Complete draft three of The Waterclock Wars. The first thirty pages should be strong. The first chapter should be engaging and eventful; exposition should feel natural and appropriate, show versus tell. Compare beta comments—note where they struggled with the narrative and when they had questions. Then, reorder chapters by narrator and comb through each chapter for the following details:
What are this character’s goals? Which goals are for personal gain? Which are event driven? Why are those their goals? Why should the reader care? Have those goals been mentioned in this chapter? How have those goals been met or thwarted in this chapter? What are their political views/religious beliefs?
Is the narrator’s voice consistent? What are their isms or regular turn of phrase? Is the character likeable? Relatable? In this chapter, are they upset, angry or grieving? Excited or happy? Why? Does it affect their likability, or thwart it?
Are the character’s reactions appropriate to what happens in the chapter? Why do they react the way they do? What do they hear? What can they smell? What can they see? What are they eating? And what does it taste like? How have they used currency? Is it cold? Warm? What season is it? What other details, specific to this world, can this character organically interface with?
At the close of the story, how has the character been affected by their journey? Were their goals met? If so/not, how do they feel about it? How does the character feel about the remaining cast? What are the character’s new goals—or have they remained the same? Has the events of this story affected their political views/beliefs?
Then, put chapters back in order. What is the page count of each chapter? Is that consistent for the genre? For the focused readership? Does each chapter end with a cliffhanger? Are the themes specific to the world—drugs, geopolitics, religions, curses, currency, energy resources, technology, domestic politics—clearly defined and consistent? Are they at least briefly defined—or only referenced? How does the events of the story affect institutions and countries of the world?
…I think I will make a worksheet with a lot of this prefilled for each narrator, and then a subsequent checklist.
Other goals, just to keep things interesting:
Write one short story per month
- Preliminary draft due by first Friday of every month
- Post “final” draft last Friday of every month
- Every December, take best short story and give it a 2.0 draft
Write three poems per month
- Preliminary draft every Monday
- Subsequent drafts during ten-minute breaks at work
- Blog introduction that Sunday
- Fourth week of every month, take best poem and give it a 2.0 draft
Update blog on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Sundays will be the weekly poetry post and the final Friday of each month is also spoken for. Editing The Waterclock Wars remains my first prerogative but occasionally the Tuesday/Friday blog posts will be about a movie or the Olympics or my new favorite game called “stalk literary agencies on social media,” etc.
Read/listen to at least one book per month. Attend writing workshops and cons. Draft query letters. Outline books two and three.
Did I mention I’m researching vegan keto? Stay tuned.