Wait! What Happened to the First Book?
It’s been about three weeks since I first wrote about my new novel. And though I’m in still in the very early stages of writing this novel, the process has gone smoothly since then. I’ve focused primarily on Chapter 10, which currently comes just before my intended halfway point of the story.
Since I don’t want to give much away, I’ll say that Chapter 10 marks an important point in the protagonist’s personal journey. Certain events that already occurred in the story – and are noted in my outline, but have yet to be written – have shown that she’s starting to evolve as a character. (A-ha! Now you know my protagonist is female!)
At the same time, this first scene in Chapter 10 is a brief but necessary lull from action and danger. So it’s more dialogue oriented, but I’m trying to make sure each conversation and interaction is essential to the plot, the protagonist’s growth, overall character development, or world-building. Everything needs to have a purpose and be interesting. If I bore myself with my writing, I risk boring the reader, too!
Writing a novel is never easy work – but it’s work that brings me unadulterated joy and satisfaction. And when I feel this way, it’s impossible for me not to share it with other people. I’ve told several close friends and some family members about my new endeavor. And so far, everyone seems happy for me. Specific reactions have ranged from “That’s great! I can’t wait to read it!” to “What is it about?” to “A new book? What about the one you’ve already finished?”
Yes, “Light In The Barrenlands,” the first novel I finished. If you’ve known me long enough, or if you’ve visited my website anytime since 2009, you might remember me talking about this story. I wrote the first draft of “Light” during my final two years of college, completing it in June 2007. Then in early 2010, while working on the third draft, I took a break from “Light” to work on my great-great-aunt’s memoir and to take care of other emerging priorities. When I returned to the novel in mid-2011, I realized I had lost my passion for the story. The scope of revisions I needed to make to the plot, some of the characters, and the world I had created overwhelmed me to the point that I dreaded opening the Word file of the novel. Writing and revising had never frightened me like that before. Thus, I continued my hiatus from novel-writing – and I’d accepted the fact that this time, the hiatus might be indefinite.
But I was wrong. I’ve returned to my first creative love – or, rather, it returned to me. Since I first began that hiatus almost three years ago, I’ve pursued other types of writing while keeping an open mind to my muse as well as my desire to learn and improve as a writer. I’ve attended writing workshops, festivals and conferences, and a writer’s group. I’ve even started studying the books I read, paying attention to essential elements and writing style. And now I’m eager to apply what I’ve learned to my own work.
So, why apply those lessons to a brand new novel instead of fixing one I’ve already started? Well, why not? I can’t think of a better way to see your growth as a writer and storyteller than to begin anew with fresh ideas and a greater awareness of the challenge at hand. And, the thought of returning to “Light In The Barrenlands,” correcting its many flaws, and turning parts of it upside-down and inside-out still daunts me. I still have the hard-copy mark-ups and electronic files for “Light,” though. So I haven’t completely given up on that world. Maybe it’s just not time for me to go back there yet. Once I’ve gained more experience as a novel writer, perhaps I’ll view that story not as an alligator I have to wrestle, but as an old friend I’ve been meaning to reacquaint myself with.
As I said last time, if you have any ideas for future installments of Chronicling The Craft, feel free to post them in comments to this blog post.
Next Chronicle: Even though I promised a new installment every 3,000 words, 10,000 Words sounds like a better milestone to cover. What do you think?
EDIT: I think I didn’t write the “Next Chronicle” bit clearly. My apologies! What I meant to say was that I’ll post my next update when my story reaches 10,ooo words.