So I’ve decided to make some changes. I’ll be putting the “Smart” Goal update title to rest, and instead refer to any updates regarding my first novel as–evidently–“First Novel Update”.
On to the update:
I’m still deep in revisions of my novel’s manuscript, and to be honest, it has been an enlightening and fulfilling experience to revisit the events of the novel. I’ve reworked some clunky plot points, developed some characters, and even created new ones, now that I am aware of where I want to take the story in later instalments. My writing style has definitely matured, and it’s interesting to reread the chapters I wrote on my first run. I will keep you all posted on any new developments, or once I finish my revisions!
It has been a while, and time for another update!
While I finished the first draft of my novel, I am currently undergoing rewrites and revisions. Towards the latter half of the novel, I realized that I finally found my literary ‘voice’ that was not yet fully formed in the first half of the novel. The majority of these revisions are simply modifying the prose so that it is consistent with the writing style I managed to perfect in the second half.
This also provides me with an opportunity to revisit the story with fresh eyes and go over what works and what doesn’t. Some characters who grew to be major players in the overall plot had arbitrary introductions, and I would like to add greater depth to them in the beginning. There was also a rushed feeling to the first half, perhaps due to the fact that I wrote the first half of the story by hand first–thus resulting in events proceeding unnaturally fast.
For example, the major characters are introduced, the main antagonist appears, and the inciting incident all happen within seven pages. Very rushed indeed. So now I’m taking my time, developing the world more, and giving the characters the space they deserve to breathe and grow without feeling like they’re on rails and being rushed through the plot.
Personal crises and loss have fallen upon myself in the past few months, but I’m taking them as added knowledge and experience that I can now breathe into my novel. I have a greater sense what it’s like to lose someone dear, and that will now find itself being expressed through the characters as they too are faced with hardship.
Of course, this means some events will need to be cut because too much happens too soon. I understand this is all part of the creative process, and I am still just as excited for my future readers to explore this world I’m creating. With my third semester at McGill coming to a close, I now have a good month or so to fully dedicate myself to restructure the first half of my novel. Hopefully this will result in the next incarnation to be ready sometime in January of February!
It is my pleasure to announce that on July 31st, I finished the first draft of my novel, The Hunter and the Horned Serpent. The manuscript stands at a strong 425 pages.
Two parts. 26 Chapters. Plus one Prologue.
It is one of my proudest achievements. However, the work has only begun. Now I enter the editing stage, with my red pen in hand.
While I’ve finished the SMART goal I set out to accomplish in a time much later than I projected, it is nonetheless a success to have written a novel. This is but the first step in a miles long journey, and I cannot wait to update you all on the journey I’ve begun.
I write this update while taking a break from writing the final chapter of my first novel.
It has been a long and solitary road. Several months have come and gone, each filled with moments where I’ve told my friends and family: “I’m so excited! The main character is facing X problem.”
“What’s happening?” They would ask.
“Sorry. Can’t tell,” I would reply.
Instead, I pushed through months and thousands of words, keeping my protagonist’s story to myself. Keeping her struggles, her anxieties, her failures, to myself. And now, as I reach the final pages, I simply cannot help but look forward to new stories. Whatever will my heroes face next?
This is the ending of the beginning.
So a few things to say.
First, I really need to update more often.
Second, I’m nearing the finish line for my first novel!
It truly is a grand adventure, and just a few nights ago I actually had a dream that I was in the same world as my protagonists. Allow me to tell you all this, you haven’t lived until you dream in the world that your heroes live in. To be able to see and interact with the very characters you created is a feeling that transcends bewilderment.
So, on to the update.
At present, I’m writing Chapter Seven of Part Two, which means I’ve passed the halfway point of the latter half of The Hunter and the Horned Serpent. As I previously mentioned, each Part has 13 Chapters. But worry not, when all is said and done, it will all be part of a single novel. I have two reasons on why I chose to divide this one story into two narratives. Firstly, to give readers a definitive “intermission” where they can set the book down, process their thoughts, and then return to see how the heroes finish their journey. And secondly, because the second Part is structured differently than Part One. The former is very episodic, with some chapters telling their own self-contained story; whereas the latter is a single story that is broken into 13 pieces. But fret not, I assure my readers that there will be a self-contained chapter or two peppered into Part Two.
Further, Chapter Seven of Part Two is smack dab in the middle of Act Two. This section of the story really picks up the pace and it becomes a race against time for our protagonists–and antagonists–as they race into Act Three. The final six chapters may very well be my favourite parts of the story; they are fast paced, terrifying, and beautiful. I look forward to one day showing you all this adventure, and hope you enjoy the journey as much as I have.
Work on my novel, The Hunter and the Horned Serpent, is slowly coming along. While I haven’t had a lot of time to work on Part Two as I had writing Part One, I am satisfied that there is progress nonetheless. Luckily, Reading Week at McGill just passed by, and I used that time to get a lot of work done for The Age of Antlers; the second part of the greater story of The Hunter and the Horned Serpent.
Presently, I am in the midst of developing the fourth chapter of The Age of Antlers. Similar to Part One: The Rise, the second half of the story will follow the thirteen chapter formula.
Having begun my writing career as a scriptwriter, the manner in which The Hunter and the Horned Serpent‘s plot unravels is very similar to a season of a cable television series. Each chapter sticks with a specific theme, and while it possesses its own self-contained plot, it adds to the overall arc of the story. I’ve done this for two reasons, the first being that this was how I learned to write stories, and second, that hopefully some day I can put The Hunter and the Horned Serpent to series. The story of Horned Serpent would span two, 13-episode seasons.
And while nothing is set in stone, I intend to continue the stories of my characters in two more novels. The novels would hopefully be divided into two seasons each, resulting in a six season series. That all said, I’m mainly focusing on the writing of this specific novel. However, there’s no harm in having a greater goal for the future!
An update on my goal to write a book.
After being stuck in a writer’s block at Chapter 14, I have decided to break The Hunter & the Horned Serpent into two parts, since so much has happened in the first half of the story.
13 Chapters for Part One, titled The Hunter & the Horned Serpent: The Rise, and 13 Chapters for Part Two, The Hunter & the Horned Serpent: The Age of Antlers.
The first half of the story will be written and published as an eBook, followed by Part Two sometime in late 2017.
For Part One, I had been writing the story by hand, using up two notebooks so far. However, I’ve now begun typing it in Pages with the intent of sending it to iBooks later on. With typing it, I now have the opportunity to look at the earlier Chapters with fresh eyes. This has allowed me to make minor edits and revisions as I make the second sweep over Part One. Many silly mistakes and plot holes have been corrected.
I am very excited and am optimistic for the future of this story, and incredibly relieved that I have the opportunity to get back into writing now that my first semester at McGill has finished.