Chapter One Frolics

I accomplished my goal of starting the new novel on the 17th!  By the way, I’m really tired of saying “the new novel” or “Kari’s novel.” I want a title, darn it! Monday night I brainstormed, trying to think of a decent, temporary title (cause knowing me, it will probably change a dozen times). I went through several bad ideas and finally settled on THE RIVER’S EDGE. Pros:  Easy to say, looks good in print, and plays up the themes and symbolism in the book. Cons:  lacks oomph or any hint of the paranormal, and it’s also the title of a 1987 film starring Keanu Reeves (I’d never heard of it until I Googled the title. Has anyone seen it?). But I can’t think of any title without cons, so for now I’ll settle on THE RIVER’S EDGE… which I’m having way too much fun saying. THE RIVER’S EDGE. Sorry, I’ll stop now.

During the long edits and revisions for EYES OF LIGHTNING, I convinced myself that the first draft was my favorite part of the writing process. I think I was deluding myself. I finished the first draft of EOL a little over a year ago, so I’m trying to remember if writing EOL was this emotional and exhausting.

But perhaps I’m jumping the gun; today was certainly better than the first two days. Tuesday I actually panicked a bit; when I sat down to write, the words came out in present tense. I’d been planning on past tense—I didn’t want to write present tense. I argued with myself for an hour until I finally let my fingers type present tense. I’m still not 100% convinced, but I think the fingers might be right. Maybe present tense is better for the mood of this book. It also helps me distinguish between Kari’s voice and Ivy’s voice, which I’d been a little concerned about. But Kari is clearly holding her own. She has an older voice and doesn’t apologize for her thoughts or actions. Some of her ideas are quite entertaining.  🙂

Wednesday I didn’t argue with myself as much, so I wrote more words. Today the words came even faster. I hope this trend continues. I always have trouble writing the first chapter. No doubt I’ll have to cut most of it in the future. Kari starts a new job in Ch. 1, so I’m trying to figure out how much detail to include. Plus I still need to do more research for this job, so I’m tempted to skip the job/setting parts for now and instead focus on the characters and plot.


Day 1:  1732 words
Day 2:  2101 words
Day 3:  
2294 words. Finished Ch.1 and started Ch. 2.
Total so far:  6127 words. 3-day goal:  5700 words.  Ahead of schedule.

Ah, now I remember why I love writing first drafts—the word meters! It’s so much easier to see progress with first drafts than with later drafts.

Of course, these were all preschool days. It will be interesting to see if I can still average 1900 words on non-school days. Next Tuesday I think I’ll blog about how first drafts are destined to suck… something I had to keep telling myself the past three days.

The forecast is calling for six inches of snow Friday night. Spring, where are you?? I’ll keep pining for you, as long as it takes.  

Anyone have good news or accomplishments to share?? I’d love to hear about it! Have a great weekend, everyone!


2 thoughts on “Chapter One Frolics

  1. E.M.,

    Yes, I saw The River’s Edge when it came out. It’s a very dark movie about a group of older, troubled teens who must deal with the murder of a friend by one of their own. Crispin Glover gives a stunning performance as Reeves’ neurotic, hyperactive best friend–completely over the top. Dennis Hopper is a pretty memorable disgusting old fart, too, as I recall. It explores the theme of antisocial existentialism that was just beginning to hit the U.S. then (truthfully, the seed that a generation later resulted in Columbine). It’s a cult classic now.

    Anyway, you should know this if you’re going to use the title.

    Good luck on your novel! You might want to check out my site, where I write essays on the craft of fiction writing, at: http://victoriamixon.com


    • Thanks for the comment! You’re the first person I’ve “met” that has seen the movie, THE RIVER’S EDGE. Good to know what I’m dealing with. 🙂

      Thanks also for the link—I’ll be sure to check out your site!

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