I started writing what I intend to publish as my debut novel, The Death House (working title), as a film spec script in college in 2008. Since then, I decided that I would prefer to write it as a novel first and have been working on it on-and-off since that time.
I have not always been diligent in my efforts toward this project especially when I was working full time. I found that when I got home from work, I was tired of staring at a computer, and I wanted to spend time with my husband and my dog and sometimes just myself. I find myself, now, with this great opportunity to step away from a 9 to 5 job to focus on my writing, and I am thrilled with the energy and inspiration that I have been blessed with.
The novel is a fiction story about learning to live with and overcome hardships and about finding joy and purpose in life despite seemingly impossible odds. I’ll keep the full summary aside for now as I want to tackle that once I’ve completed the manuscript.
Stages of Flux:
- Written as a spec script (2008)
- The initial dream was to write this story as a film.
- Begun as a novel (2011)
- I decided that writing the story as a novel was more attainable and that it was really the best way to tell the story for now.
- Character development/worksheets (2012-13)
- I wanted to get to know my characters better. After reading a book called “How to Write a Book in 90 Days”, I decided to use the character development worksheets it suggested.
- Sporadic ideas and scenes for the book written in various chapters (February – present)
- I began daydreaming more and more about the book, and have often had to pull over to write down scenes from the book.
- Chapters specific to each character started (August 2015)
- I was still having trouble identifying with my characters, so I decided to jump to the chapters that were specific to each character. I had read that jumping around the manuscript and not writing in chronological order could be a useful technique to use to keep writing.
- Chapter summaries ironed out (August – September 2015)
- I decided that I needed more than a high level plot outline to stay focused. I sat down and wrote the detailed summaries of every chapter that I could then use when writing them.
- Chapters titled (September 2015)
- I found that naming the chapters was a helpful way to inspire myself toward the juicy part of each chapter. I chose names that add a little bit of emotion and foreshadowing to the chapters.
- I may not even keep the chapter titles, and I may separate some chapters into multiple as it seems it would be fitting to do so. The titles, however, have been very useful for my own purposes.
- Chapters picked at random from a jar (September – November 2015)
- I had read somewhere once that you could write a great manuscript by ignoring the chronological order when writing it. This intrigued me as I often have ideas for scenes that come way later in the novel than where I’m writing. So I decided to initiate a jar for selecting chapters. When a chapter was drawn, I copied and pasted the summary into the main manuscript and began typing away.
- Back to chronological storytelling (December 2015)
- Now that I am in such a swing of the story, I’ve gone back to the chronological method as I am enjoying the evolution of the story. I have written a few chapters that come later in the book, but I’ve caught up from 1 – 11. I am now working on 12 through to the end.
This whole “writing a novel” thing is an exciting journey. I’ve loved every bit of it so far. And my process has spanned a number of years, but I am glad that I now have the freedom to focus on writing it. I actually look forward to preparing query packages and canvasing agents. It’s going to be a great and fun time all around.
Here’s to the journey!