I’ve spent the past week reviewing the first half of the novel I’m writing. It’s been a useful exercise, just as I hoped it would be. Until this week, I haven’t gone back to read any of the book so far. Instead I focused on writing new words, pushing the story ahead. Now that I need to structure the final half, I wanted to look over what has happened in the first half, to pick out all the threads and carry them forward to the end.
So far I’ve got six pages of notes, some definite ideas about how to proceed, and over a hundred pages of semi-edited prose to review again when I’m finished. I’ll take another day or two to continue brainstorming, and then get back to new words.
This novel is a learning experience for me. I’ve only completed one novel in my life. I’ve started a few more, only to find that I was writing something that was either 1) a story I wanted to write, but which was outside my abilities at that moment, or 2) not a story I wanted to write at all, though I hadn’t realized it when I began. I learn something new every time, and so far this book has been both a story I want to write and something that seems to match my ability, at least if I stretch myself. But at the same time, novel structure is still very new to me. I guess all writers continue to learn as they go, but the curve is pretty steep when you’re starting out.
I’ve written a lot over the years, mostly non-fiction, but also maybe a dozen short stories as well as the novels I’ve written or attempted. And my promise to myself now, when I have this time to write and no pressure to do anything else, is to write and finish new works consistently. So I will press on with this story.
This book, by the way, is not set in any fantasy world I’ve designed previously. I have at least three worlds I hope to return to in the years ahead. But this is a contemporary fantasy, set in the present day world, where there happens to be magic, spirits, and people who work with magic and spirits. And of course all manner of trouble that both people and magic can cause. I hope in the end it will be something you might find worth reading.