Six Years of Stained

Once upon a time there was a girl who loved vampire novels.

She devoured every bloodsucking book she could find—Look for Me by Moonlight, Dracula, The Vampire Chronicles—and loved the idea of a dark and mysterious figure sweeping her off into adventure. Sometimes she even left her window open, hoping that the clear invitation would bring a curious dark creature to her home.

When she was on the cusp of her teenage years, she found a book that would change everything she knew. It was called Twilight. In the years that followed, she sank her teeth into every vampire series that she could get her hands on: Morganville Vampires, Vampire Knight, House of Night, Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries, Insatiable, Blue Bloods, Vampire Kisses, Night World, The Silver Kiss, Tantalize, Cirque du Freak, Dead is the New Black, The Eternal Kiss, Den of Shadows… However, as the bookshelves became oversaturated with the undead, the girl came to realize that something was missing from these new vampires.

So she wrote a single page, the beginning of a scene in a club, and printed it out before going on vacation. Over that summer, the girl would develop what would later become STAINED, the vampire novel she’d been looking for, the one that she wanted to read.

Six years later, and I’ve just finished the ninth draft of that vampire novel. By now vampires are a faux paus in literature, old hat once again, but I started this novel in the midst of their success. How was I supposed to know that young adult literature was exploding and would bring in several waves of trends and fiction fads? Vampires are eternal after all.

There have been countless moments where I felt hopeless—that this was a losing battle. If everyone was sick of paranormal stories then why would they even want to pick up ‘another vampire book’? Still I persevered because, at its heart, Stained has been there for me through everything—through a boyfriend and high school, college and a fiancé. Giving up on it would basically be like giving up on myself and my dreams of ever wanting to be a writer.

It’s been hard work to go through draft after draft, constantly killing my darlings and bringing them back to life in new forms, but I’m confident that each choice I’ve made has been for the better. Everything I’ve learned at school has been brought to my novel and it’s grown as much as I have. With every edit and revision, I’ve rediscovered sentence-gems that I wrote and forgot about and I also find my pride in the process. After, of course, I go back to being an insecure artist.

Six years. That’s almost a quarter of my life devoted to one project, and even though I’ve strayed with other pieces of writing I always come back to Stained. Hopefully, this ninth draft is as close to final as I need to be to get working toward publication and I’ll finally be closer to achieving this crazy goal of mine.

Vampires never die and neither will my dreams.