The results of the “what should I write” survey are in! Thank you if you provided input. Here’s what I ended up with:
There was a tie between my proposed collection of short stories, and one of the novel ideas. The more I thought about the collection, I realized I didn’t have enough compelling material to put out what I envision my first book to be. I am planning to pursue the novel, but start fleshing out short stories on the side in hopes of releasing something like that earlier.
That said, I’m very excited to have a premise selected – I’ll surprise you all with what I ended up with in a few months.
Last sprint, I drafted an outline of the main character’s timeline and began writing the first scene.
Writing the first scene felt good. Really really good.
In retrospect, I procrastinated for too long, and should have been writing sooner. My advice to anyone looking to write their first novel is to pick a premise, a main protagonist, and a scene (doesn’t have to be the first one) and just start writing. You will know if it feels right.
Sprint 2: Charting the Course
So, now the fun continues. Here’s the plan for sprint 2.
- Create a benchmark: I need to determine some average word count per sitting, and average amount of sittings every two weeks. Creating a benchmark will help me understand my output, and measure my physical progress of getting words down.
- Setting goals: Determining the length of a novel is tricky. National Novel Writing Month sets a goal of 50,000 words for their participants. I’ve researched some other pieces of advice that recommend 70,000-100,000 words before sending to an editor. I have also seen literary awards mark the cutoff between the novel and novella at 40,000 words. Quite honestly, I don’t know what my word count goal should be, but I’ll aim to figure it out this sprint. The benchmark, along with the goals, will help my predict how long this beast might take.
- More reading: I plan to continue to devour books written about writing. This week I started Stephen King’s On Writing, which ended up on a ton of “must-read” lists for first-timers.
- More writing: Now that I’ve written my first couple of pages, I have inspiration and enthusiasm that I want to capitalize on. I’ll blaze through the first chapter, and maybe derail to develop more notes on setting, characters, and plot points. Some finer details need to be ironed out before I can truly chart the course.
What do you think? Am I missing anything?
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