Chapter Three

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I hoped to have Chapter Three done in two weeks, but the last couple weekends have kept me busy.  It’s taken a little over three weeks to finish and it’s my largest chapter yet!  It’s about 6,800 words, before editing.  I’ve learned a lot since my last post and I’d love to share.

First, to reiterate, this is my very first attempt at writing a novel.  Other than a handful of poems and journal entries, the only other writing I’ve done was academic.  Some may say I’m not qualified to write a novel because I don’t have experience or a graduate degree, but the beauty of writing is anyone can do it!  Whether it’s good or not, in my opinion,  depends on natural talent, a willingness to self-teach, and an ambitious attitude.  There are several accomplished authors that either didn’t finish school or didn’t study English in college.

Anyway, with that in mind, it goes without saying that I’ve had to do a lot of self-teaching.  I’m like a baby bird jumping from its nest to see if it can fly.  I started with an idea, then have spent the last couple months fleshing it out into a story.  With the help of the internet, I’ve discovered that writers seem to be categorized in two ways: the Panster and the Planner (a.k.a. Pantser and Plotter).  I started as a Panster, which means I just wrote to see where the story pans out.  Now that I’m three chapters in, I think I’m going switch to being a planner, which is pretty self-explanatory.

I’ve found that being a Panster, while offering free-flowing ideas, leaves me without direction.  I ended up staring at the screen thinking, what happens now?  I know how I want the story to start and end, but I wasn’t sure what should happen in between.  I plan on doing some brainstorming and creating a loose outline moving forward.

Other than that, I noticed that my story tended to be very linear: A to B, then B to C.  It lacked depth.  In reading other novels, I picked up on the different literary devices that help enhance a story.  I absolutely love a good analogy, so I’m going to make a point to pepper them in.  I also love foreshadowing, so I’m going to plant little hints, then have them bloom later on.

To summarize, writing is hard!  I found a quote online that read, ‘Easy reading is hard writing.’ and I have to agree!

References:

Famous Authors Who Didn’t Graduate College –  https://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2013/11/10-famous-authors-who-never-graduated-from-college.html

Panster vs. Planner (Pantser or Plotter) –  https://www.autocrit.com/editing/library/plotter-or-pantser-the-best-of-both-worlds/

Literary Devices – http://literary-devices.com/

 

The Start

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I started writing the first draft of my Contemporary Romance novel on June 18, 2016.  It’s now been about 3 weeks and I’m halfway through Chapter 2.  So far, the story is totaling 6,441 words.  According to Writer’s Digest, an adult novel should be  between 80,000 and 89,999 words.  Similarly, the Writers & Artists website claims that a typical novel is 80,000 to 100,000 words in length.  Although, the Manuscript Appraisal Agency website states that romance novels are expected to be between 50,000-100,000 words.  I don’t have a specific word count goal, but I’m shooting for at least 80,000 words.

To summarize, the story is about a single, misfit, yet successful family lawyer who retires early to escape city life and move to a place of serenity where she encounters someone unexpected.  It’s kind of an adventurous and somewhat thrilling love story.

I started the manuscript using Word, but discovered a downloadable software called Scrivener that works even better for long text.  It allows me to break the text down into chapters and scenes, so I can refer back to them easily.  It also has an option where you can put two sections side by side to see if you’ve already used a certain phrase or if you just want to make sure you’re keeping the story cohesive.  I highly recommend it for writers.  It’s currently $40.00 to download on Literature & Latte’s website.  It’s also great for keeping your notes, pictures, and research in one place.

I’m really hoping to finish Chapter 2 this week.  A typical week day for me includes: working full time, reading on my breaks, writing after dinner, then working out.  At this pace, I have no idea when I’ll finish the novel, but I’m hoping no longer than a year.

 

References:

Writer’s Digest – http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/word-count-for-novels-and-childrens-books-the-definitive-post

Writers & Artists – https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/writers/advice/33/preparing-for-submission/how-to-find-a-literary-agent/how-long-should-my-ms-be

Manuscript Appraisal Agency – http://manuscriptagency.com.au/word-count-by-genre-how-long-should-my-book-be/

Scrivener – https://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php