A SEA OF PAGES [the novel idea(s)]

14 September 2014

Roundabout a year ago I decided I should crack down and write a novel. As if it was that easy. As if it would be a quick pen flick [swish, and flick. oh the memories.] and ta-da, one novel staring back at me. Well. It wasn't. Who's surprised? The problem I have is that I love thinking up book titles, and if I have a book title I am head-over heels for, and a main character name I wish I owned then I want a completed novel stat. The stumbling block: well, I have no plot. AT ALL. So after being blackmailed into joining NaNoWriMo five days late, I decided I may as well go all out, not procrastinate, and write a novel. 
Having not planned to join NaNo I had no plot, no title no character names, no nothing. So I grabbed a premise out of thin air and wrote. I managed 33K of a terrible horrible story. WHICH IS A MIRACLE. Because before that the most I had written in a year was 5K. Yes, I know. Aspiring author who is rubbish at writing, heard it all before. And then I realized something else. So here's a list of my weaknesses when trying to write a novel [obviously extremely paired down to keep from boring you all]:
A. I yearn to write a perfect novel. I have never re-written anything because I need things to be perfect the first time.
B. I have never plotted a novel. I am a pantser. And it's not going well.
C. Because I have no plots I never know what to write, so I chuck paragraphs and paragraphs of description in there.
D. I write short short stories, hence I can't keep a novel going more than 5K [if that].
MY CURRENT WIP[s]:
-are all very current. As in, started a couple of weeks ago current. Except for two, one being my NaNo novel which I haven't finished and probably never will even though I ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT THE ENDING WILL BE because nothing happens in it, zilch, na-da etc etc.
1. THE FOX CHILD [YA - fantasy re-telling]
33K. 75% bucket loads of unnecessary description. 25% other boring things. Barely any action. A lot of blood, for some reason. An MC that can talk[?] to animals. I don't even know my own 'plot'. Re-telling of Snow White [which is ridiculous because I never really enjoyed this story that much.] Will I ever make myself re-read this and maybe finish it? I don't know. I really don't.
2. THE WAY WE OBSERVE [YA - contemporary]
3K. People who have read it thinks it is about me. May be. Who knows. Started because I liked the title and the name of the MC, surprised? I thought not. I put it on hold because - I'm not actually sure. Exams probably. And then I had other *better* ideas. I have random scenes from this written on various notebooks so I will probably carry this on one day when inspiration strikes as I actually have a basic plot. THE SHOCK.
3. TO THE END AND BACK [YA - genre unknown]
6k. This is my current WIP, along with 4. and had been put on hold as I have been busy all summer, but yesterday I read it through and I LIKE IT. So far. Let's see how long it lasts. Why, you are probably wondering, do I not know the genre of this story? Because it started with a very vague plot. Vague as in literally not there and so many holes it's basically nothing. I felt in the mood to write one day, so I did, and came up with this, then I decided it could be the grounds for a novel [as I mentioned, I'm desperate to write a full length novel] so started plotting for the first time. I came up with a basic outline, didn't like it, had no other inspiration so left it to fester. So when I came back to it yesterday and LIKED IT, I decided I will write this and tried to come up with a decent plot. BUT I WANT TO WRITE A FANTASY, and I want this to be the fantasy, but all the plots I come up with ARE SCI-FI. Why. In my notebook I literally wrote: "YUK. NO. EW!! I want this to be fantasy OK BRAIN." I know, I'm slightly strange, what can you do. So yes, still trying to work out a plot that does not have a really unbelievable plot, [I have resigned myself to the fact that this will not be fantasy] so now I just need something solid, that isn't as holey as the side of George Weasley's head. 
4. CELLOPHANE HEART [Middle Grade/YA crossover - contemporary]
4.5K. I started it a couple of days ago. Will feature road-trips, anger management problems, family loss, a ten year old smart-ass who can't slice cheese, graffiti, and is written in vignettes. [As inspired after reading Reasons She Goes to The Woods]. As you can see, I have a slight plot-if-you-can-even-call-it-a-plot, and I think that's what I'm going to have to accept: I am a pantser, anything more than slight plots aka five lines of main scenes and character names [I love coming up with character names] and I may drown. Or die. Well, my brain will.
5. THIS IS WHAT WE CALL IT [YA - contemporary]
Why do I have so many contemporary novel ideas? Oh I know, wish fulfillment [well not really], but I wish I had written The Sky is Everywhere, it is contemporary, see the logic? This one is a title love, has no plot, has character names [obviously] and will probably never ever be written because who writes a novel without a single scrap of plot because you like the title. Not me. Oh no, I have far better things to do. Like make sure I don't collapse with the strain of coming up with a plot for a plot-less novel idea. However, I may write a short - NO. it will be a novel. I need it to be. I'll write it when I'm old and wrinkled and retired from my job as a dustbin-woman. Ok. Maybe by that time I'll have an idea for a plot. Jandy Nelson, instead, can you just reprint The Sky is Everywhere under my name? It'd be so much easier.
UPDATE: Am getting excited about this one, have started plotting. So far? From what I have written this [maybe I HOPE] novel will feature a French best friend ironicly [you'll..probably never..see why] passionate about non-frenchness who talks in a British accent. A younger brother who is a genius pianist. A grandmother of sorts. A half chinese, half english main character who has a twin sister. Family drama. A main character trying to break through the bonds of her heritage, also ironical. [Again, you will probably never know why]. Sarcasm. Food fights. Jealousy and sibling rivalry. Baking mishaps. A home-schooled family. And..other stuff I still need to work out. Like WHERE DO THEY LIVE. Not Important Stuff like that...
WHAT AM I DOING TO MY BRAIN PEOPLE, it can't even cope with thinking up a plan for what to eat. Thinking about all this is making me hungry let alone create an entire novel in my head and write it down.
So when am I actually going to write all this? When my brain catches up with my need to write a novel and churns out plots and makes my fingers write.
"She is currently reading THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE again, and is flicking through DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS again to re-read favourite scenes [aka the entire book.] She is also wishing this will happen to her one day in the future: someone re-reading her book because they love it so much. Also, she is fuming over the fact that handwriting is so deceptive. Pages &pages of words, and not even 1K?! It's a conspiracy. And she's hungry, let's go & raid the kitchen."

21 comments:

  1. I have found my kind. Whenever writing (except essays/nonfiction papers) I am a vague outliner and then pants the rest. I know some authors (Cassandra Clare) outline every chapter down to each scene. I feel like I'm more like Ransom Riggs who has vague outlines but will let it organically flow. Hawwa you are not alone I want to write a novel but have never gotten past 3k.

    Amelia @ YA Bookologists (ya-bookologists.blogspot.com)

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    1. Am I an animal or something?! :P. no BUT AMELIA. Even in my ENGLISH EXAMS I DID NOT PLAN. That's how bad it is. :'((((((((((
      I've heard that, I just, HOW DO THEY DO IT. It's absolutely impossible. Probably because the entire way through a novel I still don't know what is meant to happen...
      Ransom Riggs is my fave person. Vague outlines are amazing...;P

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  2. I haven't started any novel or short story yet but I have some ideas so I hope I can get to them soon (:
    So I do not particuilar know how I do all this stuff but I'll probably outline a bit (:
    Well .. you reminded me to maybe probably start :D
    But I don't know with what a programm I should write because Word isn't that good for that.
    Do you have any recommendations for a good programm ?

    xo Anne @ anne-books.blogspot.com

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    1. I always struggle with ideas that can extend into full novels. I've never had a good enough one yet...I'm not sure, I just use word document. :) Tell me how it goes!

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  3. So many wonderful ideas in this post. I'm exactly like you in that once I have my heart set on a good title and have named some characters I want to write that book. Usually though, I have the problem of having a start and an ending but no middle, I don't know how to keep up that writing throughout and as much as I want to be an author, right now doing this is very difficult.

    LOVE THIS SOOOO MUCH (I already texted you that I just ought to remind you though)

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    1. SEE THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO ME AND IT KILLS ME. And makes my brain frazzle. I'm good at beginnings, and then, I just CAN'T WRITE. Which is why I end up writing short [really short!] stories of like...2K *feels lame*
      AWWWWH THANK YOUUU

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  4. HAWWA. YOU HAVE DESCRIBED ME IN A BLOG POST. Oh how I wish I could sort out all the bookish ideas in my head... I HAVE TOO MANY AND THEN I NEVER WRITE THEM AND UGH. I NEED TO FIX THIS AND ACTUALLY FINISH SOMETHING. XD xx

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    1. AND THAT'S A GOOD THING RIGHT. ;) See you're lucky, you HAVE IDEAS TO SORT OUT, I have...nothing. TELL ME SOME OK NOW PLEASE? ;P

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  5. I'm at the beginning stages of writing a non-fiction ebook and I have the title, intro, and chapter outlines done. Now I just need to fill in all of that pesky white space that makes up the actual book :P Good luck to us both, lol.

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    1. Oooooh sounds intriguing! Non-fiction? What's it about? Yup, that pesky white space..it has stayed with me forever...;p good luck!

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  6. Hey, I've drafted four novellas and three novels and I do pretty much zero plotting, so I'd say pantsing is definitely a viable approach to novel-writing! If you wrote my noveling process as an equation, it would probably look something like: vague idea of the story arc + a few rough character ideas + several main scene ideas + lots of dedication = rough draft of a novel. I think the important thing is pushing through even when you're not feeling it, because once you have a rough draft--no matter how rough!--then you have something to work with.

    Anyway, your novels sound interesting and I'm especially intrigued by No. 5. Good luck with your writing ventures!

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    1. WoAH TAYLOR. Give me your talents!!! I am SO JEALOUS. But hey, you do zero plotting...I have hope! Yep that maths equation sounds a lot like mine although the = is = a mess of words that make no sense and IS NOT A NOVEL AT ALL as it never even got to 10K....
      Thanks! I've not even started that yet, probably never will..it might turn into a novella? Maybe I should try writing novellas before novels...

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  7. I totally get this, I really really do. I have HUNDREDS of ideas and over 20 ones that could actually be books if I shut up and sat down and wrote them. >_< But honestly...if I could go back and tell newbie-writerly-me just one thing it'd be: stop trying to get it right the first time. Rewriting isn't defeat. It's AWESOME. I write crappy first drafts and I love that. I love them to be a mess and hopeless and horrible because it's soooo much easier to write that way. THEN I fix up. Although it's a lot of work. But that's just me, so if you keep at it and want it enough, you'll find your writing style. ;) Good luck, though, and you do have some awesome titles!

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    1. BUT CAIT YOU HAVE HUNDREDS OF IDEAS. I DON'T HAVE ANY. AND WHAT?! Send me 10 of them..just...because. :P BUT HOW MANY HAVE YOU ALREADY WRITTEN?! YOU'VE GOT LIKE..AT LEAST 10 NOVELS UNDER YOUR BELT RIGHT? OR 20 OR SOMETHING?
      Yeah but I have this problem with wasting time re-writing the first draft as I go along. I DON'T LIKE YUCKY SCENES. I feel like I should just get over that though and just try WRITING instead of perfecting..and thanks!

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  8. I'm trying to write a novel too, and yep, it drains the LIFE out of you. Right now I have next to ZERO plot and some vague characters that I'm building on, I find it easier to just tell the story in my head daydreaming, which probably sounds so weird haha, but writing can sometimes be a bit too intimidating :)

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    1. SAME. That's how I feel and since I've started college I've been drained of motivation and energy and LIFE. without even writing. imagine if i did. I'D DIE. What's your novel about?

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  9. This is literally the best post ever! So good that I am actually RETURNING to this post, only to find about a million comments above me. DO YOU KNOW HOW THREATENING THAT IS? I feel like a tiny squidge on a big white page of awesomeness. Well done you for actually writing something! All of my stories are still within the walls of my head. I think it's probably 'cause the kind of stories I want to write (tense, YA, action-y, mystery, thriller type things) are really hard to plot. I have NEVER solved a mystery, so how in the bloody heck am I supposed to create one? All of your ideas sound super amazing though *bangs head of keyboard and wails*.

    Hope college is going okay for you!?!? Is it?? #questions

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    1. I AM HONOURED ALANNAH. No...why is that threatening? :P oh. BUT YOU'RE NOT A TINY SQUIDGE BECAUSE YOUR COMMENT IS A HUMUNGOUS PIECE OF AWESOME. Oooh ooh yes I feel you. I'VE NEVER LIVED ON ANOTHER PLANET IN A SCI-FI WORLD OF LIES AND I JUST, hello, how am I meant to write about that?!
      #emailmebackandimaytellyou

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  10. I really liked this post, because I think quite a few of us would always love to accomplish writing a book but when you actually think about it, it is such a hugeeeee feat! I like the fact that you have so many names for your books because that is the part I honestly always struggle with. I can think of plot ideas etc (maybe not always great ones) but my problem comes when I have to actually think of a title and character names. I do not really write these days, but I went through a massive stage when I was younger writing down stories and ideas. And I simply love writing, it was always an aim of mine to write a novel, and I hope still one day to get around to it. For now I will have to content myself with reading. And I wish you best of look with your ideas. You do sound like you have some interesting ideas floating around despite your claims you have no plot. I think I read somewhere that you have to start writing about things close to you or things you know and expand from there. It does not necessarily have to be about your life, but things you know and then you can place it in another world etc.. But who really knows?!

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    1. Ah, we're the complete opposite then! Titles and character names comes easily but the plot? MEH. Awwh thanks and same, I feel like giving up but NO, I WILL NOT BE DEFEATED. *shakes fist*

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  11. HAWWA I love this post, can I just say I feel you </3

    I love love LOVE the titles To the End and Back and This Is What We Call It. *Especially* This Is What We Call It. Like seriously write that book. I love the plot shizzle you've got! Beta reader, anyone? ~winks~

    As for not having a plot, tell me about it. Ugh. I am drowning in the realms of a Soggy Middle. I've written about 41k, and I have an end, but WHERE IS THE MIDDLE?? HOW DOES ANYBODY WRITE MIDDLES?? WHAT IS A MIDDLE???? ~runs into wall~

    Anyway I thought I'd let you I've nominated you for the Liebster award, I know you don't do awards but HAVE THE GLORY! (without doing the tag.)

    http://wishingiwasnorthern.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/liebsterified.html

    PS I, too, write strange things in my notebooks, mostly I start absentmindedly writing 'love' or something equally stupid and then notes underneath saying "why Emily" or similar. Or else I write things like "at this point Freddie reveals his big secret (but what is his secret I WISH I KNEW ~sobbing~)".

    PPS "a plot as holey as the side of George Weasley's head" this is a) my new favourite simile and b) HIT ME RIGHT IN THE FEELS HAWWA!

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+ thank you so much for commenting, I really appreciate it
+ recheck, I always try to reply [honest!]