I am in the process of writing a novel. The working title is 4 Wheels and a Piece of Maple. I thought I was nearly done it when I had an idea on how to format it last night. I looked back at the 150 pages I had written and came to an epiphany. It felt like I needed to break up the story into three parts.
To explain how I got to this point, I think I need to let you in on the story so far. It takes place over a year. It starts with two very different people moving from the city to a small and remote Northern Ontario First Nations Reserve. Together they come to influence a local boy who had never been outside of the community. He takes up skateboarding in a town that doesn’t have paved roads or sidewalks. The town becomes energized by this new sport and a team is formed. The team raises money to go to a tournament in the big city.
That is as far as I have got with the story so far. It is 150 pages long and I was only planning on it being about 180 pages or so. It is a story that I would love to be able to use in the classroom as a read aloud novel. I always meant it to be a junior novel, aimed at 8 to 12 year olds as the main audience. That is why I had a rough idea about how long I wanted it to be. I really like the way the story is going but I am not exactly sure how it is going to end yet.
Last night, I came up with a formatting idea. I was having trouble coming up with the ending and my artificial length that I had intended for the book didn’t seem like it was going to work. I was a bit stalled. I was still writing it but I was looking forward to being done with it. That wasn’t a good feeling. I needed something to keep it fresh and infuse it with some more energy. I looked back at the story and noticed something. Half of the story so far had taken place in the fall and winter, whereas the other half had taken place in the spring. The split was nearly 50/50.
It was a strange coincidence seeing that my story seemed to be totally set and flowing to the natural seasons. The summer competition part of the story lay ahead of me. I then knew what I had to do. I needed to formally break the novel into three parts based on the seasons. I called Part 1 Fall into Something New, Part 2 Spring has Sprung, and Part 3 Summer in the City. It felt perfect and gave me a starting point for the closing act of the novel.
I now know that my novel will need to be longer that I originally intended. I need to tell this story and it feels natural again. I think my story will need to be about 220 pages now. The good news is that I have a new direction and energy that will take me through those pages with ease. The story is writing itself in many ways. It is an amazing feeling and I hope a great story.