This year I am writing a novel.

This year I am writing a novel.

So, we am I at?

Well, there has definitely been some trial and error but I think I have found a system that works for me right now.

My writing habit of late has been to try and write a chapter in 1 to 2 weeks and then take the third week to shift through it and pull out the glaringly obvious problems. I guess we could say I spend the week editing it, but it is a very loose rough edit. For both writing and editing, I have been using tips that I have picked up along the way. For example, Trent from Trent’s World (the Blog) shared a few months back as he was editing his novel The Old Mill and when editing he does an out loud read. I tried this and was really amazed by the things that I picked up out loud that I was missing as I was reading in my head. (Big thanks going out to Trent!!)

The other thing that I have been doing during that week of loose editing is that I set up the rough outline for the next chapter. I picked this up when I read How I Write by Janet Evanovich. It definitely saves me time when I sit down to start writing that next chapter and I find that having that plan makes the story flow out of me faster and smoother. It is just a few point form ideas that I know have to be covered off in the chapter and the solid detail develops from there. The other thing that I picked up from Janet Evanovich’s How I Write is when I sit down to write just get something on the paper, anything. It is habit forming and I have found that again in the long run this has made writing smoother.

I don’t know about you but sometimes I struggle with transitions. Maybe I make too much of them because sometimes and it stops me up, I don’t know. When I find that happens I use a site called English Language Smart Words. It is a site that I like when I need a bit of help with a transition word or phrase. It is a clear breakdown of transitions and for me it helps to get those writing juices flowing. If you would like to add it to your writing tool box you can find it: here.

What else?

To give you an idea of how my word count expectations are playing out. A total word count for the first 4 chapters is sitting at just over 13 thousand words. My rough word count goal was to be between 12, 600 and 16, 800 words. Needless to say, I am feeling pretty happy with that aspect of things right now. I realize that when I get to the editing stage these numbers will fluctuate but I think that there is room to expand or decrease as needed.

Finally, I have reached a place in writing this novel that seems to have caught my children’s attention. My older boy is eager to read what mommy is writing. I think that I will let me give it a try once I get a little further in and see what, if anything, he might have to say. He is so curious that when I needed to look up a few bird facts for one of the chapters he was eager to share his big encyclopedia of animals with me and stuck around to help me with it. Very helpful.

So, that is my update for this week. If you have any writing/editing tip or tricks to share I would love to hear them.

Thanks for reading.

By Shari Marshall – 2021

6 thoughts on “This year I am writing a novel.

  1. Just getting it on paper is super important. My big issue is that sometimes I see it as being in stone instead of on paper and have a hard time changing large blocks of text…

    You are welcome about the reading out loud thing. I picked it up from another blogger when I was starting out, but unfortunately I forget who. I know others have said tghey do it.

    Good luck!

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      1. Yeah, I try to take months, although it sometimes turns into years, to go back and do a thorough rewrite after the rough draft – I think the distance helps a lot.

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