RANDOMS: Jena's Adventure In Writing a Novel: Part I

Back in 2005, I was struck with inspiration.  It started because I was a majorly, and I mean MAJORLY, huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan.  I used to read the Buffy novels for quick pastime reading (averaging 1 or 2 of them in a day).  They’re basically paperback fan fiction and they had a lot of great storylines I would have loved to have seen played out on the show.  One of these novels was called Chosen by Nancy Holder. 

It was a standard size paperback (3” or 4” wide by 7” tall??) and was about 4 inches thick.   It’s a big book for a paperback novel.  The reason this novel was so lengthy was because after the show wrapped up its final season (a sad day for yours truly), the author decided that the final season would make a fantastic novel.  So she started writing.  From cover to cover, it makes up season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with each chapter being named after the episode it corresponded with.  By the way, Nancy Holder is a wonderful author who has won the Bram Stoker award several times for her supernatural fiction work.  She’s just plain awesome. 
Anyway, I read that paperback at least 5 or 6 times and one day it dawned on me that there was one episode in particular of Angel (the Buffy spinoff show) that I thought would make a GREAT novel.  So I started playing with the idea and started typing it out in novel form.  After a day or so of typing, all of these random ideas and great characters started making their presence known in my head.  I had to actually stop myself from interjecting them into the Angel novel wannabe because they weren’t part of the show.  By the end of that second day, I scrapped the Angel episode novel and started on my own book.
I worked on it here and there at first, not really sure of what I was doing or why I was doing it.  I mean, I had written short stories every once in a while but I wasn’t an author…..was I?
I would go to work from 8-5 and head home.  My ritual was to stop at the store for my staples – coffee, mountain dew, chocolate, etc.  Once home, I would get into PJ’s and put on some music – Tool, Nine Inch Nails, Rob Zombie, Justin Timberlake…whatever struck my fancy.  And then I would type.  I would type for hours and hours, often losing track of just how much time had passed.    
I found that the downside to not planning out your storyline is that you can spew a TON of story onto your computer screen, get to the end and realize that you don’t like the order of the events.  So after literally months of work, I ran out of the ambition that was desperately needed to fix the situation.  I printed out a copy and started up with the red pen.  The dreaded Red Pen.  That lasted for a few days at the most and my novel got tucked into a box and forgotten about for a few years.  The next time it was brought up was when the vampire craze struck the globe. 

 (my book after it had been ravaged my the Red Pen)

Since my book has vampires and witches in it, when the craze hit, all it did was discourage me more.  I figured that no publishing house rep in their right mind is going to pick up “another vampire book” with the throngs of them that were floating around market.  This was also around the time that Twilight hit the scene and I did NOT want to be thought of as a Twilight rip-off.  My vampires don’t sparkle, dammit.  So once again, it stayed in a box collecting dust.
Fast forward to last spring.  I bought myself a Kindle and started Pure Textuality.  I started reading book after book by self published authors.  After a few months of reading all these fantastic books, I started thinking about my little novel without a name.  Could I really publish this?? 

 (my Kindle being used as a pillow by my cat)

To add to my list of things to think about, a good friend of mine e-mailed me one day and told me about some software that he had come across.  He had been around when I was on my feverish writing tear and thought that I might be interested.  The software is called Scrivener (I actually wrote a post about it here) and it’s specifically for authors to write with.  It’s not your normal Word or Works program.  There’s so much more to it.  Once again, my little novel that could popped into my head. 
That brings us to the present.  After much hemming and hawing over whether or not I wanted to move forward with it, I eventually decided that I am going to finish my novel.  Even if I only sell 5 copies of it, I think I would finally feel like I didn’t leave a loose end by not finishing it.  I think, deep down, I always knew that I would, only because 5 spring cleanings and a move later, I didn’t have it in me to just throw it away.
The day I decided to finish my book, I started brainstorming about how I was going to restructure the book.  There is one fact in this whole mess that has been part of the reason I hadn’t moved forward – I don’t have my book electronically.  I have one paper print out (covered in red editing marks) and a notebook of ideas on how I want the story to play out.  I lost the electronic copy when my highly outdated laptop that I owner previously finally dies.  As much as this may seem like a bad thing, I think it’s actually a really good thing.  Rather than just revamping my original novel, I am going to start from scratch and just steal the ideas from the original.  I am also going to do it right and start mapping the book out first. 
In the next few days, I am getting three things that are going to aid me in getting this novel done:

  • A new laptop
  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Pro version of Scrivner

The new laptop I need because, although it has been a trooper and has stuck around with me for a good long time, my Acer is a tank and decided that it no longer wants to charge.   I can only use it plugged in.  I cant complain though.  That thing lasted me about 3 years and I only spent $300 on it.  My replacement is a little HP Pavillion DM-4 with a 640GB hard drive and a 14” screen.  It weighs next to nothing and is super easy to type on.  And for what it is, it’s really not too hard on the wallet either ($549 from Best Buy).

The Kindle Fire I am getting for a few reasons – 1.)  It’s a super badass eReader.  2.)  It has e-mail capabilities so I can keep in touch with my reviewing team and shoot myself an e-mail whenever I have an idea for my book  3.)  it’s time for an upgrade.  It’s only $199 for the fully functioning tablet from Amazon and it FLIES!!  I have played with a few of them recently to make sure I liked it before I bought it and I cant find anything I don’t like.  It’s fast and it’s super easy to type on.  I am looking forward to it! 

I have waited on getting the pro version of Scrivener because I knew I would be upgrading my laptop soon and didn’t want to have to pay for the software twice.  I am a bargain shopper at heart and that would totally go against my grain.  I chose Scrivener for a few reasons, one of which is it’s ability to take your book and automatically export it to any of the major eReader formats.  You don’t have to screw around with trying to get it just right for Kindle or Kobo or Nook.  It does it automatically.  Total cost for the pro version??  $40.  Not bad at all.  There are other software platforms that are very similar too.  Storybook is another one I did a write up on.  Storybook is only $27 for the full version but it doesn’t have all the same features or capabilities.  Click here to see the Storybook post. 

The closer and closer I get to my new laptop, the more and more I think about my book and ideas for my book.  I have even gone so far as to chat with a fantastic author (and good friend of mine) about doing a “crossover” book with her at some point that we would co-write.  Her book is pretty successful (for her first book out and being self-published) and I don’t want to drag her down with me so whether or not that happens is going to depend on how my book does once it’s published.   If people hate my book, I dont want to screw up her reputation.  However, if they love it, it could be a super fun project!
So that’s that.  I will be writing a novel soon and I decided that I would do a series of posts on here to sort of give everyone an idea of what a first time author does/will/can go through to get their little piece of fiction out there.  My book may be something that interests people.  It may not.  *shrugs*  I am willing to take the chance to see and you all are invited to come along for the ride. 

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  1. Jena, I take my hat off and salute you. If you noticed in the profile I sent you, I am NOT an author to be. People who write books fascinate me. Imagination is a wonderful thing. To be able to put that imagination on “paper” is a gift. Don’t give up!!
    I will be first in line to buy your book or maybe a little further down the line after all your family and close friends.
    Looking forward to your blogs on this subject.

  2. Thanks Dolly. We shall see how it goes. 🙂 lol It could be a giant piece of crap for all I know. lol 😉

  3. It’s only crap to other people. To you, it will be a child. lol

  4. jen krom says:

    go jena! i would totally read your novel. nothing takes more guts than writing what is in your head and then handing it on a silver platter to the reading world.
    and yeah, i completely understand about the need to outline your story. i’m stuck midway in mine, without an outline, and now this chick named amber expects me to edit/proof the manuscript of her 2nd book by the end of the month, so …
    good luck, chickie!

  5. Vampire and witch novel? I am there.

  6. Thanks so much! You guys are all just full of awesomeness!

  7. […] a little bit of back story on how I got started.  If you haven’t had the chance to read it yet, click here to do so.  I will […]

  8. […] THE TITLE TO READ THE PREVIOUS POSTS: Jena’s Adventure in Writing a Novel: Part I Jena’s Adventure in Writing a Novel: Part […]

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  10. […] Jena’s Adventure in Writing a Novel: Part I Jena’s Adventure in Writing a Novel: Part II Jena’s Adventure in Writing a Novel:  Part III […]

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