Monday, December 15, 2008

Way too real...

I've written over 66,000 words of my novel. It's amazing to watch this story that began with a simple "What if..." question enfold into such an elaborate story. Having all of these characters and plots and subplots running through my head is mind-boggling at times.

Everything is so real to me, I constantly find myself talking about my characters as if they're real people. I swear my husband must think I'm going crazy, especially when my beta reader comes over to talk about the book. It's awesome to see someone else connect with this story the way that I have. I've lost count of how many Gmail chats we've spent discussing which famous people most remind us of the characters. Eerily enough, we naturally seem to picture the characters the same way.

Oh, and speaking of eerie... we went to visit a couple of friends this past weekend. Well, like most of our friends who live around here, they've heard quite a bit about the book and have even read a couple of chapters. I was talking about the setting of the story (Boston, Massachusetts) and one of them said that he thought he knew which part of the town I was talking about. He had done a campus visit out there a couple of years back and said that the streets and basic setting of part of the book sounded a lot like Harvard Square.

Myself, having never been anywhere near Massachusetts, replied with a simple, "huh?" He proceeded to open up Google Maps and brought up this really cool street-view image of Harvard Square. Well, it only took a couple of minutes of navigating through the virtual tour before things started getting weird. He turned down a street and everything looked familiar! Everything- down to the brick planters around the trees lining the streets, to the cobblestone sidewalks, to the old style street lamps, hell, even the architecture of some of the buildings was familiar...

Then, a little farther down the street, we came upon a boarded up alleyway. If you were to take the boards down, then it looks exactly like one that appears in my story. I had to get up and walk around at this point in the evening... I was really weirded out.

All of these coincidences keep popping up where I find things in real life in the Boston area that are near exact replicas of places in my story. Is this normal? My beta reader is half convinced that I'm somehow channeling someone real and telling their story. Or that I'm reliving some past life and substituting modern-day equivalents of music, clothing, and cars to make it more up-to-date in my head.

I began looking up coffee shops in the Harvard Square area and had yet another weird moment. I stumbled across one, that I won't mention the name of, that had various pictures of the interior on their website. Common enough, right? How about the fact that the front counter and menu board were EXACTLY like the image I saw in my head, down to the color scheme? This isn't a chain shop either, from what the website says, it's only found in Boston...

I'm really enjoying writing this book and how real everything is in my head, but... is it normal to have everything be this real? To visualize areas that I know I've never seen before, exactly how they are in real life? Or am I going crazy? I know they say writing is the only socially acceptable form of schizophrenia, but this is just insane! (okay... bad pun there, but you get the idea...)

So, here's a recap of my writing progress:
234 pages (1.5x spacing, 1 inch margins, 12 pt arial font)
66,662 words (as of an hour ago)
~53 scenes (number of chapters is unknown until I finish writing them)
13 weirdness factor (on a scale of 1-10)

I guess I could say that "technically" the book is almost done with it's first draft, I just have large chunks here and there that are written in the wrong POV. There are only going to be two different POVs for this story and one of them is only for a few chapters towards the end because it makes sense to do so given the circumstances.

Right now, I have almost all of the second POV written out in chapter form and a good portion of the Casey POV chapters done. The rest of my file is filled with extremely detailed outlines. Did I emphasize "extremely" well enough there? Maybe I should find a way to make it blink...

My "outlines," if you want to call them that, are basically large blocks of text that tell that part of the story from a type of third-person narrative perspective. My approach to outlining is very stream-of-consciousness. I type up everything that pops into my head, exactly how it pops into my head. My beta reader says that it's almost as if the story changes over to someone else telling the story when she reads over a section of this text. All of the, "She goes home to visit her father and while she's there... this happens, then this happens... blah, blah, blah..."

I only write up the outlines this way because I'm afraid that I'm going to forget something. Early on in the outlining process everything rushes through my head so fast that I struggle to keep up. Writing without an outline is simply out of the question for me. Taking dictation of my thought processes seems to be the only way that I can preserve these early inspirations. Sure the detailed outlines sometimes change quite a bit when I sit down and let just that scene replay itself in my head, but at least I have the basic important things written down for future reference.

But anyway... winding down... Thanks to everyone to reads this blog. When I started typing this post tonight, the current stats (according to the MySpace version of this blog) said that I've had a total of 395 views for my blog posts. I never thought that anyone would actually be interested in my ramblings and random epiphanies as I write this book, so it's amazing to think that my little blog has been viewed almost 400 times now (Just on the MySpace side of it). And yet somehow I only have very few comments and of the few that I do have, I'd say that at least half of them are me responding to what other people say... So, feel free to leave me a comment. Any advice or encouragement would be amazing, even to just see who's so interested in my journey would be cool.

Well, until I blog again...
Talk 2ya later...



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