Welcome to this week’s Weekly Writing Wrap-up. Before I go any further I realized soon after I posted last week’s wrap-up, I never explained my title of 736205. That was how many days have roughly have passed since January 1st, 0001 CE to last Monday. I am probably wrong, but if you take 2017 x 365 and add how many days have passed since January 1st of this year and that’s what you get. Moving on.

I guess I should go through my goals from last week. Alright. This should be quick. I wrote exactly… Oh, wait I should post what the goals were. Yes, that will buy some time. Writing Goals

Writing Goals: Write 3 days with a $ 75 fine if I didn’t 3 hours of PS4 playtime. Write 3500 words. Stretch Goals: Write 5 days for 4 hours of PS4 playtime reward. 30 mins additional play time for every 500 words over wordcount goal. Development Goals: Spend two days of developing with a reward of 1 hour PS4 playtime. Spend at least one day on Superhero Epic with a $20 spending reward. Read Secret Wars. Stretch Goals: An extra of development with 1 hour of PS4 playtime reward. Write three character motivations for Superhero Epic with 4 hours PS4 playtime reward. Finally, finish Long Live Arcs for the whole book/series earns me 10 hours of PS4 playtime.

 

That didn’t waste all that much time. What else can I bring up to do just that? Ah! Religion and Politics. So, I don’t know where anyone falls, but if you don’t… Nope, can’t do it. This is about writing and not Politics or religion. Well unless I am talking about Worldbuilding than okay. I guess I have to spill the beans.

I wrote a total of four days…

Ta Dah! Got you. You actually thought I was going to say I didn’t do anything… Wait, you didn’t think that. Okay, I failed as a writer.

Wow! That was a terrible failed joke. Anyway, I wrote four days last week. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to 3500 words. That’s okay because right now I care more about writing every day then word count. Soon, that will change. The real win is that I finally finished Section 3. This is the section I have mostly been working on since I started writing Pyre book 1 of the Forbidden Realm Trilogy. Other than a scene or two in section two. This is where I have been spending my time. I am through it and I love how it came out. To a point. I had to pull a few scenes from section 5 to make the section end on a better note, but I am glad I did.

As of yesterday, Sunday, I am working on Section 4. I forced myself to write solely because it was a new section and was going to be hard to get myself to write at all this week if I didn’t start yesterday. I only plan to write a few words but had an end point where I could stop in the scene that is a good stopping point and can pick up today with relative ease. The goal was only supposed to be two maybe three hundred words, turned into six hundred words. Not bad.

The story is moving forward and I look forward to being away from Taryn for a little while and be dealing with Emily’s section. Hopefully not for nearly another three months. I want to have this book done by September. I didn’t reach any of my writing stretch goals and would have if I didn’t get distracted again on Saturday by my PS4. Oh well and other things.

Development is going strong, beyond reading Secret Wars last night, I didn’t get anything done on my Superhero Epic. I think this is going to be scratched from the goals for now, beyond reading Secret Wars. As for Long Live, I spent three days of Development. One last Monday, and One yesterday actually pushing forward in the last stretches of the story on Outline 2. Still not done with it even after today. I am getting there. I spent I think Tuesday feeding the already arcs into the Scrivener file and making a few tweaks here and there.

My concern over this book not being a single book and being more of a series is ever truer. If you didn’t catch my references above about the finishing the arcs for the entire book/series remark. Well Ha! Yes, the more I work the more I feel it may turn into a series. I don’t want that and while I am still not even close to being able to make that decision, it would be wrong not to voice those concerns. I will look at the possibility once all the arcs are finished from all three outlines and complete the scene list for one book. At that time I feel like I need to break it up into more books I will, or after I write the book I will do that. Not until I can’t deny that it is possible to tell this story in a less condensed way.

No fines this week and with 5 hours of playtime reward, I think I am going to go play some PS4.

 

 

Wait! I need to post this week’s goals.

Writing Goals:

  • Write 3 Days (Fine$75. Reward 2 hours of PS4 Playtime)
  • 3500 wordcount

Stretch Goals:

  • Write 5 Days (4 hours of PS4 playtime)
  •  Every 500 words beyond 3500. (30 min additional PS4 Playtime reward)

Development Goals:

  • Spend two days developing. (Reward 1 hour of Ps4 Playtime)
  • Read a few pages from Secret Wars

Stretch Goals:

  • An extra day of developing (1 hour of Ps4 Playtime for each day.)

Note: Playtime is for the week or one really awesome day.

Wow! That’s nothing like it has been. Why are you trying to cheat on the goals this week?

Good question. I am going back to my hometown Friday until next Monday. While I will be able to work on developing, I won’t be able to write. Well, I could, but I don’t like writing on Scrivener App on my iPad. It isn’t the same as being on an actual computer. Also, I am trying to learn programming languages, no not Swift anymore… Well, not now. I am moving more of Web Base languages, solely that is where my background is in. I knew HTML very well years ago before it became HTML 5. If this was just going to be a refresher thing, I wouldn’t change how my goals are working, but it is more of a career thing. I love working for Planet Fitness, and plan to bench up to Assistant and then Manager, how long I will want to do this? I don’t know. Learning programming will give me a viable alternative if I decide I don’t want to do that until I get published and can make a living writing. I need to carve out time to do this. So, that is what I am going to do. Writing and developing are the keys a few days a week. Writing I am still going to be doing every day, eventually. Still building it up slowly.

That’s all I got this week. There will be a Craft Post on Friday, it is scheduled to post one minute after Midnight. Check back then for a post on the First 50 Pages.

 

Welcome to this week’s Craft Post. We are still in the beginning of our new series on First Drafts. You can catch up on the first two posts here. Today we are going to be talking about the first chapter. We aren’t talking about prologues, we are talking about the first actual chapter. Prologues are still seen, but it is usually but established writers. Beyond that, they are considered by editors and agents as a sign of an amateur writer.

“Why are prologues seen as a sign of an amateur? I have one, and it is where I establish my world so they know what it is like.”

You answered the question for me. The reason why prologues are seen as would-be-authors. You are establishing your world in it and not the story to come. If it is the background on the world, it can easily be fitted in later in the book. There are other reasons.

I have heard literary agents say that 90% of prologues are unnecessary. This means that the vast majority of aspiring fantasy and sci-fi authors who have a prologue at the beginning of their book need to cut it. I can tell you from first-hand experience that they won’t like hearing this, even as a small part of them recognizes the truth to it. –Dan Koboldt

You may think you need the prologue, but your best bet is to just make it the first chapter. If you want more reasons why they are looked down upon.

  • Only serve as an excuse to drop into the action of a key conflict or world-defining event
  • Offer unnecessary backstory that could be worked into the novel
  • Often show the POV of secondary characters

While those reasons why editors and agents don’t like prologues, they are some of the reasons why readers love prologues. A lot of prologues serve no purpose to the story of the book, it is just events that take place way in the past. Usually, references a war that may have a very small importance to your story, but not really at all. That information can be added later on. I will talk another reason which I will talk about in a few minutes about why just make the prologue the first chapter. But lets here advice the king of Prologues, Brandon Sanderson who always has a prologue.

Prologues have been done so often in fantasy books that they’re almost a cliché. – Brandon Sanderson

I don’t think I have to say this, but I will anyway. Cliché aren’t good. Before we move away from Prologues, let me give this last bit of advice. If you are dead set on having one, write it as part of your first draft. Polish it as part of your second draft, and then give it to people to read. See what people think, if you get people saying cut it or take the information and put it elsewhere in the book, listen to them. In the end, it is your book and you can do what you want. However, if you refuse to cut your prologue and people have told you to cut it, don’t be surprised if you only get rejection letters from agents and editors.

Moving on. The first chapter. Long gone are the days where you could spend chapters showing the main characters normal life. No longer can you spend endless pages on describing the scene. While I am not sure if it is true, I once read that in the original Moby Dick, Herman Melville spent roughly 95 pages solely describing how white Moby Dick was. I not sure where I read that and it was a good source. In the end, it doesn’t matter. The thing to get from this is that times have changed and wordiness is not a good thing.

If you google What is the goal of the first chapter of a novel, you will get many pages of what the goals are. The things you need to achieve in are pretty simple.

  • Introduce the main character (another reason why not to have a prologue)
  • Give the reader a reason to care about them and their journey
  • Setting
  • Hook us.

There are many other things people suggest like, introduce the antagonist, tone, and theme. All good ideas. Sometimes you need to write to find your tone and your theme. This is the first draft remember, everything beyond the four I listed you really don’t need to do yet. It helps if you have others, to begin with.

Let’s look at the four things I listed. So the most important thing is to introduce the main character. Before moving on, how are you going to do this in a prologue that is set thousands of years in the past? Or if the focus on another character? Look at Harry Potter. The first chapter of The Philosopher’s Stone is essentially a prologue. Harry is only in the last quarter of the chapter. The purpose was to introduce something his horrible family and that something has happened. We then find out and Harry is introduced as a baby. However, that is the first chapter, not a prologue.

The first chapter hits everything I listed. It also gives us a reason to care about Harry. He is a child that lost his parents, did something no other Wizard could do and as a baby and is rewarded by going to live with horrible people. It also hooks us and gives us the setting of modern day London. If you find other lists that first chapters must accomplish, then that chapter checks them all off.

The first chapter must give us a reason to care about this character. I say care not like. A lot of characters aren’t really likable. Harry is one of them. In later books, though you can make an argument for book one as well, Harry is an ass. However, we are rooting for him.

You think going over setting should never have to be discussed, but you will be surprised how often that is wrong. If we don’t know where we are and when, how are we suppose to know what is acceptable and not. In the case of a fantasy world or science fiction futuristic or post-apocalyptic world, we will learn that as the story moves forward.

Then there is the hook. You must hook the reader by the end or they will place the book down and never pick it up. First, let me say this, your hook doesn’t need to be an explosion and giant aliens burst into the scene out of nowhere. It just has to be something that makes us go what, wait a second what is going on. Having some kind of conflict helps or an action scene does this, but it has to make sense quickly or the reader is going to see it for what it is, something just to get them to keep reading and has no real bearing on the story.

Most authors, agents, editors, publishers, the list goes on start your story at close to that exciting incident as you can. While we want to see the everyday life of the protagonist, the quicker you get to the hook the more the reader will be willing to learn about your world and characters. In Harry Potter, we actually get two hooks. One at the end of chapter one that we already discussed. The second is when his ten and about to turn eleven. He is at the zoo with his horrible family who treats him like he is a slave, and out of anger makes the glass vanish letting out a snake that then talks to him thanking him for letting him out.

This is where we are going to end. This is just the first draft, everything else that professionals in the industry say you need to have in the first chapter can be something to focus on in later drafts. Now, the purpose is to write this draft. While we want to focus on writing, you do want to have at least some of the things you need already in place now. It saves time when it comes time to revise and rewrite.

Be sure to check back on Monday for my Weekly Writing Wrap-up post.

 

Welcome to this week’s Weekly Writing Wrap-up. I am posting late, I know. Yesterday was a long day, as was last week. Let’s get right to it.

Writing Goals: Write 4 Days and write 3500 words. The Stretch goals were: Write 6 Days (3 hours of PS4 Playtime) and for every 500 words beyond 350. (30 min additional PS4 Playtime reward). Development goals: Spend two days Developing, Spend at least one day on Superhero Epic, and Read a few pages from Secret Wars. The Stretch goals were: An extra day of development (1 hour of PS4 Playtime for each day), Write three character motivations for Superhero Epic (4 hours of PS4 Playtimes) and Finish Long Live Arcs for the whole book (10 hours of PS4 Playtime).

How did I do this past week? Well, a lot better than I thought. I spent two days of developing, got one character motivation done for my Superhero Epic, and Read from Secret Wars. So, that’s a check on the Development goals. Writing, not so much. Nothing, Diddly Squat, I got nothing Jack. I am not happy about this. We will get to Writing in a second, but I thought for sure I was going have no goals accomplished this past week. Glad to see I did, just not the ones that I really needed to accomplish.

Let’s talk writing. It is so easy to think, I’ll take today off and write tomorrow. Now, this isn’t a bad thing especially when you realize you just can mentally do what is needed from either fatigue or stress or just have a lot to do that day. However, when you say I’ll write tomorrow, you don’t know issues you are going to have tomorrow. That’s what happened this week. Monday, I was tired. Not much sleep. I said sure I’ll write tomorrow and really be sure to hit it. Then Tuesday came and besides oversleeping and then having no time to do anything but eat, drink the coffee and then leave to go work out. That night you get back from work and you’re tired.

That was my week. From being tired to just not sure what I wanted to do and when. Thanks to that, I did nothing all week writing wise. I got my Development out of the way early last week and coasted. This is where someone says that is why you have fines. To be honest, the whole fine’s thing I don’t think is working. I am not getting rid of it just yet. I think I need to find a balance. There are no rewards for accomplishing my goals only fines if I don’t. It’s the stretch goals that I get rewards. I may try a combo of them. Also, they need to be there only when I am not doing what I need to do.

What do I mean you ask? Simple, if I am doing well accomplishing the goals, the fines and rewards don’t need t be attached. If I am not like, this past week, then I need to have them. Maybe I should have rewards going, but only add the fines back only when I have a period like I have been having. It will be a trial and error I think. This week, I am going to put fines on only writing, but not everything. We will get to that. Since I have nothing else to talk about writing, time to move over to Development.

Development went well. I spent a day transferring arcs of Long Live from the notebook to Scrivener. I got behind on this and need to keep doing this. It is helpful reviewing what I have already written down. It is a nice refresher. As for the arcs for Long Live, I am about to finish the last part of Outline 2. I started it Friday but got sidetracked when I realized how tired I was after work, at 2:30 in the afternoon. There was a reason why I slept to 10:30 on Saturday and I wasn’t too happy about that.

Back on topic. I am finally going to be getting to a heart of the story, the really cool part of the story. Not that everything that has happened so far hasn’t been interesting. I just really like the events that happen on Outline 3 a lot. The biggest challenge going forward even after the arcs are complete is that the scene’s list I need to remember to foreshadow what is possible in the later half of the book vs. the not so much in the first half.

Moving to my Superhero Epic, this is tough. Trying to write out the main character’s motivation wasn’t easy. I clearly don’t know him as well as I thought. That will come. Part of it is that I am spending most of my time on Long Live. When I get to a point in that story where I don’t need to really focus as much I will be able to spend more time on this story. It really comes down to that. The first vol. or chapter in the Prelude to Secret Wars was good. Doom kills the Beyonder back during the original Secret Wars and then appears before all the heroes. That’s as far as I got. I look forward to reading more, though the art style is in the style of that story instead of a more modern day art style, which I prefer. I know I will get there. Gotta be patient. I do think

The first vol. or chapter in the Prelude to Secret Wars was good. Doom kills the Beyonder back during the original Secret Wars and then appears before all the heroes. That’s as far as I got. I look forward to reading more, though the art style is in the style of that story instead of a more modern day art style, which I prefer. I know I will get there. Gotta be patient. I do think reading some comics will help with the overall story development.

Before I move onto my goals for the week, I happy to say a huge project that is purely a pleasure of mine is over. What is it? I had to rebuild a database for a game I play. It is simulation game that you can create your own style, to say the least. I was playing it when my VMWare Fusion that allows me to run Windows on my iMac crapped out. I was forced to force quit and due to that, the game save was corrupted. Normally there is back up. I did it first thing when I woke up and replaced the database with the game save backup and lost everything. So, I had to rebuild everything. It simple, the game allows you to do this before starting a new game. I have been doing that the last two weeks and it has been very distracting.

Now that I can play again, and made some changes so I don’t have so much to do in the game I can focus. Besides only allowing myself to play on Monday, Friday and the weekends only after I have accomplished parts of my goals, should stop me from being not so productive. Time will tell, but I am sticking to this or I am going to have to give that game up for a while, which I don’t want to do. We shall see.

Writing Goals:

  • Write 3 Days (Fine$75. Reward 3 hours of PS4 Playtime)
  • 3500 wordcount

Stretch Goals:

  • Write 5 Days (4 hours of PS4 playtime)
  •  Every 500 words beyond 3500. (30 min additional PS4 Playtime reward)

Development Goals:

  • Spend two days developing. (Reward 1 hour of Ps4 Playtime)
  • Spend at least one day on Superhero epic ($20 Spending Reward)
  • Read a few pages from Secret Wars

Stretch Goals:

  • An extra day of developing (1 hour of Ps4 Playtime for each day.)
  • Write three character motivations from Superhero Epic (4 hours of PS4 Playtime)
  • Finish Long Live Arcs for the whole book (10 hours PS4 Playtime Reward)

Note: Playtime is for the week or one really awesome day.

No fines for anything but making sure I write three days. Yes, the fine is high this week. That is to ensure I do it. There will be no reason to cut the fine this week, okay not true. Anything beyond a family emergency or hospitalization or a near death experience. That’s all I got this week. Check back on Friday for the next post in our new series on First Drafts.

Welcome to this week’s Craft Post. Last week we started a brand new series on the topic of first drafts. Unlike with my Worldbuilding series, I have the whole series broken down into five sub-series which you can find by clicking on the First Drafts link in the toolbar. The first sub-series is on writing the first draft and later get into some other areas of thing that can better help you prepare to write your first draft and things to keep in mind while writing. You can find all posts for this sub-series (insert link to First Draft page), which was tips on preparing. Today is all about first lines.

Go grab some of your favorite books from off your shelves. For those part of a series grab the first book. Open to the first chapter or if there is an intro or prologue. Read only the first sentence. How is it? Does it grab you right away? Is it anything like some of these classics?

A story has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead. —Graham Greene, The End of the Affair (1951)

There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. —C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. —William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the house-tops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness. —Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

Call me Ishmael. —Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851) American Book Review: 100 Best First Lines from Novels.

Great right? Do you want to read any of these books now based on that first line? So may. Others not. You know why these lines are so great? Or why the first line of your favorite books are good to you? Because everything that follows is just as good and better. There is a huge idea that your first line needs to be epic and meaningful. It should be beautifully crafted. If you read the ones above they are. If I went and started one my novels like Moby Dick and changed the name from Ishmael to Todd, will that make my book opening line be just as great?

Clearly not, Herman Melville wrote one of the best classic books of all time. Also, everything that came after my opening line will determine if that line was great or horrible or somewhere in between. What makes a good opening line is that when you finish the book you can’t imagine it starting any other way. While some might believe, and I include myself in this two years ago that the opening line should be good, the rest of the story is just as important as that first line.

“But Tim, isn’t it true that agents and editors turn down authors based on the first few pages?”

The answer is yes. Some even by the first line. I can’t remember what agent said they have turned down an author based on the first word. What you need to know about agents and publishers is they have so many manuscripts int their slush pile that they have developed little tricks that help them know if the book is good. Was the grammar bad, or was the first sentence is confusing or bad? Did they even care about what was going on after the first page? Every agent and editor are different, and each has their own tricks.

“Then we should really take the time to make sure our first lines are perfect.”

Yes and No. When it comes to first drafts one of my tips from the first post was is get it written. That is the focus of the first draft. Spending several hours or days on the first line is just not a great way of spending the opening days of starting your first draft. I did that when I started the first draft for Seeing Through the Veil. I had just read The First 50 Pages by Jeff Gerke. It was a great book and got me a little to focused on that part of my novel. I recommend reading it after your first draft is done. I wasted a month of trying to make sure my first fifty pages were great so I had little polishing to do on them in the second draft. I ended up stopping and not pick up the book for two more months.

First drafts are to get it written. Once it is written then you know what is happening, even if you outline having an outline and fleshing it into a full-length book is different. For some, there are probably outliners out there that they know every step and all writing is making it more visual. Once you know what is happening you are better prepared to spend more time on your first line. However, don’t worry about making your opening line great like some of the ones I posted above. You don’t decide if it is on par with those lines. The readers do.

That’s all I got today, check back next week for the next post called The First Chapter. Be sure to catch my Weekly Writing Wrap-up on Monday’s as well.

 

Welcome to this week’s Weekly Writing Wrap-up. Yes, this week’s wrap-up is called goals for a reason, and it not a reason you are thinking. Pittsburg Penguins are back to back Stanley Cup Champions with 2-0. Goals!

While that is one of the reasons, the other is I had a great week when it came to reaching my goals. My overall goal for writing this week was three days. I wrote five days almost six, but I got distracted on Thursday. My words count goal was 3000. The words count for the week, 3,670. Yep, 670 more words. It would have been longer, but I got distracted last night and had to write something short to make it five days. I reached two of my stretch goals earning me two hours and thirty minutes of PS4 time.

On the development side. I got nothing. While I swear I developed two days, yesterday and Monday. For the life of me, I cannot remember what I did on Monday. Something inside me tells me I did, but I don’t remember. So, it’s only one day. Sadly, I didn’t finish all the arcs for Long Live either. So no additional playtime from Development. I could argue that I did work on my Superhero Epic on Saturday. Only because I search for comics online to do some reading. I have never read comics in my life. I have owned some, but never actually read them.

Probably one of the more interesting storylines I have heard of in a comic. The complete destruction of the multiverse. Sure DC goes about destroying and bringing back their multiverse all the time. This was the total destruction of the multiverse and then recreating Battleworld from all the different worlds. I am hoping this will give me some ideas on how to expand my superhero epic. But to answer the lingering question. I am not going to count it. I may count it this week if I get around to doing some reading. We will see.

I covered last week’s goals. Let’s dive into the writing for the week next. The writing of Pyre is good. I am getting to a very good battle scene soon, so the pace is about to pick up. That will be fun to play with some new characters and write my first magical battle scene. It is getting a little more difficult to write since that nagging note of not knowing the characters motivations are. I might try to spend some time this week writing out what I know about the characters who have appeared so far. Maybe I will discover their motives. I am going to push through this and continue to write this book until it is done. If I have to do a complete rework of the story afterward, that’s fine by me.

Maybe I will discover their motives. I am going to push through this and continue to write this book until it is done. If I have to do a complete rework of the story afterward, that’s fine by me. The main thing I am trying to accomplish here is to get back to writing seven days a week. I got five, last week, let’s see if I can do it again this week.

Moving onto development. Sunday was mostly spent fleshing out the summary of the next section for the primary protagonists. It was good and hard at times, but I got through it and I like what came out. The downside is that the more I work on this the more I feel like this is going to end up a series instead of a solo book. I hope I am wrong, but I just keep getting that feeling. Of course, I need to finish the arcs and then figure out the scene list. Part of that will be determining what from my endless scribbling of mine need to be seen (read) and those just mentions or I just information I know so I know what they are doing during certain times.

I do look forward to when I pick it up and see where some of the other characters are and what they are doing. While the arc I just finished needs to focus on the king and queen, I do need to know what some of the other players are up to. I nearing the end of my second outline for this book. I have three one for each of the original three sections. Only a few more events before I am onto the third and more fantastical happenings. My overall feeling is when I am done developing and write this book, this is going to be my best piece yet.

Onwards to my Superhero Epic. Besides wanting to read Secret Wars this week. I may take a page out of Long Live’s book and start writing down the motives for some of the characters in the story. That may help generate some ideas. I would love to have some side stories for some of the heroes that are part of the story but are overshadowed by the big hero/villain story. I know that I want to have some kind of sectional shorts that let you learn more about characters. However, it might be good to have some side stories for these characters as well. A way to show how the rest of the world is seeing the events of the main arc. I don’t know. Time will tell.

Writing Goals

  • Write 4 Days
  • Write 3500 words

Stretch Goals

  • Write 6 Days (3 hours of PS4 playtime)
  •  Every 500 words beyond 3500. (30 min additional PS4 Playtime reward)

Development

  • Spend two days developing.
  • Spend at least one day on Superhero epic
  • Read a few pages from Secret Wars

Stretch Goals

  • An extra day of developing (1 hour of Ps4 Playtime for each day.)
  • Write three character motivations from Superhero Epic (4 hours of PS4 Playtime)
  • Finish Long Live Arcs for the whole book (10 hours PS4 Playtime Reward)

Note: Playtime is for the week or one really awesome day.

That’s all I got. Be sure to check back on Friday for the next post in our new First Draft’s series. The next post is already written and scheduled to post one minute after midnight on Friday.

 

Welcome to the start of a brand new Craft Post Series on First Drafts. We will be going doing five different sub-series in this series. You can find all the series and the breakdown on the posts in each sub-series on the First Draft Link. Today will be talking about Tips for Getting Ready to write your first draft.

My first tip is something that applies to all first drafts. Learn from each first draft you write. I remember the general details of all my first drafts and how they went. From difficulties to the great things. Take notes after you complete your first draft on where you struggled and what worked. The main thing is to try to figure out why things worked well and why the things were hard. Taking notes why you are writing the draft can help with this. After you have written a few first drafts start to try to see if you are having the same difficulties or strengths.

Next is more of a personal choice, but I recommend knowing your ending. This doesn’t mean you have to know everything about it just a bullet. The basic ideas. For those who are more organic, writing styles have an idea for it, and you can change it as you are writing. My point is having something to work towards, but let the story flow and take the turns that come even if it goes away from your idea for the end. If you go in a new direction try to see what that may be leading to. It could a way of working towards and find the next bump.

Next tip is to find a time to start your writing. A lot of published authors suggest finding your time where you can write every day.

I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp. ― W. Somerset Maugham

This doesn’t work for everyone because not everyone can write at a specific time each day due to work and other commitments. I recommend picking a time for the first day of writing the first draft.

Another tip is to get a good night sleep before you start. Having enough sleep the night before will help you think and let ideas flow easier. Days when I got little sleep and write the next day I barely get many words out and if I do get a lot of words out they are crap.

Remember, first drafts are always crap and don’t try to make it perfect. I have tried too many times to make the first few chapters really good instead of just trying to write and get the story.

Finally, my last tip is just to get the draft written. You want to get to the end. Take notes on things you want to change as you write, it will help with the next draft, but your focus needs to be on getting it done.

That’s all I got, there are more tips but this is based on my experience. You can google for more tips if you want more thoughts. This is the first post in the new series, so check back next week for our discussion on First Lines.  Check back on Monday for Weekly Writing Wrap-ups.

Welcome to this week’s Weekly Writing Wrap-up. Can I just say this last week just flew by? It flew by that I now have to pay $55 dollars. Yes, that’s right I met none of my goals this past week.

What was I doing that I got nothing done? I didn’t say I didn’t get anything done, I just didn’t meet any of my goals. So let’s recap my goals from last week. Write five days ($20 fine), write 3000 words. Stretch goals Write six days (3 hours of PS4 Playtime Reward), For every 500 words beyond 3000. (30 minutes of additional PS4 Playtime reward). Development goals, spend three days developing ($20 fine), Work on Superhero Epic at least one day (even if it is just an hour)  ($15 fine). Development Stretch goals, spend four days developing ($20 reward), Finish Long Live Arcs for the whole book (6 hours of PS4 Playtime Reward).

How could I not accomplish that? Work got in the way. We just launched some new equipment and spent the whole week trying to get people to use it. I work for Planet Fitness as a Fitness Trainer, so guess whose primary responsibility it is to get people to try it? Yep, me. I got little sleep and when I did, It wasn’t enough. I really shouldn’t have given myself so much to do knowing the launch was coming. That was my mistake. For that, I am going to reduce my $55 fine down to $25. I just didn’t have it in me to do it. I did get some developing done last Monday and yesterday, but that’s all. This isn’t going to be a thing that I reduce fines for stupid decisions. Now I gotta figure out what I am going to do with the $25 I have to pay. I’ll think it through.

Let’s move on to Developing since that’s all I got done this week. I am making progress on Long Live, but that’s it. Oh boy, the more I develop the arcs for this book the more and more I feel like I may have to make it a series. I don’t want it to be one and I am not saying I am. Hell, the arcs I am coming up with may not even be in the actual book. These are just ideas and character tracking really. Knowing where and what characters are doing during each section is important.

I will say I can’t believe I gave myself a stretch goal of finishing the arcs for the whole book. I am still not done with the half the book. Yesterday, while I sat at Starbucks, where I work on it. I got through the last character from the section I was on. I start to work through ideas for the next and I find I am dead. I got nothing. Ideas, but I can’t break it down by the characters. I wonder why? Well, I hadn’t had my super sugary and caffeinated White Chocolate Mocha. I cave and get a super sugary drink, not a mocha, a frap and put out a scrap notebook and start jotting ideas for the next sections overall arc to see if I can figure something out.

Before I know it, I am writing like a mad man. I got the whole next arc, mostly for the two main protagonists in the big picture. Now I need to break it down and see how that works for each set of characters. I have a feeling it will be just my main characters for the most part. However, I will probably come up with some ideas for others. While I was mapping out the big ideas, I realize I need to show that a secret societies power at this point. So things start going wrong. I realize I need to have this start much sooner, but another antagonist who works with them puts an end to it because it disrupts his plans. When he gets removed this order doesn’t have to hold back. It was a nice realization, when I go back and craft the outline and scene list, I will need to put some things earlier on.

Writing Goals

  • Write 3 days
  • 3000 words

Writing Stretch Goals

  • Write 5 days (2 hours of PS4 Playtime reward)
  • Every 500 words beyond 3000. (30 min additional PS4 Playtime reward)

Development Goals

  • Spend three days developing
  • Work on Superhero Epic at least one day (even if it is just an hour)

Development Stretch Goals

  • Spend four days developing (1 hour of Ps4 Playtime Reward)
  • Finish Long Live Arcs for the whole book (6 hours PS4 Playtime Reward)

Note: Playtime is for the week or one really awesome day.

No fines this week. I have another busy week at work and not sure how it is going to play out. While I am giving myself a lot, with no fines I might be able to achieve some of it if I have as busy a week like last week.

That’s all I got this week. Check back on Friday for the start of a Brand New Craft Series on First Drafts. Yes, I decided to go with that. I have already mapped out the whole series. A new link will appear at midnight in the toolbar that will give you the whole series. I was going to write the first post today, but since I am writing this post so late, that’s not going to happen. I’ll write it tomorrow. My goal is to have at least the first three posts done by Friday and scheduled to post at midnight every Friday. Now that is the goal, so don’t be surprised if the post doesn’t show up until Saturday. However, I am really pushing to get ahead of this posts so I don’t have to rush on days they are supposed to be posted and don’t have the energy.

 

Calendar

Posted: May 31, 2017 in Craft Post, World Building

Welcome to the last post in our Worldbuilding series. It has been a long series, and the end has finally arrived. To get caught up on this series you can find all the posts above under the Worldbuilding Link. To get caught up on all the posts in the last sub-series Other, you can find them here. Let’s dive in.

How do you tell time in your storyworld? I am talking about more on the grander stage. Days, weeks, months, years and beyond. What does the calendar look like in your world? Is it one calendar that all accept or do each race or nation have their own?

Our year on earth is 365. something odd days. That is why we have a leap year. There are 24 hours in a day because that is how long it takes for the earth to rotate around once. There area seven days in a week from Genesis creation account in the bible of six days of work and day off. Or it was the seven heavenly bodies: Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. There are many reasons we have seven days.

The reason for all this is when you create your calendar there are reasons behind why our calendar looks like the way it does. If you want one unified calendar it would be best to have it be based on facts instead of superstitions. Facts are what you make them in your world. Maybe your Calendar is given from the Gods if you have gods in your world.

Are there older calendars that were used that don’t work well with the current or unified calendar? If so, when did these events happen in conjunction with the new calendar?

Think about how your calendar lays out. What are the names of the months and the days? How about how many days in each month? Are they evenly distributed or they uneven? How about those leap years? Do you even have leap years? Are there eras or splits like our, BCE and CE?  If so what are the dividing points, a great war? A God was born into flesh?

How do you go about it making your own calendar? I would recommend looking Aeon Timeline 2. It is a great program. You can read more about it apart of my Aeon Timeline 2 Review.

That’s all I got. It has been fun, but all great things have to come to an end. Next week we will start a new series, I am still thinking about it but I leaning towards First Drafts. Note there will be no post on Saturday. Check back next week on Monday for my Weekly Writing Wrap-up and the start of our next series second Saturday of June.

Welcome to this week’s Weekly Writing Wrap-up. Before I begin, I know I am late on the last two craft posts. I knew this was going to happen once I announced both. I even started writing one on Wednesday and never finished. Anyway, both will be up by Wednesday, hopefully, one will be up today. Let’s dive right into the wrap-up.

Let’s start with Writing. Last week I had the following goals.

Writing Goals

  • Write four days ($30 fine)
  • 2500 words

Writing Stretch Goals

  • Write five days ($30 reward)
  • 5000 words ($15 reward)

How did I do? Well, I wrote five days in a row. With a total word count of 2626 words. I met one of my stretch goals, and get to spend $30. Unfortunately, I didn’t make my stretch goal of 5000 words. As great as that would be, right now I am just trying to get back to writing every day. This is in the right direction. One thing I thought of this week is if I keep doing cash rewards for reaching stretch goals, I am not going to be able to save money. Is there something else I can do as a reward? There is something I haven’t been doing that much of and that is playing my PS4. I think am going to start using that as one of my rewards now. How I am not sure, but I will need to play around with it. I can’t do an hour for every 500 hundred words I write that week.

Maybe by the time I get to the goals for the week section I will have a better idea of how to go about this. Moving on to the actual writing, it was another challenging week. However, I got through three scenes. I sorta wrote myself into a corner that I now have to get out of. It isn’t one like I have to have something random act of God that I will need to explain how it happened later on. It is just adding to the situation. It should be found as this will allow me to explore how Taryn solves problems. It will be a nice character moment.

Sadly, I have to admit, that I won’t be making my July deadline with Pyre. I am only in section three and nowhere close to being finished. Thankfully, for my new Deadline Policy for first drafts, this isn’t a bad thing.

Moving to my last thought. I started thinking of deadlines this week. I usually give myself a hard deadline for all drafts. If I learned anything from Seeing Through the Veil, it is I need to change how I do this. While I need a deadline, I am not so sure a hard one works for the first draft. I changed it so many times last year that it’s not funny. So, I am going with more of a time range. Instead of a date, I will have a range of months I want to finish by. For example, when I pick up Pyre Book 1 of Forbidden Realm, I will have a date I want to finish by, most like June. However, if I don’t finish until August that’s fine. The goal is to finish somewhere between June and August. (By no means this my actual target for that book. Just an example.

 

For example, when I pick up Pyre Book 1 of Forbidden Realm, I will have a date I want to finish by, most like June. However, if I don’t finish until August that’s fine. The goal is to finish somewhere between June and August… It will be the second draft I will give myself a hard date, but with an additional push back date. I only get one of these and I will have to pick it wisely because if I don’t finish by that date, money is coming out of my pocket…

That is from my February 13th Weekly Writing Wrap-up. You would like to read the full policy, you can read it here. It’s at the bottom of the post. Anyway, I am going to move the deadline again. Right now it is July 28th, 2017. According to my Word Count Tracker, at the rate I am going I will complete the first draft of 250,000 words on November 11th, 2019. Yeah, two years. Not going to happen. I am not sure when I am going to move it to. It maybe August or maybe September. September sounds good, that way if I get done earlier it will be a good thing. I will know more by the end of this week. If I give myself too much time, I may hinder myself.

Moving on to Development.

Epic Failure this week. I only worked on development one day and that was yesterday. I could have worked on both Long Live and my Superhero Epic, but once I started on Long Live I hit it off. Part 2 is complete of all character arcs. Well, those who show up. Some are long and others are glimpses. I am excited about how it is turning out. Though the more I work on this, the more I get this bad feeling that I may have to break this single book up into three.

WHAT!!!

I know. (Makes gesture of head exploding). Just to be clear I am not doing this. I will be writing this as one book. No matter how long it turns out. If this book turns out to be 500,000 words. Well, then that is how long it turns out. At that point, I will rethink it being a solo book. Of course, that is if the book is that long after many edits. Even at 300,000 words, I would think about breaking it up, but who knows. On second thought, no. That would make the book around 1200 pages, which is my goal. If the book tops 500,000 then yes, I am splitting that up into separate books.

Something in the back of my mind is that how much of this stuff is actually going to make it into the book. There are a lot of side plots that are important to the story, but some maybe better as flashbacks later on explaining what was going on. Those would be more only the important scenes. Anything I cut I could release as a short story or a novella. I will still write it and determine what makes the second and future drafts will be determined later on.

Since I am on a roll with Long Live, that will be my ultimate focus for Development this week. My Superhero Epic I feel needs some more time marinading in the subconscious to solve some of the problems. I do want to spend a little time on that this week, so a few hours or hour depending on how far my subconscious got.

I found something interesting today, as I was looking for my post on my Deadline policy I found that at the beginning of this month I said I would make deadlines for Long Live and my Superhero Epic to be done with development. I never listed those. Well, I am now. The deadline for Long Live is whenever I start writing. Ok, just kidding. Though, that is sorta true. I am giving myself to the end of June to finish all story related development for Long Live. As for the rest of the development, I am not going to give a deadline. Mostly because I will come up with that as I write. Knowing how magic works in my world is great and helpful, but how I am actually going to write how it works and looks I figure out while writing. There will be plenty of development like the religions and history of the world.

There will be plenty of development like the religions and history of the world. How that will play out will be fun. Especially since there is this huge Great War that happened in the past that I have to know about since it plays greatly into the story. As great as knowing everything about my world is, I do like figuring some of this stuff out as I write. Never thought I would say that.

Never thought I would say that.

Goals for the week

Writing Goals

  • Write five days ($20 fine)
  • 3000 words

Writing Stretch Goals

  • Write six days (3 hours of PS4 Playtime reward)
  • Every 500 words beyond 3000. (30 min additional PS4 Playtime reward)

Development Goals

  • Spend three days developing ($20 fine)
  • Work on Superhero Epic at least one day (even if it is just an hour) ($15 fine)

Development Stretch Goals

  • Spend four days developing ($20 reward)
  • Finish Long Live Arcs for the whole book (6 hours PS4 Playtime Reward)

Note: Playtime is for the week or one really awesome day.

That’s all I got this week. Check back for the last two posts in our Worldbuilding Craft Post Series. I will do my best to get them up as soon as possible.

 

Welcome to our Penultimate Post in our Other sub-series in our long ongoing Worldbuilding Series. This is also the Penultimate for the Worldbuilding Series. Today we are looking at Art and Entertainment.

What is Art?

What is Entertainment?

Can they be both?

The answer is yes. Not to everyone, but to many they are. Many, myself included, think of some fine painting or drawing when we hear the word Art. Fine could be different to some. The Mona Lisa would be considered fine art, but many might not like that kind of art. Anime, weapons, cartoons, comics, etc. They are all some kind of art. Many of them are also entertainment.

Teen Titans Go, to me is a horrible style. It looks like something I drew in high school but perfected. That’s not saying it isn’t art. That just my opinion of it. Some love that style. Same goes for other forms. You have other kinds of art like glass blowing, pottery, iron working, wood carving, etc. Even writing can be seen as art.

Let’s define both Art and Entertainment before we go any further.

Art is:

The quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aestheticprinciples, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance. dictionary.com

Entertainment is:

Something affording pleasure, diversion, or amusement, especially aperformance of some kind. dictionary.com

If you click the links to each definition, you will find others I didn’t post. I choose these for specific reasons. They support me when I say art and entertainment are both.

Now that we have that defined and know it can be both. Let’s look at some questions you should think about.

First, who supports the Arts and Entertainment? In your world are they seen as one in the same or can only things like a painting or a statue be art and a play masterfully written and performed cannot? Is one better than the other? Do only the rich get to see plays while the poor get art or the other way around? Are artists praised or seen as people who don’t want to work? Is and can magic be used in either? Are there those who think magic has no place in art or entertainment and those who think it is fine?

What do people of all social levels do for fun? Do you have sports and are those who do it for a living or is it seen as something only as a past time? Is gambling allowed on such events? How does your religion’s think of art and entertainment? Do they allow only wholesome things or only things that talk about the gods?

Think of how all the other races in your world will think of art and entertainment? How are they different and similar? Do something they are a waste of time or all about them?

How much does it cost to own a piece of art or see a show? Are there any professions that constantly make up new games to teach people?

There is so much in this area. Also, blending it with everything we talked about so far? Can how cities and towns are built be artful? Weapons, are they plan and more convenient than well designed and pleasing to the eye?

A lot of this is going to be more background stuff unless you have a character who has a job working as a painter or actor. Take some time and think about how you will portray art and entertainment in your world.

That’s all for today. Check back tomorrow for the Last Post in our Worldbuilding Series. It is on Calenders. Note, there will be no Craft Post this weekend. I am going to take a week to think through what will be our next series. I am thinking First Drafts, but we shall see.