Having another in a long chain of busy weeks, so I’ll keep the update brief and novel-focused today. Hit the halfway point on the second draft of Chapter 18 yesterday and I’m feeling good about its development. Should be one of those chapters that is good for review after the third draft, which is always a pleasant surprise. Some are more difficult than others. The current schedule looks like I’ll get to Chapter 19 right around Memorial Day week, which leaves the actual start date somewhere up in the air, as Mary and I are going on vacation that week. Sometimes I write on vacations, but I’ve found that weeks off can also be beneficial, so we’ll see how that all shakes off.
I’ve been setting long-term goals lately and I’m going to be doing my damnedest to get the initial version of the novel done by Labor Day weekend (the second anniversary of its creation). That gives me about 12 weeks to get through 6 chapters. Tight schedule, but doable with a good project plan. From there it goes to beta readers in early September and then on to my editor in early October, after which I’ll start shopping it around for an agent. I’m hoping to place it by the end of the year, but clearly that’s out of my hands beyond the submission process. I’m not sure when you’ll get the final version in your hands, but I think the delays have been worth it so far.
Speaking of release and previews and whatnot, my good friend Mary Doyle tagged me on a “777” challenge last week, wherein you’re supposed to share 7 sentences from page 7 of your work in progress, and tag seven other writers to share their own. I knew that would be a challenging portion of the novel, but I went for it. Unfortunately, it didn’t go so well. Didn’t get many comments or likes and no one took up the challenge, the sort of thing that’ll make a writer incredibly insecure, especially when you’ve poured the better part of two years into a book.
It sounds odd, but the good news is that the sentences came across as kind of creepy and weird; I say good because it’s not a reflection on the novel itself, but rather the format. As Mary (the wife, not Doyle) pointed out, Dean seemed like a serial killer in the posted snippet, one who was leading a naive 16-year-old girl into an abandoned park. Robbed of context, it had quite the sinister air. Now, Dean is many things at the opening of the novel – a womanizer, a snob, and a total asshole, but he’s not a rapist and/or killer. I mean, there’s skeevy and then there’s SKEEVY. He’s the former, not the latter.
Concerned about the long-term health of the novel, I shared the first three chapters with Mary (again, the wife) and she liked them, agreeing that context was essential to understanding the scene. Wipe the sweat from my brow on that one.
So, yeah, note to self, never share this kind of stuff without proper context, as it can come across quite disastrously. Strictly proper previews from here on out, and you’ll be the first to know. Live and learn, and whatnot.
Anyway, back to other matters. Catch you next week.