Progress report on writing a novel for children

Writing a novel – a writer’s journal part 18

Progress report

This week has seen great progress on my novel for children. I have had one of the most productive weeks in a long time. It has also helped that my diabetes at last is under some sort of control. Sure, I’ve had a few periods where it has caused a little problem with sleepiness, but overall I am feeling much better. Energized, creative and productive – that’s a good combination.

The momentum with my novel has been building now for quite a few weeks. Over the last week I’ve added on 8000 words. I passed the 36,000 word mark this afternoon which is another major milestone along the way. My target is 40,000 words but we do have a little leeway either way. I still have a chapter and a half to go and that should add 2500 to 3000 more words so I am right on the money with my planning.

Originally I planned to write 20 chapters each of about 2000 words. I’ve generally achieved that. Most are a little under and several are just over. The first chapter was written deliberately short, so that gives me a bit more flexibility in the rest. During the rewriting stage I anticipate adding a few sentences and paragraphs here and there, so I should still be within the word limit.

One of the interesting things that has happened over the last week is that the momentum built up and the total focus on getting the story down has produced some unplanned, unexpected twists. Several times characters have popped up in unplanned ways, giving the plot a little twist which has enhanced the tension of the story.

Another interesting thing has happened with the tension. After about chapter 4 or 5 I realized that I needed to dramatically ramp up the action. I believe I have succeeded in doing this. Aimed at 10 to 12 year old children, it needs to be a page turner. Each chapter needs to end on a high, a cliff hanger, or the desire to want to turn the page to see what happens next.


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