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(Jacquelyn Eubanks / Courtesy)

For junior Jacquelyn Eubanks, some of the ideas for her sto­ry­lines and char­acters have been in the works since she was a young child. This includes a draft she com­pleted last semester, as well as three pub­lished books and another in the editing process.

“I guess I’m really lucky, because when I was young, I had a lot of games I would play with my friends that were imag­i­nation games, whether it was detec­tives or super­heroes,” Eubanks said. “When you’re a kid, you come up with these imag­inary worlds and sto­ry­lines that are so unique and inter­esting because you have all that imag­i­nation. I loved those stories so much that now, as an adult, I’ve mulled on them and thought deeply about how I can take those sto­ry­lines and those char­acters I invented as a kid and turn them into books.”

Her latest work, “Not All Who Wander are Lost,” serves a sequel to a pre­vious book, “All That is Gold Does Not Glitter.” Both tell the story of a girl who has grad­uated high school and enters the mil­itary shortly before the events of Sep­tember 11, 2001.

“The book looks at the effects that has on the human spirit, when you actually have to go into a war and face all these horrors,” Eubanks said. “The first book was about the hard­ships of regular high school life, now add to that the dif­fi­culties of being in combat in a foreign country and the struggles that puts on a person, but also, the immense courage and strength that can come out of it.”

There’s a per­sonal con­nection to her story: Eubanks plans to join the mil­itary after grad­u­ation and is enrolled in the campus Officer Can­didate School program, although Eubanks said she is dis­tinct from the main char­acter of her book in many ways.

Before the book can be pub­lished, however, Eubanks will go through a rig­orous self-editing process and send the book to her editor, then contact lit­erary agents who will help promote the book to pub­lishing com­panies.

“Usually, after I finish the manuscript’s first draft, I do an initial read-through and leave marks on the pages like, ‘This needs to be fixed, this needs to be rearranged, more char­acter devel­opment here, awkward wording, adjust this sen­tence,’” Eubanks said. “It’s my own self-crit­icism, and then I’ll go back through and fix all of those on a rewrite. When I feel like the rewrite is to my liking, I’ll send it to my editor, and then my editor will send feedback almost exclu­sively based on content. If there are any plot holes, he’ll point those out and make sure the story’s sound.”

She said the Divergent series influ­enced her as a writer by demon­strating the impact of good char­acter devel­opment, a theme she said will be important in her latest work since the main char­acter grows and changes over the course of the story.

She also credited a high school teacher, Julie Hakes, for pushing her to become a better writer.

Hakes, who taught Eubanks’ English class during her junior year at Austin Catholic High School, said Eubanks put sub­stantial effort and thought into the essays she wrote for class.

“She already had that flair of being more pro­fi­cient,” Hakes said. “When you read Jacky’s papers, she already had a sense of command of lan­guage. She knew how to use sen­tence variety. It was won­derful to teach a student who wrote and com­mu­ni­cated clearly.”

Although Eubanks used to spend her summers in middle school and high school writing — some­times spending days on end working on a story — she said in college, she has learned to take advantage of smaller chunks of time to con­tinue her writing. As a break from writing and schoolwork, Eubanks said she enjoys stories of all kinds, whether in the form of young adult novels, movies, or TV shows.

“I just love seeing how people grow and change,” Eubanks said.