Since I’m working on a story idea I started plotting out and attempting to write a few years ago, I may possibly already have a completed Chapter 1. This totals to about 2,648 words. I’ve read through it, and honestly, it’s not bad. I’m pretty proud of myself for already being ahead of goal.
Is this cheating? Probably. Do I care? Nah, not much.
My end goal with NaNoWriMo this year is to get this story idea into an actual, if not completed, almost complete novel. That would make it about one chapter per day. I’m pretty confident I can knock that out.
Is 2,648 too many words for a first chapter? It totals about 9 Microsoft Word pages, double spaced. This first chapter introduces our main character, Melody St. Clair, her magical abilities, her occupation, and the first ‘crime scene’ she’s investigating. It also introduces a few additional characters, but only one who will end up being a main throughout the novel/series.
Jake Hartenstein and I worked for a special division of the Milwaukee County Police Department, Sensitive Crimes Division: Other. Whoever thought up departmental names didn’t even have one for ours, we’re so special. For Jake, it was a demotion from Homicide. He seriously messed up a case a few years back and the Chief tossed him into a department that everyone thought was a joke. For me, I specialized in the weird. Any crime that didn’t quite fit the mold came to us, and unfortunately for those who think we’re a joke division, we have a pretty solid success rate. Of the last 10 crimes thrown our way, we managed to solve all of them. Somehow, though, we were a joke, and no one took us very seriously.
The chapter begins with Melody heading to the crime scene. At the scene, she uses her magical abilities to investigate further. After completing her investigation, she heads home. I’m super simplifying this, but I think I could possibly end the chapter as leaves the scene, leaving her arriving home for Chapter 2.
When I was ten years old, I stopped my friend Amy’s labrador retriever, Sandy, from nearly being killed by a car. One moment, she was chasing us around Amy’s front yard; the next, she was gunning it toward the road. Maybe she saw a squirrel or bird that her instincts told her to chase, we never knew. Neither did the car speeding down Amy’s residential road. Just as the car was about to smash into Sandy, I screamed “Stop!” and time froze. At least it did for Sandy. The car sped past her, blaring its horn but never slowing, never realizing how close it came to being covered by blood and guts and gore.
These are some fun thoughts I am having that I can edit into the story later, depending on where it takes me. I need to remind myself not to do any editing during the writing process. This is what typically disrupts my writing process. I try to self-edit as I write, which will completely stop any progress. I have to learn to break this habit, so I’m using NaNoWriMo as a way to try and do just that.
“The fuck is going on with these bodies, Mel? Bodies char when burnt. These… these don’t even have a mark on them. They’re real, right? Not mannequins?”
Anyway, I’m excited to finally tackle this idea that I’ve had floating around for, well… forever. I think it’s interesting and different and hopefully will turn out well. And also hopefully turn into something much bigger than just an idea.