I'll be the first to admit it, week two has been tough. I've had to rely on all of the extra words I wrote during the Write All Night in order to keep myself afloat. Still, I try to meet the daily word count goal or at least chip away on my story every day. I am now at 23,000 words. It's time to take a break and and take stock of where I am now. I encourage you to do the same.
So far, the plot seems to be shaping up nicely. The intro is kind of long and I know during revisions that I will probably have to get rid of several of my beginning chapters. But hey, at least it's going somewhere and I haven't run out of things to write about yet (knock on wood).
First of all, I really love my setting. My story takes place on a little Atlantic island with a bustling town and a mysterious lighthouse. There's hidden coves, bluffs, winding dirt highways, and a bay that is dangerous for large ships to sail into (due to the rocky spires that surround the base of the cliffs). The setting is what brings the story alive for me. Especially with the mysterious fog that has begun rolling in. An omen for things to come? Maybe so.
My characters are becoming more and more lovable and interesting as I get further into my story. At the beginning they all felt pretty flat and some still do. But, I think that I have discovered more about them as I have written and gotten more invested in their lives. It's fun to watch them go from a character outlined on notebook paper to a person who I feel like I know. For example, I knew before I started writing that Thomas, one of my main characters, was orphaned when he was around fourteen years old. It was tragic, it drove him to a leave his home country, and he becomes a sailor without any family or home to anchor his wandering spirit. However, what I didn't know was how his father's death was even more devastating for him than his mother's. And how the stories that surrounded his native country are going to drive him to a tough fork in the road later on. I'm looking forward to exploring this more and seeing how that impacts his relationships with the other characters.
Meanwhile, I still have a long ways to go with my other main character, Helena. She will need some editing to bring her up to where Thomas is right now. I've given her interests (she is obsessed with myths and legends), a past (her mother's mysterious death and her father's increasing paranoia), and she has a stake in the story (this could be her last chance for freedom), but she still doesn't stand out. Maybe I need to develop her personality more or increase her accountability. What will happen if she does take a chance? The repercussions should be bigger.
And then, there are some side characters that I initially just threw in for Thomas to dialogue with who've turned out to be my favorites. One of them is a very hairy sailor named Standfield. He's overly superstitious and has a seaman's tale ready for any situation. The captain of the ship is a very logical and sensible man and usually dissuades such nonsense. But Standfield's stories keeps the crew entertained and their minds far from ideas of disobedience and mutiny, so the captain makes an exception. However, it starts to become unnerving when Standfield's outlandish stories start to come true.
I hope you take a break this week and look at how far you've come. Who are your favorite characters? What is great about your setting? Remember, this is a first draft. Not everything has to be perfect the first time. Instead of letting that keep you from writing, just make a comment in your word document to remind you to come back later during editing.
Week three here we come!
Hi, I'm Jessica! I'm on a mission to make my writing better in hopes of becoming a published novelist. It's been a crazy journey so far as I learn the twists and turns of the publishing world, but it's been worth it. Though I'm still learning how to be the best writer I can be, I'm excited to share what I learn with you. Happy writing!