10 Chapters In

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Tea and JournalI hit a writing milestone this week with my current book, Destination Happiness – I am officially 10 chapters into writing this bad boy!!! As of now, that equates to just under 29,000 words. My goal is the 80-90K words range, which I think is definitely doable with my rough outline of 23 chapters.

I’m doing something I’ve never done before in writing fiction, and that’s to really focus more on characters, dialogue, and driving the plot, and less on the settings and details for the first go ‘round. As a control freak plagued by perfectionism, it’s tough to just gloss over parts, but it’s also kind of liberating. I feel like I am trusting myself to write what needs to come out now, knowing that I will be able to go back and beef up the minutia when it’s time to get in the every-little-detail-counts head space.

As a refresher, the synopsis of my story is:

Prompted by the death of a loved one and general discontent in her life, a woman leaves behind everything she knows and sets out on a road trip of self-discovery.

Basically, it’s Eat, Pray, Love meets Wild 🙂

When I first started brainstorming on this book, I began to map out my character’s road trip. There’s a slew of destinations and sites throughout the story, and although it was initially fun to plan this fictional trip, when I actually started to write, I was getting caught up in the “travel logistics” and all of the details of places I’ve never been before. Well, most of them, there are some destinations in the story where I’ve personally visited. Still, I kept interrupting my writing flow to stop and do research on places, and it was stressing me out to the point of not wanting to work on this project.

Luckily, I gave myself a creative intervention and realized that my main priority is just to write the damn story, and I can worry about prettying it up later.

Which is exactly what I’m doing. And, here I am, 10 chapters later! I’ve never written this quickly on one of my own stories (although I’ve already completed quite a few writing projects with my screenwriting partner). It feels really good to know that I can focus on my own book and actually make progress on it.

Here’s to another 13 chapters!

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New Book Idea

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img_4900For the past few years, all of my spare time has been focused on screenwriting with my writing partner, Jess. Prior to this partnership, I had always wanted to be a novelist, an aspiration that goes way back to my preteen years. But when Jess approached me with a story idea that I couldn’t resist, our partnership was born, and it eventually evolved into a comedy screenwriting adventure that I love more than words can do justice. It was how I spent all of my free time, and my own novel writing endeavors were moved to the back burner.

Until now.

Not only have I learned how to juggle a full-time job and various writing endeavors, but I finally, gleefully, blessedly was struck by a new book idea over the holidays. For months, I felt ready for a new idea. All of my past novel concepts were Young Adult fiction–supernatural and fantasy–and although I love that genre and hope to revel in it one day, I just wanted something different. Something grown up. And I got it:

Prompted by the death of a loved one and general discontent in her life, a woman leaves behind everything she knows and sets out on a road trip of self-discovery.

Think Eat, Pray, Love meets On the Road. But this idea goes beyond wishy washy chick lit, because ::shivers in disgust:: I would never. This is about a journey from day-to-day misery to tragic loss to an urgency to live to doing just that. As an aspiring writer, I’ve heard one bit of advice over and over again: write what you know. Obviously, I didn’t know YA supernatural and/or fantasy lifestyles, but I could imagine them. But for this new idea, I can pull from my own experiences and also write about what I’d like to experience.

Another facet of this idea that I am super excited about is diversity. My cast of characters will be all over the map: white, black, hispanic, straight, gay, and transgender. I want to represent all different types of people. I want to show love and friendship across different scopes and challenges.

I am SO STOKED for this book. I was able to completely outline it and develop my cast in two days. So now, now the fun part begins – I can start to write this story. And, although it’s only a working title, I’ve decided to call it Destination Happiness. Simple and–I hope–relatable.