“This is not a love song,” Jakob announced and the opening chords of Charlotte-Coloured Dawn filled my heart in a brand new way.
It wasn’t a love song.
It was an anthem to finding yourself.
On October 2nd, I bashed out 7000 words to finish my Post Marked Piper's Reach tie-novel What I Left to Forget. In all honesty, I really needed two extra weeks to stick to the slow, steady 1500 words a day, 5 days a week, but I just wanted it finished. It was an emotional powder keg by the end and I was desperate for a little bit of distance.
What many of you probably don't know, this is a novel I said I would never write. Even after Adam had penned his tie-in novella, I remained adamant I would not return to Ella-Louise's world. Until I woke up burning with the need to tell her story with Jakob in early February this year, almost 8 years after I'd last written her.
So this is what happens when you give in to a novel that (technically) was never meant to exist.
This is the first writing project I've researched in the lead up to starting. I had a minimum research goal and I didn't finally meet that until halfway through July.
#2 Five-Day A Week Writer
I have a confession. I didn't really sit down to write a novel. I sat down to see if I could commit to writing Tuesday to Saturday, to a word count. It turned out I could and this novel is the bridge away from being a binge writer.
If I was in for a penny, I was in for a pound, so I invested in Scrivener and wrote the novel in there, rather than Word.
#4 Ideas in Notebooks
I finally became a writer who wrote ideas in a book (rather than random snippets of paper or in the notes app or kept them in my head believing I wouldn't forget). This was on the urging of Antony Johnston (author of The Organised Writer) on the premise it empties the mind to focus solely on the story at hand. (And it worked.)
#5 Index Cards
They could have been post-it notes, but cards were easier to shuffle
around at the breakfast table. I've never plotted something out this
way, but I relented in the final quarter of the novel as I struggled to
make the pieces fit. It was also, again, a way of emptying everything
out of my head to be completely present with the story when I sat down
#6 Playlist as Character Study
I spent the better part of a day actually making the mix tape Jakob
gives to Charlotte. It was Jakob's way of saying "this is who I am" to
Charlotte but in the process, he also told me an awful lot about himself.
#7 Sex Free Zone
The decision came very early, to give these two their privacy. Later
in the novel I realised why and it's going to make the second draft
really interesting in constructing.
#8 Coffee-Free Zone
I wrote an entire novel without coffee, and for the most part, without caffeine. *jaw drop* I know!!
Not only did I write without coffee, I wrote without leaving the
house (and we were not technically in lockdown). Most of the novel was
written in my reading chair with my Mac balanced on my lap.