The last six weeks has been more productive than the ones before, but not really in the ways I had intended. However, having started using a burndown tracking system I feel like I have done a better job of staying focussed.
1. Finish Bluehammer
Last action: fix the outline.
I still think about this book, but I have done no further work on it.
- improve outline – ongoing.
- make the text match the outline
- hone the text
- make submission materials
Next action: fix the outline.
I will probably pick this up again once the second draft of Song is squared away, so look for more work on this in August or September.
2. Execute the Song plan
Last action: polish the outline.
As with last time, this is the primary work I have been doing over the last period. In particular, I finished the overall story and I have been working on more detailed scene descriptions. I have those for the first three acts.
Now, I am late with this outline. Last time I said that I would be done in two weeks, and that plainly didn’t happen – but I have kept working on it, and many of the ticklish details have been resolved.
To outline what I have To expand the outline of the first half into a complete story
- To work on that outline until the story is good.
To plug in text I can use from Song 2011 – this is no longer a meaningful goal since I need to rewrite everything.
- To rewrite to match the outline.
- Make submission materials – synopsis, pitch, hook, and all of that.
Next action: finalise the outline.
I will be finishing this outline today.
Next action: rewrite.
I will be diving into the rewrite over the weekend. The plan at this point is to get the second draft done by the end of July.
3. Submit one novel.
Last action: finish a novel
Song is still the best bet here, and I am at least making progress. More work required.
Last action: to find some markets
No work on this.
4. Start looking for an agent.
Last action: research agents who represent science fiction.
No work on this.
5. Establish a daily writing practice.
Last action: write every day.
Using the burndown chart has helped enormously in keeping the next task in front of me, and in being realistic about what I can actually accomplish in the time I have for writing.
I’ve been working on three things:
- blogging – almost always the most time-sensitive work
- A New Dawn, of which more shortly but this has deadlines built in too
Song unfortunately has been consistently at the end of the list but I have still been working on it even so, and I have been writing every day.
Next action: use burndown chart to maintain focus.
A New Dawn
In the past I have been on the edge of quitting roleplaying entirely because of the time it requires to run a game, but I enjoy it too much (spending time with friends is important!) and is another outlet for my writing. It is also the only outlet I really have for my thesping – mostly I do accents rather than actual characters, but it’s what I can do and I get a lot out of it.
The previous campaign wound down at the end of May and I have had the idea for A New Dawn bumping around in my head for a while. It was time to wheel it out.
I am doing a few things to try to control the amount of time this game takes up:
- plan what I need, busk the rest – a common fault of mine is to put too much writing into descriptions and set pieces which then don’t get used because the players go a different way. This ignores my actual talent for making things up as I go, which I want to exploit a bit more.
- use state charts to deliver the story
- keep a tight rein on the time spent (see previous remarks about the effectiveness of the burndown chart)
- only run short segments – A New Dawn could run for a long time between the plot I have and the excellent character backgrounds the players wrote, but this is intended as a fill-in campaign to populate gaps in the schedule.
Of course, starting this in the summer when there are going to breaks in play will help manage the impact a bit.
Next action: run at least one session.
More productive and focussed than last time, so that’s good, although not as directly productive as I had hoped which is a little disappointing.
Summer will be interesting. I have my writing weekend, um, now then camping trips which will bomb many of the weekends, and general summeriness which will see me occupied outside more.
But I have an outline.
To the word mines!