Outlines, character development, and other miscellaneous notes for the novel are finally coming together. Things are looking good to start writing at the beginning of May. I’ve also made another attempt at breaking off a chunk of the story to do as a short story (or it may end up being more of a novelette). Anyway, the bit I’m thinking about breaking off comes right near the start of the novel, so even if it doesn’t work on it’s own, I can convert it into chapters or something after the fact. Hopefully I’ll be able to write the story/novelette version in the next week or two.
I’m optimistic about this particular project (both the novel and the shorter version) because as I’ve been doing the notes things have been much more centered around the characters. When I did a practice novel in January, one of the big problems I ran into was that the little bit of outlining I did was heavily plot based, so the characters were doing a lot of things that didn’t really fit. This time through I’ve spent a lot more time thinking about what the characters would actually do when faced with a given situation. We’ll see if it comes out any better, but I’m hopeful.