Crystal Grove is a novella, 2-3x longer than my earlier efforts. Those first stories had one principal character and told in third-person limited. Crystal Grove (CG) has three major characters in a tight arc around each other, also told in third-person limited. There are nine chapters per act, one with each character as narrator. This seemed like a good idea in the planning phase, but I see some issues. Each character doesn’t have the same input into the story; certain chapters are weaker, plot wise, than others. And the timing is tricky. Without planning it this way, the characters hand the story off to each other in actual time. So, Maeve talks to Ken for a chapter, then the next chapter starts with Ken’s thoughts on the conversation. This works most of the time… unless it doesn’t.
Both of the above issues, the rotating narrator and the timeline, speak to the same core concern: consistency. I was unaware it was something writers strove for until reading about it at hughhowey.com. He, and now that I notice it, a lot of authors try to be very consistent with switching narrators and chapter length. And paragraph length, how the text looks on the page and a ton of other micro considerations. I’m not sure where I will land; I want to be consistent but not at the sake of good content. And plenty of books have inconsistent chapter lengths. I’m using consistency as a learning tool and something to strive for, but won’t kill myself to achieve.
As I write this, in mid-August 2020, I’m a few chapters away from finishing the first draft. My rule, to date, has been a minimum of 500 words each morning. This goal worked when I was commuting and had to be in the office, but I should have increased it during the quarantine. And been more open to writing later in the day. With a few more words per day, and a rough goal of 1500 words/chapter, I should be complete with a horrible, unreadable first draft in nine-ish days. Which would lead to the following schedule: keep up with the morning writing. Edit 4-5 times per week. This edit, done later in the day, is a “easy” pass at tighter writing. Ignoring plot, consistency, etc., just looking for quick corrections to my most basic writing issues. This way, when I read and edit the acts, I can focus more on the important issues. Then the real fun begins.