It has begun!

At lunch today, I began writing the Prologue of my novel. The novel itself is still untitled (but I’m working on it). Todd took a picture of me just as I was getting started, for posterity sake (humble as I am).

With a few interruptions, I managed to write just shy of 800 words between noon and 1 PM (I had to force myself to stop at 1 PM, even though I felt like I was on a roll because I had a meeting I had to attend). I’m happy with what I’ve written so far, although it’s all first draft (fellow writers will understand what I mean). I’m focusing on the story right now. My guess is that I’ve got another 300-400 words or so to complete the prologue.

Incidentally, the prologue deals exclusively with Chinese characters, including an AI that is Chinese. I had the names picked out already, except for the AI, but thankfully, I ran into Jesseca at work, who has been majoring in Chinese, and asked her for a translation of "mind" or "knowledge" or ‘brain". She came up with Xué, and that became the name of the Chinese AI. (It’s useful to work around people with such diverse talents.)

I’m tracking my progress carefully because I am always interested in that kind of thing, but also because I tend to focus better on the task when I know that I am tracking my progress. Can I say that the "annotations" feature, combined with the "Ghost Notes" feature in Scrivener is great for this! Annotations allow you to mark text in the manuscript as a note or annotation. It puts a red circle around it and when you compile a manuscript draft, you can choose to exclude the annotations. "Ghost Notes" fade this text so that it doesn’t stand out as distinctly as the manuscript text itself. Thus, annotations for the first session of the novel looked like:

[[In: December 19, 2008 12:02 PM]]
[[Out: December 19, 2008 1:01 PM]]

Of course, these are positioned inline with the text so that I know exactly what I wrote during that session.

My document "target" is set to 95,000 words, but who knows how long or short this will really end up. Session targets are currently set to 1,000 words, and Scrivener provides a nice display of this as a hover window (if you so choose), in realtime. At the end of my session, things looked like this:

I will of course, continue to report my progress, although not in such detail. Mostly, I’ll summarize how I felt about the session, and then give the stats, which will usually look something like this:

Total words: 862 | This session: 778 | Net change: +778*

(*Note that "Net Change" can sometimes be negative if I end up deleting more text than I wrote in a given session.)