Category Archives: 2000 Miles

Letting go of LET GO (for now)

It’s been a ridiculously long time since I wrote about what I was writing. That’s mostly because it’s been a long time since I actually wrote anything. I started to write the first draft of 2000 MILES in April, but I stopped after 15k. I was just sort of making it up as I went, and it wasn’t working for me. Some people can write entire first drafts on the fly, but I’m not one of them. I think I underestimated my ability to write without any real outline. After several weeks of barely making any progress, I stopped.

Part of the reason I stopped, though, was also because I turned to editing LET GO. I got some CP notes back for that one, and I went through and reread that manuscript. I still really love those characters, all of whom you can read about here. There were also parts of the novel that made me laugh, and I figure that’s always a good sign. The feedback was generally positive. I got some great tips on how to tighten up my writing.

I did, however, get some notes that addressed issues that I probably should have dealt with before I sent it out to people. Natalie’s storyline doesn’t really make that much sense, and her storyline doesn’t really go with Chloe’s and Samantha’s. While that part doesn’t really bother me (since Samantha and Chloe start spending time together partly because Natalie is gone so often), I do wish that her storyline made more sense. There’s a bit at the end that I sort of threw in there while I was writing, and it doesn’t really work.

I’ve also realized that Samantha, the MAIN main character, has no real storyline, at least not until most of the way through the novel. Until then she sort of reacts to those around her and gets to know Chloe. That part of the novel I like, but she definitely needs more going on in her life. Sadly, I don’t have any real idea how to fix my Samantha problem right now. I know how to fix Natalie’s story line, and Chloe’s story line doesn’t really need that much work, but I’m completely stuck on Samantha.

That’s why I’ve decided to put this novel on hold for a little while. It’s stupid to spend this much time and energy trying to fix a novel that I have no idea how to fix when I have so many other novels to work on, novels that I do know how to fix.

Of course, that brings me to my most recent conundrum: which novel do I work on now?

I have two novels that I want to work on right now. The first is ALONE, a YA/NA political dystopian that I wrote for NaNo last year. I have the first draft completed and have started the first draft of the sequel. It needs to be completely rewritten, but I’m much more hopeful about it now. I know people are sort of over dystopian novels right now, but I need to write this novel. Plus, it’s different from the other dystopian novels I’ve seen, as this is a very political novel.

The other novel I really want to write is TILT YOUR HEAD AND SMILE, which I first wrote for NaNo 2011. That was the first manuscript I ever completed, though I have like three different versions that I started and then stopped. That was back before I had never heard of “contemporary New Adult,” back when I thought this novel would fall under the “literary fiction” category. I still love lit fic, and there are definitely still elements of it that will be in this novel, but I have a new understanding of what this novel is going now.

I love both of these projects. ALONE is important to me because it deals with several political issues that I care deeply about. TILT is important because it deals with unemployment and helplessness, which I think is something that a lot of people can relate to these days. TILT is one novel, which I would not take me that long to plot. ALONE is the first in a trilogy, and I don’t quite know how books 2 and 3 end yet, although I’m much closer to figuring that out than I was when I finished the first draft.

Right now, I think I’m leaning toward TILT YOUR HEAD AND SMILE, as it’ll be easier to write. I’ll probably end up sleeping on it and deciding in the morning. I’ve been doing school work all day, and I need a break from thinking right now.

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Finally off to a decent start

Yesterday was the most productive I’ve been all year. I wrote 5,342 words and finally finished chapter 1 of 2,000 Miles. Annelise has decided to hike the Appalachian Trail, and she’s made it to the last shelter in Georgia. She’s also just met her future love interest, though she doesn’t know it yet. She’s also met a couple named Bug and Ladybug. They’re not supposed to be a big part of the novel, but they amuse me, so they might stick around a bit longer.

I wouldn’t have been able to write this much without the help of Julie, who was running the #writeclub sprints last night. You can find out more about #writeclub at both of these posts: post 1, post 2. Basically, though, you sprint for 30 minutes and then break for 15 minutes. It goes on all night. I participated in several of the sprints last night and managed to write about 1k each time I actually participated in the whole 30 minutes – well, except for the first sprint, when I was trying to figure out what I was writing still.

I had a lot of fun last night, and I will be participating in a lot more sprints now. Starting a novel is always the hardest part for me, especially when I have no idea where I want the novel to start. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to start on the trail or with her at home deciding to walk it. I finally found a decent compromise that works well with the direction I hoped to take with this novel. I had a bit of the present and a bit of the past mixed together. I can already think of a scene I probably should have added, but I’m going to try not to go back anymore. I’m just going to write a note to remember the idea and then decide later if it’s still a good idea.

Step 1: Create an Outline

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!