Writing a novel is a daunting task. It becomes more manageable for me if I break the novel into quarters, with each quarter ending at a turning point. I start out with a fuzzy idea of what the first turning point will involve, but know it will be about 80 pages in. Writing toward page 80 feels easier than following that first sentence with a full-blown 320 page plot.
In early August, I started the sequel to Deadly Fall. This wasn’t a totally new start. I had previously drafted the first half of “Summer,” but wanted to make changes that were significant enough to go back to the beginning rather than continue from where I’d left off. So, this first half feels more like a second draft, while what follows will be all new. I’m calling it Draft 1A.
To reach each turning point, I tend to set personal deadlines. The one quarter mark one for “Summer Draft 1A” was a brief trip to Banff at the end of August. I didn’t quite make the deadline. Calgary’s weather this August was too darn good and I wanted to be out there enjoying it. I tried a few tricks to do that while accomplishing my writing goal: getting up early to write and taking my laptop out to the patio. The first I only managed a couple of times; the latter worked okay, but was better one evening when there was no glare on the computer screen. I made it to the first few pages of my turning point chapter and had to finish it after the holiday, helped by Calgary’s dip into a few bad weather days.
Now, I’ve entered the second quarter of “Ten Days in Summer”, the working title for the sequel, and Calgary has entered another warm, sunny spell that’s forecast to last until the end of September. My next deadline is a trip to Toronto on Thanksgiving weekend. Enjoying this last burst of summer and meeting that deadline will be a challenge.