Trauma Informed

This chapter of Author X Audience is about trauma.

Trauma is difficult to nail down. It’s difficult to know what it looks like, what will trigger it, and even who is suffering from it. The thing about abuse is that one often doesn’t know that they’re being abused when it’s happening. Women don’t stay with abusive husbands because they want to, they stay with difficult partners because they believe they’re the only ones who can help them. Similarly, I knew I didn’t like being hit by my father as a child, and I certainly felt it was wrong, but no one did anything to stop it, so I assumed it must be normal.

That abuse of my person left me traumatized, and it’s only within the last five years that I’ve really understood how much.

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Working in A Dream

There are a lot of ideas that can turn daily existence into a mental hellscape. Especially when you have anxiety. Alexis deals with one in particular in Chapter 8—but before I get to her experience, I need to walk you through mine.

When I was a child, my parents put me in therapy at a relatively young age. I was placed in therapy because I was hitting other children. One might wonder why I was doing that, but one wouldn’t have far to look. My father had been beaten by his father, and though he considered himself far less of a tyrant than his father (because he used his open hand instead of his belt), my father still seemed to think that hitting my sisters and I was the best way to get through to us when we did something he didn’t like.

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Letting Go

Something I struggle a lot with as a writer is when to call something “done.”

My process is first draft, second draft, third draft if necessary, then beta readers round one, beta readers round 2, and then submitting/releasing.

Author X Audience went through all of that, and there are still things about it that I want to change sometimes. Makes sense, though. I wrote it three years ago. In that time, I’ve grown a lot as a writer and changed some of my process to be more efficient.

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Double Whammy

Last month’s blogpost got bogged down in a lot of real world issues that didn’t have much to do with the actual manuscript aside from why I actually needed to write and release it.

So this month I’m going to back track and talk about Chapter 4 as well as Chapter 5!

Chapter 4 has us opening with some pretty interesting concepts. Alexis argues with some voices in her head that have different formatting, gets really uncomfortable that someone she admires seems to suddenly know more about her than she’s told him due to some minimal online detective work—even though she knows tons about him via the same method—and eats some really good soup.

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Anxiety Spirals

There are a couple of things in Chapter Three that are very real.

First, I did indeed spend time in Japan studying abroad because I wanted to become a manga editor. Alexis’s experience there was probably better than mine, because mine ended halfway through the year I intended to stay when my anxiety and depression got to be too much for me.

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Nice Guys

Hooray! We made it to Chapter Two!

If you read the first blogpost, you know that I started writing this story back in 2015. My partner has read the manuscript multiple times, but the parts that have changed the most over the course of several edits are these first few chapters. Originally, Alexis and Lizzy were going to be staying in Los Angeles for a longer period of time than just a few days, and Alexis and Terry were going to have a few meetings where they chatted and got to know each other as people in a less intense environment. Unfortunately, the pacing of that didn’t work for my beta readers, and the number of locations, situations, and characters was just too much—so all of that got condensed into Chapter Two, where Alexis and Terry navigate a bunch of really new territory really quickly.

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The Big Picture

To understand why I started writing Author X Audience, first you have to understand a few things about me. First, there are two things I always return to when under stress: books, and a night owlish sleep schedule. Second: when the world feels unfamiliar to me, I start looking for stories that I can relate to.

Studying abroad in Japan, I was under a lot of stress and I couldn’t find any stories that I could relate to.

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