Karalius EU header

Swoon Author Kimberly Karalius' Editing Update: Introverts and Gifts

Like babies and snowflakes, each new book is unique. In some way, shape, or form, it finds a way to throw you off your Foolproof Writing Plan and makes you grow as a writer. I fully expected that with Love Charms and Other Catastrophes because I was entering Hijiri Kitamura’s head.

While I love all my Grimbaudians (even you, Camille), Hijiri had become a character I was dying to write about. Her role in Love Fortunes had changed by the final draft, enough to have me itching to tell her tale as Fallon’s chapter closed.

coffee by the window

Let me tell you something. Hijiri Kitamura was intense to write about because I knew her very well. Too well. Her dedication to love charm-making is feverish. She grew up with uninterrupted time to craft charms while her parents were working. If Hijiri was lonely, she never let it bother her for long because she was going to be a great love charm-maker. And that dream was all she needed.

Until Grimbaud High.

But learning to balance her fierce dreams and new friends AND a possible love life is not easy for Hijiri. And it wasn’t easy for me when I wrote the first draft.

Hijiri is an introvert. It was hard for me to drag her away from her simmering potions and glitter-dust and into fresh air. Her answer to me was always: 

edmund air inside narnia

Yes, yes, okay, but the plot is outside too, Hijiri! Please come out!

Thankfully, Holly knew just how to draw Hijiri out of her room and into the rest of the story. I received my edit letter just a few days after coming back from the Summer of Swoon tour (and believe me, it was fun and a little panicky knowing that Holly was reading the first draft on the plane, just a few seats in front of me, haha).

We worked together on breaking up the first draft into little scenes and pieces, reconstructing them and building upon them to make a solid draft. Making those changes was a lot of work, but it was so fulfilling at the same time. With each revised chapter, I felt Hijiri become stronger and brighter on the page. And best of all—the rest of Grimbaud got to spend more time with her.

Including darling Kentaro, Love’s gift to Hijiri. The boy in the gift box.

A lot of the revision went into Ken and his backstory… of which you will be getting no spoilers here. But I can say that I had created an incredibly twisty, complicated backstory for him that ended up tangling the first draft in knots at times. Holly suggested we simplify his backstory. Rather than make the story smaller, the simplifying opened more doors—not just for how Ken’s character was portrayed, but other elements of the narrative as well.  

The changes gave birth to new scenarios that Holly and I fangirled over as we plotted them out on the phone. I also stared at a lot of photos of Takeru Satoh while writing those new scenes. Hooray for inspiration!    

takeru satoh

I talked about balance earlier. While Hijiri needs to learn how to balance the many facets of her life in Grimbaud, I needed to learn balance as well—in the unique way that sequels demand.

Writing a second book means being sensitive to satisfying what fans of the first book are expecting and how new readers are stepping into this world. Because not everyone reads books in order.

Holly gently led me onto the tightrope when it came to figuring out that balance—how much recapping was too much, what characters needed fresh introductions, and wait who is Zita again? The final result of all the blending and bridging makes for a story that anyone can step into—even if, you know, you happened to miss the first installment.

Don’t worry. I’m there for you, dear, skippy readers.


Author spotlight

Kimberly Karalius

KIMBERLY KARALIUS holds an MFA in fiction from the University of South Florida, and has been sharing stories on Figment.com …

See More