Friday, 21 February 2014

Progress after first two weeks with my first novel

Because it is my first novel, I am taking it fairly slowly, trying to be sure I know what I am doing before I spend a lot of wasted time. So where have I got to after 11 days since making the decision.

Well the first thing is that I am so glad that I looked at software which could help me. My first inclination to simply use a notebook; but I am finding it difficult to find stuff in ther already. Oh yes, it is not that full that I cannot trawl through the whole thing to find something but with no index and ideas being written down as soon as they enter my head, it has become a convoluted mess.

With iWriter5, I can control it all. As soon and as frequently as possible I transfer all those notes and ideas to Iwriter and it becomes so easy to look them up - usually. But any problems are due to my not yet being adept in using the software and knowing where I put things. So One up to iWriter. Did I say that I have registered my copy by making a donation to the author, well worthwhile.

It is very early days but I have very clear outlines for the first three (of 25 planned) chapters and have outlined the story by creating a number of scenes for each of those first chapters. I have added all the main characters although as the story unrolls, there may be more - but not too many; and identified a few of the lesser characters. I have described and sketched (or chosen suitable photos) for the early locations to help give me a feel for them, and I feel that the structure of the novel is coming together nicely.

An example of one of the locations are tunnels below the castle, through the cliff face. I have used this photo I took of "The Smugglers Tunnel" at Shaldon, near Torquay in the UK. Of course I had to edit out (very roughly here) the electric lights.

NOW the nitty-gritty, I have started drafting the first chapter and feel very happy with the way it is shaping. Not that many words so far, only about 1500, but I am getting the skeleton down. As it is my first time I am picking my way very gingerly - I am sure I will speed up in the very near future.

I have also made a rough estimate of the work ahead:-

The novel will be say 100,000 words
25 chapter will require 4000 words each on average
Each chapter will need 8 scenes of 500 words

I feel that I have made a good beginning although I have not really set myself a timetable yet. As I said a strong start is more important for me than a quick finish. But a chapter a week will give me a goal of 6 months, unless I up my output; can I get editing done within that time scale? That is another question!

Just for the record, here is a review of the length of some different fiction types:-
  • Flash Fiction: <1000 words
  • Short Story: 1,500 - 30,000 words (often less than 15,000)
    • anthologies: 5000 - 6000 words
    • magazines: 2000 - 3000 words
  •  Novella: 30,000 - 50,000 words
  • Novel: >50,000 words (likely to be 80,000 - 100,000)
    • Sci-Fi and Fantasy upto 120,000 words
    • often first novels are shorter

1 comment:

  1. John, This is awesome. I am so happy that you are moving right along and it all seems to be coming together for you nicely. I need to get mine back out and start working on it but I am so anxious to see what everyone creates in the group.

    Great job, Monna