Chapter 1 of Project Skye is done! It’s currently called “Storm Dark.” And this Chapter 1 has felt different from all of my past attempts at writing a novel–it actually feels like something manageable this time. If feels like something I can complete. Time will tell if this is true or if this is another false start, but at least I’ve done something right this time around. Working on the first chapter felt like a breeze as opposed to the slough trying to do a chapter normally feels.
I promised last week that I would post if I discovered the secret to writing long. While I’m not sure that I know the secret yet, I tried several different things this time around that aided me, I think. Here’s what I tried:
1) I have the story completely mapped out. On my iPhone, in my Notes App is a note where I have each of the 3 parts of Project Skye written out in 3 longish paragraphs. The 1st chapter was an elaboration of the 1st sentence on the phone. I’m thinking that the next sentence of that “rough draft” on my phone probably needs to be expanded into two separate chapters in order not to have too much going on in any one chapter.
2) I eliminated pretty much all of the setting except where necessary for understanding. The only thing I’m focusing on this draft is character and plot, with character being my primary focus of the two. I don’t honestly know how long it’s going to take to write this book, but if I plan for it to run the entire school year then that’s 10 months (well, now 9 months) to get from beginning to end. That would leave 2 full months (June & July) to go back chapter by chapter, scene by scene to add in the scenery that’s in my mind. I would also have better idea of where things like foreshadowing need to go, where extra characterization (or motivation) is needed because I would have a “finished” draft to work with (& that’s essentially how I work with short stories–I usually go through 2 major drafts/passes, sometimes 3 or 4 before I get them where I want them).
3) I’ve given Chapter 1 to an “Alpha” Reader to read. I used to be a Librarian and I worked at the Main branch of our local library. Quite a few of my former coworkers are there and one of them is an English major like myself. She has graciously agreed to read my “early” drafts. Now, here’s the new thing that I’m trying–my library books are due every 3 weeks and I promised her a new chapter when I come in next to return my books. That means I need to have Chapter 2 done in 3 weeks or else I’ll risk disappointing her. That’s an external goal that I can work toward. Yes, I know that she’ll be cool if I miss my deadline to her, but (being the “perfectionista” that I am, I won’t be cool with that.) So, my only out is illness, or if there is some school related thing that comes up, but otherwise, I gave her Chapter 1 with the INTENT that 3 weeks from now she’ll be able to read Chapter 2. And 3 weeks after that Chap. 3, and so on until I finish the novel.
As soon as I wrap up this blog post, I’m going to open up Pages (my word processor) and start chapter 2. While I only have an hour before the new episode of Dr. Who starts that may be enough time to at least knock out the 1st paragraph down and start the process. After all, I only have 3 weeks before Chap. 3 needs to be out this computer and into someone else’s hands. 🙂
For those who’ve made it this far–I took the title of the blog post from lyrics that heard from a song on iTunes Radio today while doing yard work. The song is Rise Up by Yves LaRock and the lyric “My Dream is to fly over the Rainbow so High,” symbolizes my goal to succeed in writing. I wanted to give the artist a shout-out by linking his music video here, but then was blown away by the fact the music video pretty much has a novice training and working hard to become an outstanding talent in her chosen discipline. Talk about Synchronicity! Anyway, here is the video, check it out because it’s awesome: