So I’m working on a “novel”.
Or a manuscript that, with any luck, will wind up being a draft of a novel-length piece of fiction.
Right now I’m at a little over 21,000 words (so it’s quite early yet).
I’ve done nanowrimo a couple of times and I’m starting to get used to this idea that I’m capable of writing a story – maybe not, at this point, a story that is completely devoid of enormous, glaring plot-holes and pages and pages of slightly-to-realistic (read “full of Ums”) dialogue… but a story – that is longer than about 7,000 words.
Now I’m trying to get beyond just “ZOMG long!” and figure out exactly what the building blocks of a novel are. Like any other piece of writing, you can’t just put stuff in that goes nowhere and serves no purpose.
What I’m doing right now is… probably not the most (or even close to the most) efficient way of writing a novel. Yes, I have an outline and, therefore, a rough idea of what I want to happen in each “chapter”, but I’m also basically just nattering away, narating the day-to-day (or week-to-week) existence of my character as she tries to get her finances under control and reinvent her life from scratch.
My plan – or at least my hope – is that by writing her life down, I can eventually find the threads of the actual story and then edit like hell (cutting out the stuff that doesn’t build or support the story, adding new content that does) so that the story actually comes out and can start to shine.
Wish me luck!
 At this point, each chapter covers one month out of a year – the end product is going to be a little different, but that’s how I’m structuring it for now.
 I do know that the story is about finding belonging and chosen family when you start out as a complete outsider (both literally and figuratively); and I know that my characters challenges include a lot of “learned (sort of) helplessness” that she’s going to have to work to get over in order to find her power and her confidence.