Novel #2 Progress: Milestones and Inspiration

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Overall, it was a very productive week for Novel #2. At the beginning of January, I set a sub-goal of reaching the halfway point of the first draft by the end of the month, thinking that would be a good challenge to push myself (I was at 42% completion on January 1st). Much to my surprise, I crossed the 50% threshold on January 16th. Yay!

Word Count Progress:

Draft #1 Word Count:

  • Start Word Count: 35,558
  • End Word Count: 37,696
  • Total: 2,138

Draft #2 Revised Word Count:

  • Start Word Count: 36,484
  • End Word Count: 38,614
  • Total: 2,130

My word counts are little low mainly because the progress I made had more to do with making adjustments to the story, voice, and overall flow. I was expecting this as I’ve had a particular section of the novel highlighted for attention since I finished the first draft.

As I watch my numbers, I find it very interesting that they are so close together. Even as I cut large chunks, I find the deletions are making way for much needed expansion in other areas. It’s rather fascinating how the two processes are canceling each other out!

Writing Process Notes:

  • It’s a good thing I wrote a lot in the beginning of the week because by the end I found myself with another cold, (I was down for the count Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Today isn’t looking so great, either.).
  • Before succumbing to yet another virus, I had an interesting experience with my muse. On my way to the mailbox on Wednesday, I was debating whether I should take the night off and let my novel breathe or settle in for another marathon session of revisions. In the mail was a piece of junk mail from National Geographic, which I opened because they always send cool bookmarks. When I saw the image on the enclosed bookmark, I just about died. It was the same image I’ve had stuck in my notebook since I began taking Novel #2 seriously. Dan’s Cave in the Bahamas has served as the ultimate inspiration for the setting of the climax scene in Novel #2, (see Into the Writing Cave) and now the image was once again sitting in my hands. Needles to say, I put the bookmark on my desk and wrote like a lunatic that evening.
My new bookmark!

My new bookmark!

Novel Tidbit:

The Setting:

While there are sections of the story that venture into unknown parts, I chose to stick close to home for the bulk of the novel. I used my neighborhood as the model for Amanda’s home as well as Ian’s, while also utilizing several locations throughout Phoenix, Arizona. At the same time, I added an element of fiction to each and every locale. Mixing a little imagination into the real world is what gives my novel an extra sense of realism, which is an important element in urban fantasy. A few of the locations I included and fictionalized are as follows:

  • Buffalo Ridge Park
    • I work near this park and therefore see it every day. It has a small mountain with a trail that leads to a spectacular view of the horizon. I invented an easier hiking trail and a stone slab large enough for my characters to sit. The location serves as both a metaphor for a step in Ian and Amanda’s relationship, but it’s also a very romantic place where they share something beautiful.
Buffalo Ridge Park

Buffalo Ridge Park

  • Coffe Bean and Tea Leaf (on Cave Creek Road)
    • I’ve only been to this coffee shop once, but the ambience was just what I needed for a particular scene between Amanda, Ian, and another character. It has large windows, (bigger than most Starbucks locations), which is exactly what I needed so the scene could play out as planned. However, I invented table arrangements and specific drinks.
  • Phoenix Art Museum
    • I visited the Phoenix Art Museum in the name of research a couple of years ago when the idea for Novel #2 was taking shape in my head. Art plays a central role in Ian’s life, so I knew I had to learn as much as I could to understand his fascination with sculpture and paint strokes, (his taste in art is very different from my own). In the process, I realized the museum was a perfect setting for a series of key scenes. I ended up creating a traveling exhibit –  a collection derived from bits and pieces I saw at the British Museum – to give Amanda and Ian motivation to go to the museum. Then, I used a real exhibit that is a fixture on the second floor. The moment I stood before that particular exhibit, I knew I had stumbled upon an incredible spot for a critical scene between Ian and Amanda. I actually rearranged my timeline notes to make way for the use of this art installation, (you’ll have to read the book to find out what it is!).

– – –

c.b.w. 2013

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22 thoughts on “Novel #2 Progress: Milestones and Inspiration

  1. This is so inspirational, C.B.! I’m so intrigued by your creative process and your work on the novels. I really admire how you’re able to stick with your books for so long and now that you’re offering little hints and tidbits about them, I can completely understand why! I can’t wait to read them one day.
    (Psssst and you’re making me want to visit Arizona!)

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  2. Great post, great inspiration. Seeing how your creative mind is fictionalizing what you know gives me insight into your process. Write what you know makes sense… expecially personal emotional experiences give strength to the writing. Great week!!

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  3. It sounds as if it’s going very good … promising 😉

    Do you feel that you have any preferred time of day for writing? Morning … night?

    About the bookmark; Once I’d made a graphic in Photoshop [before the camera came into my life]. Long time afterwards, I saw, what I thought was my own graphic, as a book cover! It was such a weird feeling … I forget now, unfortunately, which book it was … the graphics were almost 100% idential. Imagine that! Someone had dreamt up the same thing…?!

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  4. i particularly enjoy your writing process notes and novel tidbits, such as this info on finding and using the settings for specific scenes in your story. I like the inside view of how you and your muse work together. Write on!!!

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    • It’s interesting how this series of posts is actually giving me a reason to explore my wiring process. I’ve always been aware of it, but now the details are really becoming vibrant. I’m learning a lot about where my inspiration comes from and hopefully that will open me up to even more ways to find inspiration. 🙂

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  5. This is the wonderful thing about fiction – using real places and adding those imaginary touches that make them so special to the reader! It looks like things are really coming together. Can’t wait to read the final version! 🙂

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    • When authors use real places, it always enhances a story for me. I think that’s part of why I loved Twilight so much. The atmosphere created by a real place really added to the story. 🙂

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