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Week at a Glance 10/23/06 - 10/29/16

#FirstDraft60 Week 4 Schedule |

#FirstDraft60 Day 27: Using #1k1hr Sprints for Marathon Writing #amwriting #nanoprep #nanowrimo

Friday, October 28, 2016

#FirstDraft60 | KayeDacus.comNext Tuesday, we begin the marathon thirty-day writing portion of this sixty-day challenge. Hopefully you already set your total word-count goal and broke that down into digestible daily goals. (If you haven’t, now would be a good time.) We’ve already discussed the difference between draft writing and regular writing—focusing on draft writing for this challenge in order to get our speed up. But one of the most helpful things to get through a marathon writing challenge is scheduled, one-hour writing “sprints.”

#1k1hr = 1,000 Words in One Hour
If you’re on Twitter and if you follow other writers, you may have seen the #1k1hr (or #1k1h) tag and wondered what it meant. I did a bit of research (okay, I Googled for about ten minutes) and couldn’t track down the originator of this hashtag, but it’s been around for years. And it’s something that I found quite helpful in the years when I had to complete a 90–100k manuscript every three to four months.

The name somewhat describes what you’re supposed to do—set aside one hour (using a timer) with the goal of writing 1,000 words in your story. Sounds simple enough, right?

Well, yes and no.

What if I’ve never been able to write 1,000 words in one hour?

In one hour, if you’ve prepared, planned, and organized ahead of time, most writers can easily write 1,000 words or more. But not everyone can do this. Sometimes, no matter how well-prepared we are, the words just won’t come. And some people will never be fast writers.

While this is a great exercise for building word count, it’s an even better exercise for being able to start writing on command—and to stop when a timer goes off. It’s also a great way to build the habit of writing every day.

I’ve used this example multiple times, but I’m pulling it out again—just like an old-fashioned water pump, the more often we work at it, the easier it will flow. So if you start out only being able to write 500 or 700 words during that hour, the more often you do it, the more likely you are to be able to build up to 1,000 words, or more.

What if I don’t know what to write when it’s time to start the #1k1hr?

When you sit down for that #1k1hr sprint and you stare at that flashing cursor waiting for the words to come, and they don’t, DO NOT walk away from it and give yourself the excuse that you’ll just take a break and do it later. You know it’s unlikely that you’ll have any better of an idea of what to write in two hours than you do right now. And then you’ll have wasted additional time that you could have been writing.

Fifteen years ago, when I was writing what would become my first completed manuscript, I got to a point at which (being a seat of the pants writer with no synopsis, only a vague story idea) I had no idea where my story was going. But I needed to write. So since I’d just gone to the grocery store that evening after work, I wrote one of my characters doing the same thing. I had him get his basket. I had him pick out produce. I got him through the store all the way to the frozen-food section—where, surprisingly, he ran into another major character; and, all of a sudden, I had a scene that moved the story forward again.

It sounds mundane and like bad writing to just wing it like that and make up some random situation that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the story (and it’s probably something you’d end up cutting most of in a revision), but not only are you working at that creative pump, you can also learn more about your character by doing something like that.

So exactly how does #1k1hr work?

  1. No Interruptions. Pick a time when you know you can have sixty minutes of uninterrupted time. Sometimes, it helps to pick a location in which you don’t usually work—a cafe or coffee shop, a library, or even a different room in your house. Just make sure it’s somewhere it’s guaranteed you won’t be disturbed.
  2. No Procrastinating. Commit yourself to doing nothing but writing during that hour. No emails, no Facebook or Twitter, no blog reading/writing, no research. No thesaurus or dictionary. If you don’t know a word, can’t think of the right word, or aren’t sure you’re using a word correctly, just use a blank line or highlight what you’ve used so you can come back to it later. During this hour, turn off the internal editor and draft write.
  3. Unplug. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine posted a link for some software she’d purchased that will block her access to the internet for a specified period of time. Now, I’m bad about keeping my email program open when I’m sitting at the computer and reading each email as it comes in when I’m supposed to be working. And now that I’ve had a smartphone for a few years, it’s even worse. Oh, yeah, and I usually sit in the living room where the TV is—and the TV is almost always on. So when doing #1k1hr, it’s best to try to get away from all of that. Try working away from the computer (writing longhand) or try unplugging/turning off your modem (most laptops have a key which will turn off a WiFi connection; mine is on the F2 key). Turn the TV off—or move out of the room where it is. Turn off sound/vibration notifications on your smartphone, or put it on Do Not Disturb—you should be able to set it up so that emergency contact phone numbers will still ring through but no other alerts will. (I’d say turn it off completely, but since some of you have kids, you still need to have the phone feature available.) For this hour, writing is your job, your profession, so act like a professional who’s on the clock—and on a deadline to produce a quota of words.
  4. Set a Timer. This is one of the most important aspects of #1k1hr. If you set a timer, you’re much less likely to be continuously watching the clock to see if your hour is up or not. With the knowledge that an alarm will sound when time is up, it’s much easier to focus on your story and characters and forget about time altogether. If you’re able to leave your phone alone for an hour, most phones have a timer feature in the clock app (or I’m sure you can download one), though they won’t sound if your phone is on DND. Windows 8 and 10 have a built-in clock app that includes a countdown timer with an alarm. Even though I didn’t use the iPad for writing when I had it, it had one, too. And you can download timer apps to your computer. Or use a $5 analog kitchen timer. Set it for 60 minutes and start writing.
  5. Walk Away. When time is up and the alarm sounds, STOP. If you need to finish a sentence or jot down a few ideas so next time you remember where you were going with the scene/idea, that’s okay. But you need to get up and walk away (after saving your work, of course). If you’ve built up momentum by the end of the hour and the words and ideas are flowing, stopping and walking away in the middle of it may be one of the best things you can do for yourself—because it makes you anxious to get back to it. So walk away, take a break, and relax for a little while. The come back, set the timer for another hour, and sprint again.

For Discussion: How much prep work do you still need to do before you’re ready to start sprinting toward a marathon finish?

#FirstDraft60 Day 26: Writing Your Story Scene by Scene #amwriting #nanoprep #nanowrimo

Thursday, October 27, 2016

#FirstDraft60 | KayeDacus.comHow do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.

How do you write a novel?
One scene at a time.

Even for those of us who’ve been doing this for quite some time, it’s tempting when we approach our writing time to think: I’m going to write my novel. But just like with the elephant, if we’re focusing on the entire animal—the entire novel—when it’s time to sit down and write, we’re going to become overwhelmed, no matter how much we’ve planned ahead.

When you sit down to work on your story, don’t think about “writing the story,” think about “writing a scene.” If you don’t think about what you’re doing in terms of small chunks, then it’s going to be overwhelming and it’s the quickest path to writer’s block.

However, if you schedule your writing time in order to write a scene or two, you’re more likely to not feel overwhelmed and actually meet your daily writing goals.

Now, rather than try to repeat what I’ve written about scenes before, here’s the whole series:


To try to summarize, though . . .

  • Make sure each scene has a beginning, middle, and end.
  • End each scene with a hook/question—not only do you want to end a scene leaving your reader wanting more, you want to end a scene where you want to know what happens next—and then walk away. That way, you’re more anxious to get back to writing.
  • Try to mix up the ways in which you open and close your scenes.
  • Make sure your characters have an intention/desire/goal in each scene.
  • Make sure each scene moves the plot of your story forward.

For Discussion: What can you do in order to help yourself think about writing scene by scene rather than “writing your story” when it’s time to start writing?

How are you doing in the challenge? What have you learned about your story up to this point? What have you learned about yourself? Are you looking forward to starting to write next Tuesday? Do you still have anything you need to catch up with?

#FirstDraft60 Day 25: Have You Done Enough Research? #amwriting #nanoprep #nanowrimo

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

#FirstDraft60 | KayeDacus.comWhether it’s figuring out where an event could be held, what the weather is like in a certain timeframe, whether or not your state has imminent domain laws, or specific details of an obscure battle five hundred years ago, you’re going to have to look stuff up. And what better time to do it than now, before you start trying to churn out 1,500 to 2,500 words per day?

We’re told to write what we know. But that advice is more about taking what we know and extrapolating it into other situations, rather than just about the specific things we’ve experienced in our lives. “Write what you know” is one of the most misunderstood instructions given about writing. Most people take it at face value, interpreting it as, “Write about only what you have personally done or experienced in the confines of your own life.” If fiction writers were to interpret it this way, we would eliminate entire genres: science fiction, fantasy, horror, historical, and 99% of mystery/crime/suspense/thriller. There would be no Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk, no Luke Skywalker, no hobbits and Middle Earth, no Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, no Scarlett O’Hara, no Sherlock Holmes, no James Bond or Jason Bourne, no Superman or Batman, and no one would have ever heard of a man named Stephen King.

Figure Out What You DON’T Know
Hopefully, as you’ve been going through and doing the exercises over the past three weeks, you’ve been doing research as you go. For example, in trying to write out my heroine’s backstory, I needed to know where her father (a Royal Navy officer) could be stationed and what he could be doing as a spy/spymaster for the War Department during all those years. So I did this:
#FirstDraft60 Day 25: Have You Done Enough Research? |

Now, back toward the beginning of this year, when I first started working on this story idea, I knew I wanted it set in the months leading up to the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar, one of the seminal Naval battles in the Napoleonic War. But all of the research that I did for the Ransome Trilogy was focused on 1814 and the short-lived peace after many, many years of war and before the final battle of Waterloo. A lot of things were different, not only for my characters, but also for the Royal Navy and for England herself in the nine years between these settings/events. So while I had a basic knowledge that the Battle of Trafalgar happened in October 1805, it was a surprising but decisive victory for Britain, and it’s the battle in which Admiral Horatio Nelson lost his life aboard HMS Victory, I didn’t really know much about what the immediate events were leading up to it or how those might work for my story. So, back then, I did this:
#FirstDraft60 Day 25: Have You Done Enough Research? |

Even if you’re writing a contemporary novel set in the city/neighborhood where you live, you’re still going to find that there are things you’re going to have to research. And it’s to your advantage before a marathon writing challenge like this one or NaNo to get as much research done as possible beforehand.

Assignment 1: If you haven’t already, add a RESEARCH section to your Story Bible.

In the Research section of my Story Bible, I already have a few pages:
#FirstDraft60 Day 25: Have You Done Enough Research? |

At this point, this is all just general research—topics I think I might need information on in order to write this story. But because I’m still deep in trying to figure out exactly where my story is going (mostly on land and staying in Europe vs. mostly at sea and sailing to Madeira and then Barbados) and what actual historical events my characters might take part in, I’m not necessarily sure exactly how specific I need to get with this research. Which leads me to . . .

Assignment 2: After reviewing your character backstories/information, your premise, outline, and everything else you’ve already created, create pages in the Research section of your Story Bible for all of the specific subjects which you think you might need to research—and start gathering research!

If you’ve already done some research, or at least gathered resources (like a bookmarks folder in your web browser where you’ve been saving links to websites), go ahead and add those to your Research section. If you realize that there are some important topics/issues/laws/historic details/etc. that you’re going to need to research, go ahead and create pages for them, even if they’re blank. Having them there whenever you look at that section will remind you of the research you need to do. For example:
#FirstDraft60 Day 25: Have You Done Enough Research? |

For Discussion: How much research do you need to do in the next six days (counting today!) before we start writing?

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#FirstDraft60 Day 24: Getting Specific with Your Setting #amwriting #nanoprep #nanowrimo

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

#FirstDraft60 | KayeDacus.comDo you know enough about your setting to be able to write a first draft without the setting becoming a stumbling block for you?

Yes, I know we’ve already had a post about setting. But it was more about just setting up a space to collect information about the setting—and to get you thinking about it. Today, we’re going to dig deeply into our setting and shine some spotlights into its nooks and crannies.

Sometimes, the geographic location of a story is an integral part of how the plot unfolds. Other times, we have to figure out where the best setting for our story will be, because it won’t have that much effect on the plot. And this is something you need to know before you get into the planning stage. So while this post is meant to help you dig in and get a deep, broad view of your setting, do keep in mind that some of this may not be important for your story.

Placing your story in the right location is just as vital to its success as choosing the right characters and the right premise. You probably already have a pretty solid idea and vision for your story’s setting at this point. You’ve nailed down your time period. You know your locality. You’ve probably already done some research if it’s a place you aren’t as familiar with, and some world-building if it’s a fictional setting.

Do You Know Your Setting?
I’m not just talking about knowing where your story is physically taking place. What I’m asking is how much you know about your setting.

Assignment 1: If you didn’t already do it in Week 1, add a SETTING section to your Story Bible. Then ask yourself (and write down your answers to) the following questions:

  1. Does your setting have a unique culture (traditions, observances, taboos, quirks, etiquette) that can play a role in your story?
    #FirstDraft60 Day 24: Getting Specific with Your Setting | KayeDacus.comThink of places that have cultures that are unique to them: Santa Fe, Greece, Louisiana, Las Vegas, the Deep South, Hawaii, a small fishing town on the coast of Ireland, a ship of the line in the 19th century Royal Navy, etc. What are the unique elements of a setting that you can incorporate into your characters’ background/mannerisms/behavior and into how your story unfolds?
  2. What are the elements of the culture you need to make sure you get absolutely right?
    If you’ve read my Bonneterre books, you know I don’t have people walking around calling each other cher or babbling in Cajun French. If you live somewhere with a unique culture and watch movies/TV shows set there, what are the things that they get wrong that drive you crazy? How can you make sure you get those elements right?
  3. What are some specific locations and/or events you can incorporate into your story?
    day-24-frothy-monkeyIn the Matchmakers series, set in Nashville, I have my girls meet for coffee on Sunday afternoons at The Frothy Monkey in the 12 South neighborhood. In the Bonneterre series, with my fictional setting, I created Beignets S’il Vous Plait, a beignets-and-coffee shop reminiscent of Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans or Coffee Call in Baton Rouge. Use specific locations, but have a reason for using those locations. Don’t just “name drop.”
  4. How can your setting affect how your story plays out?
    For example, if you’re writing suspense and your characters are on the run outdoors, they’re going to run into much different conflicts in a mountainous area than in a desert than in a jungle. Is it cold and snowy? hot and humid? Does your character have environmental allergies that could affect whether or not he’s able to do the physical activities required of him in the plot? Is he a sailor who suffers from seasickness? Someone who works in mountain search and rescue who suddenly gets a bad case of vertigo?
  5. What’s the “mood” of your setting?
    #FirstDraft60 Day 24: Getting Specific with Your Setting | KayeDacus.comThink about the cliche of the gothic novel being set in a creepy, dark, old castle with a labyrinth of hallways, tunnels, and dungeons. There’s a reason why it’s become cliche—because it works. One of my favorite YA novels from childhood is a gothic, but it’s set in a recently built Victorian mansion in Northern California in the late 1800s. The author uses the house, and the fog that envelops it daily, to great effect. How can the weather, the landscape, the culture of your setting affect and effect the mood of your story?

Getting Specific with Your Setting
In addition to knowing the tone and mood and culture of your setting, you need to know as many specifics as possible—even if it doesn’t show up in the story. You need to be an expert. You need to know more about your storyworld than anyone else. If it’s a real city and you don’t live there, natives of that city need to think you’re one of them when they read your book. There’s nothing worse than picking up a book that’s set in a place you’re intimately familiar with and finding errors, cliches, “misplaced” landmarks, stereotyped locals, etc., within. (Especially for someone like me who lives in a city like Nashville that is SO different for those of us who live here than the reputation/stereotype that most people think of.)

Assignment 2: Add a chart (or pages, if you have lots of information in these categories) to your Settings section of your Story Bible to record/collect the following information about your setting.

  1. Your Story World
    historic_farnham_castleWhere does your story take place? Go from the broad (Planet Earth) to the narrow (the Woodbine neighborhood of Nashville) to the specific (77 Elberta Street).

  2. Houses, Buildings, Architectural Styles
    This is easier if you’re using a real setting vs. a fictional setting. But it’s still important to do research on the correct terms for the types of buildings/houses and their architectural styles, even if you’ve lived in the place where your story is set your entire life. A neighborhood developed in the 1880s isn’t going to be filled with Craftsman style houses; nor is one built in the 1980s going to be filled with mid-century modern styles. One of the things that makes a story seem more immediate is detail. What detail can you discover about the buildings in your setting that you can include in your notes WHETHER OR NOT YOU USE IT IN YOUR ACTUAL STORY?

  3. Landscapes, Climates
    What does your story world look like? What are the geographic features? What is the weather like? No, you’re not necessarily going to include all of this in your story, but you, the author, need to know as much about this as possible so that you don’t have it snowing on Thanksgiving in Brownsville, Texas. If you’re creating a fantasy/sci-fi world, this is of VITAL importance to know before you start writing.
  4. My rough, hand-sketched map of Bonneterre

    My rough, hand-sketched map of Bonneterre

  5. Map(s)
    Either collect maps (you can use the PrtScr/Print Screen button on your PC keyboard to capture an image of your screen and then paste it as an image in PowerPoint or Publisher, crop away whatever you don’t need (double click on the image and then the crop button will be on the toolbar), and the save it as an image you can use anywhere else (right click on the image and select Save as Picture…). Make sure to save it as a .jpg file for universality of use. If you’re creating your own setting (real world or fantasy/sci-fi), create your own maps, because that’s the best way to remember where you put those houses/buildings from #2.
  6. Terminology
    Is there a unique terminology to your setting? For example, when I was writing the Ransome series, I had to keep lists of all of the different parts of the ships and sails. Be specific with these (frigate rather than ship; jigger staysail instead of sail, etc.).
  7. Historical Background
    What’s the history of your storyworld? For those of us writing in either real or fictional cities set in familiar countries (like where we live), this isn’t as hard as for those creating their own countries/worlds. But it is important to know why, for example, a person of color might be treated differently in Selma, Alabama, than in Portland, Oregon, even in the year 2016.
  8. Culture and Customs
    poster-on-tea-etiquette-v2What are the unique cultures and customs of your story world? “Nashville” has one connotation to the outside world, and a very different one to those of us who live here (and to those who live in different areas of Nashville: what’s culture/custom for me living in Woodbine might be completely different from culture/custom for a 20something hipster living in loft condo in The Gulch). What festivals and other celebrations take place in your city? (And what does it mean when someone in Nashville calls CMA Fest “Fan Fair”—or even CMApocalypse?) How do people greet each other? Do they make eye contact and speak with strangers (Nashville), or do they avoid it if at all possible (Washington DC)?
  9. Language, Accent, and Regional Slang
    Whether real-world or fantasy/sci-fi, people are going to have different vernacular based on their region, their local culture/customs, and their backgrounds. But do not fall into the newbie trap of feeling like you must write this out in phonetic dialect. It marks you as a novice who doesn’t know the rules of good writing.
  10. Social/Government Organization
    More important for fictional/otherworldly story settings, but it’s good to know what would happen if a character breaks a social taboo or a law (and knowing what those social taboos and laws are). It’s also good to know if a character in a historical set in North America would be referring to the head of their government as “King George” (the third) or “President George” (Washington).
  11. Daily Life
    This includes fashion/dress/style, manners, diet, calendar, transportation, customs, etc. Again, this is less consuming if you’re writing contemporary/real-world settings, but still something everyone needs to consider when developing your settings.
    Collect images of settings that inspire, floorplans/images from real-estate sites of your characters’ homes, images of the city or countryside or landscape, and so on. This is a great time to employ Pinterest—and you can use a private board if you don’t want to share with the rest of the world just yet.

For Discussion: What did you learn about your setting doing through this exercise that will make writing your first draft easier? What do you feel like you still need to know about your setting before you start writing A WEEK FROM TODAY?

Learn more about developing your setting here.

#FirstDraft60 Day 23: One-Sentence and One-Paragraph Story Summaries #amwriting #nanoprep

Monday, October 24, 2016

#FirstDraft60 | KayeDacus.comIf you haven’t yet completed the assignments from Days 19 and 20, writing the premise and a basic outline of your story, never fear—today’s project goes hand-in-hand with those!

The One-Sentence and One-Paragraph Story Summaries
The one-sentence summary. The Quick Pitch. The Elevator Pitch. The Slug Line. It doesn’t matter what it’s called, if you’re a writer, you need at least one one-sentence and one one-paragraph summary that you can recite at the drop of a hat (or the drop of an important editor/agent’s name) that clearly conveys the tone, theme, and premise of your story.

Simple, right?

But wait. We haven’t even started writing our first drafts yet. Why are we worried about creating something that we won’t need until months or maybe even years down the road?

Because creating your one-sentence and one-paragraph summaries (pitches) helps give you clarity as to what your story is about, what your main characters’ goals are, and what your story’s tone/theme is or should be. And these will keep you from getting lost when you get into the middle of writing your draft and have no idea where your story goes next.

1. Review Your Premise and Outline First
You’ve been working on your premise and outline for the past couple of days, so everything should be top-of-mind for you. But pull them out anyway and re-read all of your notes as well as your finalized versions of the premise and outline.

Assignment 1: Make a bulleted list of three to five important events that happen in the story. Make another list for each main character that includes goal, motivation, conflict. Make a third list that includes what you think are the main theme(s), “take-away” message (or moral of the story), and tone (humorous, serious, scary, thrilling, suspenseful, etc.).

2. Create Your One-Sentence Summary
If you plan to pursue publication, you need to be able to explain the gist of your story in as few words as possible—whether for those fleeting moments at conferences when you have a sudden face-to-face encounter with your dream agent/editor or to use as part of your marketing materials for selling your novel to readers. Or, frankly, when someone you know asks you what your story is about.

From your lists above, you should have been able to narrow down the main conflict and theme of your story. Now start thinking about those from the viewpoint of each of your main characters. What would each viewpoint character say is the main focus of the story from the character’s point of view?

Assignment 2: Write several one-sentence pitches that summarize your story from each of your main characters’ viewpoints. These should be no more than 25 to 50 words. (And yes, it’s okay if it’s two sentences instead of just one—but try to keep it down to one if possible.)

You may discover you come up with several sentences that you like (and you’ll discover that a thesaurus may be your best friend in this process). Some examples from my previous work:

  • Falling in love with a client could cost this wedding planner her business; learning the true identity of the groom could cost her heart.
  • Executive Chef Major O’Hara has foresworn love, knowing he could never saddle the woman he loves with a family situation like his. But when it seems he’s about to lose Meredith Guidry to another man, he realizes he must concoct a Menu for Romance to win her back.
  • Falling in love with your lawyer isn’t all bad . . . unless he’s the son of the people you’re suing.
  • Under pressure to marry her wastrel cousin from relatives who seek to control her inheritance, Julia Witherington is forced to forge an arrangement to marry Captain William Ransome, the Royal Navy officer she swore she’d never forgive for what he did twelve years ago. Can these two set aside their pride and anger and learn what love and honor really mean?
  • Royal Navy Lieutenant Ned Cochrane is in no position to take a wife, especially his captain’s younger sister. Charlotte Ransome is determined to follow her heart—all the way to Jamaica and her secret fiancé—but her audacious plan will put her in danger of more than just losing her heart.
  • When both Julia and Charlotte are captured by pirates, will William and Ned be able to trust a most unlikely ally and have faith that all their fates are in God’s hands?

Draft of One-Paragraph summaries for A CASE FOR LOVE

My rough draft of One-Paragraph summaries for A CASE FOR LOVE

3. Create Your One-Paragraph Summary
Now that you have (hopefully)several one-sentence summaries of your story, it’s time to expand that to a one-paragraph summary. Go back to your premise and outline and the bulleted lists you made in Assignment 1. While it’s hard to focus on more than one character in a one-sentence summary, one paragraph allows you a little more leeway. Who are the two or three main characters it’s most important for your audience (whether editor/agent or reader) to know about? What is the one main plotline that should be the focus of the summary? This is your chance to experiment with writing back-cover copy.

Assignment 3: Write two or three one-paragraph summaries of approximately 150 to 175 words. If you need help with this, pull your favorite books off the bookshelf and study the back-cover copy.

Examples of the one-paragraph summaries of the one-sentence summary books above:

If you feel so led, please share your favorite one-sentence and/or one paragraph summary that you come up with.

#FirstDraft60 Day 22: Sunday Reflections–Responsibilities, Priorities, & Writing Time #amwriting #nanoprep

Sunday, October 23, 2016

#FirstDraft60 | KayeDacus.comOn Sundays, we’re going to take a moment to step back and think about our writing from a wider view. In order to do that, I’ll post some guided questions—feel free to answer them here with as much or little detail as you’d like; or answer them on your own blog or on Facebook. Or just write the answers down in a private journal or notebook. The important thing is to actually think through and write down your answers.

#FirstDraft60 Week 4 Overview |
Reflections for Day 22

1. What are your key daily responsibilities that cannot be put aside for writing?

2. What priority does writing take in your life?

3. What would you be willing to give up, for just 30 days, in order to have more time to write?

4. What are some obligations and commitments you currently have that you can reprioritize and/or reschedule in order to build more writing time into your daily schedule and give your writing the priority in November?

I look forward to seeing your answers and will be posting mine soon.

#FirstDraft60 Day 21: Saturday Catch-Up & Review Day #amwriting #nanowrimo #nanoprep

Saturday, October 22, 2016

#FirstDraft60 | KayeDacus.comAs a reminder, Saturdays throughout this challenge are going to be our days to review what we’ve covered during the week, and to catch up on anything we fell behind with.

We had some big assignments this week, and some of you, like me, were still working to get caught up with previous weeks’ assignments, too. So it may be a really busy weekend for some of us!😉

So let’s begin.

Part 1: Review of the Week
Here are all of the assignments from this past week. Click the day of the week to open that post in a new tab/window:

Monday (Day 16)

  1. Read the post “Inspiration vs. Perspiration.”
  2. Determine what your prep-work/writing schedule will be for each day for the remainder of the challenge (today through November 30, 2016).
  3. Create a calendar and write your writing schedule for every day remaining in the challenge on it.
  4. Share your plan/calendar.

Tuesday (Day 17)

  1. Determine what you want your final word-count to be for your completed first draft. Calculate your daily average needed to reach that goal.
  2. Determine how you will track your word-count progress.
  3. Decide if you want to track your writing-related time/projects.

Wednesday (Day 18)

    Think through possible challenges and obstacles that may come up between now and November 30 that may hinder you from meeting all of your goals. For each scenario, think through how you may handle it and how it might impact your writing time. What are you going to do when obstacles and challenges arise during this challenge?

Thursday (Day 19)

  1. Write out a brief sketch of your story idea—no more than a paragraph, maybe two. Is your premise plausible? Is it realistic without being predictable?
  2. Write out at least three main conflicts (plot points) that you know will happen in your story. Are they deep enough to sustain the story’s momentum by creating additional sub-conflicts that will move the plot forward? Are there enough problems facing your characters to keep readers’ interest?
  3. What books out on the market are similar to yours in genre, subject, theme, character? How does your premise position your book in the market? Now, what makes your premise unique? . . .
  4. What are the emotional stakes in your story premise? How do you want readers to react to your story—do you want to make them laugh? cry? cringe in horror? sit on the edge of their seats? Would you want to read this story if someone else had written it?

Friday (Day 20)

  1. Write out/map everything you know is going to and/or needs to happen in your story.
  2. Create a structured outline of your story, including all of the details you know at this point.

Part 2: Catch-Up, Update, and Brainstorm
Assignments for Saturday:

  1. Review everything you’ve done so far and catch-up with anything you couldn’t get to or couldn’t finish during the week.
  2. Update your Story Bible and Style Guide based on everything you came up with this week.
  3. Once you’ve caught up and have everything updated, do some “what if” brainstorming with your character information and backstories and see if you can come up with some additional ideas for either the characters themselves or for your story/plot. Have fun with this. And if you feel inspired to write some scenes, do it!
  4. Check in and let us know how you’re doing, what you’ve accomplished, and what you hope to achieve this weekend.

Above all else, have a great weekend!

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