As it's World Book Day, I thought it was about time I updated on the progress of my novel Integration.
Well, I'm pleased to report that I believe I'm about a third of the way through the first draft - about 27,000 words towards my intended target of 75,000 words. So far, that's four chapters from the perspective of Carole Cantor, and three from Kofi Albus. Kofi's next though!
As a bit of a tease, these are the chapter names so far:
Carole: The Flood, The Stream, The Challenge, The Interrogation
Kofi: Affirmation, Assignment, Classification, Selection
Yesterday I decided I was far enough through, and several hazy aspects had solidified enough, for me to sketch out a chapter plan for the rest of the novel to make sure that Kofi and Carole's stories dovetail satisfactorily. I'm really glad I did, it solves a couple of remaining issues, and gave me a warm fuzzy feeling that I'm nicely on track. The average chapter length needed to get me to my target is almost exactly the same as the average chapter length so far. It almost seemed as if I knew what I was doing!
What's most pleasing for me, is that one of my concerns when setting out doesn't seem to have manifested so far. As I've mentioned before, Integration is in many ways a reworking of half of the story of my first attempt at a novel, The Stream, and I was concerned I'd end up borrowing from it too much. So far, there's only been one scene that's had much in common with The Stream, the meeting between Kofi and Mauro Sosa discussing levels of immersion. I retained that concept because I thought it was one of the more effective moments, and fitted perfectly thematically - but it's completely rewritten from scratch. It's also nearly a third way into the novel, rather than the opening chapter now!
Actually, there's one scene that's in a similar setting, the first meeting between Kofi and Geraldine Mander - it needed to be - but the actual scene itself is entirely different and occurs at a different place in the story too. The rest is totally original, which is quite pleasing. Obviously, much of the theme and basics of the story matches one aspect of The Stream, but it's told so differently and diverges quite dramatically at times, that it should feel entirely fresh. Well, it does to me so far, so hopefully that's something.
Right, I'd better get on with the rest. I'll probably report back when I'm about two-thirds of the way through, and tell you how wrong I was.