Writing my First Chapter

For the past two days I have been working on the first chapter of my second novel. As I have said before, my first novel (Keep Moving On) was not written very well. I was participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which meant I had to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It was definitely not easy.

My second novel, Candy Wrappers, has nothing to do with Keep Moving On. It is going to be the first in a series called The Gravestone Chronicles, which will follow Malia Kotter and Zane Towne in their quest to find the gravestone and banish demons from our world once and for all. In Candy Wrappers Malia is going to meet Zane, and learn about the threat of demons in the world; and how they are the real reason behind her parents murder.

I have most of the main plot points figured out, but how to actually start the book is a whole different story. I truly believe that beginning a story is the hardest part. You face the challenge of setting up the plot, characters, and setting, all while keeping the reader engaged.  Just the thought of doing this makes me want to curl up under a rug somewhere and hide.

In the past two days of working on my book, I have written 1,218 words; that is about 2 1/2 pages of size 11 font. I have successfully completed my first scene, which is about 1/3 of my first chapter. In all honesty, I think I would have written a lot more if I didn’t spend so much time online and on social media; however, it is part of my life, and I have no deadline for when I want my first draft to be done.

I have also spent a lot of time staring at my sentences and rewriting them over and over again. I think it is fair to say that I am a bit of a perfectionist. Hopefully I will be able to resist the urge to edit so I can get some new words on the end.

I have some high hopes for Candy Wrappers, and seeing it being written down on a page is very encouraging. I can’t wait to write some more, and see if Malia and Zane want to go along with my plans for them.

Beginning a Novel

Today marks the day that I am starting my second novel. Unlike when I started my first novel, I decided to do some research before starting this one. It’s hard to understand how confusing a novel can be to write until you are sitting at your keyboard and trying to pants your way though the first chapter. Needless to say, my first novel was a train wreck.

This time around I decided not to be a pantser. A pantser is someone who doesn’t make an outline, and just writes as they go along. I’m not saying that pantsing doesn’t work (it does- just ask JK Rowling), I’m just saying that it didn’t work that well for me. I ended up forgetting about characters and leaving huge plot holes that pure editing can’t fix.

For the past couple weeks, I have been scouring the internet looking for the best ways to go about plot planning. I have never been much of a planner, even when I wrote essays for school. However, I also don’t like editing, so that puts me in a bit of a pickle; how can I write a great book that doesn’t require too much planning or editing?

The solution for editing is an easy one. There are amazing websites such as https://reedsy.com/ that can get you in contact with professional editors, cover/interior designers, and any other service you need. Then, you can negotiate your own price with them first hand. That being solved, the only problem I had left was how am I going to plan my plot?

In my creative process, I get ideas two main ways. The scenes will pop into my head,  or I talk with my older brother/a close friend. So how do I take these seemingly random ideas and put them together to make a killer plot?

The answer for me was a chapter by chapter breakdown. I spent a good three hours organizing all the little notes I made into a sort-of-legible story line, and went from there. It was pretty easy from that point to fill in the missing points and see what needed more developing.

I’m not saying that my plot skeleton is perfect- it is just a skeleton. I still have a lot of work to do on it, and it will most likely change as I go along. However, the way I did it gives me a great deal more freedom than completely planning out my novel. It allows me to change directions at the end of a chapter- or switch a chapter out completely) if I don’t like it. Being a lover of pantsing, I feel like this plan gives me a good amount of space to let my creativity grow, while still sticking to a story line.

Now, I just need to see if my planning works. I guess you can call this a bit of an experiment. So wish me luck! I’ll post an update about it soon.