The Novel: 16 Drafted Scenes

It has been one month since I posted about the New Year’s resolution that happened to me, so it seems to be a good time for a status update. Posting about the novel and talking to people about it helps keep me accountable and working on it, though my co-author is also doing a really good job of that too. If it were up to me, I probably would have quit already. That’s not to say I’m not enjoying writing this book, because I very much am. I believe the story line is engaging and relevant to teens, and I know we have the writing chops. I just have a strong history of failure at keeping myself working on any of my projects.

So far, we’ve written 16 scenes. By written, I mean we only have a very rough first draft, but we’ve got the basic conflict and tension in each scene, and know what purpose each serves in driving the plot forward. Some of the details of these scenes will undoubtedly change, but it feels good to have this amount of work laid out. We have 20 more scenes planned out, with copious notes and ideas for each, ready to be written as soon as we have the time. We spent hours each day on our Big Bend trip talking through plot points we were stuck on and characters we didn’t know that well. We had planned to write actual scenes during that time, but stepping away from the writing for a bit to talk out the story, to get inside our characters heads and be them for a little while, was extremely useful in terms of moving us forward.

I think a scene every other day is good progress considering I have a full time job, two freelance projects, my blog, short stories for my monthly critique group, a social life, a dog to take care of, and a daily exercise routine. As you can imagine, I did not get much sleep in January. It’s not that I was up late working every day—I’m very good at managing my time, especially in the dead of winter when I have no interest in venturing out into the world—but when I turned off the light to go to sleep each night, my brain didn’t want to stop. I’m excited. My head is full of so many ideas. The more I write, the more I want to write. This is why they say you have to make writing a practice. It’s just like exercising. Doing it once in a while is a chore, but if you do it a little bit every day, soon you are capable of doing more and more and more.

As for the coauthoring itself, it’s going well. Truthfully, I’m kind of mystified about how people write novels themselves. We feed off each other’s ideas, expanding the plot, making interesting connections among events and characters. We also find each other’s plots holes and inconsistencies in character. Having someone to talk ideas through with seems to make the story stronger faster. Sure, we have some disagreements and times when one of us (usually me) doesn’t feel like writing at all, but the experience has been overwhelmingly positive and beneficial. So on to month two, full steam ahead!

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