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.
SMART Goal UPDATE:
My Goal: Write a book.
Title: The Hunter & the Horned Serpent
What I’ve completed so far: 14 chapters.
When I first wrote my SMART goal, I was on a roll in terms of churning out new chapters for my novel, The Hunter & the Horned Serpent. However, as the workload of McGill University piled on, I found myself with less time to dedicate to writing further chapters. In these past weeks, I’ve managed to complete the 14th Chapter, “The Secret”. This chapter in particular is unique, as it is set several years prior to the events of the novel itself, and acts as a character development chapter. The chapter also provides a key plot point and reveals a secret that one of the characters has been keeping. The reveal is a pivotal moment, and sets the tone for the second half of the novel.
The first 13 Chapters have a very specific objective based plot arc, whereas the latter 13 Chapters focus on the emotional and psychological toll of this journey. It is a much darker half of the story.
Roadblock: Time. I do not have as much time as I did in the start of the semester. When I wrote my goal, there weren’t many assignments due, and so I had plenty of time to myself to work on my novel. Now, there are assignments and projects due every week and so my focus is dedicated to them instead of my novel.
I need to construct a new strategy, perhaps set aside some time specifically for writing the novel.
“I am so smart! S-M-R-T– I mean S-M-A-R-T”
~ Homer Simpson
My S.M.A.R.T. Goals (So Far)
- Write a Book (I’m halfway done!)
- Master the art of WordPress
- Develop a greater understanding of Media in Education
Goal 1: Write a Book
Specific – Write a first draft of a book.
Measurable – When I complete the final chapter.
Attainable – It is practical, simply write whenever I have time to spare, and progress the narrative.
Results-Oriented – Given I’m aiming to become an English teacher, it wouldn’t hurt to have published a novel to attest to my skills.
Time-Bound – Winter.