Imagine a Book

courtneyfall for anything, writing

I’m still hard at work on Book 3, which still doesn’t have an amusing working title for this blog (although GagaPants, as suggested by Emily, does have a certain irresistible quality about it), and while the love for the story remains, it is edging toward Getting Harder territory. Oh, progress!

This is what Book 3 looks like so far:


One of my favourite things about this book so far is how differently it has arrived from the others. I wouldn’t mind if all books arrived the way this one did. Cracked Up to Be was–as I’ve said–inspired by a question (“What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?”) and my interest in writing an abrasive female character. Some Girls Are was centered around a single scene that I can’t describe, as it’s a total spoiler and spoiling my entire book pre-release would be POOR.

But this particular novel started as a bunch of visuals in my head that didn’t really have a narrative so much as they did a feel. First I kept visualizing sunlight coming through really bright green leaves, a view of a town from somewhere above. A deserted street, JUST before the sun goes down with the kind of quiet that suggests a hot summer. I can still see these things in my head very clearly. Which is why I started saying I wanted this book to read like an indie movie directed by a hipster with an asymmetrical haircut looked like.


Anyway, the weather was starting to really change around that point. I mean, where I live. I was starting to get a sense of summer and I wanted my book to have that too. So I’d go on walks with my mom and I could feel this impending season and all the things I liked best about it. I’d think of words that reminded me of the walks, which reminded me of summer and then I’d get home and write those words in notepad. Here are some of the words I wrote down:

gasoline, baseball bat, blackflies, river, summer, night, sunset, car.

Then I started working on a playlist that best complemented my collection of words. So basically, all of these steps were about keeping the feeling I wanted for this book readily accessible to me because feelings are fleeting. I was creating triggers. I am not sure I knew this at the time but it’s pretty obvious to me now (hindsight FTW!).

Then I wrote about 11 pages of the novel, with a vague idea of where I was headed. Mostly this was discovering my main character’s voice, getting introduced. After a certain point, I realized I should probably start outlining and making notes, so I did that.

I never used to be a full-fledged outliner before Some Girls Are. I’d make brief notes and plot points, but mostly I didn’t get too far ahead of myself. And then Some Girls Are happened and I converted because I never want to scrap a novel that many times AGAIN. Bless ~*learning the hard way.*~

This is what my outline/notes Word doc (currently) looks like:


A. Is the cast of characters. A brief line with name, age, role in the story (protagonist, antagonist) and their relationships to other characters.

B. Is the backstory. Everything I need to know that happens before the book, so I can have a point of reference for everyone’s motivations.

C. Is pretty much every character’s state of mind when the novel begins. Which, also in hindsight, I guess I could have fit into the character descriptions, but whatever. I just said I outlined. I didn’t say I was GOOD at it.

D. Is the actual outline. It’s incomplete. It basically consists of brief plot points–things I want to have happen throughout the story. I try not to go into too much detail. You will notice the outline is broken up and continues on the last page. This is because the last page is full of WAY LATER plot points in the novel. For some reason, I wasn’t able to plot even mildly ahead without distancing myself from my list of early plot points. I DON’T KNOW. I don’t question the way my brain works. Probably I should.

E. Lines and bits of dialogue that don’t have a place in the story now, but will later. It’s hard for me to write out of chronological order, but the cost of forgetting such things is ~too high.~

F. RESEARCH. All of that research centers around ONE SCENE that isn’t even going to be that long. And YES, I resent that. But it is a necessary evil.

G. My synopsis. It is six pages. That is probably too long. But I am not finished Editing the Hell Out of It, so there is that. And I should probably do that soon, seeing as one of my major plot points have changed. I hate writing these things. I HATE THEM. I HATE THEM SO MUCH. Before I began this synopsis, I haunted the Snarkives and Nathan Bransford’s How to Write a Synopsis post. Miss Snark and Nathan Bransford are awesome. But synopses (that’s plural, Y?) are not. GOD I HATE WRITING THEM.

So that is where I am at with GagaPants.

I really love how each book you write is a crazy exhilerating adventure. From the murky beginning where you start working on the foundation, having the foundation, building the house, to… revising the house extensively. I don’t know what will happen with GagaPants but the sheer act of developing it has reminded me very strongly how much I love to write and how happy it makes me to do it.

So that’s good.

I think I shall post this now and get back to it.