Courtesy of Kelsey Long
On a warm and quiet summer evening, junior Kelsey Long can be found outside with her laptop, a notebook full of plot lines and character charts opened besides her. In the process of writing her own novel, this has been her routine for the past three summers.
“I realized that I really liked to write because it gave me an escape to a place where I could rest and be myself. I did not have to show up or do anything; I could just come as I am. I started writing this book in the summer of eighth grade, and it was at a time in my life where I was really starting to notice the imperfections in the world and that people don’t always treat people or themselves with kindness and respect and love,” Long said. “This book kind of came out of my frustration with that at first, but then it became a story advocating loving yourself and other people.”
Long’s book is split into three parts, all showing a different aspect of Christian love: love for yourself, love for others and love from God.
“It is centered around the idea that all love comes from God, and it can be shown and displayed in different ways. I split it into three parts because I switch point of views to convey that there are different kinds of love. The title currently is ‘A Lighthouse of His Love,’ but I am toying around with that,” Long said.
Currently 258 pages, the draft was finished at the end of last summer, and Long has spent the school year revising and editing.
“Right now, I am about 67 pages into the edits. It is really cool to edit because through little grammar errors and other corrections I am making, I get to see how I have grown as a writer,” Long said. “I will look over what I have written and get to see how I’ve grown from that place. A lot of times, I will be writing about something a character is struggling with, and then I will find myself in a similar place. I will be editing and see how what I wrote applies to me. If I am helping myself out with this, and it gets published, hopefully it will help other people too.”
Hoping to get her book published someday, Long is considering self-publishing, a method she is currently learning about as she and her classmates prepare to publish their own books for an assignment in Creative Writing. English teacher Dan Barnes was not surprised to find out that Long was writing a novel outside of class.
“Kelsey is a kind, caring student who works hard on everything that she does and is always willing to help others,” Barnes said. “She’s a wonderful writer. That being said, I’ve know her more as a poet, so I was excited to see her push herself in her writing. Her style is lyrical, with the ability to capture real life and translate into a way all readers can understand.”
It was also not a shock for Creative Writing classmate and senior Caroline Williams to find out about Long’s endeavor. She immediately requested to be on the pre-order list.
“If anyone could pull off writing a book and juggling high school at the same time, it would be Kelsey Long. She loves writing and encourages others to see writing the same way she does. She is so passionate about everything she writes, and it shows,” Williams said.
Although Long hopes to pursue a degree in nursing after high school, she would like to minor in creative writing or English.
“I want to become a nurse, but I will always be writing and hopefully publishing later on in life,” Long said. “I want to minor in English because I think that words are so powerful and useful in everyday life. I have a passion and want to pursue that.”
Continuing with the editing process, Long is not finished with her novel yet, but she is excited to share it with others in the future and looks forward to using what she has learned from God to inspire her readers.
“I have been working on this book from eighth grade until now, which is really when the Lord has been prevalent in my life, and when he has been working really hard on my heart. Because of that, He is the pinnacle piece in my writing, and He has always been the inspiration. Whenever I am confused about what to write about I can always go to Him in prayer,” Long said. “What I want to come across in my book is that His love is sufficient, and it makes us complete; we are not completed by another person or by our own strength, but it is truly just God. Because of that truth, we are able to have the pure form of love for ourselves and for other people.”