l.i.b.e.r.a.t.i.o.n. theory

love, life, and the pursuit of liberation

Authentically Me 5- Pieces of Her: What I’ve Learned So Far

Last week I was sitting down trying to describe my blog’s vision. I’ve written about everything from the first time I injected thawed sperm inside me to my struggles with religion to implied but not quite spoken relationship struggles. And here I find myself on Tuesdays sharing a chapter of the novel I’m writing. How does that fit in?

If you ask the Universe a question, you’ll get answers. I’ve realized writing Pieces of Her is a part of my journey towards liberation and my desire to reconcile all aspects of myself into a fully integrated, authentic Self. This is what I’ve learned through writing this book.

1-      I don’t use many of the structures that I taught my students to use in my other life as a writing teacher. I don’t outline. I don’t plan out my book. I only superficially proofread, and rarely edit in it true meaning of reflecting on your writing. Believe it or not, most of this writing is the result of listening to the characters. I had a rough idea of what I wanted to write about and would write out a chunk of chapters at a time, not having an idea of what was going to happen next. Somewhere around Chapter 15 or so, I finally figured out what was going to happen for the rest of the story. Now I will readily admit that these chapters are still drafts. I’ve already found some minor inconsistencies, dropped story lines, and I fully plan to rectify those and expand for the print/e-book version. I am way too critical of a reader to be a sloppy writer. Those of you that no me outside of this blog know that I will point out every single element of bad writing in movies, lyrics, books, web series. I couldn’t call myself a writer if I was careless.

2-      Character development is my very favorite part of writing. Before I was confident in writing fiction (more on that in the next post), I would write character sketches. I have countless files on my laptop and in notebooks that are detailed descriptions and hybrids of people I’ve met or imagined in my head. Much of the plot of Pieces of Her is driven by my imagination of what would people like this (like me..) do given certain scenarios. Letting my mind wander and ponder WWND (What Would Naima Do) helps me to consider truths about myself I may not be ready to admit. It helps me explore my highly sensual/sexual side. It helps me to understand the totality of who people are, not just the one or two dimensions we allow them to be in our minds.

3-      This is my first time writing fiction. For real. I never thought I could do it because I had a hard time following a lot of the writing rules that I would teach my students. I knew what a good story arc was, but I couldn’t pre-think or plan a trajectory from the beginning and would give up. I also used to suck at dialogue; I would have these Faulkner-esque pages upon pages of nothing but description and no dialogue. So I gave up until I shared with Enigma the first five chapters that I wrote SIX YEARS ago for NaNoWriMo. She encouraged me to keep going. And this is what it’s led to.

4-      I’m a highly sensual person. I visualize scenes in my mind, rewind them, play them in slow motion, turn the camera on different angles, pan out, zoom out, and try to put as much of that as possible in my writing. I was never conscious of how much I observed and now I’m hyper sensitive to it. I am keenly aware of sounds, colors, smells, facial expressions, every minutiae of a scene. I now crave silence, beauty, nature, and order as a result of writing Pieces of Her.

5-      I truly and passionately love writing. So much so that I can see myself doing this professionally for the rest of my life. I never considered myself as a writer. Previously It was just something I did; I’ve been journaling to process my thoughts since I was 12 and blogging my reflections on life since 2005. I was one of those crazy people who enjoyed writing in grad school and would choose many of my undergrad classes based on whether final papers were assigned in lieu of exams. Yeah, weird. But so me.

So what happens next? My goal is to take Pieces of Her to 40 chapters, edit it by expanding sections, combining others, and then self-publishing before the year is out. I need this to be authentically me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts—What surprises you? What did you already know? What else about my writing process are you curious about? Spill it below!



12 comments on “Authentically Me 5- Pieces of Her: What I’ve Learned So Far

  1. JaChel (@JaChelRed)
    July 10, 2012



  2. Autumn
    July 10, 2012

    “I never considered myself as a writer. ”

    Really? I remember reading your old yahoo blogs and thinking about how you were always very descriptive and great at word play. The scenes you paint are so easy to picture (for me at least) even if you’re chatting about some random place. When you describe a scene, I envision it and the story comes alive.

    In regards to Pieces of Her:
    I was surprised when Naima moved out. Before she moved into her current place, I expected her to move back in with Tasha until she found a new place. What I have come to realize is that Naima needs to come into her own. This is a life lesson for her and I am totally psyched to see her at the end of the book.

    Is Naima’s journey therapeutic for you? What do you see in Tasha’s future (without giving away anything)? Will you share her journey and struggles?


    • liberationtheory
      July 11, 2012

      Autumn, I didn’t realize you had been reading me since then! That was my very first blog and me testing out pure honesty. Good times.

      Now to the Pieces of Her questions that I can answer
      1- You hit the nail on the head– this is very much about Naima coming into her own and trying to reclaim all her parts. Sound familiar?

      2- Naima’s journey is VERY therapeutic for me. Not because every situation happened to me (the sex scenes are figments of my raunchy imagination) but the book pushes my own thinking about what it means to be fully integrated when you walk the line between pleasing people and avoiding your demons.

      3- Tasha’s future– you’ll have to wait and see. I think I missed opportunities to fully incorporate her story in this version of the book, and I’ll be able to allude to some of it in the coming chapters. But the print book will be SO much better.


  3. Pingback: Pieces of Her- Chapter 23 « l.i.b.e.r.a.t.i.o.n. theory

  4. Enigma
    July 11, 2012

    *squeals like a groupie && jumps up and down*… *regains composure*

    Truthfully, words would do no justice to how incredibly proud of you I am. I feel amazingly privledged to have seen this grow grom the beginning (although shelved for 5 years prior). I admire and respect your ambition in not only picking back up the pen (laptop – lol) and pushing forward through this project. You may have suprised yourself in how much you have grown through this, but I am in no way surprised! Not only did I know you were more than capable or generating a page-turner (mouse-clicker), but I knew you would grow and discover things about yourself in the process. Continue to create, explore, discovery and reveal not only Pieces of her, but pieces of you as well.

    Congrats && don’t forget I am getting the FIRST signed copy. 🙂



  5. Autumn
    July 11, 2012

    Yes, ma’am. I’ve been around for a while.

    Who knows, maybe Tasha will get her own book in the future. Pieces actually seems like an introduction for the other characters as well (Tasha, Naima’s mom).

    You know, Pieces reminds me of “Mama” by Terry McMillian. It reminds me of Freda’s journey into her own.

    Have you read that book?


    • liberationtheory
      July 11, 2012

      Do you know that is one of my absolutely favorite books and has been in the back of my mind as I designed this one? Yes. For real.


  6. Autumn
    July 12, 2012

    😀 Okay, so I have to read “Mama” again now. I’ve read it so many times yet never get tired of it. When you publish, I am going to put Pieces on the shelf right next to “Mama.”


  7. inspiredbybeatriceclay
    July 13, 2012

    HOT DAMN! I can feel you passion for this and I am EXCITED for you girl! Thanks so much for #2. I make so many excuses with trying to write my stories and your tip about character sketches is a good one. I plan to start there and just let it flow. #4 is just beautiful…it’s real nice to learn or discover new cravings! Finally, you’re wrap up is powerful…go WORK your plan. I am here to help in anyway I can 🙂


    • liberationtheory
      July 13, 2012

      *immense blushing* Thank you mama!! I have you to thank for helping me name “beauty” as a real, tangible belief and goal.

      I have come to realize that I’m a true East (google compass leadership styles) and I am great with setting vision (which is why I’m a good writer I suppose) but have a hard time executing details, working the plan. I rely on you and the rest of my tribe to hold me to it 😉


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This entry was posted on July 10, 2012 by in how to be your authentic self, pieces of.her, Uncategorized, writing, writing as liberation and tagged .

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