May Write Day: Habits

April was a solid month. We spent some time with friends and family, welcomed a new baby to the family, and started making moves on our house. April felt long, but also passed quickly. As my status update post indicated last week, I made progress on a lot of things throughout April, but didn’t bring many to completion.

Progress without “finishing” it still progress, so that’s something to feel good about.

Last Month’s Goals

  1. Finish two revision cycles for Uprooted, the Herb Witch Tales #1.
  2. Read three books.
  3. Exercise three times per week.

Finish two revisions for Uprooted?

No, but I’m almost done with the first. In the first half of the month, I just didn’t spend enough nights revising. In the second half of the month, we were dealing with our toddler getting Scarlett Fever, of all things, and now I have a minor bout of strep myself.

I still definitely should have finished the first revision and at least made a good start on the second. As with everything, this has more to do with not being in the habit of revising.

Read three books?

Also no. I finished one book in April and have made good progress on two others. I’m currently listening to two different books on Audible, because they are quite different and require different kinds of my attention.

The first is a parenting book, Raising Good Humans, which I’m trying to listen to earnestly, which means it requires more of my focus. I’m finding the book helpful so far, but progress is slow, because it comes with exercises. A couple times each chapter, the author stops for an exercise, typically consisting of journaling about your experiences as a parent, or your experiences being raised by your parents.

Again, because I’m trying to listen to this book in earnest, I’m doing all of the activities, which means I need to take the time to sit down and write my responses. I think it will help, though.

The second book I’m reading is The King of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany. I have previously listened to a collection of his short stories, which I found difficult to get through. In retrospect, I think those were difficult because the narrator was awful. The narrator for The King of Elfland’s Daughter is quite good, and I’m enjoying the story far more. Reading Dunsany has been an incredible glimpse into the fantasy stories that Tolkien likely grew up on when he was a child, and the influences are obvious. Looking forward to writing a bit more about this one.

I’m also still reading A Memory of Light. I’m at the point in the story where everything is going wrong for the protagonists and it feels like everything is about to collapse around them. The dread is real.

Exercise three times per week?

I think I was not far off from this, but it was not nearly as consistent as I would have liked. I need to take a new tack. See below.

Goals for May

  1. Actually finish two revisions for Uprooted. I need to get this done.
  2. Plan next steps for The Herb Witch Tales. After the above is complete, I need to plan my next steps for this duology. It will likely depend on whether I need further revisions for Uprooted. If not, perhaps I cans end it to beta readers and/or my editor while I start revising New Earth.
  3. Read three books. I should finish the two audiobooks I’m listening to, and finding a third will not be hard.
  4. Exercise every day. Time to knuckle down. I really need to get back into a proper exercise routine, but I can’t do that unless I’m exercising habitually. Three days per week is not cutting it. I want to try to exercise every single day this month. Whether that’s some basic morning yoga, resistance training, or full yoga sessions. I’m not targeting a specific routine here, again, because I just want to do something each day. That’s it. The routine will come later.

Steve D

Mid/Late April Check-In

It’s been a long time since I wrote a “status update” type of post, but I’m in the middle of a lot of different things at the moment.

I definitely intended to title this my “Mid-April” check-in, until I realized that it is, in fact, April 25th as I write this. So, here are my status updates.

Revisions

I’m still revising Uprooted, The Herb Witch Tales #1, and hopeful I can finish the current stage by the end of the month. Really enjoying this story, which always feels weird to say about my own writing, but considering what the first draft of this story looked like, I am immensely happy with how it has evolved.

Reading

I’m in the middle of three separate books at the moment. One of them, I may actually finish this month. Another is A Memory of Light, which I’ve just decided is my reading project this year–won’t be finishing that this month. And the third is a book about parenting–Raising GOod Humans–which includes homework.

Yes, I am trying to do the homework. I’m not reading this book because I enjoy the subject matter. I’m reading it because I’ve been having issues with my older son. The book has already helped somewhat, so I’m trying to put in an honest effort. It just means it will take me longer to finish.

Exercise

Part of the above improvement effort has included a realization that I need to exercise for my mental health as much as physical. I’ve always known this, but it’s really hit home for me recently. I’ve been pretty good about it this month for a seemingly obvious reason: I’ve gone back to a yoga channel on YouTube I’m very familiar and very comfortable with–Sarah Beth Yoga.

I had tried the Asana Rebel app, found it lacking, and then wondered what to do next. And I ended up just going back to a yoga teacher on YouTube, whose app I might as well get into, because she’s great. Sometimes the answer is right in front of you.

I’ve also tried to get back into a meditation routine, focused on mindfulness. I’m at the point where a 3-minute meditation session feels short, so that’s probably a good sign.

That’s It

Anyway, that’s all I have this week. Lots of stuff happening, but mostly as works-in-progress, which is just the way it goes sometimes. My monthly goals post next week will be more substantive, and hopefully chock-full of updates.

Steve D

April Write Day: Same Goals, Some Progress

March felt like a long month. I spent a week in the office with my entire team, some of whom I haven’t seen in person in years, and couple of whom I was meeting in person for the first time. We’ve had a busy month with the boys, not for any reason in particular other than the fact that an eighteen-month-old and a four-year-old will occupy a lot of your time and energy.

It was a halfway decent month for my goals, as well, until I got sick and was thrown off my rhythm for over a week.

Last Month’s Goals

  1. Revisions for Uprooted, The Herb Witch Tales #1.
  2. Read three books. Pretty straightforward. I also want to continue making good progress on A Memory of Light. I’m at the point where some narrative chips are starting to fall, and it is both dreadful and exciting.
  3. Exercise at least three times a week. The app is making me do three workouts per week, at minimum. So that’s baseline. I also want to start adding in other forms of training, so I’m mentally aiming for 4-5 workouts per week, and I’ll see how my routine develops from there.

Revisions for Uprooted?

I did not complete my revisions, but I’ve made some good progress in the last week. One thing I can say for certain is that I have a really good story on my hands. That is not something I would have been confident in saying before this revision phase. There are a couple minor plot threads I had forgotten about in the long hiatus since my last revision phase (as I was drafting New Earth), that highlight the struggle for survival in interesting ways. Not just describing the characters as tired and hungry again and again, but demonstrating how conflict can smolder from that basic tension.

So, I just need to be more diligent in revising. I still want to finish my current read-through to look at overall plot and identify areas that need more work, and then read through again to reverse engineer my outline and ensure the scene and chapter structure makes sense for the plot and pacing.

After that, I’m not sure. Maybe a third read-through to look for smaller details I want to fix, before deciding whether I have a solid manuscript to send to an editor, or even beta readers.

Read three books?

Yes! And my reviews have been fairly active on Goodreads and here. I might have read four, actually… I lost track a bit, because I updated a few of my reviews on Goodreads, which changes the where they appear in my “read” list.

I didn’t read much in A Memory of Light, but I’m about halfway through. I’m still very much interested. I’m just at a point in the story where some chips are starting to fall, and I’m dreading losing characters I love.

Exercise three times per week?

I started off strong, and then this very minor but very nagging cold I got in the middle of the month threw my off.

I had been using Asana Rebel to find yoga-type workout videos, but I’m not thrilled with the app. After the introductory program, there’s not really much guidance. There are just a bunch of videos from various trainers. I can watch yoga videos for free on YouTube, so I’m not quite seeing the value in the app at this point.

I’m also starting to consider different types of workouts. I just don’t know how and where I want to exercise. I haven’t belonged to a gym since COVID lockdown, and it’s difficult to see an opening in my day-to-day schedule for that at the moment — getting changed, going to the gym, stretching, working out, getting home, changing again. I need a solid hour or hour-and-a-half, and that time is difficult to find as it is. My office has a small workout room that I might start using, just for the convenience. We’ll see how that goes.

Goals for April

  1. Finish two revision cycles for Uprooted, the Herb Witch Tales #1. I definitely want to finish to two read-throughs I mentioned above. If I make real progress doing so, I can aim for a third.
  2. Read three books. I’ve been able to stick to this one so far, this year.
  3. Exercise three times per week. Still in flux what my real workout routine looks like, but I’ve been doing alright for now.

Steve D

March Write Day: Plans to Execute

The shortest month of the year is through, and I half-heartedly wish I had a few more days. It’s been a good month overall, I just had a lull in the middle.

But an ending is also a beginning, and I’m pleased that a new month is starting.

Last Month’s Goals

  1. Complete my first round of revisions on Uprooted, The Herb Witch Tales #1.
  2. Read three books.
  3. Exercise at least three times a week.

Complete first round of revisions on Uprooted?

No. I’ve gotten about halfway through my draft. This is the primary lull I mentioned above. I just didn’t sit down enough nights to read through my story. Sometimes revisions, just like writing, is about number of sessions as much as productivity per session.

The good news is that halfway through, I like this story. The pacing is a little disorienting at first, which is intentional, and I can feel it slowing down into its middle rhythm. This first revision pass-through is about the overall flow, so feeling through those ebbs and flows is a good sign of how readers might engage with the story.

This revision process is also highlighting likely next steps for me. I think I want to complete this read-through of Uprooted, focused on overall flow and only obvious edits, and then read through again to trace scene placement and length.

Examining the scene placement and length per scene will help me determine whether particular scenes are unbalanced against others, or where natural breaks in the narrative occur. I wrote this story into ten chapters, but do the chapter breaks make sense? Are they too long? Because this is a novella, I’m starting to think that I should have more numerous but shorter chapters to help make the story more digestible.

I just want to validate that idea with a second read-through.

Once I have a good handle on the overall narrative flow and the scene breakdown of Uprooted, I’ll switch gears and follow the same process for New Earth, allowing me to ensure that the two stories make sense together as well as independently.

Read three books?

No, but I read two and started a third. I also made more progress on A Memory of Light. I got stuck on a longer nonfiction book, Dawn of the Code War, which is a bit of an oral history of the FBI’s, and the US’s, initial foray into cyber attacks. Really interesting read, but not the type of thing I can power through in a weekend.

I’m currently reading a short thriller, The Wrong One, by Dervla McTiernan. I’ve read a few of her Cormac Reilly books, so I did not hesitate to pick up this short story on Audible.

Next, I’m looking for some fantasy / historical fiction. Might be going back to Bernard Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom series… I’m on book eight.

Exercise three times per week?

YES at least in the back half of the month. I finally bit the bullet and paid for a workout app program thing. I chose Asana Rebel, since they had a one-year subscription deal and I kept seeing their ads. (Your Instagram marketing campaign worked on me, Asana Rebel! Curse you!)

I started with their intro program and am moving onto full yoga sets. It’s not terribly difficult for me to find 10-15 minutes of exercise time in a day. 20-30 minute sessions will be tougher. I’m thinking I’ll intersperse their yoga sessions with resistance training and… dare I say it? Sprinting.

I’m not into running, although I’ve been told I’m built like a runner. I’m not interested in long-distance running, but sprinting to build leg strength sounds okay. I just need to figure out what that type of workout looks like.

Asana Rebel is nice, because they push notifications to you about a weekly goal — mine is three workouts per week — and quiz you on your mood and what types of exercises may help you in the moment. At the moment, I like the structure it provides. I just need to be disciplined in building on top of it, so that’s what March will be about.

Goals for March

  1. Revisions for Uprooted, The Herb Witch Tales #1. I need to complete my first read-through focused on narrative flow and pacing.
    • Then I need to complete a second read-through to reverse engineer scene structure and chapter layout.
  2. Read three books. Pretty straightforward. I also want to continue making good progress on A Memory of Light. I’m at the point where some narrative chips are starting to fall, and it is both dreadful and exciting.
  3. Exercise at least three times a week. The app is making me do three workouts per week, at minimum. So that’s baseline. I also want to start adding in other forms of training, so I’m mentally aiming for 4-5 workouts per week, and I’ll see how my routine develops from there.

Steve D

February Write Day: Revision Time

January was cool. I feel like it somehow took me three weeks to get over the holiday craziness and get back to a normal routine.

Work has slowed down for me, and for a day or two last week I even felt a little bored.

But, the next thing is always coming.

I’ve managed to do a lot of reading and TV/movie watching this month, which has been a nice change of pace. I just need to balance that a bit with revisions for The Herb Witch Tales duology, starting with Uprooted.

Last Month’s Goals

  1. Start revising The Herb Witch Tales, #1 and #2.
  2. Read three books.
  3. Exercise at least three times a week.

Start revising The Herb Witch Tales?

Yes, I have started. I’ve gotten about a third of the way through the first story, and I definitely could have done more if I had focused a bit better. I’m just reading through my draft on my laptop, focusing on overall flow and consistency more than anything else. I’ve started leaving comments in the margins whenever a significant theme or an important detail crops up, to ensure that I can refer back to it later.

I intend to read through both stories in this way, looking for overall flow and consistency, before reading again to look for deeper thematic resonance, and then ultimately style and wording. So, I think I’m in for three phases of revisions before sending these to other readers.

I’m not sure how I’m going to approach that yet. I’d like to send them to my editor, for sure. I think I’d also like to use beta readers, but I’m not certain how I will find/work with beta readers yet.

In any case, a vague timeline for these stories is starting to coalesce in my mind, but it’s still to early for me to verbalize that yet. I’m making progress, and that’s good.

Read three books?

Yes, and I’ve already made it almost halfway through another in the final days of the month. On top of that, I made some little progress on A Memory of Light. I’m into the middle third of that novel now, and I’d like to pick up the pace a bit. I just need to give myself more time to read at night.

Exercise at least three times a week?

Not quite. I had a predictable post-holiday slump, for whatever reason. I’ve picked it back up in the last week though, with more of a focus on yoga. My flexibility has suffered without doing any yoga consistently for a while, so I’d like to change that.

A random imgur gif I saw the other night reminded me of a balance and leg strength exercise I used to on one of those balance board balls. I need to get back to something like that.

Now, however, I’m debating whether I should start buying equipment, or just find a gym again. I haven’t had a gym membership since the 2020 lockdown, and it’s hard to imagine finding time to go to the gym regularly. So I might have to make do for a bit.

Goals for February

  1. Complete my first round of revisions on Uprooted, The Herb Witch Tales #1. I’d like to jump into this revision phase with more intention, so now we’re back to real goals. If I can get started on revising New Earth as well, all the better.
  2. Read three books. I’ve made a good start for the month, and I’ve found a few one-off fantasy books on Audible that I might try to dive into.
  3. Exercise at least three times a week. With my more deliberate focus on self-care and a less arduous work routine ahead of me, I’m finding it easier to find time during the day for a decent yoga session. I just need to show up.

Steve D

3 Elements to Revise in an Early Draft

Creativity Sessions writing process. Evening Satellite Publishing.

I’ve started a full revision of The Herb Witch Tales this month. I’m currently revising the third draft of Uprooted, and will move straight into revising the second draft of New Earth.

These novellas form a duology, so it’s important to me that the characters, plots, and narrative themes align between them. I had written the first part in full, started the second part, and then decided to rewrite part one. Now that I’ve finished a subsequent rewrite of part two, I’m taking the time to revise both parts together.

Thus, my focus for this revision phase is first on consistency of those big pieces, knowing I’ll likely have to come back again to revise for smaller details.

That got me thinking about which elements are important to focus on during a given revision phase.

I’ll start by looking at what to focus on when revising an early draft.

3 Elements to Revise in an Early Draft

I’m using the term “early draft” here, because every writer drafts at a different pace. Some take three drafts to get a polished story; others take ten, or fifty. An early draft could be a discovery draft, where you’re just getting words onto paper, or it could be a draft that has already gone through a couple of revisions, but still feels raw.

In any case, you have a completed draft that you know needs some work. Where to begin? I’d like to highlight three places to start.

1 – Scene Development

This might seem obvious, but an early draft likely has a lot of plot holes to fill. Read through your draft with a questioning mind. From scene to scene, are there any questions left unanswered about how your characters are behaving, jumps in time, or events that are not presented to the reader directly?

It’s okay to leave some of these things for the reader to interpret, but that should be an intentional decision. If you’ve skipped a ton of scene development for the purpose of getting that draft finished, then many parts of the story may feel unfinished when you’re revising.

With every scene you revise, ask yourself:

  • Does this scene transition well from the previous scene?
  • Does the scene demonstrate new or reinforce established information about the characters, the plot, or the world they’re in?
  • Does it transition well into the next scene in a way that readers can follow?

2 – Character Consistency

Pay attention to the way your main characters may change – or not change – over the course of the story.

  • Do their attitudes shift, and do these changes serve the narrative?
  • Does each character have consistent voicing — the way the speak, act, fidget, or think?
  • Do their decisions align with what the reader knows about their fears, their motives, and what’s happening around them?
  • Does each character have agency, able to make decisions in reaction to what’s happening around them, rather than being buffeted through each scene like a toy doll in a hurricane?

Similarly, do your side characters have a purpose in your story? These are the folks who may only appear in a few scenes, or in the background of whatever the main characters are doing, but they should be there for a reason. A character who just reacts to what’s going on around them – a child who only complains to their parents, or a sidekick who only cheers on their leader – will fall flat. If you’re taking the time to create a character and place them in a scene, then give them something to contribute.

3 – Narrative Flow

This follows on element number one above, but forces you to take a step back and view your story not just for each individual scene, but for how the entire piece comes together.

  • If the story is intense with drama or action, are there moments of quiet and calm, or is the reader constantly pushed from one crisis into another with no respite?
  • Does the narrative meander from one scene to another, taking random expository detours that last for pages on end?
  • Does the plot flow naturally, or will the reader feel jolted along due to unexpected time jumps, or sudden changes of place?

Finding Your Story’s Intention

None of these things are bad to have in a story, but they should be intentional. Revising an early draft should give you the opportunity to understand, and improve on, the tone, pacing, and style of your story.

And don’t fret the details of Editing or Proofreading just yet. That will come in later revision phases.

Steve D

January Write Day: New Somethings

Well, here we are. 2023.

Time to look back on all my goals from 2022 and recalibrate for a new year. I’ll probably do a general goals review post for all of 2022 at some point this month, but this is not that post.

Today, let’s just stick to the here and now – how December went for me and how I would like for January to go.

Last Month’s Goals

  1. Finish New Earth.
  2. Read three books.
  3. Exercise three times per week.

I feel good about this one.

Finish New Earth?

Yes! At least, as close as I can get with a second draft. As I had mentioned last month, I did not track a word count goal for December, because I just wanted to finish the story.

I got over the bump of the final conflict, and I have some falling action to write. The reason I’m not too concerned with the falling action is twofold.

a. Right now the falling action just feels like a cliff notes section of the day after, and that’s uninteresting, both as a writer and a reader.

b. I need to review both stories in The Herb Witch Tales, Uprooted and New Earth, in full to ensure that I’ve hit all the big thematic beats I wanted to hit throughout this duology. That will really determine what I need to cover in the falling action.

So, a revision phase is in order. I’m still not sure how I will proceed with that. Printing the two documents of 70+ pages each just to red-line edit them feels wasteful.

Plus, I have a shiny new writing tool. I got myself a small, hefty laptop whose sole purpose is to give me portable access to my writing in a pinch. For the last couple years, I’ve primarily been writing on a desktop in my office, which is in the back room of the upstairs of our house. A nagging technical issue aside, it’s not a very convenient writing spot when I have two kids running around and usually don’t get more than a half hour to sit and concentrate on something.

What I’m hoping this new laptop will give me is a way to sit for 10 or 15 minutes in my kitchen and try to scratch out a couple hundred words while dinner is on the stove, or while my one-year-old is falling asleep with a bottle in his mouth next to me on the couch.

Read three books?

I read five books! One was short, and another was very short, but I don’t care. I did not meet my 2022 GoodReads goal of 26, but a final push over the holidays brought me to 22 books read for the year, which I’m not upset about.

Exercise three times a week?

Minus the weeklong feasting of the holidays, yes. My strategy to simplify my workout goal has really helped me focus on what I need to do on a given day to just achieve a bare minimum.

Part of the problem is that work has been so stressful the last few months that I’ve all but stopped taking real breaks during the day. I wasn’t letting myself take substantial breaks, which obviously cut into any workout time I might have.

So, in addition to the workout plan, I also just need to give myself the space to have some self-care time during my workday, when I’m by myself and have some control over my schedule. If I had a resolution this year, that would be it — allowing myself the space for self-care, without feeling guilty about it.

Goals for January

  1. Start revising The Herb Witch Tales, #1 and #2. I don’t quite know what this process will look like yet, so I can’t commit to a timetable yet. I definitely don’t want to sit on these stories for too long. I just need to figure out my revision process and start. That likely starts with an overarching view of the themes, plot threads, and character beats I want to follow throughout both stories, so I think I have some contemplating and organizing to do first.
  2. Read three books. I’ve made more progress on A Memory of Light and just started listening to 1984, so January reading is off to a good start.
  3. Exercise at least three times a week. I’m not going to jump ahead of myself. I have a decent routine down, and I need to figure out how to build on it. That could include incorporating a longer yoga session or two into my week, but I’ll see how it develops. I also got a double-end bag for Christmas, which provides a great way to get some cardio and shoulder/triceps workout in. I just need to clean out my garage and install it. We’ll see how that goes.

Steve D

November Write Day: National Novel Writing Month 2021!

October came and went, but it felt like a lot happened. I returned to work after vacation, attended a work summit for the first time in two years, and did a lot of reading. Now, I’m taking an extra bit of time off to spend with the three-month-old before he starts daycare. Oh yeah, our new baby is three months old this week. Having two kids still feels very new to me. Maybe taking them both to daycare together will normalize it a bit more. In any case, the baby is awesome, and I’m thoroughly enjoying my extra few days of being a stay-at-home dad.

Last Month’s Goals

  1. Finish current draft of Uprooted.
  2. Read through Uprooted and takes note.
  3. Prepare for National Novel Writing Month.

Let’s discuss

Finish current draft of Uprooted?

Success! My writing goal for October was to complete the second draft of Uprooted, The Herb Witch Tales #1, and I wanted to do it as quickly as possible. I set a writing goal for 3,000 words by October 14. I wrote 3,800 words and completed my draft at a total of about 46,000.

That’s a fair bit longer than I had originally intended for this story to be, but I think it’s the right length. I feel good about where this story is at right now. It will need some further revisions, but no more rewrites, and that’s exciting.

Read through Uprooted?

Not quite. I didn’t print out my draft as originally planned. Instead, I just started reading and making edits directly in Word. I just didn’t have quite the motivation to do so as I thought I would. Each time I sat down at my computer to read, I found myself getting bored or distracted. Not bored of my story–just bored of reading a long document on my computer. It’s not the best way to revise a story, but I also know that I just need to do a first pass on it before diving a little deeper and sharing it with some beta readers.

I’m still only about a third of the way through this read-through, and with National Novel Writing Month now in full swing, I’m more focused on writing again. I may have also been looking forward too much to NaNoWriMo, and not focusing on the task in front of me.

Speaking of which…

Prepare for National Novel Writing Month?

Yes, at least as far as I “prepare” any story for writing. I have an outline of ten chapters with a 1-2 sentence summary and a few detailed notes for each. For the latter half of the story, my chapter notes tend to be questions that I will need to consider in order for the plot to advance in the way I intend.

This is a really bare-bones outline compared to what some writers do (where my NaNoWriMo Planners at?), but it’s just a guide for me. My stories tend to unfold more naturally as I write them. That’s just my style.

I can already tell you that the first two days of NaNoWriMo have been slow for me, writing-wise. I’m finding it difficult to write the opening section of the story. Fortunately, I have some content I can fill for the middle part of the story. I just need to get past the introduction.

Goals for November

  1. Complete NaNoWriMo! This 50,000-word challenge is the perfect opportunity for me to rewrite New Earth, The Herb Witch Tales #2. I’m aiming for about 45k words for this story, to keep it in line with Uprooted, so as long as I finish the story, I’ll call this a success.
  2. Keep reading through Uprooted. This is a stretch goal for me. I don’t want to be too distracted from NaNoWriMo, but reading through my first story could help me be productive when I hit a block on New Earth.
  3. Keep reading in general. While I’m not committing to reading a certain amount this month, I’d like to read something other than my own work. Again, this can serve as a bit of a mental break from writing/revising when I need it, and that’s just as important as the writing itself.

Steve D

October Write Day: Shifting Gears

September was a bit of a crazy month. Between work picking up a lot and a week-long beach trip, I found little time for writing. I knew I wasn’t going to write while at the beach–not with a toddler and an infant to entertain. We had a nice time, though, and I wasn’t ready to get back to normal life.

September was fun, but goals-wise, maybe my worst month on record? Let’s get this over with.

Last Month’s Goals

  1. Finish current draft of Uprooted and write 5,000 words.
  2. Read through Uprooted.
  3. Read 4 books.

Finish current draft / write 5,000 words?

Neither. I wrote 2,500 words in September, and a good chunk of that came in the last two days of the month, after we had returned from vacation and settled back into our daily routine. That also was not enough to finish my draft. Based on progress I’ve made so far in October, I think this draft of Uprooted will finish around 48,000 words, which places this firmly in novella territory.

I’ll talk about this in my actual goals for the month, but I’m trying to finish this draft as quickly as possible so I can do some read-throughs before November. I don’t anticipate any large-scale revisions from this point. I definitely want my editor and maybe some readers to read the story and provide feedback, but at this point, I like how this story ended up. I just want to tighten it up.

Before I get there, though, I need to write the second draft of New Earth, my second story in The Herb Witch Tales. More on that below.

Read through Uprooted?

Obviously not, since I still have to finish the thing.

Read four books?

I finished three books in September, which is actually better than I thought, but they were all audiobooks. I now have two nonfiction books that I’ve started and not been motivated to continue on any consistent basis, even though I find both interesting.

So I started reading Knife of Dreams, book 11 of The Wheel of Time. I’m more than halfway through already, and I may jump straight into the next one. This installment already feels more weighty, plot-wise, than the middle books of the series, and I know that book 12 begins the home stretch of Brandon Sanderson’s work on the series. I also got excited thinking about the upcoming Wheel of Time TV series.

In short, I’m pretty locked into this series at the moment.

Goals for October

  1. Finish current draft of Uprooted. As mentioned above, I have to finish this draft this month. I can’t publish these stories by the end of this year without basically a miracle, but I still have to move to the next step.
  2. Read through Uprooted and takes note. I’m giving myself the first two weeks or so of the month to finish my draft, whereupon I will print it and begin to mark it up with red pen. This should help me see what needs to be done to the story at large before moving on. If I have time before the end of the month, I’ll start to make revisions–not rewrites, mind you. I think this story has moved past the need for rewrites. Once I’ve done that, I will pass it on to at least one reader to look at for me. I have someone in mind, but let me know if you’re interested.
  3. Prepare for National Novel Writing Month. Once I complete the read-through/revisions of Uprooted, I intend to move on to my second draft of New Earth, the second story in The Herb Witch Tales. Between unused sections of Uprooted and the rough draft I wrote of New Earth earlier this year, I probably have 30,000 words worth of content to use. It’s time to get this story into gear, and NaNoWriMo will be the perfect time to do it.

Steve D