Guest Author Post: How Robin Puelma Became a Writer

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I was in third grade when I published my first book. Self published, let’s say. Yes, it was a class project, but I remember thoroughly loving the process. Writing a story; drawing the pictures; and then turning it into something I could hold. (The story? About gummy bears. Riveting, I know.)

My love of writing books didn’t return until college. However, my addiction to story telling waxed ever since the third grade. I honed that skill through drawing. I drew everything. And every day. Sitting in my room, sketch pad and pencils in my lap, I labored over creating new things. For years, I wanted to be an animator. I dreamed of art school and toured Disney animation studios with mouth ajar.

But my love of drawing wavered in high school. I received a discouraging comment from an art teacher, and for some reason, I let that cast doubt. My confidence slipped. Yes, I have no one to blame but me—if I wanted it badly enough, I would have shoved that comment aside and pressed on. But I like to think my creative story didn’t end there—instead, it shifted.

Enter freshman year English class at Pepperdine University. Having never taken an AP or Honors class in my life, I was intimidated sitting in an English class where most of the students had. The first essay we wrote, I labored over. And labored over. Until, I realized, I was enjoying the process. Writing. Creating a narrative. Crafting sentences. It was like art all over again—except this time, with my words. And surprisingly, others enjoyed my craft too.

College introduced me to my new creative story. I was, however, a neophyte. I had never written monologues or screenplays or short stories. But I was desperate to learn. So, I wrote. And wrote badly. I received all kinds of feedback from professors and students—some positive, others constructive. All it did was drive me to write better. Write more. Constantly. I reacted so differently than I did with my art teacher’s comments that it solidified something in my mind: with art, I must not have wanted it enough. With writing? I wanted it. And wanted it badly.

During college, I read Harry Potter and knew my life would never be the same. Story telling through novels became a magic I could never live without. So I began to create my own stories. My own characters. My own books. The Missing Crimoire was largely dreamed up in my college dorm room.

Four years later, I graduated with a degree in writing—yes—but more importantly, with a passion for the craft that would change me forever. Ever since, I’ve called myself a writer.


Robin Puelma is my wife’s lifelong best friend. I’ve had the privilege of knowing her for 15 years. Robin and I have shared a love for similar books and movies since we first met. Her editing gifts include feedback on a story’s characters, pacing, and dilemma, to name a few. My stories have greatly benefited from her thoughtful, creative eye.

She published The Missing Crimoire and The Naming of Colton BlackHer characters and worlds will suck you in. If you haven’t checked out her books yet, you need to!

Want to know more about it her? Be sure to check out her blog. You can also find a post there on how I became a writer.

What about you? If you’re a writer, how did you get started? Do you have a writing buddy?

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Anyone Else Feel This Way?

No matter how many times I send them to Dustin, Dawn, Taylor, or Robin. No matter if it’s a first or final draft. I always think my latest draft is perfect. This draft is a best seller. I justify my overactive pride with the fact I’ve been writing for a hobby since 2006. My skills have improved immensely. I’ve finally figured out this writing thing. Then a friend returns the draft with more red text than black.

I crash back to earth a few days later. I read their comments first. Try to take in everything without getting upset. Some feedback is in areas I knew needed to be fixed. Most are changes I never noticed. Ones that totally enhance the story. Or edits which keep me from writing like one of my third graders.

What I’m trying to say is thank you to my friends who edit my drafts. Without you, VERVE STONES, NINTH NIGHT, UNDER, and BACK OF BEYOND would never exist!

Halfway Through BACK OF BEYOND

With a five day break from school, I’ve found myself with some writing time. I’m officially halfway through implementing Robin Puelma’s feedback and edits she gave me for BACK OF BEYOND. I know I mentioned this before, but her comments for me to cut my overly described characters, settings, and fight scenes have vastly improved the flow and pacing of the story.

Even more important is her critique that my first draft needed a dilemma for Spoon. Of course, Robin is completely correct. Spoon achieved a goal. Yet, he lacked a solid dilemma. Well, I’m pleased to say the story is so much better now that Spoon is trying to work through a dilemma. SO MUCH BETTER! Can’t wait to finish the second draft to see how Spoon changes at the end of the story.

Back of Beyond

I’m part way through Robin Puelma’s edits for my first draft and BACK OF BEYOND! I can’t thank you enough for reading over my story. This manuscript will be so much better because of your hard work. It’s nice to have someone call me out on my overactive deceptions and drawn out fight scenes. Thanks for making me a better writer, too!

VERVE STONE Flashback

Fun to remember this comment left on my blog almost two years ago!!! This comment alone has allowed me to stay motivated on finishing THE LEGEND OF SPOON, BOOK 2: BACK OF BEYOND! From Brady on May 30, 2015.

I love this book so much and couldn’t stop reading. My parents had to hide my kindle in order to make me stop reading. Whens the second book coming?
I’m currently finished with my BACK OF BEYOND first draft and am having my friend Robin nearing the end of reading it through. I still need to have two or three more friends edit it, but getting the draft done was a big step forward.

Thank You Editors!

I have amazing friends!!! Dustin is editing UNDER, Taylor is editing DESCENDANTS, Robin is editing BACK OF BEYOND (The Legend of Spoon Book #2), and Dawn is editing NINTH NIGHT. These four stories have been on my computer for years and I’m beyond excited to see them closer than ever to being self-published.