This post's moniker, outside of being a pretty nifty title for a text on creative writing, accurately articulates my view of writing fiction. While Stephen King makes the analogy of discovery, comparing fiction writing to unearthing fossils, I've always thought of it as walking the path, both wary and eager for the forks that lie ahead.
Bearing in mind that ever-useful discussion of exposition, complication, crisis, climax and resolution, I feel like a I turned the corner on the novel I'm writing this wekk. I'm heading into the third act and, at about 50,000 words as it stands, that feels about right for draft zero.
I spent February creating character sketches, considering setting, writing about twenty pages in notes on how I wanted the story to unfold. In March, I set to it and began drafting. Despite the usual plotting insecurities, I think it's turning into a wonderful yarn.
This is my first first-person narrative (that's an awkward construction, eh?) in the long form, and it just feels more natural. I was initially reticent about composing in the first person, not because I don't enjoy reading it, but it felt a little...well, presumptuous.
But I'm glad I took that chance with this project. It moves better than my previous two long works (third person), and it feels crisper and more accessible.
I think draft zero will check in at around 75,000-80,000 words. That's an ok figure to begin with. Then, the real work begins when I run through it again.
There's an old saw in the writing community about the third novel being the breakthrough tale. Here's to hoping there's a kernel of truth in those old axioms...