I’m working on the second draft of my first novel and, well, I’m making progress. Slow progress, but progress. I’ve been working on the first chapter for about a week now, trying to get it just right. The first chapter is where the first impression is made and I want to make sure I pull the reader in. I wasn’t happy with how the chapter was originally written. It was the first draft of this massive undertaking and I didn’t know how to begin, so I started writing some background. After a few pages the story itself kicked in and I took off from there. Unfortunately, it wasn’t done in a way that would allow me to simply hack off that initial intro, so here I am basically starting over.
But it’s not a bad thing. I’m enjoying it. It’s funny because I get this feeling that I’m taking too long with it, that I should be ripping through this thing like a Tasmanian devil. Then I remind myself that I’m not in a race, that no one is judging me on speed. Hell, I don’t even have a deadline. Besides, this is my first real go at a real novel. I want to take my time and do it right. Or at least, as right as I can make it.
And I’m glad I’m not pushing myself. I feel that I’m finally crafting the opening my novel needs. There’s some action, some allusions, some back story, all leading the reader along my desired path. A friend took a look at the first two pages for me and her response was encouraging.
I’m on the right track now. I feel good about the story, about the characters, and that I’m handling the subject matter the right way. Yes, I want to have a message in my story. It’s sort of a morality play, I guess. But shouldn’t all stories have some underlying message to them? Like, be true to yourself, don’t give up, don’t be a dick…even if we aren’t consciously trying to make a point when we tell a tale, all stories eventually have one.
It feels good to be making progress on this beast. I think I have a good story to tell, that it’s coming together (although I’ve barely scratched the surface), and I think people will like it. It’s a weird feeling, that confidence in my work, especially now that I’m swimming in uncharted waters. But I know what I’m doing, where I’m going, and how to get there. I should have this first chapter reworked in the next few days, then it’s on to chapter two. Then three. Then four.
And so on.