So, last week was Banned Books week. I kept wanting to blog about it, but I was in the middle of a personal Fahrenheit 451 episode in my own writing life, so I took a break. Of course, the censorship that was going on here was contained to my keyboard… and therefore (possibly) more insidious.

I was on the cusp of finishing the first draft of a book I’ve been working on for some time* — the book that’s been scaring me to write. I think I’ve mentioned it before on the blog. Anyway, I happened to get some news about another recently completed manuscript that worried me.** Was I writing too controversially? Was my work just TOO dark?

So, I stopped the work I was doing on my current Scary Novel, freaked out… and spent two weeks carving the heart out of it with an authorial grapefruit spoon. I finished the new, sanitized draft — well, almost. I was about 500 words from the end, and I found myself thinking “What happens next?”

And then I found myself answering: I don’t care.

Wow. That stunk. I’ve never written a whole novel before where I got that close to finishing, and couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm to make it to The End.

So I pulled the socks out of my Muse’s mouth, smacked myself around a little, reminded myself that I don’t write for publication, yadda yadda… and went back to the old draft. I finished it.
It scares me to death. It is full of suck right now, as all first drafts are. It may not even make sense. But I cared what happened in that last scene in this version. I deeply, truly cared.

So there. Why I’ve been AWOL. I’m back now, though. Any of you Writer Friends have big news while I was angsting away my weeks?


* Years, actually. I have been writing this story – starting over again and again, for at least three years.

** Unnecessarily, it turns out. Yay!

Posted in Children's Fiction, Miscellaneous on 10/07/2011 02:20 am


  1. Laura Jennings

    Whatever this book is, I’d be interested in reading it. I sometimes think the SCBWI and/or children’s literature circle is populated by easily scandalized people, who think that children somehow magically become world-wise, ethical adults without ever being exposed to darkness, moral relativism, controversy, or difficult decisions. (Let alone sexually healthy and aware adults.) I’ll point out that Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky became famous and lauded because they wrote “good books for bad children”, not because they decided to stay clean and happy and safe.
    Also, I wonder sometimes how Dr. Suess would have survived some of the crit circles at SCBWI. “A Lorax isn’t a real thing! You can’t use that word! It’ll confuse children!”


    • Nikki Loftin

      Laura! You can’t have my soapbox — I’m using it this week. 🙂
      I’ve gotten pretty particular about my readers — some of my recent MSs are like baby kittens to me. (Me, soft-hearted about a MS? WHO KNEW?) But I will ALWAYS share with you!


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