Writers Who Are Making It Happen: Kaitlyn Abdou
Welcome to the first installment of Writers Who Are Making It Happen, where I feature writers who, quite frankly, don’t mess around. These determined novelists aren’t just talking the talk, they’re walking the walk. Anyone can say, “I want to write a novel,” but it takes a certain kind of writer to actually do it. These brave souls are telling fear and self-doubt where to go, receiving valuable feedback on ChapterBuzz, and steadily venturing into the exciting world of writing success. Becoming a published author requires commitment, dedication, and enthusiasm. These are the writers who are making it happen!
This is quite a promising year for Kaitlyn Abdou and the fantasy novel she’s currently in the throes of writing, The Daffodil Witch.
In March, she was the recipient of the Challenge Choice Award in the 10K Social Writing Challenge at ChapterBuzz. It was a well-deserved win for all her hard work during a demanding writing month. Nevertheless, she says, “being acknowledged on ChapterBuzz was a huge boost to my confidence in writing.”
Now, she’s amazed at how quickly it’s all happening.
“I’m already working on my query letter for an editor who expressed interest in reading my manuscript,” she says. “For me, things seem to be moving faster than I can keep up with!”
According to Kaitlyn, The Daffodil Witch started out as a joke. “But then the characters came and the story developed further,” she says. “A romance angle was added, and then a love triangle, and a plot began to form.”
This is how her stories tend to unfold. For Kaitlyn, it all starts with putting her characters in stressful situations and seeing how they react. “I like for my characters to develop organically,” she explains.
In third grade, Kaitlyn jumped right into The Hunchback of Notre Dame—you know, light grade-school reading—and discovered it differed slightly from the animated Disney film.
And it doesn’t get any more organic than Kaitlyn’s very first method of storytelling: Barbie dolls. “There were villains, heroes, princesses, complex plots,” she tells me. “I would have a single doll plot line go on for weeks.”
Then came the transition from dolls to the written word. In third grade, after Kaitlyn flat out refused to read the assigned books, her teacher struck a deal with her. She’d allow Kaitlyn to skip the assigned books if, in their place, she read a chapter novel. Naturally, Kaitlyn jumped right into The Hunchback of Notre Dame—you know, light grade-school reading—and once she got over the shock of discovering that it differed slightly from the animated Disney version that had recently come out, she wrote a book report on it and received full credit.
But Kaitlyn’s literary background wasn’t sculpted solely by Barbie and Quasimodo. “I credit Jane Austen with teaching me how to write,” she says. “I became obsessed with her books and trying to be just like her.”
In that regard, it looks like Kaitlyn’s well on her way! But no writing journey would be complete without a difficult stretch.
“The surest way to prevent feelings of regret,” this award-winning author says, “is to never let fear hold me back.”
Kaitlyn recounts a time when all she wanted to do was throw in the towel. After losing her entire manuscript in a computer crash several years ago, she couldn’t bring herself to write anything for a long time. “I lost my will to write,” she says. “Once I got over the loss, the excuses came. ‘I don’t have time’ was the biggest one.”
Computer crashes are serious business, but in the end, I think we’re the ones who lost out—especially considering that what vanished forever was “a twisted retelling of Snow White.” Care to, uh, take that up again, Kaitlyn?
As you can imagine, Kaitlyn backs up her work a lot more now, but some fears linger. Like many of us, she admits to being apprehensive of receiving feedback. “My biggest fear is getting feedback from people who know what good writing is,” she says. Her solution? “I got over it by holding my breath and hitting the send button.”
“The surest way to prevent feelings of regret,” she says, “is to never let fear hold me back.”
Put that way, it sounds so simple.
“Unless,” she hastens to add, “we are talking about skydiving. That I won’t do.”
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I’m Timothy Pike, self-publishing and productivity coach specializing in helping you publish beautiful books on Amazon and in your local bookstore. The (brand new) Better Writers Club launches June 1st, and you’ll be able to pre-enroll soon with an invite code, which you can request here.