It’s that time again! I’ve started writing a new novella, and this is just not any ol’ novella. It’s a book where I’m writing about two of my favorite characters… Melodee and Amir. I fell in love with these two during the planning and writing process. Now, I love all my characters as I’ve said before but there’s something about the evolution of Amir and Melodee’s love that I admire the most. So, after two months of outlining, researching, blah, blah, blah… I’ve started writing it and I’m more than halfway through it.
When I first wrote this blog post, it was during the outlining phase of the story. Since then, I’m close to finish… yesss! The words have been flowing these past few days and I’ve been surprising myself at how far I’m getting with this work. And trust me, I’m not breezing through it. I’ve been taking my slow ass time. This is what’s baffling. So, I wanted to share what I’m doing hoping it can help another writer who may need tips on getting to their “end.”
Via social media like Facebook and Instagram, if you’re following me, you’ve noticed the hashtag I’ve got going, #MakingMrAndMrsJones. I wanted to try something new and to bring you guys along for the ride of creating this novella. A behind-the-scenes glimpse at what’s happening. This will also help keep me motivated and held accountable to finish this baby of mine.
For the readers, I think it will be fun for you to see a book come to life and evolve from nothing into something. And for my fellow writers, you’ll find the BTS (behind-the scenes) stuff resourceful… or at least that’s what I hope.
So, how am I doing it?
Writers, if you read nothing else from this post, please read this paragraph. I know we like to skim so I put this at the top. Much like the work before Mr. and Mrs. Jones, I’ve created a detailed outline. God bless you writers out there who can write by the seat of your pants. I can’t do it. Not if I want to be a functional person in society because I’ll go crazy when it’s time to edit. I have been challenging myself to write off the top of my head with my BK Shorts (have you read them yet? Click here to check them out…but not right now, finish reading this post first lol!). With my BK Shorts, I try to write those in a 24-hour timeframe.
But a whole book?
So, I’ve outlined. I know what’s supposed to happen, when it’s supposed to happen and in what specific order it should happen in. Of course, shit changes and sometimes I don’t go according to plan because I’m a literary rebel like that. But for the most part, I got something, the outline, to keep me focused and on par. And if I choose to switch it up, so be it. But at least I have a compass (my outline) to point me in the right direction in the event me wandering off leaves me lost or I hit writer’s block.
This is the phase that took me the longest. I know little about the luxe life. With Girl Code, I was familiar with the entertainment scene because I used to be a promo girl for liquor brands and I freelanced for a few entertainment websites and attended celebrity parties and red carpet events. I’ve lived several lives lol. So, I had the experience to speak accurately without really needing to do much research. But because I am taking this opulent stuff to another level, I gotta cross my T’s and dot my I’s. For that reason, I researched to my heart’s content to gather the necessary details to help my imagination flourish. Plus, I find that if I don’t research, I’m breaking away in the middle of writing to double check this and that, and this messes with my writing flow. Sometimes it’s fine, because I’m still researching as I go anyway… but for little stuff.
Pinterest is another great resource to use when setting up the visuals for my story. I’ve pinned a few references that I’ll use as I write. I may or may not use it. But I just love having something extra to keep me inspired and pinning photos and details are so helpful. I’m writing a lot about big houses and lavish spots. I’m familiar with the visual details of upscale establishments having seen a few in person as the help lol ?. It’s the big houses I don’t know much about. So, I’ve done a few virtual mansion tours as well as a real one to get an idea of what one looks like in person. What I was more curious about was ceiling to height ratio and the way sound travels so when my characters are doing their thing I can understand if there’s an echo or not and how loud the echo is depending on the amount of furniture present. The natural sounds in a mansion like the opening and closing of a large iron gate. How long a winding road really is, etc. Yeah, honey, I take this shit quite seriously. This is some of the stuff I use to anchor myself in a scene. You can’t create a great escape if you don’t really know what you’re talking about, feel me?
Google is my friend and is yours too if you are unfamiliar with whatever you are talking about. The books at the library are free too so I dived into a few to skim and read up on anything that is too hard to find via Google. I used the Scrivener app to outline my entire story. I really wish I could read my own handwriting because then I would do it by pen and paper but I don’t have the kind of time required for that kind of stress so I’m using this app. The app is great for listing chapters, creating notes to keep in each chapter, adding photos, and creating setting and character details, yessss! And this is also the app I’m using to type my manuscript.
Next, there’s my Aeon timeline app. During the outlining process, I used this app to set up the timeline. This app helps me keep track of important events so that I’m not looping them and effing stuff up. The way my memory is set up… yeah. Because my novella chronicles a story that spans a year and that year is about two years in the future, I needed the dates to align perfectly so this app is great for that. It’s also a handy tool to access whenever you need a quick reminder as to what period you are in while writing your story.
What I realize helps me whenever I’m not in the writing mood is utilizing the Pomodoro method. Write for 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break, write again for 25 minutes, rinse and repeat. There’s an Apple app for this, btw. I use BeFocused. At some point in this process, I get a 15 minute break *twirls*.
And last, I’m making sure to just keep writing. You can have all the tools in the world, research until you become an expert in the subject matter but if you don’t get words on the paper you ain’t got shit. The end, like literally. So, for me, whenever I get stuck. I keep writing. Then I review it after I write it and if I don’t like it, I delete it. I am my harshest critique. I have deleted chapters without even blinking an eye. My point is, for me, even if I don’t feel like writing, I still get words on the page. And although some of those words get deleted five minutes after its been written, the fact that I gave my mind a warm up helps me put better words on the page that are of substance and that helps move the story along.
And that’s it… for now.
If you’ve read Girl Code, you know the significance of “for now.” To stay in the loop of the creative process of Girl Code’s sequel, Mr. and Mrs. Jones, follow the hashtag #MakingMrAndMrsJones or #MrAndMrsJonesNovella on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Be sure to follow me on those sites as well.
Thanks for reading! And if you’re a writer who’s working or completed your manuscript and have some tips for other writers who may be reading, feel free to share in the comments.