a train, and belated Fess up Friday

dylan's train

Meet Dylan’s train. He is in love with this wooden Melissa and Doug stacking train. We have to bring it up and down the stairs, along with all of its pieces, anywhere he goes. He sleeps with it every night, lol. I’m totally serious. He needs this train, or else he will cry! It’s amusing. Even more amusing is his tongue. Look at the concentration on that child! 🙂

I missed ‘Fess up Friday last week, which I had every intention of participating in. And I actually had progress to ‘fess up on, so…

I think I’ve pretty much ironed out the kinks in the third revision of my second chapter, which I know I’m not supposed to be revising again. I’m supposed to be writing straight through to the end. It’s the advice I’ve always heard, and given myself even. But as my very first written chapter of my very first novel, I feel like this is a kind of foundation for me, and I can’t really move on until it makes sense. I’m not talking about line editing or anything, but I had some pretty gaping holes in my characters, and how do you really build a novel off of that?

I read this somewhere, (who knows where) – that you can’t really learn how to write a novel until you’re actually trying to write one, and I’m finding this to be so true! No amount of reading how-to books can equate to actually just jumping into the mess and trying to figure it out. Which leads me to the errors made while figuring things out…

My favorite lesson this week is about letting go of things when they’re not working. I kept running into this trap where I’d written scenes that I loved, but based on incomplete characters, so that when I’d filled out those characters and I saw how they really would have handled the situation, it made my beloved scenes obsolete. Ugh, it’s so hard. But I’m telling myself this: words are free. You can have as many as you want. You can have them all back again, but not in the same order.

So there is my little bit of wisdom for the world.

Hubby is building me a facebook application to track my novel progress. I’ll share it with you all when he’s finished. It will have a neat little progress bar and everything 🙂 My first chapter is pretty well fleshed out now (reminding you that I wrote the second before the first), and my total word-count is at about 20,000 words. Yay, about 18% done. I am estimating the finished project at about 110,000 words now.

I’m so happy that it just keeps being written. I was completely expecting this to be yet another idea flop that wouldn’t ever become anything. I’ve written first chapters of novels before, but that’s where they always stopped. Most exciting of all! I think I may finally have a working title. This feels very exciting for some reason. It seems to make it all more valid. I’m keeping the title a secret for now – I may possibly run it by my writer friends first, and maybe then I’ll spill the beans. Yay for working titles! 🙂

The title, by the way, I think makes the book sound really chick-lit-y. Maybe that’s not a bad thing. Chick-lit sells. We’ll see.

Oh, and I suppose if I’m going to be doing ‘Fess up Fridays, I need some weekly goals to aspire to. This week: chapter 1, I have the meat and bones of it, so this week we’ll finish up with the skin and a nice fashionable outfit. That’s digustingly gruesome, isn’t it? 🙂 I would also like to finish some spot editing on chapter 2. If all of that goes well, then I already have notes and can jump straight into chapter 3 next week.