Wednesday, 30 July 2014

WiPpet Wednesday: A Peek at the Feral Diaries

Hey guys, it’s Wednesday again and you know what that means! WiPpet Wednesday. But first let’s have a bit of a catch up.

Everything else in life is going swimmingly, projects are getting worked on, blogs are getting prepared and clients are getting their orders. Things slowed down a little in comparison to how productive I was last week and I am a little sad about that but I knew that there was no way that I could keep working at that pace without a small break. I’m not used to it, I’d burn out. But I have to keep plugging away and no matter how much I’d love to just sit and do nothing I know that I’d end up bored and feeling guilty for not making the best use of my time. So I’m slowly chipping away at my To-Do list. But enough about that. Let’s move on to something that you’re actually interested in;

WiPpet Wednesday!

Now usually I go with something from the Autharium Project but this week I decided to give you a preview of one of my other Works in Progress. Now I’ve mentioned it several times and in fact if you go to my WiPpage here on the blog you can see exactly how many books there are in the series, or at least how many I intend there to be. That’s right, this week you get a look at the monstrosity that I’ve been working on for over a year, since 2012 in fact; Feral Diaries. Now the name’s not set yet but I do have a rough cover. It’s the editing that’s taking the longest but I’m slowly powering through and it should be ready for a rewrite by the end of the summer. In fact I’ve set that as a deadline right now in my little diary. 
As you can see I have no life in October
By 26th October the edits and read through will be complete and I will be ready to begin the rewrite (which incidentally is already looking like it’s going to be a big one). 
So... where are we in the story? The ferals have begun to emerge, the violent aggressive and animalistic victims of a mutated vaccine, and the British government have no idea how to handle it. Our hero Hannah, isn’t too scared of the Ferals, at least not at first and then she meets one.

I saw two Ferals chase down this poor man. I hadn’t realised that they had spread this far but apparently I was wrong. As they were chasing this man they were snarling and growling at him and each other. I never thought that a human throat could make those sounds. It was like what I’d heard on the Animal Channel as lions and hyenas brought down a full grown elephant. The Ferals caught the man and seemed barely out of breath. As they brought him down and started eating him he was still alive and screaming. I could hear his bones crunching and the wet sounds of meat being pulled from his bones and chewed. I had trouble sleeping that night and for a few nights since. Nightmares have plagued me ever since. It was horrible to watch but I couldn’t turn away, like a car crash. Just thinking and remembering makes me shake and shiver. I’m not ashamed to admit that I lost my lunch, there and then, decorating the slabs of the town square with multi-coloured chunks of food. I went home quickly with the acidic tang of bile settled deep in the back of my throat. I barely saw the soldiers surround the Ferals and put them down. I heard the shots though. They aren’t so unusual now.

This is completely unedited, I’ve not even put in any of the notes that I made doing my read-through. It’s discombobulated and rambling and I know that it’s going to need work. This is just one small passage and you can see what’s needed, you can see how much editing and rewriting I have ahead of me. There are hundreds more passages, each as bad as this one, that I need to fix. If you want to see how much worse things are in some of the other entries you can check out the entire index of entries that I've put up so far over on Live Journal.

But what do you think of that passage? Does apocalyptic fiction draw you in? Is it nice to see a change from the usual zombie fiction? Should I focus more on the people than the Ferals? Can you think of a better name for human beings that have reverted to their basic animal instincts? As always let me know in the comments below and I’ll get back to each and every one of you.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

RoW80 Check In: What a Change!

This week has been a complete U-turn in comparison to last week. I’m not longer feeling so down, my productivity has peaked again and I’ve been getting so much more done with my writing that I thought I would be able to. More importantly I’m enjoying myself again, feeling that passion for writing which drove me to take up the pen and the keyboard in the first place. This week has been a week of discovery and rediscovery for me. I’m waking up earlier, sleeping better and getting so much more done. I discovered that I’m more productive in the mornings, not long after I first wake up about 7:30, that I like to take a two hour break for lunch to recharge and that when my parents come home from work I tend to meander in what I do but by 8pm I’m usually back at the computer working.

For the first time since I started this round I’m actually doing stuff that is on my goal list without having to put it on my daily to do list. I’ve made my goals into my habit, pretty much as I hoped to do. Without even meaning to I take part in social media, using it to build contacts and spread ideas as I lay on the sofa during my breaks. I write more often and for longer than I need to. I’m making major progress on a lot of things and I’m just so happy. But enough about how I’m a happy springy bunny in comparison to last week, let’s take a look at how my goals went;

Post 1 blog post other than a RoW80 check in a week –   I’ve actually begun to post twice a week now, on Wednesday with WiPpet Wednesday and on Fridays with my 3 Act Structure series. It’s amazing to me that without meaning to I’ve created a schedule and I’ve already got a bunch of posts lined up for the weeks to come. Progress –  Excellent

30 Minutes on social media a day – As I’ve said already I’ve been doing this without realising. I’ve been commenting on LinkedIn group discussions, talking to people on Twitter and I’ve also made more changes to my Facebook page. It hasn’t gone live yet though, I’m still waiting to sort out my profile pictures before I do that. Progress – Major improvements

Spend 1 hour doing a creative activity each day – Most days this week I’ve been either writing for the Autharium Project or jotting down blog post ideas. Sometimes I’ve even been writing the posts themselves, getting them ready to for editing and then publication. I might not spend a complete hour on one project but I’ve spent an hour doing something creative, split over different things. As long as I keep the productivity going, for me, that’s all that matters. Progress – Excellent

Spend 1 hour doing a different creative activity each day – I’ve actually managed to do this properly this week, every day I’ve been either editing or outlining. I’ve discovered that I prefer to edit with the tv on in the background, giving me something to listen to and watch between edits. I usually do this in the living room, with the family around so I can actually be near real people for a change instead of sitting in all on my own in my room/office. Hopefully I can keep this up into the next week. Progress – Excellent

Start and try for completion of projects on the order day – I’ve had a big project come through with my freelancing this week, as well as a few enquiries that I’m chasing up to see if there’s any work to be had there. Although I’ve not managed to complete the projects that I do have on the same day as they were ordered (5,000 words is a lot to write in one day on one thing) I’ve begun to write them as soon as they were ordered, meaning that I complete projects quicker and the money rolls in. More importantly I do my work on them before I do anything else. Progress – Excellent

So that’s it. This week has been great for me in terms of productivity, work ethic and general happiness. I go to bed tired each night and sleep fantastically. I don’t feel guilty for spending time away from the computer because I’ve actually done more of what I was meant to do that day and I can do the rest when everyone else has gone to bed.

On a side note I’m considering moving this blog over to Wordpress. Blogger keeps messing up the formatting on my posts even though they display fine on the preview and I’ve just been hearing a lot of good things about Wordpress and have for a while. I started this blog back in 2011 and I didn’t really know much about the blogosphere and which hosts were better. I just chose the one that my friend suggested (incidentally she’s since relocated to Wordpress and is now encouraging me to do the same). I also didn’t know what I would blog about at the time, just going with whatever caught my fancy, hence the meandering posts if you read through the archives. Now though I know, I have a clear idea and I’m torn.

Let me know what you think in the comments below. If I do move the blog over I’ll probably bring all the posts from June onwards over too, as well as any really useful ones that I made in the past. What do you think? Should I stay where I am? Or should I move? Do I risk losing the 6 followers I have on Blogger by moving to the more commonly used Wordpress? Is Wordpress as good as I’ve heard? How would you go about switching the blog? And don’t forget the goals progress. Am I getting too ahead of myself? Do I need to slow down or run the risk of burning out? Have I been too optimistic in my view of what I’ve achieved this week?

Friday, 25 July 2014

The Three Act Structure: Act Two

Two weeks ago I started a series about the Three Act Structure, a writing structure, no THE writing structure, that is commonly used by writers everywhere. If you’re telling a story, reading a story, in any media it’s likely that you use it. Not everyone uses one, not intentionally, but it’s one of those key plotting tools that helps you plan your story and helps with revisions. Sometimes you don’t even realise you’re using one.

As always what I write is not fact, it’s just how I see the Three Act Structure from what I’ve read. If you want to find out about the Three Act Structure just search it on Google and you’ll find plenty of results. My first post in the series was an introduction of sorts, my rambling view about what the Three Act Structure, as a whole, is in my mind. My second post was an in-depth look at the key plot points that I use in my First Act. This week though I’m looking at my favourite Act...

Act Two!!

But What Is The Second Act?

The Second Act is the meatiest, juiciest part of the story. It’s where the pain problems happen, it’s where there’s the most character development and the tension is constantly changing, taking the reader on a happy joyride that keeps them turning the page. The Second Act can be as long or as short as you want it to be. There can be three obstacles for your characters to overcome or there can just be the one, or there could be ten (but that can get a little boring to read). It’s all up to you.

For some reason though a lot of people have trouble with writing the Second Act, even planning it can leave them scratching their heads in confusion. More often than not the Second Act in many stories, particularly those from beginner writers, can be weak and rambling. The writer forgets to include the rising and falling tension, to put obstacles in their protagonist’s way, or puts so many in their way it starts to feel like a ‘one thing after another’ story (kind of like the end of Return of the King).

Image courtesy of this site

Why Is It So Important?

This Act is all about character development. The characters start to change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worst. Their development isn’t quite complete though, that comes in the Third Act (but more on that another day). More often than not the character develops in slightly the wrong direction. But however the character changes, why the character changes, is all explained, or rather shown, in this Act. By the end of the Second Act there must be a clear difference between how the protagonist and other characters were when they first appeared to how they are now. Their attitudes, their ideas, their goals, all of it will have changed in some way. And it needs to be most of the characters that appear regularly who change, not just your protagonist or things could seem a little flat.

The Second Act is also about conflict. In the Second Act the obstacles come from all over the place; the protagonist can be their own worst enemies and cause more problems than they fix, the antagonist can keep throwing problems at them to keep them distracted from the real problems, or another person could come along and stir things up a bit. The protagonist’s goals crash up against the goals of other characters, the bad guy’s goals conflict with the good guy’s goals. They have to fight things, overcome things, even overcome their own problems. The Second Act is all about fighting and overcoming and sometimes it keeps happening and happening, repeating itself over and over as the characters head towards that final showdown in Act Three.

So What’s In The Second Act

Now, there are dozens of plot points that can be included in the Second Act, hundreds of ways that your story can go and any number of repetitions that can be made. But I have 5 points that I use when I’m planning my Second Act, 5 points that I try to hit when I’m writing. They are;
  1. New Situation
  2. Transformation
  3. Unification
  4. Division
  5. Crisis Hits

You can probably see that things get worse then get better and then suddenly get worse and worse. You’d more than likely have a couple of ‘nice’ scenes in between some of the more high tension scenes, something to help the reader calm down. But that’s your choice, for now let’s get into a little more detail with each of these points.

New Situation

This is where the protagonist is forced into a new situation and has to adapt to it in order to overcome the obstacle that blocks them from their goal. Usually this obstacle is introduced in at the end of the previous Act and the protagonist has to take a step into the unknown before they can properly overcome the obstacle that stands in their way. Ideally they should only fail once, when trying to use what is familiar and comfortable to them, and then succeed using new knowledge that they’ve gained. Too much failure can be annoying and repetitive for readers and writers alike. After a certain point it’s no longer telling a good story but more like flogging a dead dog in front of a bunch of school children; painful and scarring. While it’s true that sometimes readers love to hate the writer, having them actively despise you for something like that is a little bit pointless and only George R.R. Martin can really get away with it because he seems to enjoy being hated.

But yes, back to the topic at hand. This is an excellent chance for character development with everything being shiny and new for them. They can have their views of the world challenged, be forced to question everything that they once knew or even just learn to do something that they’re really crappy at. The character needs to change a little bit, move away from who they first were in some way, whether good or bad. Whether this change is good or bad remains to be seen but the change needs to happen in order for them to overcome the obstacle that’s in their way. That happens at the end of this plot point and leads smoothly on to...


Like the name of the plot point says, this is all about change. The character changes noticeably here, for all sorts of reasons. The character develops and alters to fit a new mould that they have either created for themselves or that has been pushed upon them.

Also this is an excellent point to shove in those extra sub-plots; that romance line with the girl next door, new characters who want to be where the protagonist is or want to help the protagonist get to where they want to be. There needs to be conflict there though, forcing yet more change as the protagonist adapts to these new experiences. They can be mini obstacles in themselves, things that force the characters to develop as people in order to overcome them. These are little things that continue throughout the rest of the story and the series if that’s what you’re writing. This could be the perfect place to plant the seeds for the problems of the next book. They don’t need to be big or obvious but they can be there. Of course all this changing and growing can lead to...


This is the point where, exactly as the name suggests, the characters unify, coming together to fight the most important fight of their lives (at least so far). This can be done by them either talking through their problems (although this can be a bit boring if it’s just talking without any tension), fighting it out and getting over it or being the bigger people and putting aside their issues to focus on the big picture. Usually it’s the later, the characters coming together despite what they might think of each other in order to overcome whatever the big problem of the story is. There can (and should) still be a simmering resentment and anger at each other though, just below the surface lending an extra facet to all of their interactions. However they come together, all that matters is that they have done it and plan to stay united no matter what.

It’s also generally the point where the main character finally invests in fighting the problem and being the part of the solution. Sometimes they can be practically giddy at the thought of it, might believe themselves ready to take on the Big Bad, even if they actually aren’t. Or they can still be completely unsure but know that it’s something they have to do. This is often the stage where the protagonist’s biggest character flaw comes into play, sowing seeds that come to fruit in the next plot point. Which is...


Yup that’s right. You’ve just got all your characters playing nicely together when suddenly they start fighting again. Isn’t that just the way? Yet another obstacle appears, the group separates and everything seems that little bit harder to overcome. It all links together really. Secrets or resentment finally boil over and the characters are driven apart, overwhelmed with negative feelings for each other. This division can create a problem, another obstacle in the way to their overarching goal and because they can’t work together and play nice they just can’t get over that obstacle. It threatens to be the end of it all. Sometimes it can even be the obstacle which causes the division. Even though they get past it eventually, another problem comes up and because they’re too busy being mad at each other they just can’t crack it. This threatens to become an ever repeating circle, obstacles driving them further and further apart and the reader might seriously start to think that they will fail.

This is where the story really starts to pick up pace. The tension is gearing up towards the final confrontation and our characters are beginning to realise that they really weren’t as ready as they thought. In fact sometimes this can be where the protagonist loses all hope that they will succeed, doubts every single move that they make, but will keep trucking through because that’s what has to be done. And eventually, when they stop behaving like big babies they reunite and finally beat that problem, cheering like heroes and the reader’s there cheering right with them. Things start to look up for your characters and the reader starts to believe that the characters might actually succeed. But then...

Crisis Hits

This is the big point, that boiling point, right at the end of Act Two where it’s do or die, things are going down and it’s not really clear if all of your characters will make it. It isn’t THE Climax though, the final confrontation between the good guys and the bad guys, the Big Bad versus the White Hats. No, that moment comes later, in Act Three. This is like a practice game, the match a team plays to get ready for the final game. The stakes are still high though, the other team is still tough and they still have important things riding on the match but it’s not The Match.

Don’t get me wrong though, this is an important point. It’s a chance to show that the characters have grown, that they are one unit once more and that they can kick serious ass. It’s that point in any chick flick where the leading lady puts on her big girl pants and starts making those changes that she’s been hoping someone else would make for her. This can be the point, when yet another obstacle comes up, that the protagonist and his band of merry men pull up their trousers and decide that they’ve had enough and they’re going to ride out and face it head on. This is the Turning Point, where characters have changed, mostly for the better, but they’re not all the way there yet and they’ve got this next obstacle to overcome in whatever form it takes. Whatever the reason they take it on and come out the other side, bruised but not beaten and ready to enter...


But that’s another post so keep an eye out for it soon, where I talk about Act Three and all the lovely gooey bits that go into it as you wrap up your story and finally get some closure. Maybe you’ll understand why some writers suggest starting from Act Three, knowing the ending before going to the start. Perhaps it’ll shine some light on why you felt so drained after finishing your book and explain why so many writers have to take a break after finishing a book. Finally you might see why so many writers take so long to finish even though they have the first two acts complete. Whatever you might learn I hope that it’s useful.

I hope that this post was useful too. Maybe it’s got you to think about the Second Act in a different way, given you some ideas to get over the dreaded second act slump or just fired you up to re-plan yours. Whatever you take from this I hope it’s something positive. Let me know in the comments below. Are there any points that you think still need to be included? Do you think that I’ve focused too much on some points and neglected others? Do you use a completely different structure for your second act? If so would you care to share? Is anyone actually reading this? Let me know and I’ll try to get back to each and every one of you.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

WiPpet Wednesday

So it’s Wednesday and I know that last week I did a RoW80 check in and a bit of WiPpet Wednesday. Well this week I’m just doing the WiPpet Wednesday instead of both. I think that two check ins a week is a little much, it’s only been like three days since I last checked in and while things are going a little better I don’t think it’s enough to really count. Plus I don’t want to keep bogging you all down with progress updates all the time instead of doing something fun and useful for my posts.

But I did enjoy the WiPpet Wednesday part. It was great to get even a little bit of feedback that I got and see what people think of what I have for the Autharium project so far. So without further ado, here is this week’s WiPpet. It’s about 400 words from a little further in and the story’s moved on a little more. We meet a somewhat sinister character, two very loyal friends and Kaya the pirate captain and leading lady of our story. Not everything is as it seems though and secrets are being hinted at. So far Kaya’s travelled to a port city to try and find the wayward Marrick who didn’t turn up when promised but she and her friends have been followed by a mysterious hooded figure. After laying a trap they have the man on his back. Keiran’s gotten to close though and the hooded figure just tried to slice his face off; that’s where we come in;

Kaya acted quickly, drawing her own sword and tapping it hard, flat side against the man’s elbow. He dropped the blade and swore, clutching his arm to his chest and glaring up at the captain from beneath his hood. Kaya tipped his chin back with her blade, forcing him to look her in the eye. She sucked in a surprised breath as the hood fell back to reveal shaggy blonde hair, piercing blue eyes and a strong stubble lined jaw.
 “So which of you do I have the pleasure of talking to today?” she said dryly. “Jareth or Gareth?” 
The man just smirked at her, dimples appearing in his cheeks and he laughed through his nose. 
“Jareth it is,” Kaya said. “What do you want?” 
She dug her sword harder into his clavicle, turning his smirk into a frown of pain. He didn’t move away though, didn’t try to break free of the blade. He just leaned backwards, propping himself up on his elbows. 
“Who says I’m Jareth?” he said eventually, glaring at Kaya with hatred. 
“Gareth has more dimples,” Kaya said and jabbed him with her blade “Now answer the question. What do you want? Why aren’t you at your master’s side?” 
“The Commander is a little… preoccupied at the moment shall we say?” said Jareth “He has made a new friend and is trying to find out a little more about him before he decides whether to keep him around or not,” 
“So you thought that you’d what? Slip free of your leash and come to pay little old me a visit for old times sake?” Kaya said sarcastically. 
“No.” Jareth said, looking at her in challenge “I came to warn you.” 
“Warn her? Warn her of what?” Keiran demanded to know, interrupting the conversation “You follow us, try to stab me and then want to warn her of something. What game are you playing?” 
“You should not take me trying to stab you too personally,” Jareth said, “I tend to try and stab everyone I meet.” 
“What are you wanting to warn me about Jareth?” snapped Kaya, losing patience. “And why?” 
“I owe you,” Jareth said simply “You saved Gareth’s life and I owe you for that. Now I have come to repay my debt,” 
“Bay would kill you for this,” Kaya said harshly “What’s your real reason?” 
“That is it,” Jareth said with a shrug, “Take it or leave it,” 
“Wait Bay?!” Enora cried, grabbing Kaya and forcing the other woman to look at her “Bay as in Arnoth Bay? Commander of the Air Navy and enemy of pirates everywhere. He works for Bay and you know him,” 
“Oh she knows us all very well,” Jareth said smoothly “Do you not Kalanya?” 
“Don’t call me that,” hissed Kaya, shoving her blade against his throat. “Don’t ever say that name again. Kalanya is dead and buried. I’m Kaya now,”

As you can see Kaya has a bit of a secret past that not even Keiran and Enora, two of her closest friends, know about. For the record Jareth and Gareth are twin brothers, one’s more psychopathic than the other but that’s not saying much. As for Bay... he’s the big bad of the story, or at least it looks that way for now. So what’s Jareth come to warn Kaya about? Who is Kalanya? Why on earth does Kaya know Jareth and Bay and what made her leave her past behind? I’m not totally sure yet but I’m sure that it’ll all be revealed in time. This was pure and unedited first draft prose, no polish, no second read-through, nothing. It has come out exactly as it was in my brain.

As always let me know what you think in the comments belo.? Is there lots of lovely tension? Are you wondering the same things that the characters are wondering? Who do you see as Jareth? Personally I see a younger version of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, (the guy who plays Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones) as Jareth but that’s just me. I always try to respond to any comments I may have and I really enjoy hearing from you all.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

RoW80 Sunday Check In: A Bit of a Blip

It was a mixed week this week for my goals. I was doing great for most of the time but on Wednesday my depression returned with a vengeance in the evening and sucker punched me in the face. I don’t know whether it’s because I hit a particularly low ebb after the success of last week, beginning to quit smoking, the dreaded female hormones (which I have noticed have caused my depression to worsen in the past when it was particularly bad), or coming down with a sore throat which tends to leave me feeling a bit sorry for myself. It very well could have been a combination of them all though. I just don’t know.

What I do know though is that I’m undeterred. I’m not going to let this keep me down and after a few days relaxing and pulling myself together, but not slacking off entirely, I intend to come back swinging and take my best shot at hitting all my goals.

So, on to looking at how I did this week;

Post 1 blog post other than a RoW80 check in a week –   I did manage to do this one, even though it was late. Friday I completely cut myself off from the computer, only doing my work and then spending the day with my mother who had the day off work. It was nice and pleasant and a nice change to being alone every day. As a result my blog post didn’t get edited and published until yesterday but it still got published. Progress – Excellent

30 Minutes on social media a day – I didn’t really take part in this goal, beyond making a few posts on Twitter and responses to comments on my blog. Hopefully I can get back into it next week and finally start making social media work for me. I just need to do a bit of reading around the subject first to figure out exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. Progress –  Poor

Spend 1 hour doing a creative activity each day – Until Wednesday this was going great. In fact on Wednesday I had another bunch of writing done and got quite far. The few days that I was working on AP I wrote for far longer than the hour I set myself and made a serious dent in my word count for that project. In a way I think that this made up for the poor progress on in the end of the week but it’s still not as good as I had hoped. Progress – Needs to be improved.

Spend 1 hour doing a different creative activity each day – Much like the first creative activity goal I did fantastically. Come Wednesday, before I could sit down and do some editing or planning I found myself crying in the middle of a restaurant and had to be brought home. Needless to say I didn’t get much done after that. Progress – Poor

Start and try for completion of projects on the order day – I did great on this one. Even with depression hovering around, zapping all my motivation I still managed to begin writing for a client and made a few job proposals. Apparently money can motivate me more than depression can wear me down. It sounds shallow but it bodes well for the future and I know that if depression does pull me down totally again, as it did last year, then I’ll still be able to work and I won’t be completely broke. In fact, straight after this I plan to sit down for a little while and work on a client’s project some more. Progress – Excellent

Overall I’d say that it’s been a mixed week of success. It started out great, as you could see in my Wednesday check in, but then things began to plummet. I didn’t let everything slide though and I feel proud of that fact, that despite how I was feeling I still managed to hit some of my goals and make some progress into creating a better work habit.

What do you think? Am I being too hard on myself? Too easy? Should I have stopped all together or was trying for a few goals better in the long run? Don’t be afraid of hurting my feelings, I’m a big girl and I can take it. I need people to tell me the truth rather than being constant cheerleaders. Let me know your thoughts below in the comments. And if anyone has some tips for quitting smoking or helping fight off my depression then I’d love to hear it.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The Three Act Structure: Act One

NA: This was supposed to go up yesterday but I hit a bit of a bad patch over the last few days and took some time away from my computer for some much needed R and R.

So last week I started a series about the Three ActStructure, a writing structure that is commonly used by screenwriters and writers everywhere. Not everyone uses one, not intentionally, but it’s one of those key plotting tools that helps you plan your story and helps with revisions. More often than not you use a Three Act Structure of some sort when writing without even realising it. As always what I write is not fact, it’s just how I see the Three Act Structure from what I’ve read. If you want to find out about the Three Act Structure just search it on Google and you’ll find plenty of results. My first post in the series was an introduction of sorts, my rambling view about what the Three Act Structure means to me as a whole. Now it’s time to look a little more deeply into it, starting with...
The First Act

What is the First Act All About?

The first act is where the story begins, where the problem is set up and the characters are introduced. It’s also usually the easiest to write because you’re still full of all that enthusiasm that steered you towards writing that particular story in the first place. Act One is full of the juicy meat of the story. It’s where you establish your world (hopefully avoiding those info dump conversations or monologues that instantly make a reader want to turn away and go do something else), you lay out the rules of your world and let readers know what to expect. Even if your setting is contemporary based rules need to be set. Not every reader knows what it’s like to climb a mountain in Yemen (do they even have mountains in Yemen? Anyone?) or have to run from a sudden rainstorm in England. It’s your job as writer to give them an idea of what the world where your characters live is like.

You introduce your characters too, showing them as they are before the big problems happen and you torture them so badly it’s a surprise that they don’t go mad. The reader needs to care about your characters, to root for them to get through this and come out the other side happy and alive, or at least alive. The readers get to see personality flaws that could cause problems later on and have some idea of what motivates the characters to actually do what they’re doing as opposed to say sitting down and covering their ears with their hands and going lalala. You also set the stakes, showing what characters risk losing or need to become in order to overcome their problem.

Finally it’s where you put in place the problem. That key thing that the characters are trying to find or avoid or overcome, it’s the thing in the story that causes the action to happen in some way. Everything about the first act is showing the reader about the problem, showing why the characters might resist the problem and show them taking their first steps towards overcoming that problem.

What Does the First Act Include?

Now, there are plenty of plot points that you can use when planning out your Act One, the most important of these being the Inciting Incident but more on that later. For me, for the version of the Three Act Structure that I use, there are five. They are;
  • Opening Conflict
  • Protagonist’s Daily Life
  • Inciting Incident
  • Resistance
  • Point of No Return.

You will notice that the Inciting Incident doesn’t happen straight away. It takes a while before it comes up. This is because the first two points are an introduction of sorts, where you show the reader the world, the characters and their lives. But let’s go into a little more detail about each of these points.

Opening Conflict

Part of the problem is set up. It could be considered a prologue of sorts but it doesn’t have to be. In fact it’s usually better if it isn’t because for some reason a lot of people really hate prologues. Personally I don’t mind them that much but I always have been a little odd. It’s that scene in films, right at the beginning, where there’s all the illusions to what the problem might be. For instance, in National Treasure it’s the story of the treasure that Ben Gates is told by his grandfather. The viewers know that there’s a treasure out there and that the Gates family is known about and mocked within the scientific community.

Something else that’s good to remember about this scene or plot point because sometimes it can cover more than one scene, is that the protagonist doesn’t even have to be in it. Sometimes in fact it’s better if they aren’t. For example, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. In the very beginning we don’t really know what’s going on, we’re just following around a fat and grumpy man with a dislike of anything different. Then Dumbledore appears and leaves Harry on the Dursley’s doorstep. The problem is also revealed then, namely that Dumbledore is not convinced that Voldemort is actually dead and gone for good. But Harry doesn’t appear until the very end of that scene and he does absolutely nothing (then again he is a baby so he has a valid excuse). The story continues without him until that point and he has no direct role within the narrative.

Protagonist’s Daily Life.

This is the plot point where the reader sees who the protagonist is, what their life is like before everything goes wrong. They get to see them how they were before the story begins. For Harry it would be a kid who sleeps under the stairs and has to look after the entire family. For Ben Gates it’s chasing the clues to the treasure around the world. And I think that the National Treasure example is a good one. It reminds you that this scene or plot point doesn’t have to be boring. In fact it shouldn’t be. No one likes to read that ‘he woke up, he got dressed, he thought about what had brought him to this point for twenty minutes while he walked to work’ sort of thing. Remember this is not the place where you info dump the entire character’s backstory. In fact you should never info dump the backstory but just weave it in.

By saying that you show the protagonist’s daily life I’m not saying show the minutia of it. It’s more about establishing who the protagonist is and how they see the world. It’s about creating the relationships with the people around them and showing their character and personality. Basically you’re showing the reader exactly what is at stake for the character should they fail, what they stand to lose or why they’re working so hard to reach their goal. The most important thing to remember here is DON’T BE BORING! This is the first really meaty bit of the Act, the bit that readers are drawn in by and what makes them keep reading. It’s their introduction to the characters and hopefully the point where they begin to wonder what’s going to happen and start to care for the protagonist, even a little. If they don’t care they won’t keep reading.

Inciting Incident

If you don’t want to plot many points, want to keep your outline to one point per act THIS plot point is The One. It is key to the First Act. The inciting incident is that moment where everything changes. For example, with National Treasure the inciting incident is that moment where Ben Gates decides to steal the Declaration of Independence in order to prevent Sean Bean’s character from stealing it and destroying it. It’s that pivot point, the part of the story where the character learns some or all of what he or she is up against and that they need to stop the great problem from getting worse. Let’s face it though, it usually gets much, much worse. This is the part of the story where the goal is laid out, where readers finally know what the protagonist is aiming for and where the story is going. It’s what makes them want to keep reading.

Another thing to remember is that this problem has to conflict with what the protagonist wants. If the problem doesn’t... well it’s going to be one fairly boring story. There needs to be conflict to create that tension that keeps readers turning page after page. You can’t really have a protagonist who goes ‘sure I’ll take on the giant man eating monster, no problem’. They need to fight against it, or not see where they come in to the bigger picture. Without that fight there’s no tension, no drive. It’s all one big reaction.


The plot point is the perfect place to establish what the protagonist wants, really wants, from life or their life at this point. But it has to conflict with the problem of the story, whatever that might be. Usually they just want to go home, like Dorothy in Wizard of Oz. How you establish this is up to you. The protagonist could cry, rant, have a huge arguement with another character. As long as the reader realises that what the protagonist wants and what the story needs to happen are two conflicting things they’ll keep reading. Don’t spoon feed it to the reader though, don’t shove it in their face and go ‘oh no, So-and-so wants this but actually they need to do this and here’s why’. Readers do not like that and also... it’s really boring to write. Your character’s wants can be anything though. It might be that they just want to turn around and go home, pretending none of what happens so far has happened or they might want to get to the ice cream shop and eat some waffles. The protagonist needs to do whatever they can to avoid fighting the problem, to ignore the problem.

The key thing here is conflict. The characters goals must conflict with the goal of the story, the protagonist must fight in some way with the person who’s trying to help them or sees the truth of the situation. The character does not want to help, does not want to go on a great quest to find the long lost city of Atlantis in order to save the world from giant dodos (actually that sounds like a pretty fun story to write. DIBS!) The protagonist should go out of their way to avoid involvement in the problem. This can essentially be the moment in the story where your protagonist sticks their head in the sand or their fingers in their ears and goes lalala.

Point of No Return

By this point the protagonist should decide to actually take part in the story, to work towards ending the key problem that is covering the entire three acts. They can do it grudgingly, still not seeing the point but realising that maybe they should do it because the smart lady said so. Or they can do it with a smile on their face and a song in their heart, or as a very angry individual because they’ve just seen their entire family killed and want revenge. However you get to this point it’s just important to remember that the character is now working to fix the problem. Now that they’ve taken those first steps towards their ‘destiny’ there’s no way for them to turn back. What they’ve learnt and seen can’t be unlearnt and they’re a part of the story. And it’s all their own choice.

Another part of this point is that by the end of it is the introduction of the first obstacle. The protagonist has seen sense and is jumping into their challenges with both feet but then there’s a spanner in the works and things are no longer as they seem. To go back to the dodo story the crazy scientist might have found the lost city of Atlantis only to discover that it’s ruled by a race of evil cyborgs that lock him in the dungeon. Now not only has he got the main problem to fix (saving the world from the giant dodos) but he’s also got to get free of the dungeon and overthrow the evil cyborgs in order to do it. These obstacles, which often link to the main problem in some way (but don’t always have to) are key to helping build the tension. The characters can’t easily overcome them and they need to be used as learning experiences. But the learning doesn’t come until the next Act.

Now What?

And that’s it. Act One in... a very rambling way. I hope you understand the first act a little better now, I certainly do. There are dozens of structures out there and outlines that you can use, just Google it and pick the ones that appeal to you the most. This is only a rough guide, not a sure-fire way to write an amazing novel. It’s all opinion, the opinion of a slightly crazy English woman with a fondness for tea and an increasingly annoying smoking habit. You can take it or leave it, it’s up to you.

Next up is Act Two, the doughy middle bit that can make or break a story and most writers struggle to get through. Keep an eye out for that next post.

Let me know what you think. Do you have certain points that you like to plot out in your First Act? Is there a point that you think I may have missed? Do you think I’m just talking a load of boo-hickey? What do you think should go in Act Two? Do you have an outline structure that you think works way better for you? Let me know down in the comments, I love to hear from everyone.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Progress Wednesday: A Row80 Check In and WiPpet Wednesday

So here we are, another Wednesday, another check in. It’s only been a few days since my last check in but given that I changed my goals around a little I think it’s understandable that I want to figure out whether they’re working for me or not. Overall I’d say they have but I think I need to look a little more closely to be sure.

Post 1 blog post other than a RoW80 check in a week – The week’s still young and the post is written. A few edits and it’ll be good to go on Friday. Progress – Good

30 Minutes on social media a day – I’ve been commenting on blogs, joining in LinkedIn discussions and posting on Twitter. It may not be a full 30 minutes that I'm spending though but what I have done is still good. I just need to find a way to not send half the social media time trying to figure out what I'm doing. Progress – needs improvement.

Spend 1 hour doing a creative activity each day – This first one I chose to as writing, trying to get The Novel finished for Autharium. Monday and Tuesday I spent an hour writing and in fact I kept writing past my hour deadline yesterday and had a 4k word day, the first that I've had in a while. Progress – Excellent

Spend 1 hour doing a different creative activity each day – Monday I struggled with this, trying to edit The Feral Diaries while waiting for a client to appear for an interview. Tuesday was excellent and I’m starting to see how sitting down and doing it can just pay off. Progress – Slow but getting there.

Start and try for completion of projects on the order day – I did in fact wake up to two new jobs yesterday morning and started and finished them both very quickly, before I did anything else. It was a great way to start the day, knowing that I’d done my official work as soon as it had arrived. Progress – Excellent.

Overall I'd say I'm definitely doing ok with my goals. There's only really one worry spot and that's the social media goal. I think I need to figure out what I'm doing there so I'm not wandering the internet in dazed confusion for 30 minutes. But there's more green and orange (I do like my colour coding) than there was last check in I believe and that's good. 

Now... I keep seeing the term WiPpet Wednesday bandied around the blogosphere a lot lately. A few of my new blog friends that I’ve made this round have actually taken part and have encouraged me to take part too. I don’t normally share my writing on here, preferring to keep it secret and safe, hidden from anyone. But I decided that I need to break free of some of these self imposed boundaries. So here it is; the first 500 words of The Novel, unedited and totally fresh from the first draft. I wrote this back at the beginning of July and I still really like how it turned out.

The dock of Crown’s Haven swarmed with men, every one of them knowing exactly where they were meant to be and what they were meant to be doing. Ropes were grabbed and tied and the ship slowly lowered towards the ground. The timbers creaked below his feet, the clanking of the chains growing louder and louder as the ship was towed, inevitably, irrevocably down to the ground. Marrick watched from the forecastle of the Dark Tide, watched the dozens of men and women scurrying around the deck, securing lines and bringing up cargo. The women had their long hair tucked up beneath scarves and hats, their curves hidden in billowing shirts and waistcoats.  
“We’re landed Captain,” said the burly quartermaster at his side.
“What do you want me to do Sir?” Marrick lifted an eyebrow at the older man. 

“Really Wallis?” he drawled “Are you actually going to go along with the Sir and Captain thing?” 
“It’s how it’s done Sir,” Wallis said, his eyes glittering with mirth “Wouldn’t do for one of the locals to suspect we were nothing but the honest, hardworking traders that we are, Sir” 
“Oh we work hard all right,” Marrick said, his smirk growing “You and I both know that you run this ship when we’re landed. I’ll let you to it and go and see if I can find us a new bowman or three,” 
“Ay Sir,” Wallis said with a mock salute. 
Marrick walked away laughing beneath his breath. He threw a quick wave at the other man and slung one long leg over the railing of the forecastle before dropping to the deck below. One of the crew stumbled and swore at Marrick as he appeared in front of him suddenly, making the crewman drop his boxes.  
“Language Hicks,” Marrick said with a scowl. “It wouldn’t do for the dock master to hear language like that here,” 
“Sorry Captain,” Hicks muttered, gathering the boxes together again. 
“Lower your voice, man!” Marrick snapped below his breath. 
“Sorry Captain,” Hicks muttered again, his voice gruffer now, deeper. 
Marrick cast a quick glance towards the dock master who was now on deck, deep in conversation with Wallis. He was looking intently at his chalkboard, checking off the log that Wallis had given him against what was being steadily lowered from the ship. The dock master didn’t look up. Marrick breathed a sigh of relief. 
“Wallis!” Marrick called, walking towards the two men, “I’m going landward but I should be back soon,” 
He didn’t wait for a reply, instead leaping onto the railing of the deck and grabbing a nearby rope. As he slid down it, plummeting faster and faster towards the ground he heard Wallis calling out above him. 
“You need to be back by the windshift Sir! Captain Rush will be mighty peeved if you’re late for the next cargo collection!” 
Marrick laughed and continued walking, throwing up an arm to show that he had heard.

I think that the first few pages are good but then again I wrote them so I would say that. What do you think though? Let me know if there’s anything that you would change, fix, jiggle around a bit. I always like to hear people’s opinions on my writing, more often than not they see problems in the prose that I don’t because I’m too close.

The second part of the blog series on the Three Act Structure should be up on Friday so keep an eye out for that and make sure that you come back next Wednesday for more WiPpet Wednesday and maybe you’ll get to see more of The Novel. Or maybe I’ll be cruel and post something from another Work in Progress.

How do you think I’ve done with my goals? Am I being too easy on myself? Too hard? Am I trying to do too many things each day? Let me know what you think in the comments below. I always try to reply to them, even if it takes me a little while.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

RoW80 Progress: A Few Revisions Already

Progress in this first week has been a bit mixed. Even in the first day, when excitement was still running high, I only managed to hit a few of my goals. On my best day I still couldn’t reach all of those goals. I’m starting to think that I may have set myself too many goals. I’m trying to do so much that I’m not doing anything. I’m spreading myself thin and not achieving anything as a result. And then on Friday I kind of burned out and haven’t tried to complete my goals since. Most of my goals were aimed at building a work habit and I have managed to create a bit of a work habit. More importantly I’ve actually been waking up earlier and doing more than I was doing before. I’ve also been tracking how I spend my time and making sure that I do daily to do lists and a weekly to do list. But I haven’t reached my goals though. So let’s see how I did do;

Post one blog post other than a ROW80 update a week

I did hit this goal. On Wednesday instead of creating a check in post I began a new blog series about the three act structure. I’m pleased that I managed to reach this goal as it was one of the most important goals that I wanted to complete. The lack of content on my blog lately has been annoying and worrying me so the fact that I’m finally getting some new content up is encouraging. In fact I’ve already begun writing my post for next week.

Spend 30 minutes on social media each day

I’ve been doing a little bit of social media each day, ranging from comments on the LinkedIn Groups that I’m a member in, to spending time on Twitter and taking part in conversations there, to visiting a bunch of blogs from the other RoW80 participants and leaving comments. I may not have been spending 30 minutes each day doing it but I’ve been doing little bits and pieces each day which is a great start. I want to spend more time doing social media so I’m keeping this goal up.

Spend 4 hours each day doing two different creative activities

4 hours a day is actually quite a lot to be spending on creative activities. I’ve done two different creative activities most days but I’ve not spent 4 hours doing it. Mostly I’ve spent a half an hour at most on each activity. While I could get a lot done in 2 hours of writing it’s difficult to stay focused entirely on one thing for that long. I’m going to change this goal or rather these two goals a little to make sure that I actually have a slight chance of reaching them.
New Goal: Spend 2 hours each day doing two different creative activities.

The Two Work Goals

Apply for 3 jobs each day on the freelancing websites I use
Start and try for completion of projects on the order day
I’ve applied for a few jobs but they don’t update as often as they’d need to for me to apply to new jobs each job. For the first few days I was able to apply to three jobs each day but as the days passed and new jobs didn’t come up I had to stop. And when it came to the job completion... well I need to be hired for jobs to try and complete them. So I’m scrapping the application goal. It’s unnecessary and something that I do anyway. But the starting and completing on the first day is one that I will keep and aim for when I get hired again.

As I’ve been writing this I’ve been looking at my diary, trying to see where I went wrong. And then I realised that I was still trying to do too much on top of my goals. I had the RoW80 goals to reach towards and then I had weekly goals on top of that which were in no way linked to the RoW80 goals. I need to tie the goals in to each other, have a list of weekly goals that are what I needed to work towards as part of my RoW80 goals. For instance I can list the blog post that I need to write as the other blog post each week. I can list the two different projects I want to work on each day within my daily to do lists as part of my creative work each day. Once I’ve got those specific goals that link to RoW80 then I can include a couple of other goals to work towards.
Overall this week has been a bit disappointing but there have been a few successes. Also I’ve made a couple of friends through commenting on other blogs and taking part in conversations on Twitter. This is, in my book, a success. Even with the goal revisions this week has been ok. Let’s hope that next week will turn out better.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Three Act Structure: An Introduction

Everyone’s heard of the Three Act Structure in some form or other. Whether it’s an in depth look or the kind of information you learn as a kid the basics of the three act structure are simple;
  • Beginning
  • Middle
  • End

No muss, no fuss, bada-bing, bada-boom. As you get older, read more, learn more, delve deeper into the realms of writing you learn a lot more about it. Some people have written entire books on the subject in fact, going so in depth that it can give me a headache. They’re also a popular topic for writers to, guess what, blog about! And yes, I have just apparently jumped on that band wagon. What you have to remember when I do these sorts of posts is that they’re not so much instructional, although they can be taken as such, but they’re mostly a way for me to work out how I understand a certain aspect of writing.

What Is the Three Act Structure All About?

It’s a way of structuring your story, whichever form that you want to write in, whether it’s a novel, novella, novelette or a short story. It’s essentially a way of honing down the direction your main plot line goes and remembering what you’re writing towards. You can see how the action builds and releases and builds and releases, keeping that steady flow of tension and action that keeps readers turning the page as they go.

The Three Act Structure at its simplest
Image from Wikipedia
Each Act serves a purpose, a role, in the overall story as well as having their own story in a sense. Each Act needs to be there in order for the story to flow. Each Act has its own flow of tension, gradually building and releasing as the story moves forward and hopefully pulling the reader along with it. It’s simple really, when you step back and don’t over think. Act 1, Act 2, Act 3. Beginning, middle, end. Introduction, build up, climax. But those are the broad terms, the rough one word descriptions that give you only a vague idea of what goes in each, what role each Act poses. I will admit that there are a lot of videos out there, a lot of books, a lot of blog posts, that all boil down the Three Act Structure into something that works for that particular writer. One style doesn’t work for everyone. Like everything in life and in writing, what works for one person may not work for another. But those are the basics, the minimum amount of what you need to know about the Three Act Structure if you just want the general guideline.

But Why Do You Love the Three Act Structure So Much Nicole?

For me the three act structure is wonderful. Even with just filling in the basic stuff you can get an idea of where the story is going. You can go as in depth as you like or stay very vague. Personally I like to go in depth, filling in quite a lot of detail as I go. Sometimes this backfires on me but more often than not it’s a way for me to learn a lot about the story. I use it as a guide line, a way of seeing exactly what I’m writing. It’s the road map to the story. As long as I have something down, a little plot point for each Act then I can’t really go wrong. I might go on veering tangents but I can always find my way back to the story. Especially if I team it up with the logline. Sometimes I use the Three Act Structure when I’m pantsing a story, marking off plot points that I want to include and writing towards them while I make up most of what happens off the top of my head.

A Little bit more complicated screen writing version
Also from the Wikipedia page on Structure

What About Other Structures?

There are a lot of different variations of the Three Act Structure out there, ways of looking at how to structure your three acts. Some are incredibly detailed, encouraging you to plot out 9 different points of action in each Act. Others are very basic, asking for just 3 points of action. Me, I like to use a nice round 5 points of action for each Act, 5 major plot points that have to happen in order for the story to make sense and continue moving. Other minor stuff might appear as I write that can be taken out or moved around but those five plot points have to stay there and rarely can be moved around. If the story is a house then the plot points are load baring walls. You could build without them or put them in the wrong place, but it wouldn’t be long before the walls crumbled around you and you found your bathtub in the kitchen.

And the really complicated version
From the Go Teen Writers blog

So What Next?

I was going to go into a lot more detail on this post, way more than I have already but then I noticed that what initially began as the introduction, that little bit before I began to talk about each Act properly, had turned into a post all of its own. I don’t want to be one of those bloggers that puts up wall after wall of text, I’m trying to get out of that habit. To be fair I should have guessed about how big this post was going to get when I planned it out on paper. There’s no way that I’m going to keep two sides of A4 short enough for a single blog post. So that’s where the new series comes in. Three Acts means three posts, each one about a different act. And more importantly I’m going to start writing them before I’ve even posted this one so keep an eye out for the other three over the next few days/weeks (I haven’t decided on a schedule yet) and you can see how I see the Three Act Structure and how I approach it when writing.

Monday, 7 July 2014

RoW80 Round 3; My Goals for the Round

I haven’t taken part in A Round of Words in 80 Days for about a year. I’ve been focused on other stuff and for a while thought that I couldn’t make a living from my writing. I still can’t yet, but I’m getting there. Things go a little slowly from time to time and at the moment I’m in one of those ebbs. It happens. So I figured that I use the time that I have, use this free time that is making me so very, very bored, and take part in RoW80 once more. Maybe this way I can improve my work ethic and finally use the time that I have in the best way possible. So... on to the goals;


  •          Post one blog post other than a ROW80 update a week.I’ve been getting a bit down lately, not really knowing what to post about and my blog’s just sitting there on the net with nothing new coming up. It’s important to create new content regularly, it draws in readers and it gives me practice for writing books. I want to post more, create a more regular schedule and have someone to answer to when I don’t update. As a result I’ve sat down and thought up a series of different blog posts that I can put up. They’re all outlined, roughly, now I just need to write them, edit them and then schedule them. I’m not going to do it all at once though, I’m hoping to work on one post each week and then, if I somehow manage to get ahead of myself I have that buffer in place and I can pick up the schedule a little more.
  •          Spend 30 minutes on social media each day.Social media is a powerful thing, just look at the way tweets go viral or facebook groups can actually prompt massive social change. If I want to get smart, get my name out there and build a readership and client base I need to start using them all. More importantly I need to start using them properly, like so many ‘marketing gurus’ suggest. I joined LinkedIn a while ago, Twitter I use fairly regularly and Facebook kind of just sits there, the page I created not even live yet. Right now I’ve signed up to a bunch of groups on LinkedIn but I’m not using them at all. So with this goal I want to actually start posting in the groups, creating networks and hopefully friendships and just get the best that I can out of what I have available. I want to get my facebook page finished and going live. I want to build up followers on Twitter, the real way, by making connections and having conversations. Doing a little something on these social media sites each day, even just 30 minutes can help with all of this.


  •         Spend 4 hours a day doing 2 different creative activities not related to work.I have all of these ideas, all of these things that I want to do and I’m just not using the time to do them properly. I want to improve my time management, improve my output level. If I ever want to be the prolific author that I think I can be then I need to actually start writing. So I need to spend time doing something creative of some sort every day, no matter if it’s actually creating new words, editing and revising old ones or planning and outlining an entirely new story. I just need to do something and take some of these projects that I’ve had sitting in my head and on my desk for so long, and actually finish them at last.
I say four hours because I keep finding myself in slow mode with work. If I can use the time that I have free to do two different activities it’s at least something productive, I’m not sat watching videos on YouTube and getting bored out of my mind. More importantly it doesn’t have to be four straight hours, I can spread them out over the day, taking half an hour between different work projects and doing something of my own. Hopping between projects for me is fun, it keeps my brain going and I always learn something new. Really though, it’s all about increasing my output and creating a shiny new work ethic that can help me reach my dreams.


  •          Apply for 3 jobs each day on the freelancing websites I use.I keep waiting too long between jobs, finding myself bored, as I am right now, and I start to worry as I slowly watch my savings trickle away into nothing. Having these big gaps between jobs, between projects means that I fall out of the habit of writing each day, I fall out of the habit of finishing projects quickly and with quality. Regular applications for jobs, even if they don’t pan out can help me keep that work ethic going, that habit going. At least if I’m applying for the jobs, even if I don’t get them, I still know that I’m trying. And if I do get jobs I can have a queue of them, more and more jobs that are lined up and then I can just slip from one into the next with no worry about how long it will be before another job comes along.
  •          Start and try for completion of projects on the order daySometimes this can be difficult. I work in 5,000 word batches and although I can, quite easily, write 5,000 words in a day I very rarely do. Writing my own words and writing for projects are so very different that I tend to stretch them out. I sometimes get bored with the writing, looking for any little excuse to stop and do something else. Sometimes I even put off starting the project, waiting until the last possible moment before I begin and that just ends up with me being even more stressed. By starting early, as soon as I get the work, means that those ideas that might have appeared in my mind when I first heard the outline will still be there. I can write fresh, while I’m excited at the project and hopefully avoid the increasingly familiar sensation of staring at the word counter and sigh as it slowly rises. I’m already getting better at this without meaning to since I joined Fiverr. Having that 24 hour deadline, even for something short means that I just don’t have time to put off starting and it’s getting me to approach freelancing with the right mindset.

So there we are, 6 goals to get accomplished in 80 days. I admit that they’re more based around habit building, not specific deadlines. I want to create that mindset, treat my freelance writing and own writing like the job it is while still finding that enjoyment. This way as well I actually have someone to answer to, you guys who can tell me off when I’m making ridiculous excuses and cheer along with me when I actually manage to hit my goals more than once. I might add more later, take some away. I might even include a couple of deadline related goals as they appear, that’s the joy of A Round Of Words in 80 Days. But for now I’m happy with these and I look forward to seeing how I do.

Until next time, have fun, keep reading, keep writing and love your life.