Category Archives: outlining
I have this problem where I can only seem to concentrate on one thing at a time. For the past few weeks, that has mainly switched between reading vegan blogs and books and playing Borderlands. Neither is all that conducive to writing, and I was really hoping to use April to get back on track with my writing.
What I’m going to do is try using Borderlands as a reward for writing. I participated in one #writeclub sprint on Friday, and I wrote about 780 words in half an hour. That’s nowhere near what I was able to write for NaNo, but that’s pretty good considering I had no real idea what I was writing. That said, I definitely learned during that 30 minutes that I need an outline of some sort. I already have a feeling I need to completely rewrite that opening, and it’s just going to get worse from there.
My goal for tonight and tomorrow is to come up with at least a basic outline. I’ve been waiting for the story to come to me, but I think I need to be a bit more active now. I figured out the backstory for Annelise, and I have a general idea of where the plot is going to go. Now I just need to figure out what the main scenes will be for each state that she travels through. No Borderlands until I come up with an outline. That’s the plan, and I’m sticking to it!
Okay, it’s only taken me a week and a half, but I’ve finally finished the outline for draft 2 of For Real This Time. This seems to be a recurring theme with me: I write a novel, think that this is going to be the time that the first draft is really good, print out the novel, make a bunch of comments and edits, and then go back and decide to just start over anyway. Although, I am happy to say that there are some scenes that I will be keeping. That’s a big step for me. Usually I just toss the whole thing and then rewrite the scenes that I mostly like. Granted, I haven’t started writing yet, so it’s still possible that that could happen, but I’m going to try to be optimistic right now. Plus, there really were quite a few scenes from the first draft that I liked.
The first draft was 17 chapters long, and we didn’t even see the love interest until chapter 9. Draft 2 will be 21 chapters, and we mention the love interest briefly in chapter one and meet him in chapter 6. That’s still a bit later than I would have liked, but the story is more set up for the introduction now. I’ve also spaced out some of the events. The first draft was horrible in terms of pacing. I liked the beginning, where we got to know Maggie and what she wanted most out of life, but after that, the novel sort of lost it. The middle section took up a lot of time and attention, but not a lot really happened. One minute she’s meeting Parker for the first time, and the next minute the summer’s over and the story is wrapping up. It was horrible, and there were a lot of loose ends and events that didn’t really make sense, or events that were alluded to but never actually happened, even though they should have. This version will be a lot better, as I believe I’ve fixed most of those problems.
One of the problems with my writing is that it’s usually very one-dimensional. I always love my main characters and want to see them grow and learn, but I don’t always write the most interesting ways for them to get what they want. I think that’s why I usually gravitate toward literary fiction – there’s still a plot with those novels, of course, but it’s less of a factor. In literary fiction, you’re allowed to have a character sit in a chair for hours, reflecting on life, and have that be the only thing that happens in that chapter. The same can’t be said for books in any other genre. You actually have to balance a bunch of different storylines, and that’s not something I have a lot of practice in, I’m afraid.
When I was in middle school and early high school, I wrote a lot of Harry Potter fan fiction. I actually wrote several of them that had plots that were at least semi-interesting. And then I started to write romantic fan fiction, and my stories lost something. I would focus on the romantic aspect and ignore everything else. I would have Harry’s friends turn against him because it was easier to write the story without having to worry about including them. I think that’s the main reason that the last book I read, The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden, reminds me so much of fan fiction – because it’s really only about the romance. There are side characters who show up and talk to the main characters, sure, and Callie and Kayden both have issues in their past/present to overcome, but the majority of the novel is focused on their relationship, and that’s exactly like my fan fiction used to be.
I think that’s why it took me so long to do this outline: there were so many different threads to keep track of. There was the main storyline of Maggie’s quest to lose weight. There was her friendship with Parker, which she hopes will become something more. There are her best friends. There’s drama with her parents and her extended family. There are the people at school and in her neighborhood who were mean to her. Some of those are more important than others, of course, but they all had to be included, and that was more work than I’m used to. It’s good work, of course. I’m happy to do it, and now that I’ve finally figure out what I’m doing, it’s fun. I know that this is what it takes to be a successful writer who’s happy with her work. It just took a bit longer than I was expecting.
I have 10 novels that I want to work on this year – the five that I want to edit, the four that I want to finish, and a new one that came to me the other day that I can’t get out of my head. I’m hoping to work on one each month, with the extra two months as sort of a cushion in case I don’t make it. Since this month’s novel is obviously For Real This Time, I should really get around to rewriting it now that I’m done with the outline. One chapter a day for the rest of the month, and I should be able to finish this, especially since I am keeping some of what I already have written.
NaNo 2012 starts in less than four days – about three days and ten hours to be more precise. I’m excited and nervous at the same time. Of course, that’s usual for this time of year. The closer we get to November, the more I freak out. No matter how many times I do NaNo, no matter how many words I’ve written in the past, I still get nervous at the start of the month. I think the fact that I’m going to for such a high word count just adds to the stress. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still looking forward to NaNo, and I love aiming for a high word count – I just also freak out a little right before it starts. Once the month actually begins, I’ll feel much better.
In the mean time, I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to do with my time. For the first time this month, I understand the rest of you who have had your outlines written for weeks. I have outlined both of my main projects for this month. I also have half-completed outlines for the sequel to one of those projects and the novel that I’ll probably be working on for 50k weekend. I suppose I can finish up those outlines, but the one won’t really take that much time (as it’s just a matter of writing down what I already planned in my head) and the other one I don’t really want to plan too much (because I want to try pantsing a novel for once).
In other news, I decided to get a new keyboard. After the carpal tunnel scare (which may or may not still be true – I really should go back to the doctor soon), I’ve decided to try to be nicer to my wrists. I’m working on learning Dvorak. I’m up to 20-30 wpm most of the time. I’m probably going to stick with Qwerty, at least for the first day of NaNo, but I might try to write more in Dvorak later in the month. No matter what, the new ergonomic keyboard I got should help. I signed up for a 6 month trial of Amazon Prime, so I saved 48 percent of the cost and got free 2-day shipping, so it should be here Tuesday. I also got colorful Dvorak stickers to put on it that will help me learn Dvorak.
Our regional kickoff party is tonight. My boyfriend and I are going down early to try to save seats. I’m excited. It’ll be fun to see a bunch of the veteran Wrimos again. November really is the best time of the year. It’s the one time of the year when I actually leave my house and voluntarily interact with other people.
I still have over 3 hours until the kickoff party. I will probably spend that time in the NaNoLanta chatroom and cruising the NaNo forums, as that’s basically all I do now. Oh, I suppose I could do my last reading for class, too. But that would be less fun.
I’ve been debating whether or not to write this post for a while. I hinted at my goal for NaNo in the last post, but I wasn’t sure if I should go further. Some people get discouraged if they see others are writing more than they are, and I would never want to discourage anyone. That said, this is my blog, and I don’t feel like I should have to hide or be ashamed of my word count goal on my own blog.
Before I go any further, though, please let me make a few things clear.
1. I have a lot of free time in November.
I’m not kidding. A lot of free time. My last week of work for the year is next week (the joys of having a seasonal job). I only have class two days a week. Including time spent driving too and from class, plus the time spent in class, I spend about 8 hours a week in class. I’ve also worked on getting all of my work for these two classes done before November. I still have two papers to write for one of them, but they’re very short (2-3 double spaced), informal papers. My classes are really easy. I also have no kids, no bills to pay, no real commitments to anything. See? I told you I had a lot of free time.
A lot of people don’t have this. Some people are taking five really difficult classes. Some people are working full- or part-time jobs. Some people are doing both. Some people are doing that on top of clubs and activities and raising kids and going to religious services and all that other fun stuff. I’m in awe of you people. Really. I did one Camp NaNo while I was working full time, and I barely hit 50k. I was so tired after work that I rarely ever wrote during the week. I pretty much only wrote on weekends – and that was before I had class and therefore homework to do. I don’t think I would have finished if I had had to do both.
2. My region is extremely supportive.
It’s only halfway through November, and we already have 8 weekly write-ins up on the calendar, plus two special write-ins, and I know of at least two more write-ins that are being planned but haven’t been posted yet. So there is plenty of support and encouragement. We have a regional chat room that is constantly full of people, and those people are often doing word wars. It’s awesome. If anyone wants to hop in the chat room, let me know and I’ll send you a link, as there are a few people in there not from/in Atlanta who are always on. Just be warned that it can get pg-13/r at times, depending on the group of people in there at the moment.
3. I could only write this much in November – see reasons 1 and 2 above.
I have a hard time getting motivated to write on my own. It’s a huge problem, I know, but it’s true. Any other month, my inner editor takes over, and I have a hard time writing. During November, my inner editor actually shuts up. I think a large part of that is because all the other NaNo participants are so loud it drowns it out. There are so many people involved that it’s hard to let the self-doubt creep up. It’s also harder to back down on your goals, at least for me since I know so many of the participants in my region personally.
Plus there’s the fact that I have all that free time. I don’t have that during other months. I have work other times, and school with assignments that are harder than the ones due in November. Plus I have less work to do in November because I did it in October, so I couldn’t have written this much in October, too, because then I would never have done my homework. Plus there’s all the participants and word wars. Even months when I don’t have work/school, I also don’t have word wars, which means that my inner editor takes over completely. For instance, I failed both Camp NaNos this year. I hit 40k in June and 30k in August (I think – it might not even have been that much). Which brings me to my next point -
4. My first drafts are always horrible, no matter how long it takes me to write them.
Most people write a first draft, wait a while, and then edit it. That doesn’t work for me. I write a first draft, wait a while, throw it out, and rewrite it, and then I edit the rewrite. It’s just the way I work. I think part of why I’ve been having such trouble writing recently is that I’m trying to make the first draft decent, when that’s just not how I write. I was like this with short stories in college, and I’m like that with novels now. The first draft is when I get something down on paper and see how my outline works in actuality. The second draft is where my writing is better and I actually feel good sharing it with people. This is apparently an important part of my writing process that I keep trying to ignore, but I can’t anymore. My first drafts must be written down quickly, before the self-doubt comes back. Then I can take more time with the rewrites and edits.
5. I write literary fiction.
I almost forgot this one, but I feel it’s important. A lot of people write novels filled with action and plot twists and fun things like that. While one of my novels is a dystopia, so it will be more plot-filled than normal, all of my novels have at least an element of lit fic to them, which means that my characters spend a lot of time sitting around, thinking about things. Rambled thinking lends itself well to high word counts, and it’s not even really padding because it fits with the story (well, assuming you do it right, of course. Some ramblings would definitely be off topic.).
Now that that’s out of the way, I will say that my goal this November is 250,000 words. My novels tend to run around 100k, so I’m planning on writing two novels and finishing my Camp NaNo novel from August, which currently sits around 40k and still has a long way to go.
I hope my goal hasn’t discouraged anyone or made them feel like I thought I was better than them, because that’s not what I want at all. Everyone works a different speeds and in different ways, and this is what works for me. The novel that I have that’s closest to being able to be shared with people was one that I wrote during the first two weeks of NaNo last year. I reread it in December, rewrote it during JanNoWriMo, and was really happy with the second draft. I’m still editing that one, but I only have to rewrite a few chapters, not the whole novel, so I’m happy with it.
Good luck everyone!
Less than three weeks until NaNo! I still don’t have complete outlines for either of the novels that I plan on writing, but I have a much better idea of where I want them to go, so that’s something. I’m actually looking forward to working more on the contemporary YA one than the dystopian one. I still really love that idea and want to write it, but I don’t have as much of the plot figured out on that one. I think there’s just so much stuff going on in that one that it’s hard to make it all fit, and there are certain things that I need to figure out before I start writing.
My right wrist is also currently in a brace. I finally went to the doctor, and they think it’s the early stages of carpal tunnel. Not happy about that, especially with NaNo right around the corner. The good news is that they’ve taken me off the camera at work and made me a helper, so I’m not putting new strain on my hand/wrist. I have to go back to the doctor on Oct. 26 – I’m hoping it will have gotten at least a little better by then.
Sundays I’m hosting a write-in at a little coffee shop near campus, and several people have already said they’re planning to attend, so that’s exciting. I’ve also matched up one newbie with a mentor so far. We have five other newbies and twelve other mentors signed up, but I’m waiting to see if any better matches show up first.
As far as school is concerned, I’ve done all of the assignments that I can do at this point. The rest I have to wait for further instruction. Well, at least for one of my classes. The other class involves a bunch of group work, so I have to wait and see what the other members of my group has come up with. It looks like I really will have most of November wide open, which means I will have plenty of time to write. As long as people are in the chatroom having word wars, this should be simple.
Now I just need to finish those outlines!
Holy crap. How did that happen? Two weeks until the NaNo forums are cleaned in preparation for the new year. It’s crazy. I don’t know how the time passed so quickly. What have I been doing with all my time? I was supposed to be working on the first draft of Let Go and finishing the first round of edits for Tilt Your Head and Smile, as well as working on outlining my NaNo project(s) – not to mention all the homework that I want to have done before then.
What have I actually accomplished so far? I’ve managed to stay a week and a half ahead of my classes as far as the homework is concerned. I’ve added about 11k to Let Go. I haven’t even looked at Tilt Your Head and Smile since July. I’ve added some more notes to my main NaNo project, but I’m not really much closer to figuring everything out than I was last month.
On the plus side, I have gotten more writing done this weekend. We left the house yesterday and hung out at the coffee shop down the street. I managed to write about 3k while I was there. I finished chapter 10 and started chapter 11. I’ve only written about 800 words so far today, but I’m a little over the halfway point for chapter 11, and chapter 12 should be really easy to write. I think I just needed to get over that little hurdle with chapter 9 (which was a big turning point for two of the characters). Now I’m feeling better about my novel again and am starting to get more into the NaNo spirit.
I also found out that one of the people I work with knows about NaNo and is planning on doing it this year. That was exciting. Most of the people at work just look at me like I’m crazy when I talk about NaNo. I’m hoping I can encourage her to go to write-ins or at the very least hang out in the NaNoLanta chat room, as that’s really what helps me during November. Because, despite what it looks like on this blog, I really can write a lot when I sit down and focus. I’ve just let myself get too distracted with other things for the past, you know, eight months.
But that’s going to change now. I have 22 chapters left to write for Let Go. I have 17 chapters left to edit for Tilt. I have at least one novel to outline for NaNo, though I would like to have two planned, just in case I actually manage to write as much as I was hoping to this year. I also have all of my big assignments for both classes due throughout the month of November. I’m going to try to do most of those in October, but I can only do so much ahead of time.
My goal for today is to finish writing the next chapter and a half of Let Go and to finish next week’s reading for my Foundations of Education class. I only have one chapter left to read, so it shouldn’t take me too long. Then I should really write my review for The Fault in Our Stars, which I finished a few days ago but haven’t gotten around to reviewing yet.
I think I’ve finally figured out why having pages and pages of an outline doesn’t always help me when I write. I don’t outline scenes. I just outline events that should happen, and then I have trouble trying to figure out how to include all of that information. I experienced something similar with my homework the other day. I had to write a 2-3 page reading response, and I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to write. I just had a bunch of notes that I had taken, and I was constantly jumping from point to point, and it wasn’t very smooth or coherent, and it wasn’t as much fun to write as it was in my head because I wasn’t very organized.
The same can be true for my writing. I think I end up trying to include too much, and then I get bored trying to include it all. Take this next chapter I’m supposed to be writing for example. My notes for the chapter say “Natalie and Josh hang out more. He shows her around the office. She goes with him to register people to vote. Then they pass out info on candidates. He argues with Samantha about politics.”
That’s not a scene. That’s a bunch of information. When I made the note, I had planned on having that information cover several days. Now that I’m going to write it, I’m wondering why I did that. Why is it important to see every time Natalie and Josh hang out? Why can’t I jus show one time and then reference the other times? A better note would look like this: “Natalie and Josh are standing on campus, passing out information on the candidates and trying to register people to vote. Two people from the office arrive to replace them, so they go back to Natalie’s apartment, where Josh and Samantha start discussing politics. Natalie respects Josh even more because he doesn’t get angry or defensive while talking to her.”
Granted, that chapter was rather easy to fix, but there are others that aren’t as easy. I need to start thinking in terms of scenes, not events. I keep reading about how novels are made up of scenes that have beginnings, middles, and ends, and I’ve nodded and rolled my eyes and thought, “of course,” but it wasn’t until now that I realized that that’s not how I write. I cant believe it’s taken me this long to figure out what’s wrong with my writing. I mean, I have other problems, of course, but I think this is my main problem when it comes to writing the first draft. My most successful outlines have been the ones where I have more clearly defined scenes. That’s what I need to focus on from now on.
I’ve written the first nine chapters (plus the prologue) so far, and Let Go currently sits 33,674 words. That’s quite pathetic considering I started this novel August 1, but I’m going to try to focus on the positives. I know how to fix my outline. I’ve done all of my homework for the next week and a half. I’m not working this Thursday. There’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to write at least one chapter a day for the rest of the month. I think I get caught up sometimes trying to write a lot at once, like I did last November, and then I get overwhelmed and don’t write anything at all. I need to stop doing that.
I kept putting off writing another post about writing until I, you know, wrote something worth talking about. Since I haven’t written about writing in a while, though, you can probably guess that I haven’t been that successful. In fact, Camp NaNo-August was a spectacular failure. I wrote 26k, and I only finished seven chapters, including the prologue. That said, I’m still further than I’ve ever been with this story before, so I’ll try to focus on the positives. My new goal is to finish this draft this month. I’m going to try to write a chapter a day, regardless of how tired I might be after work or how much homework I may have to do. I really want to finish this draft.
I’m also trying to work on outlining the novel I plan on writing for NaNoWriMo. I wrote a short story on this topic for my thesis in college, and I’ve been coming up with more ideas for how to make it a novel. I have several notebook pages filled up with notes, and I’m starting to get more of a feel for the characters. It’s highly political in nature, so I’m not going to go into too much detail about the project. I’ll just say that it’s a young adult dystopian novel set in the United States around the year 2070 – and, no, I’m not trying to write the next Hunger Games or anything like that. I’ve just always liked dystopian novels, and the story line would work best if the main character was still in high school.
While we’re on the topic of NaNoWriMo, the 2012 merchandise is in stock. I’m really tempted to buy the thermos and the new t-shirt, but I’m going to wait and use them for motivation. If I hit 50k in November, I get the shirt. If I hit 100k, I get the thermos and the shirt. It seems a bit unrealistic to think about writing 100k when I haven’t managed to write that much in a month since January, but I can always write more during NaNo than I can during other months, so its’ not completely unrealistic. After all, I did write 222k last November. I can probably write at least 100k this November, even though I’ll still have class in November.
I’m actually not as concerned about grad school as I was. My classes are a lot of fun, and one of them seems like it’ll be really easy. I have to research a bunch of different things, but there are really only like two papers to turn in, and neither will be that long or difficult to write. It’s mostly a giant discussion on the reading of the foundations of education, and it’s been interesting so far. My other class requires more work but still doesn’t seem that difficult. The reading is interesting, and most of the assignments are very informal – such as write a two page paper on the pros and cons of technology in the classroom. I’m looking forward to continuing both classes, and I’m already trying to create a work schedule that allows me to do most of the work in October so that I can focus more on writing once November hits.
I really do love my region in November. Normally I hate living in the South, but November is the one time of the year when I’m thankful that I do. Our NaNo region is awesome. The OLL actually wrote about our region recently – The ML’s Guide to Writing in Atlanta: Writing on Their Minds . As mentioned in the article, we averaged 5 events per day in November, and there was almost always at least one other person in the NaNoLanta chat room, ready to start a word war and offer other encouragement. It’s hard not to feel encouraged to write more. I just wish I had that sort of motivation on my own. It would help if I weren’t always so tired all the time.
Today’s objectives are to finish writing chapter 7 of Let Go (the new title for Keep Going), find a teaching standard that I would like to eventually write a lesson plan for, and read chapters 9 and 14 for my foundations of education class. I’m excited for the start of a three-day weekend. Hopefully I can finish writing the next three chapters of my novel this weekend, at the very least.
Camp NaNo starts in less than an hour. I’m tempted to stay up and start writing exactly at midnight, but since I have to wake up around 5:30 tomorrow for training, I probably shouldn’t. I am, however, tempted to wake up at 5 instead and write for a little bit. We’ll see how I feel in the morning. I might just go back to sleep for an extra half hour. At the very least, I’m bringing a notebook and my notes for chapter 1 with me so that I can write at work.
Just the returning photographers are going to training tomorrow, and there’s not really anything that they can tell me that I don’t already know. I mean, I worked a job already yesterday, so it’s a bit late to try to train us. The only new thing I noticed was that there’s an extra alignment line thing that shows us where to crop the bottom of the picture to. They could explain that in an email. They don’t really need to call us all in and make us sit there for eight hours. But whatever. That’s why I’m bringing a notebook. The notebook will also be useful when they make us sit through that incredibly boring sexual harassment video that they make us watch every season, even though corporate only demands that we watch it once a year.
I’m a bit worried that I haven’t prepared enough for Camp. There are still a few details I’m not exactly clear on, and I haven’t decided exactly how to deal with the fact that the last like eight chapters of the book switch back and forth between Samantha and Chloe and completely ignore Natalie. Oh, and I’m still not entirely sure what I want Samantha’s relationship with another side character to be.
On the other hand, I also have descriptions for all of the main characters and several of the main side characters. I understand their motivations and know what they want and what they’re afraid of. I have an outline that summarizes all the major events by month. I have another outline that breaks up what will be in each chapter. I have another outline that just lays out all the important dates and what days of the week those events occur on. I asked two different Facebook friends for help on what two of my characters would be doing for their senior projects. I have plenty of information to draw on. I’m way more prepared than I’ve been for novels in the past. I’m just nervous, I guess.
My goal for the month is 60k or a finished first draft. I’d like the finished draft more, but I would also like to bring my total word count for 2012 up to 300k, and 60k this month would do that. That’s a little more than 1900 a day, which isn’t horrible if I actually stay focused and write at least one chapter a day.
I originally wanted to be finished with the first round of edits for Tilt before Camp started, but it looks like that’s not happening. I am pleased with what I’ve done so far, though. I’ve made markups of the entire manuscript, and I have a new outline of each chapter with notes for things to add and things to delete. I started trying to type up the changes as I went, but once I hit chapter 12, I ran into bigger problems, which led to a lot of shuffling around and major rewrites, and it was just easier to read the whole thing and tag problem areas as “delete” or “expand” and just deal with it later.
Tilt now sits at 96,575 words, down from the 101,478 words that it started at. In case anyone cares, that’s a net decrease of 4,903 words so far, and I’ve just finished fixing chapter 18. There were originally 39 chapters, but I’ve made notes to delete four of those. I’m on page 94 out of `189 (1.5 spaced, Garamond size 11 font, 0.7 inch margins, in case anyone’s curious). I’ve also just wrapped up December 2010. This means I’m pretty much in the middle of the novel no matter how you want to look at it, which is pretty exciting. I’m rather pleased with the draft so far. It doesn’t feel quite as…stifling…as it was before. April talks to people. She’s not just shut up in her room for half the book. Quite an improvement.
I’ll probably still end up making changes during August, but I’m going to try to focus more on writing Keep Going. I’ll finish editing Tilt in September. Then I’ll probably work on editing Degeneration. I’ve also been coming up with more ideas for the short story I wrote for my thesis class that I’ve always wanted to rewrite as a novel. I’m starting to see that world more clearly, and I look forward to getting more notes down on paper for that one. If everything goes according to plan, I’ll be writing that one for NaNo this year.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. For now, I should simply try to get some sleep so I can wake up early and write tomorrow morning…I mean so that I don’t fall asleep during training.
Whenever I actually sit down to focus something writing-related, I’m reminded of how little time I have left before the summer is over and I have to start work and school. I have just over two weeks before training starts and five weeks before school starts. I’m trying to get ahead of my 52 books challenge, since I probably won’t have time to read much for fun during the fall, and I want to write the first draft of Keep Going (and find a new title for it), and I want to start editing Tilt Your Head and Smile and Degeneration.
I’ve decided to see how much of Tilt I can edit before Camp NaNo starts again. I decided to print draft 2. I’ve made some notes on the copy I have saved on my Nook, but it’s not the same. I like making edits on a hard copy. I have the notebooks I’ve already designated for this novel, the fine-tip Sharpie pens that my boyfriend got me for Christmas, and the sticky notes that my boyfriend’s mother got me for my birthday. I also have my soundtrack for this novel and my Script Frenzy mug full of tea. I should be all set to edit now.
Most of the editing articles I’ve seen advise against making line edits until you have the overall plot down, but I can’t work like that. I can’t see a mistake and then not fix it. I’m making notes as I go so that I can keep track of all the scenes and characters and whether or not they work in the novel. I’m also making notes of things that I need to add. I already know that I need to include more interactions between April and those close to her, so I’m trying to find places to insert those scenes. I’ve never had to make big edits like this before, so I’m a bit worried. In the past, I’ve just thrown the entire draft out and rewritten it. I don’t really want to have to keep doing that, though. From what I remember about this draft, I’m fairly happy with the overall structure of it.
I’m also happy with the outline I have for Keep Going. I’m planning on 33 chapters, including a prologue and epilogue, although I doubt I’ll refer to them as such in the novel. I’m a bit uncertain about the end, as the events of March 2009 are told pretty much exclusively from the points of view of Chloe and Samantha, but there’s not really much I can think to do about it at this point. I’ll just go with the outline I have and worry about it later. Either I’ll think of something to add involving Natalie as I’m writing, or I’ll try to fix it when I’m editing.
That’s proving to be one of the difficult parts about writing a novel with three main characters: I have to keep up with what all of them are doing and come up with complete storylines for each. Chloe and Samantha are easy to figure out, as they’re really the main main characters, but I’m having issues with Natalie. She’s important, as Chloe and Samantha wouldn’t really interact all that much without her, but I’m not really sure what to do with her towards the end of the novel. I didn’t have this much trouble when I was writing Learning to Lie, as those three main characters were all doing pretty much the same thing, at least for the most part. They had their own motivations and back stories, of course, but they were all on a quest to find the truth, so it was easy to find things for them to say.
Of course, I also wasn’t as concerned with keeping the number of chapters for each character even. I knew that Kali and Loki were my main characters and that Melina was a main supporting character. I suppose there’s not really a reason I can’t treat Natalie the same way. Besides, their numbers of chapters are fairly close. Samantha has 13 chapters, Chloe has 11, and Natalie has 9. It’s not like the other two each have 12 and she has 5 or something like that. I suppose I could just stop counting chapters and just have each chapter be a month and then have the scenes switch points of view.
I need to stop worrying about a novel I haven’t even written yet and start working the novel that actually needs to be edited. I can’t just keep writing first drafts – or even second drafts, for that matter – that don’t go anywhere. Getting the first draft on paper if, of course, important, but that only matters if I actually do something with the draft after I write it. I wrote the first draft in two weeks and the second draft in four. Hopefully I can at least get the first round of edits done in two weeks.