue I wanted to discuss, but didn’t know how. I feel like I bungled the opportunity, and it didn’t fit Davis’ character.

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5. The second half of chapter 1.24 and the second half of chapter 1.27 and all of 1.28, Part 1, 2, and 3 were not in the original script. I added them to give Kass an opportunity to be distracted and to learn more about her world’s history, plus introduce the Goth family, which I had been wanting to do somehow. I wanted Kass to have a real reason to be depressed, and not merely over two guys, but now that section feels rushed, Kass comes off super “judgey” and impulsive, and this whole thing makes me cringe as a result.  *sigh* You live and learn.

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6. I did really really enjoy writing the short – X Marks the Spot. Carina Fullbright and Alex Goth were too adorable. 🙂 ❤  This was the first time I really played around with pose player. Plus I was pretty pleased with the dialogue:

“Are you all right?” the man asked, keeping his hands braced against her rib cage.

Cari peered up into the face of the man who had crashed into her. It wasn’t a face she could easily forget as his emerald green eyes penetrated her gaze. She inhaled his ambrosial cologne and nearly fell again, as it had a dizzying effect on her. As her vision came into focus, she realized the man was Alexander Goth.

“I…” escaped her lips as he still hadn’t let go of her.

“I’m sorry,” he was saying. “I was distracted.”

“That makes two of us…”

A Death in the Family

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7. Jennifer’s death was a shock to me. I had many plans for her character as sort-of a surrogate mother figure for Kass and obviously one for Gage. In fact, he took her death hard in game. His mourning lasted beyond the typical 2 day grieving period the game allows. That’s when I knew I needed to write a spinoff for his character as he was a premade who had taken on a whole life of his own.

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This was also the first time I had a game glitch death like this. Jennifer died off-screen in an uncontrolled family in a swimming pool. And yes, there were ladders. (Sorry, morbid humor). She succumbed to exhaustion. I thought about cancelling this out and bringing her back to life. I thought about having some giant conspiracy attached to it, though I didn’t plan well enough for that. I thought about having her actually die at the pool. But then I changed things to have her merely slip in the shower in her home, hit her head, and drown, and Gage was the one to find her. Maybe not the best death I could’ve written.  In fact, I wished I had introduced Jennifer sooner so the death would feel even more tragic and the readers would sympathize more.

At the same time, it fit. Death felt random and sudden. Often in life, there is no warning. Sometimes tragedy happens, and there isn’t always a solid reason as to why. Sometimes it simply… happens. Death is violent and cruel, but it serves a purpose. For Gage, his foster mom’s death served as a catalyst for his journey to self-discovery in From Riverview, With Love. But first…

First Chapter from Another Point of View

8. Gage’s chapter with Natalya was a first for me. A first time I wrote a sex scene in SimLit. I was nervous. I must have edited that chapter a hundred times. I wanted to convey the whirlwind of their hookup, and emphasize the consequences of the night, but I also wanted to be tasteful and emphasize the beauty of Gage’s first time.

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Natalya helped him move to the couch with her third drink and Gage’s fifth. She pulled off her jacket and his and pulled at his tie in a taunting way. When she kissed him, he didn’t resist. He wanted her to. Her lips tasted like candy. Delicious. Sweet. Satisfying. She made him feel… good. He could barely breathe.

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Come on Gage, you’re a big boy, he thought to himself as he dropped his head in his hands and rubbed his temples. You had sex. Because that’s what it was. But oh hell! I shouldn’t have. I couldn’t have. Oh I did. Oh llamas, what have I done? 

The Original Ending… Sort of…

9. The ending of KCLKF was almost as planned, except there was supposed to be more situations and interactions building up to it.

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I fully intended on creating a sort-of love triangle, though it ended up being unrequited love of Gage’s part.  I did write content I never used, and might in the future.

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Some Kind of Confession” was originally titled “Some Kind of Wonderful” with the only interruption in Kass and Davis’ seemingly “perfect” relationship was the announcement of Gage’s foster mom’s tragic death. Honestly, I really wished I could’ve explored Davis a bit more.  He was sort-of too perfect, but the introduction of a weird sex trafficking ring made him too… um… not even sure what word I want to use here unbelievable? I started thinking afterward – wouldn’t he need to be in witness protection or something after all that happened? I mean, some individuals from that part of his life were still at large?  Was his name even Davis Lamar?

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Here’s where the family drama story went sideways and then felt halfhearted to me. I wish I could’ve gotten to know Davis better. The real Davis. I did a whole spinoff series with Gage. I wrote chapters from Brendon Shore’s and Ayesha Ansari’s and Billy Caspian’s point of view, but never Davis. I feel like I cheated the guy. I want to make his character more realistic. I’m not saying writing about sex trafficking wasn’t illuminating or an interesting challenge for me. I’m glad I did it. I wrote and rewrote and edited and edited again. In the end, I wish I had done things differently, or let on signs way sooner if that was the direction I really wanted to go, but again… you live and learn.

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The ending happened quite abruptly. There was supposed to be more build-up, and more explanation to Kass’s sudden desire to scrap college and travel across the country with her dad. I fully intended to have the whole awkward Davis-Gage scene in her grandparents guest bedroom the night after Kass and Gage got drunk. However, I should’ve offered more explanation. It’s hard to really say what it is I’m trying to say.  My original goal was a love triangle, so this scene originally played out differently in my head with different consequences.

Interludes and Solitude: Lucky Palms

To be honest, my favorite moments with Kass aren’t until Interludes & Solitude when I really started to understand Kass’s voice and she became ingratiated into my own. I really started to know who Kass was and what she wanted.

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The opening to Interludes & Solitude: Lucky Palms is one of my breakthrough moments as a SimLit writer.

Bells clanged softly in the distance signaling the start of another week. I stirred beneath the covers of my top bunk. Sometime during the night the sticky heat of the Simojave desert had dissipated enough to cause me to grab the blanket. I slid out from under the covers, peeking my head underneath the lacy white curtains. My suspicions confirmed, I flopped back on my stomach. The mid-morning sun was high in the sky and I had overslept again.

Somehow Kass’s character felt new and different here. Something had changed.  Kass had changed.  I had changed. This wasn’t simply a family drama anymore. This was the story of a young woman coming of age, and she was lonely and lost in her thoughts, isolated from the rest of the world, even if she had her dad.

 

 

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It was around Wishes and Prayers that I got my feet truly under me. I was in Kass’s head and she was in my heart. It is a bit of a strange chapter, but I had written it long before I ever got to I&S, in the middle of KCLKF to be precise, minus a few details. It’s where Kass begins to discover sensuality, even though nothing really happens in this chapter. It’s also where Kass gains the nickname “Red.” It’s where Billy Caspian is introduced and her first real adult relationship begins.

Of course, if you’ve read I&S, you know Billy isn’t as “cute” as he seems. There’s definitely an element of danger to him. Now that I think about it, sex trafficking ring backstory might work better for Billy than Davis. I digress. Their relationship is more carnal than previous relationships.

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 Kissing Billy was like reaching an oasis in the desert, and after being tricked by several mirages, finding the real thing.

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“I’m going to kiss you now.”

“Thanks for the warning,” he laughed.

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Somehow, we entangled ourselves and rolled around the bleacher posts without disengaging our lips.

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This is one of my favorite screenshots from I&S. 

 

Of course, other things happened in I&S… like Kass going to work for the celebrity chef, Romon Tanner

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befriending Audrey, the witch, and Cypher, her cat….

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tutoring Ethan

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…and Ethan “falling in love” with Kass, and becoming somewhat obsessed with her.

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Interludes and Solitude: Desierto Rojo

Then Kass and her dad traveled to Desierto Rojo and the Casa de la Esperanza. Here’s where I feel like I did a disservice to Kass’ story. When FRWL came to an end, it felt like the right place for a conclusion. I had closure. But with I&S Desierto Rojo episodes, I feel like I cut things short. It didn’t feel complete, which is why Kass chapters trickled over into FRWL and CFT: TAT.  I did appreciate some moments from I&S Desierto Rojo like…

Casa de la Esperanza was a gorgeous custom lot

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… the promising cast of characters… especially Juanita…

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and Miguel…

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Kass’s birthday surprise party and her sister’s unexpected arrival.

“Hey kiddo,” my father’s voice pulled me from my unpleasant reverie.

“Dad,” my face broke into a beaming smile. “You look great.”

“Are you kidding me?” he replied, leaning forward to hug me. “I’m a bum next to you. You look beautiful, my daughter. Happy birthday.”

“Do my eyes deceive me?” I asked stoically.

“Yes, Kassiopeia, nineteen is ancient. You need glasses,” my sister teased me.

Andi’s sweet dance with her dad.

And Kass’s shock when she learns that Brendon is responsible for Andi’s arrival in Desierto Rojo.

Introducing Brendon Shore

And nearly every scene with Brendon Shore. He had been “introduced” (albeit out of order) in KFLL, but here is the true first meeting of Kass and Brendon.

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He grunted. “Are you serving here at the bar? Your service sucks. I’ve been waiting here almost a half-hour…” he looked at me again as if expecting a response.

I blinked rapidly. He spoke Simlish. Good.

“…what are you deaf, honey?”

“The restaurant is closed,” I replied. “And your attitude is rude.”

“This is how you treat your customers?” he said in a shocked tone.

I gave him a loud “harumph” and crossed my arms in disbelief. “This is how you treat wait staff?”

 

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“I have a little Bernish in me blood too,” he offered with a slight accent as if we were bonding. “You wouldn’t happen to have Simnness on tap would you?”

“How many ways can I say closed?” I leaned over the bar.

He leaned forward, resting his elbows on the countertop, and offering another smile, albeit a gorgeous one. “As many times as you want, mi guapa reina, but I am a persistent one.”

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“I’m going to figure you out in three guesses,” he replied…

“Let’s see,” he said, almost excitedly. “You’re young so… you’re a student at La Fiesta Tech, paying your way through college by tending bar and your dad came to visit you early for the holidays?”

“Wrong,” I shook my head, as I pulled out the salt to line margarita glasses…

“Okay…” Brendon leaned forward over the bar, smiling more to himself than anyone. “…you are escaping the law of the SimNation because you committed a heinous crime and your father was the getaway driver and now you’re in Mexsimco trying to figure out your next move.”

My brow furrowed as I suppressed a smile. “Wow… really? You think I’m a criminal? What crime did I commit?”

“Horrendously overdue library books.”

Their friendship continues to blossom from here… over breakfast

 

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“I know what you are,” Brendon called after me.

I glanced back over my shoulder, but he wasn’t looking at me.

“I knew the whole time,” a smile played coyly at the edge of his lips as he continued scanning the movies. “For any woman who can keep up with me and has wits like you do is a writer.”

…drinks and dinner… 

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“This isn’t a date,” I blurted out.

“I never said it was.”

“Well then stop flirting with me.”

“Then stop enjoying it.”

I gaped and waved my hands in the air. “I’m not enjoying it.”

…a trip to the beach…

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Sì, parlo correntemente I’italiano.”

Brendon nodded in acknowledgement. “Impressive.” He set down his bottle in the sand. “What do you think of…Sei bella.” He proceeded with a mock-bow.

“Thank you,” I said, feeling flustered. “You’re pretty nice to look at too.”

Grazie,” he bowed graciously, and added, “Mi manchi.”

“Silly,” I giggled. “You can’t miss me. I’m still here.”

…a birthday surprise… 

“You sound back to normal,” a voice called to me from below.

“Er… hi… what are you doing here?” I asked nervously.

“Waiting for you to let down your hair,” he teased.

…a birthday celebration…

“But you do have the Bernish fiery spirit, you can’t deny it?”

“You just don’t give up,” I sighed exasperated.

“Never,” he grinned. “…Berns.”

“That’s… terrible,” I wheezed. “God-awful!”

“But it’s a full blown Bernish moonshine.”

“You never answered my question entirely…” I knew I was deflecting, but I didn’t care. “…about flying my sister out here.”

“I did have an ulterior motive,” he added. “I wanted to see you smile again, Berns.”

 …and a job offer. 

“Just don’t call me sir or anything. And I’m not your boss yet. This is still on spec until the editing team can review everything.”

“Right, thank you, sir,” I said teasingly.

“Alright, Berns.”

“You’re going to keep calling me that, aren’t you?”

“Yep,” he grinned.

From Riverview With Love: Home for the Holidays

And I&S came to a close. I feel like this is probably getting way too long, but all of these stories are one long continuous story to me. Kass and her dad pop over to Riverview to see Gage Briody and the two friends make up, and even a little romance sparks.

Unfortunately, things are cut short. First, because Kass and Gage travel to see Ethan’s band, and Ethan is strangely obsessed with Kass and tries to assault her, though Gage comes to her rescue in the nick of time.

And then because Gage discovers his one-night-stand, Natalya is pregnant with his child.

And Kass isn’t ready to be a mom figure to Gage’s kid, and she’s not even sure she wants to be with Gage still. It was an impulsive mistake in Kass’ mind.

Their goodbye is supposed to mirror Gage’s earlier goodbye with Anita.

…though ironically, they would be facing one another. I think there’s some powerful symbolism here, even if this wasn’t my intention.

Colt Family Traitacy: Thick As Thieves (Billy and Kass Reunion)

Then Kass travels to Hidden Springs with her dad, where she reconnects with her old flame, Billy. It was not my intention to dominate the opening of TAT with Kass or Billy, but somehow this is where my heart wanted to be and what I wanted to write so I went with it.

And against better reasoning, perhaps, they start up a relationship again, and romance leads to Kass’s first time. This was a huge turning point for Kass. Of course, the readers know about Billy’s past, his sexually abusive aunt, his werewolf-vampire hybrid condition, how he stayed at Glory Ann’s to cope and work through his fever, how he chose to run away instead of confronting his feelings with Kass, how he felt guilty and tried to return to find her in Sunset Valley only to hook-up with the newly pregnant (and not by him) Ayesha (and yes, I didn’t forget that random tidbit – did you?). And we know everything that has brought Kass to this moment. She chooses to be with Billy of her own free will and without alcohol, and yet the first time isn’t quite what she expected – a mix of pain and pleasure. She has a mixed reaction, and eventually stresses out to the point of having a panic attack and calling Gage.

In between all this, Kass went to work for Shark Racket at a supernaturals only nightclub.  Unfortunately, Billy Caspian nudged Kass’s position at the nightclub in order to gain an in for Dennis, to which Shark was upset about, and Kass’s job came to an abrupt end.

Oh we also learn that things aren’t quite on the up and up with Billy… like he manipulated the situation a bit, but he didn’t force Kass, and oh yeah…

Dennis Racket is Billy’s biological father, which was a fluke on my part. Originally he was supposed to be an uncle to Billy but after I wrote it, it fit. I left it in.

Kass shockingly discovers that Billy and Constance Shelley were once in a relationship… and if you remember, Gage liked Constance.

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And then Gage shows up out of the blue and wants to fight for Kass. Unfortunately, he is egged on by Billy, and then punches Howard in the face. Kass is beyond furious.

And then Billy breaks up with Kass to protect her, from something unknown, though suspected given the overtones and undertones of the Colt Family Traitacy series and the Racket family… even if he cares for her. This is not the same Billy we see in the beginning. He’s changed some. He is also a deeper, more well rounded character in my opinion.

The Lost Legacy

This brings us up to something close to 2.0 KFLL. I did want to point out one thing from the first chapter in Bay City… after knowing what we know about Kass and Billy (and even Gage), these lines make more sense.  (and yes, that is JoAnn Norman, the bartender who dies later in this scene).

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“…you’re a pretender, Kassio, just like me.”

“A pretender?” I stared at him blankly.

“There are two types of people in this world who are good at pretending. Actors and writers. And while neither one of us is an actor, we are writers. Writers, the good ones, have lived life. They’ve been hurt. They’ve lost something. They’ve gotten angry. They’ve made mistakes. They’ve said the wrong things and drank a little too much and slept with the wrong people.”

I felt my cheek twitch and my face flush. His words hit a chord with me. I felt embarrassed, especially since Brendon was my boss. I felt a nervous pit forming in my stomach.

“You hide your true feelings beneath this façade of toughness because it’s easier to act tough than to face the pain,” he continued. “We’re pretenders. I do it too. I’ve been there. That’s what makes me a good writer too. But since we’re good at pretending…”

I held my breath nervously, hoping he would get to the point quickly.

“…could you at least pretend to like me?” he offered a weak smile.

The Lost Legacy didn’t have its legs underneath it firmly. I was overly ambitious and lacked direction, thus the introduction of a bunch of random plot lines that never quite got resolved. They would’ve been resolved. And they will be resolved. I just need more time.

Kass – the 2nd Time Around

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Now why did I take you through this long journey? Way beyond the five awesome memories. I wanted to show you the journey Kass has been on, and what’s changed from beginning to present. I could continue to talk about 2.0 and various highlights, but I’m stopping here for an important reason. I am planning to write a second edition of KCLKF, include I&S chapters, the FRWL and TAT section chapters on this site, and rewrite some of KFLL.

This has been a hard decision, and one that required contemplation.  I want to explore characters I didn’t really go into depth with because I feel they deserve their moment to shine. I also want to clarify things, simplify other things, and overall make the story more coherent. I want things to make sense, and I want to give Kass the story she deserves.

Don’t worry. I do not plan to rewrite everything. Many things will be largely the same. Some things may receive alternate endings as I have been reconsidering using my original outline. However, Kass’s essence and character and persona will remain steadfast.

It is also my goal to include extensive author’s notes so you understand why I made certain changes, and to keep the original chapters available for viewing for some time. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask me. I am happy to try and make sense of all this for you. Also if there’s a character or something specific you’d like to see me write about in my rewrites, let me know.

Personally, I’ve been contemplating this change and rewrite for weeks, and I’m excited. I am ready for a fresh start and to take Kass’s story to the next level. And I hope those of you who have been on this journey with me will continue to follow me down the rabbit hole. Haha.

Again, thank you so much to Kate from the Loewe Legacy for the Memory Lane nomination. Here’s to 2018 and new surprises and new beginnings! Happy New Year everyone!

❤ Lizzie

 

2 thoughts on “Fresh Starts and Memory Lane”

  1. This is such an exciting decision! This is how we learn as writers, by getting in there and rewriting our work so it fits our vision! And I’m excited learn along with you, as I read through your ventures! 🙂

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