Like your favorite pair of jeans

11 Jul

Have you ever tried to write a novel?

It’s proving to be quite a task. Once I finished reading the Jessica Darling series two weeks ago, I’ve been wracking my brain for ways to keep myself writing this thing. Megan McCafferty wrote five novels about Jessica and Marcus. Five.

I’ll give you a brief introduction. My protagonist: Meredith. Other characters: Aimee, Greg, Erika, Forrest, Russ, Mark, Nancy, Regan, Darcy. That’s all I’m giving you right now. Mostly because those are the things I haven’t swayed on. My characters are who they are and who they are going to stay. But the one thing that’s giving me grief is figuring out what level of detail to go into. My story takes place over the course of seven years. However, the main part of it is three years. Three years of high school, a short segment of two years of college, and then you skip ahead to two years from then for like, three pages.

At least that what I’ve already figured out. I’ve been writing in a non-chronological way. I have the last two chapters complete. The first chapter is finished. The second chapter is almost finished, and the third to the last chapter is about halfway done. As you can see, I’m pretty scattered as of now. And I don’t for the life of me know why the hell I had the sudden urge to write two more novels after this one. I’m being greedy. Seriously, the other day while I was at the gym, like ten minutes before it closed when it’s dark and empty and cool in there – even on the elliptical – I had an epiphany for where I could take these characters further along past this one book that I’m writing. I already have a plan and everything. I’m not sure if that’s the best way to go in writing a novel, knowing exactly where you’re going, but that’s how my mind works.

For some reason, I am still bitter that Stephanie Meyer got published and made millions on a big fat work of fanfic. Okay, so it’s not ACTUALLY a fanfic, but that’s how it’s written. I don’t care. But if she can get published, I can get fucking published. Hell, my mom can get published. She always wanted to write a novel too.

This is really hard, because I’m a perfectionist when it comes to creative writing. I’m almost positive I’ve taken more time to go back and read and edit what I’ve already written than actually write more story in the last five months. I wrote four pages the other day, which is as far as I’ve gotten in a very long time.

What I’m trying to say is that I’ve worn myself into this story more than I probably should. Or maybe it’s just the right amount. Literally. There’s probably more of me in this story than I even ever expected. I’m excited to finish it, but I’m on only page 42 (that’s including the last 2.5 chapters). I’m excited for people to read it, because lord knows I’ll need EVERYONE to copy-edit it. I will be completely open to criticism, but only the constructive kind, not the mean-hearted kind. But I highly doubt that anyone who knows how I write will give me anything but constructive criticism. I’ve promised myself for the last two years that I would finish it by the end of the year, and yet it’s come to the third year. I’ve still not finished it.

I’ll give you some of the chapter titles.

1. Dingy String
2. The Drive-by Dot
3. Edible underwear
4. Get experienced
5. Dance party
6. Summer camp
7. The Lost Boys
8. (I’m not sure what to call this one yet)
9. Question Mark Kid
10. Awkward Moments
11. Haight/Ashbury
12. End of an era
13. Leaders of the pack
14. Senioritis
15. The Tattered Cover
16. Geese fly together
17. Alumni
18. Gourmet Tuna Casserole
19. Room 350

I have the whole thing outlined, because of the large timeline, and keeps me organized. It’s also good, because each chapter will kind of be like vignette, standing alone by themselves, without all the context. Some chapters will take place several months, even years, apart. I probably will change those titles many times, but I love The Drive-By Dot. It’s my favorite.

It’s really hard difficult. No “that’s what she said” jokes intended.

Anyway, I found this book the other day when I was shopping for Libby’s birthday present, and I think that’s what set the spark off that led to that epiphany on the elliptical machine.

This is one of the pages in the book, appropriately called “Wreck this Journal” by Keri Smith.

I’ve wrecked many journals in my lifetime. Trust me. I have so many notebooks with broken spines it’s like a graveyard of paralyzed journals in the many boxes I’ve filled with them. But I love looking back at them. My sister and I used to record ourselves doing random crap on my grandparents’ old video camera, but looking back in my journals are almost more self-reflective. No, in fact, they absolutely are. I’m so glad I kept so many of them. I’d rather not have to have my grandchildren have to ask me questions about the people in pictures before my memory completely goes when I’m 95, if I live to 95. My mom had to do that with her aunt Mabel a few years ago. She lived to be 97.

Isn’t that crazy?

❤ Abby


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