I have just finished the rough draft of my first novel, with the working title of "Carlos and the Corral of Forgotten Ones." It has been quite an adventure moving from writing articles and children's books, both of which are more succinct and easier to manage, to a full-length book, where there are so many pages (297 in my case) to comb through and many more events and characters to keep straight! I am very grateful for the Open Office Manuscript program that I found which helped me to divide my book into chapters, scenes, etc, and then easily find those sections to work on them later!
There have been plenty of challenges in writing this book, including points where I had no idea where to take the character next or how to get him from one happening to the next. (Thankfully, I was in training for my half-marathon at this time and always came back from my morning runs with fresh ideas.) And of course, there have been plenty of joys as well, such as the days I woke up at 5am and typed away until my husband returned home that evening and had to practically pry me from the computer because the story was flowing so smoothly! And lastly there was the point where I realized that I could not look at the story any more and see it clearly, and that I needed the feedback of others. And that's where I am right now. As of now, the book is in the hands of some trusted friends and family members (all avid readers) whose feedback I'm awaiting, hoping that it will guide me into the next step of the process, editing. After a few rounds of editing, I hope to seek a publisher.
At any rate, this story means a lot to me and just being able to share it with others has been a blessing so far. I only hope I'll be able to share it with many more people!