It's official -- I've begun the writing phase of HARRY VS. THE TRUCK!
This past week I reviewed my notes and answered the last remaining plot questions that came to light when I created the detailed chapter descriptions. There were a few critical issues that needed addressing, and I knew I couldn't write very much until I solved them. I found answers that I'm very happy with and feel are solid and will work well.
I also created a few new tables to help with drawing out the internal and external motivations, goals and conflicts and what the main character learns over the course of the story. As noted in my last posting, this was the area I wanted to target as I seek to improve my skills, and I definitely feel I have learned and put into use important concepts that will make a noticeable difference as I write this novel.
At this point, I have completed the first chapter out of a projected 37 chapters (see chart below). The word count for chapter one is 3,881 words.
I also wrote the ending of the final chapter, another 394 words. This was fun to do and I did it easily, since the ending is very specific and I have a clear sense of it. I feel good going into the writing knowing exactly how I want the story to end although I will, of course, change the ending as needed when I get there if a better idea comes along.
Regarding weekly goals and progress reports:
I will resume making weekly progress reports, usually on Sundays, sharing how much work I was able to complete since the last progress report. As for weekly writing goals, I have decided not to use word counts as a goal, but to focus on how many chapters I can complete in a week, regardless of their individual word counts. My focus on word counts when writing my last novel was helpful to me, but I no longer doubt I can churn out words on a weekly basis. The real issue is how many chapters, since they are the units I am working with. There will be 37 in all, acording to my initial plan. I want the novel to come in around 60,000 to 72,000 words total. That means I want shorter chapters, ranging from 1,600 to 3,000 words, typically around 2,000 words. In comparison, in my last novel the chapters ran around 10,000 words. I want chapters to focus primarily on one master scene each, although a short scene at the beginning or end may be appropriate in some cases. I have two scenes in the first chapter, the line break showing the passage of a few uneventful hours in what is otherwise a continuous scene.
As for how many chapters I will try to write each week, I will set a minimum goal of two to start with. I anticipate raising that in a week or two as the writing gets underway. Ideally, I'd like to write a chapter a day, since they are shorter this time around. Maybe 5 a week. At 2,000 words each that would match my earlier word count goal of 10,000 words a week. However, I will have to see how much time I have available and how consistent I am able to be. It's more fun to exceed a goal than to feel you can never reach one, so setting a reasonable target is wise. Two chapters a week should not be difficult to manage and leaves me room to exceed it when time permits.
Regarding the editing on THE REFLECTING STONE, I will continue to work on that as I write HARRY VS. THE TRUCK. I have enjoyed the past couple of weeks in which my writing-related workload was lighter. I needed a break after the long haul since October, but now I'm ready to dive in with a new draft. I'm eager to get another completed draft under my belt, strengthening my confidence that I can get things done. The editing of the THE REFLECTING STONE is still a priority, but I am placing it second to the new draft for now. This break will allow me to be more objective when I do start work on it in earnest in the coming weeks. If nothing else, I feel I can finish the draft of HARRY VS. THE TRUCK in 4-6 weeks, and will then devote my attention full-time to finishing up THE REFLECTING STONE. Also, during the coming month I will begin researching publishers and agents that might have an interest in THE REFLECTING STONE so that I will be ready to write query letters as I do the final polish on that manuscript.
Check back for my weekly progress reports, usually posted on Sundays, and other updates during the week as time permits!
Off and running and happy to be back in writing mode!
NEXT WEEK'S CHAPTER GOAL: COMPLETE CHAPTERS 2 & 3 NEXT WEEK'S WORD COUNT GOAL: NONE!*