EXCERPT: I Want to be a Lioness by Chuck Wendig

Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. He’s the author of Blackbirds, Double Dead, and Dinocalypse Now, and is co-writer of the short film Pandemic, the feature film HiM, and the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, a taco terrier, and a tiny human.

I Want to be a Lioness

Funded! This project was successfully funded on November 5.


pledged of $2,000

I need to be on the outside what I feel I am on the inside: a lioness.

Project Goals

God, I don’t know what I’m doing here. I’m a 40-year-old woman. I don’t even know how this works but my son said—

Well, I guess I should get to the point of this crowdsourcing exercise since I’m not doing a video (I don’t have a camera, sorry!).

I want to become a lioness.

A real one.

(I’ll rewind. Which isn’t a thing anyone does anymore, is it? Rewind.)

I was at a party last year. A New Year’s Eve party. The whole party was set up like a casino and you could go and play blackjack and poker and roulette.

My date—a not-so-gentlemanly gentleman—was in the kitchen making out with another woman up against the refrigerator.

I always hate how in romance novels people’s tongues are wrestling or getting shoved down throats and I always thought, nobody kisses like that. But here they were, kissing like that. And I thought, maybe that’s why.

I don’t kiss like that. She does.

He was a jerk anyway. Men can be horrible. I shouldn’t even be telling you this.

In the back was a table and a beautiful, zoftig woman sat there and she said she was a psychic and could tell me things about myself, and I was feeling lonely and a little drunk (the bubbles in Champagne turn me into a real goof) and I sat down about ten minutes before midnight and said, “Do me.” The woman explained she had lots of services to render like palm reading and Tarot cards, but then she noticed I’d been crying and she said I needed to discover my “power animal,” a spirit creature that represented me, and I said sure, not knowing what that meant.

She didn’t get out any cards or anything. She just looked at me. And held my hands. And I knew she was asking me questions though I guess it was the Champagne because I couldn’t tell you a single one or what my answers were. I felt like . . . it sounds crazy, but I felt like things shifted and moved inside of me, not really like puzzle pieces falling into place but like clouds parting with a sudden wind.

“Lioness.” That’s what she said. She said that I was a lioness.

I thanked her and tried to pay her but she said the party planners had already paid.

At midnight, I went and found the man I was with—Steve—and he was leading his new “friend” into the bedroom and he seemed surprised to see me and I smacked him across the face and I said “F— you!” and his shell-shocked look . . . I could’ve bottled it and sold it for a premium.

I felt like a lioness when I hit him.

But I haven’t felt that way since.

And I need to. I need to.

Because . . . I don’t want to get into my reasons but suffice to say they’re very good ones. I found a gentleman on Craigslist who said he has the requisite spellcasting ability—is that the term? Spellcasting? I think that’s how he put it—and who can help me transition into the lioness that I know that I truly am.

Please help me. Please help my family. Thanks for reading this.



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