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Coffee Break: May 3 2020

May 3 2020: I haven’t talked about the novel in a while. My current work-in-progress is a contemporary novel inspired by Gothic literature. It’s about an innocent young woman trying to survive in a world filled with selfish and unpleasant people, a society in obvious decline, and expectations that go against the vision she has for herself.

Lacking a title I’m happy with, I’m referring to it as Project Deadmall for now. The second draft is currently underway. I’ve made a copy of the first draft, written between December 2019 and February 2020, in Scrivener. Now I’m breaking it down into chapters, tracking plot points and character arcs, and ensuring that it all makes sense. Next come intensive rewrites.

My current goal is to have all of my notes together by the end of the month, so that I can complete the second draft over the summer. Ideally I’d like to have it query-ready for the September PitMad, but more likely it will be the December one.

Yes, people, your favorite hack writer is taking a whole year to write a book.

May 3 2020

  • If you get anything out of these blog posts, consider buying me a coffee. You can also purchase one of my books or zines from Gumroad or DriveThruRPG.
  • I check all email and Twitter DMs, personal and professional, three times a day. Responses are made as time allows; if it requires some thought or research on my part, it will take me longer.
  • I am actively avoiding news and social media to focus on writing. Please take your information from reliable sources and certified experts, not the mad carrot and its puerile cultists.
  • Today is Day 48 in isolation. 
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Journal

What Writing Goal Do You Want to Accomplish in 2020?

Lately I’ve talked a lot about my writing goal. Rather than repeating the same answer, let me break it down further, to an emotional level. People beyond my current publishing niche will recognize me as a writer  by the end of the coming year . Whether or not I sell a novel or end up with a successful blog, I want perceptions of me to have changed. It’s not even that I want people to think that I’m brilliant, or to amass fame and fortune. I simply want to be taken seriously.

This is not to disparage the writing that I currently do for a living. I’m not looking to insult the people who read it and enjoy it. I wouldn’t be in the field if I didn’t harbor a love for it. I’m capable of more than that particular niche, however. That category has limitations, both creatively and financially. That form, that market, and that audience don’t support some of the things I want to write. Making a living in that category is possible, as I’ve proven, but it isn’t easy or particularly fun.

I’m not trying to be pretentious. I don’t think I’m better that I actually am, and acknowledge my own limitations. That doesn’t mean that I can’t strive to be a better writer, or to do things beyond what I’ve already done. It certainly doesn’t mean that I can’t explore other interest, or try things beyond the field I’m most familiar with. I have been tired of being typecast as one thing for the past decade. The difference is that now, I have a plan to do something about it.

What Writing Goal Do You Want to Accomplish in 2020?

Okay reader, let’s hear about your writing goals for next year. You don’t have to be a participant in The Merry Writer game to play along here!


The Merry Writer is a writer’s game on Twitter run by Ari Meghlen (@arimeghlen) and Rachel Poli (@RPoli3). Each day there’s a new question, and each month there’s a new theme. In these posts I expand upon the answers that I’ve posted on my Twitter.

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Journal

Writing: Where Do You Want to Be a Year From Now?

By the end of 2020 I want to be querying my novel. I put a stick in the ground that it will be ready for #PitMad on December 3. It’s a big step for me, because it’s a change in direction from the writing I do for a living. If I’m not completely out of my current publishing niche, I want to at least have diversified my output. I want to be writing more of the sort of things I want to be creating, and not just what sells. A year from now I want to be more secure, both emotionally and financially, with my overall writing career.

Where Do You Want to Be a Year From Now?

This question is both timely and rough. The entire last quarter of 2019 been about sorting this out. My current short-term and long-term goals are aligned with my personal vision of what I want my writing career to be. It’s exciting and terrifying. I am by turns confident and certain that I don’t know what I’m doing.


Okay reader, what about you? Do you have a vision of where you want your writing to be in a year? You don’t have to be a participant in The Merry Writer game to play along here!

The Merry Writer is a writer’s game on Twitter run by Ari Meghlen (@arimeghlen) and Rachel Poli (@RPoli3). Each day there’s a new question, and each month there’s a new theme. In these posts I expand upon the answers that I’ve posted on my Twitter.

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Journal

Do You Have Any Short-Term Writing Goals for 2020?

Short-term goals are anything that will take under a year to accomplish. I’ve centered my short-term writing goals for 2020 on completing the first draft of this novel by February 29th. I would like to have it edited by the end of the summer and in shape to begin querying by next December’s PitMad. To the degree that I know what I’m doing, I realize this could be is undoubtedly a stretch. I’d rather my reach exceed my grasp than sit back and do nothing, though.

I include this blog in my writing goals as well. The topics here on this iteration of the site are all about writing, and it is itself a form or written expression. As I’ve said before, I’m not certain what specific problem I’m solving for in this space, but I recognize that it is necessary. For now I want to take until the end of February to settle in and get comfortable with a regular posting schedule. After that I’ll look at growing readership, and what’s realistic. I would like to have a larger readership, and an active, engaged comments section, buy the end of 2020.

Short-Term Writing Goals for 2020

Okay reader, don’t hold back. What short-term writing goals have you set for yourself in 2020? You don’t have to be a participant in The Merry Writer game to play along here!


The Merry Writer is a writer’s game on Twitter run by Ari Meghlen (@arimeghlen) and Rachel Poli (@RPoli3). Each day there’s a new question, and each month there’s a new theme. In these posts I expand upon the answers that I’ve posted on my Twitter.

Categories
Journal

Introducing Your Protagonist: A Mystery to Be Solved

For the book I’m writing, and forgive me if I’m short on details, because I’m still discovering them for myself, I wanted my main character to have a low-key introduction. It wasn’t going to be a dramatic reveal. There are a group of characters having a conversation, with the protagonist being one of them. I want it to be a slow burn as the reader gets to like this person, and realizes they’re the focus of the book. By that point the reader should want to keep following them around through the story. I know that’s an incredibly difficult way of introducing your protagonist, but I’m determined to make it work.

Introducing Your Protagonist

Like the opening scene, the first appearance of the protagonist should draw the reader in. As with my opinion on opening scenes, that has to be the beginning and not the end. I don’t want the reader to drop out after 50 or 100 pages. You need to draw them in deeper with every scene. I think that my main character’s first appearance has to set an expectation. The character is a mystery to be solved, and people will want to keep reading as they learn more about them.


Progress Report: Day 5

  • Today is day 5 of 90 on my journey to write the first draft of a novel.
  • Yesterday I wrote 793 words, bringing the total to 4,577.
  • That puts me 2,177 words ahead of my target goal, based on writing 600 word per day.
  • I’m currently working on the second scene of the first act, establishing the setting and introducing an important supporting character.

Notes

  • I am starting to get a comfort level with both this online journal and the novel. This is why I didn’t do this as a NaNoWriMo project. As with my day job, deadline-driven work, it goes by so quickly. I don’t feel like I have the time to build an attachment. I have to be able to process things on a deeper level.
  • Long-range goals: Today is #PitMad. I am putting a stick in the ground and setting a soft goal to have a complete, polished manuscript and a solid 280-character pitch ready for next December’s event.

Thanks for Visiting

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