Story Behind the Story

A Kiss Before Lying was first written in 2009. I know this for a fact because I texted one of my best friends at the time and told him all about it. Though that fateful text was sent a bit after midnight, the story did not come to me in a dream, a nightmare, or anything else so surreal. It came to me in a moment of boredom, when I was lying in bed, unable to sleep. I suddenly had an image pop into my head of a boy and a girl driving in a car, one visibly upset. This imagery would become the springboard for my entire story. You see, it wasn’t the girl who was weeping. It was the boy. It was that role-reversal that sparked my imagination.

I wrote the story in a mad, two-day dash and by the time it was done, the word count had clocked in at over 130,000. And in that version, Derek, Sabrina, and the world-building elements that you see in this most current version did not exist. In fact, over the years, I would say that I kept less than a thousand words of that original 130,000+.

My main inspiration for the story back in 2009 was the Richard Yates’s novel, Revolutionary Road. However, during the revising process (which meant I pretty much deleted everything and started over), I realized that I wanted the story to have more excitement and external conflicts than the original version had. In the years from finishing that first draft to now, the influences for the story definitely changed. I watched The Bourne Trilogy a lot, as well as Baz Lurhmann’s Romeo and Juliet. I loved how exciting those movies were, and how lean the plot was; every frame counted and there was nothing superfluous.

That’s what I wanted the new version of my story to be.

I went back to the drawing board with one rule firmly in mind: I wanted to write a story that would hit the ground running and not stop. So I raised the stakes, I put my characters in a lot of corners they had to fight their way out of, I forced them to make choices they didn’t like. And if I felt a chapter, a paragraph, a sentence or word slowed the pacing down…delete. I went into this new draft with eagle eyes, sharp and brutal. I pared 130,000 words down to about 50,000 before adding about 16,000 more to it for what would be the final draft of the story. .

In the end though, all the revisions and false starts and stops was worth it. I’m so glad to finally be sharing this story with you. And I only hope I did justice to this beautiful, heartbroken boy.

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