Yay, the chapter outline for book seven is done! It’s 30 pages of fun times and I am buzzing like neon with excitement over this book. To clarify, this is not the chapter outline for Keep Holding On. Keep Holding On is my new book coming out next year. I should be able to share the cover and synopsis with you soon. Please stay tuned! So yeah, now I’m writing the novel that will be out in 2013. Seven books later and I still get that same excited/nervous/scared feeling I always get when I’m starting a new book. Reliable turmoil.
Some of you have asked me about my writing process. Do you have to write a chapter outline before you begin? No, you do not. I know several authors who never outline. There are lots of ways to approach writing a book. The important thing is to do what works for you. I like to get to know my characters really well before I start writing a new book. I also like to know where they’re going. That’s why I spent a few weeks on character development and outlining before I even began writing the first chapter. It’s kind of like getting to know new friends. Does this mean I stick to the chapter outline entirely? No, it does not. The outline is always changing, evolving, and growing as I write. My characters reveal more of themselves to me as the story progresses. Unexpected plot turns arise. When I’m in the zone, sometimes my characters even take over. They start saying and doing things I never would have seen coming. Seriously, I’ll be writing a scene and suddenly a character will take over the keyboard and I’ll be like, No she didn’t! But she totally did.
These new characters I’ve been developing are speaking to me in all sorts of ways. “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight” by The Cars was playing in my head for like a week. I know it will play a key role in this book. I’m not sure how yet, but it will. Now it’s “Endless Summer Nights” by Richard Marx. How embarrassing is it to admit that I played that tape so many times in junior high it wore out? Pretty freaking embarrassing. Whatever. I still love that song. Mainly because it is awesome. This book is demanding that I listen exclusively to 80s music, so it’s pretty much all 80s all the time around here these days. Again, not something I saw coming, but it’s important to go with the flow!
I thought about starting a master list of characters’ names when I was writing When It Happens. But then I thought there was no way I’d ever forget the names I used. That would be like forgetting old friends! So I never made a list. Then the other day I was looking over the names I’m using for this new book and I couldn’t remember if I used one of them before. Dude. I’m forgetting minor characters’ names. Of my own characters! That’s crazy. Or I’ll see a new quote from one of my books pop on on Goodreads and I’ll be all, I wrote that? I never thought it would be possible to forget my own lines. But here we are! Looks like it’s time for that master list of names. Which reminds me of that make new friends song we used to sing in Girl Scouts. Do they still sing those old-school songs? Or is everything updated now?
Speaking of making new friends, this Thursday is the first day of school here in New York. Just because I’m not going back doesn’t mean I’m any less excited about fresh school supplies. Hot back-to-school gear I’m stoked about: Pilot FriXion erasable pens.
Their smooth gel ink slicks over paper, then erases completely with friction. Back in the day, erasable pens used to write all lumpy and would never erase all the way. And they only came in boring colors. Not anymore! I’m currently obsessed with the orange one (saving the pink and purple for later).
For all my friendly teen neighbors out there: Whether you’re going back to school this week or have been back for a while, keep that fresh year feeling going for as long as you can. It’s full of possibility. This could be your best year ever. Show them who you are. Work it. OWN it!