I wrote a short story called Risalina near the end of High School. It was about a queen who had been captured by an evil man and forced to be his wife. Their child was the only hope for the kingdom, and the king accidentally killed his child, or so he and the queen thought. So, he stole a young boy with powerful magic and raised him to be his heir. A lot of the general story lines stayed the same when I changed Risalina into Child of Hope, though there are many different, significant, changes I made. As I was writing Child of Hope, I quickly realized Rose and Risa, Risalina's nickname, were WAY too similar. So I switched Risa to Whitney.
For my new book, I wanted to switch some of my writing style and write from a different type of perspective. I was definitely influenced by Avatar: The Last Airbender in this decision.
As my brother, who is my editor, went over the book with me, I was once again shocked how different he sees my writing than I do, and what's always amazing is that it was easier to change things around than I would have thought. My brother gives me amazing ideas and perspective, and I am so grateful to have him help me through this journey. If you're an aspiring writer, find someone who is not afraid to tell you when you're being stupid, formulaic, and gives you great ideas on how to change your writing into something better. I am very blessed to have my brother through this journey!