Sunday, July 8, 2012

What Kicked Off Jennifer Starks' Current WIP?

This week, I'm pleased to say, I have Jennifer Starks visiting. She is going to tell us about her current work in progress and how it came about.. I love the title: Messy Death.
What kicked off Messy Death?

"An idea. I know that seems like a pretty lame answer, but that's the truth. I took a break from writing to start college. Because I had so many things going on along with school, I just stopped. At the time, I thought it was the right decision. Two years later, as I struggled to find my author voice, trust my characters and remember how to make that prose of mine sparkle, I realized it was definitely NOT the right decision.

The novel I intended to start then was titled The Madness of Sorrow, but the characters were not speaking to me, I didn't feel connected to the story at all and Messy Death kept begging me to write it. One day, after a particularly frustrating stint trying to connect with characters that didn't want to play with me, I said forget it! I'm starting Messy Death and it WILL be the one I finish.

Last night, June 29th 2012, after an incredibly long day of writing, that goal was accomplished and I've never felt such soaring relief, pride, nostalgia or fear in my entire life. To be in these uncharted waters is completely invigorating. Also, mildly terrifying.

The idea for Messy Death was not a complete one. I didn't know until I started writing the first chapter that it would be set in the future or that the cast of characters would be as heavy as it is. I didn't know how the main character would resolve her mystery, who her love interests would be, if there'd be sex or how in the world it would end.

In short, I knew jack squat. Wait, I take it back. I had a vague plot line and hot guy characters. Is that enough to make a novel? Hell no! And yet, it was. With a crew of pretty kick ass cheerleaders, Liz Sogard you are the bomb, I was told day in and day out to keep writing,  trust the character. Trust myself and the single most important piece of advice: remember its a FIRST DRAFT! You've got plenty of time to make it pretty. Once I let go of the belief that a first draft should be damn near perfect, I got a hell of a lot more accomplished.

This journey has taught me So much. Messy Death will always be more than "an idea" to me now. It's the book that taught me how to a be writer that finishes her work and isn't afraid to put herself out there for the world to judge."

Jennifer Starks has been writing since the tender, but still wise beyond her years, age of eight. She gets giddy at the thought of visiting a bookstore, loves that good ole Library smell, is most at home on the couch reading or at her desk writing. She adores her children (though they make it entirely difficult to keep any kind of writing schedule) and is humbled beyond belief to have a mother who fostered her love of the arts and a husband who supports the lifestyle even when it means listening to her type at 5 AM. Messy Death will be Jennifer’s debut novel. Updates on its progress can be found at
Twitter: @princessjen20              


  1. I love that you were able to put the uncooperative plot & unruly characters on hold and seize "Messy Death" with enthusiasm! Congratulations on completion :D

  2. Thanks so much for reading, Penelope, and thanks a heap for having me on your blog today, Tara. I'm happy you like the title. It's one of my best, I think.