Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Chapter 2...forging ahead

I'm happy to report that Chapter 2 of my novel has now been written, and Amanda's feedback has been an eye-opener, to say the least. (If you haven't been following what's going on, you can read about Chapter 1 and how this project all came about here).

The first thing I can say after this second lot of feedback from Amanda is ... WOW! This novel-writing thing is not as romantic as it sounds :) In fact, it's plain hard work.

I'm only up to Chapter 2, and having written approximately 10,000 words, with at least another 50,000 to go, it's scary to think that this is only the first draft. Then the enormous challenge of going back to revise and edit every single one of these words I'm writing will begin. I don't even want to think about how long that whole process is going to take.

Aside from the sudden fear of all the work I now realise is ahead in order to complete this novel, I also have a renewed awareness of what it takes to be an author. I am utterly and completely in awe of published authors...especially those who have 2+ novels sitting on the shelf! And I thought doing a marathon was a big deal!

Although I find writing therapeutic, it hasn't taken me long to realise that I will need to find 'research' appealing too. I've never been big on researching though. Even when I was writing essays for school or uni, I always seemed to find the quickest path to get the final product done and dusted. And somehow, passed with flying colours!

I guess I got away with it back then. But when it comes to writing a novel, set in the early 1900's, in a country I've never even stepped foot in, and based on the lives of people I've never actually met...now, that's another story!

After reading Chapter 2, Amanda said:
"There are a number of elements that jumped out as difficult to believe and that’s a problem because once you lose credibility with the reader it’s very hard to recover."
In other words, I need to know what I'm talking about. I can't just write down the end result of something and expect the reader to know how on earth I got there. I have to take the reader through the process with me, or 'take them along for the ride', if you will!

Basically, I don't want the reader to be asking, "How is that possible?" but rather, "What happens next?"

So forging ahead with my word count is still high on the agenda, but developing credibility along the way must also take priority.

Onward and upward to Chapter 3 :)


Jennifer Reid said...

Great insights, Jennifer. Haven't run a marathon yet - only done a half (will report back after November 3rd) but the difference is that you can do a marathon with a combo of enthusiasm and persistence plus you do it once and it's over. Cross the finish line and you've done a marathon. Writing a novel is like running a marathon every day while patting your head and rubbing your belly - and having to start over if you mess up!

Research is - as you are starting to realise - absolutely vital. When I wrote 'The Olive Sisters' I sometimes had to read a whole book to write one informed paragraph. I'm not Italian or born in Australia so I couldn't rely on information I already had. Research is truly loads of fun, once you start it's hard to stop :)

Amanda Hampson (http://thewriteworkshops.com)

Jessica Trad said...

I've no doubt you'll tackle this with your usual grace and determination. The one good thing is that the research is something that would be wonderful to do on a personal level to. Don't you give up! I want to read this book :)