Novel On!

After the little down period I had the last few days, and the bit of affirmation I received yesterday morning, it was time to get to work.  I’m not ready to start on the novel I’ve written for NaNoWriMo, so what’s next?

Why, how about looking at my first novel?

When I first got into this writing thing I did a couple of short stories–which went nowhere, which happens–and then thought, “Hey, I’ve got something to say, why not do a novel?”  This was 1989 or so, and I had almost no idea what I was doing or what I was getting into.  But I went there anyway, because I had a lot more enthusiasm and grand ideas than I had knowledge about what was coming.

I’ve mentioned, in passing, my first novel a few times.  It’s one that is huge, and it’s gotten away from me more than once, but I’ve decided that I am going to rope this beast and bring it down.  And perhaps, in the process, get it published.

Now, in the beginning of this novel I wrote in Word Perfect, then moved to Word.  Now, I am using Scrivener to “reverse engineer” the story, and let me tell you–I’m loving every second of it.

A little quick background: my first published story, Kuntilanak (found on Smashwords and Barnes & Noble) was started in MS Word, but I started using the beta version of Scrivener for Windows to see how it worked.  I liked how quickly I was able to not only figure out how to use it, but how I could “see” the whole story laid out before me, as well as having access to notes while I was working away in a chapter or scene without having to start looking for other files.

I did another story, one of about 10,000 words, in Scrivener, and I loved how I was able to do most of the formatting in the Compile function before sending it off for (what I hope is) accepted.  I was using Scrivener, but I wasn’t using it the way I felt it should be used.

Now, with my NaNo Novel, everything was written in Scrivener (or should I say “wrote”, which I’m saying with a wink).  I used Scrivener to figure out each chapter, give a little note about what was going to happen, when that event happened in the time frame of the story.  I would write split screen and pull up notes and pictures and, for me, a listing of my word sprints.  And I used the Project Targets feature to set how many words the novel would require, how many words I had written, and how many I’d done while I’d had the program up.

The novel ended up with a final word count of 86688, and it took 25 days.  And Scrivener kept me going the whole time.  It helped me write in a way I’ve never written before, and I don’t believe I would have finished the novel without the program.

Right now, for my first novel, I’ve set up three parts corresponding to the three parts I have in my story.  Within each part I’m creating a “chapter folder”, and inside each of those chapters I’m setting up scenes.  On the note card that shows each chapter and scene I’m giving a little description of what is happening, and I’m also setting up the date and time when this all happens.  For me, knowing when is very important, as nearly the entire Part Three is predicated on something happening within a limited time frame, and knowing the dates is going to help me a lot in terms of keeping track of everything.  I’ve also indicated, through one of the characters, that everything takes place over a nearly two year period, so with the dates in place I can verify that as I go along.

It’s going to be a big project.  I’ve completed the first five chapters and I’m already at 38,600 words.  Like I’ve said before, I’m wordy.  The main reason for all this work is so I can look at what I have, see how the story flows, and decided if I need to cut something–or, add something into the mix.  I know I’ll have to end this thing–I’m maybe 3/4th of the way through it–and that will require a Part Four, but with the novel laid for like this, with everything at my virtual fingers, the writing and editing process will become much easier.

So there you having it.  My next WiP, which is really an old WiP.  Maybe by this time next year I’ll have this novel done, edited, and–fingers crossed–published.  Then you’ll be able to see if all this hard work was worth every second.

Oh, and one last thing: I might sounds like I’m shilling Scrivener, but it’s not my intention.  However, that said . . . if you write, and you’re serious about writing, buy it.  You won’t be disappointed.