I’ve been working on my novel for three days now. Okay, I cheated a little and had 20 pages written before the 1st. I’d like to say that I got a little excited, but in reality, I tried this once before and fizzled out after the first week. That’s why I decided to blog about it. I figure you guys will keep me honest. But today puts me @ 9,000 words, or about 41 pages. And I’m pretty happy with what I have so far. And I can either finish 20 pages ahead of my goal, or use them as a cushion for those days I just can seem to get it done.

I’m writing in first person, just because I’ve never done it before, and I’ve created a Microsoft Project file to keep track of my progress. I’m a nut for detail and visual progress, so each day I can check off my 1,750 word progress (about 7 pages), and all the other little housekeeping items I need to flesh out my story—like character and scene development. My book will be divided into three acts, so I need to define and develop each act, which will help me ensure that every chapter I write will help get me where I want to be. It’s easy to get stuck spiraling down a dead end if you don’t have focus.

I’ve never written in such a structured way before. My last novel took me three years to complete, and it was a very fluid process. I did create color-coded note cards for each of my characters with details like their birth dates, family members, important events, fears and favorites. I taped them to my wall and left them there until I was finished, so I could refer to them for consistency. But I didn’t outline at all, and I never really mapped the story out until I was almost done. 104,000 words later, I feel like I have a damn good novel, but I don’t want to wait another three years for damn good to happen. It seems like improbable probability when something like that pans out—infinite monkeys typing, you know? I have several other stories in the works, but I’m such a perfectionist, I tend to write and rewrite the beginning so many times that I have an awesome beginning, and an absent ending. Having a map of, not only where my story is supposed to go, but when it is supposed to get there, is kind of exhilarating.

Wish me luck!