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#FirstDraft60: Day Zero—Are You Ready to Write a Story? #amwriting #nanoprep #nanowrimo

Saturday, October 1, 2016

#FirstDraft60 | KayeDacus.comIf you didn’t participate last year, or if you haven’t had a chance to explore the posts, here’s the explanation/introduction to what the #FirstDraft60 challenge is.

Here’s a link to a .pdf file (opens in a new tab) of this year’s calendar—but be aware that it’s subject to change. I’ll also be posting a schedule each Sunday of what we’ll be doing/covering so that you can plan ahead each week.

As we did on “day zero” last year, we’re going to start off with some questions today to help us start thinking about and planning for the story we’re going to be working on between now and November 30.

Before answering these questions, please read the explanations/clarifications/further info on last year’s Day Zero post.

What story are you going to work on?
I need to break down and reconceptualize The Spymaster’s Daughter in order to have a completed manuscript (ready to go to my agent) before the end of the year.

Who’s your support team?
As mentioned in the comments on this post, I’ve let go of most of my support team over the past few years. In doing this challenge, I’m also challenging myself to rebuild that support team and not just rely on one or two family members or friends for encouragement and support.

What do you hope to achieve?
The easy answer is to have a completed manuscript submitted to my agent. The hard answer is “to fall in love with writing again.”

Do you really have the time to commit to this challenge right now?
Yes. Because I’m making this a priority, and I’ve already mapped out my calendar for the next sixty days. The only big commitment I have between now and the end of November is going home for the week of Thanksgiving. And I know my parents fully support my writing and will encourage me to take the time I need daily in order to get it done.

How will you set realistic goals—and adjust them as time goes on?
As you can see in the calendar linked above, I’ve broken down a total word count of 50,000 for the daily word goal for November 1–30. Although I am currently sitting on a word-count of 55,000+ right now (I think I missed adding a couple thousand to that number), I’m hoping that I’ll be able to salvage at least 25–30,000 of the current draft, and that writing 50,000 new words will be the rough draft I need in order to be able to spend the first few weeks of December revising/editing in order to get it sent to my agent on the promised timeline.

Here’s the list of questions if you want to copy/paste them into your comment for answering:
1. What story are you going to work on?
2. Who’s your support team?
3. What do you hope to achieve?
4. Do you really have the time to commit to this challenge right now?
5. How will you set realistic goals—and adjust them as time goes on?

In addition to answering those five questions, what questions and/or suggestions do you have for how this challenge will work?

24 Comments leave one →
  1. Saturday, October 1, 2016 2:53 pm

    I’m going to join this challenge. Just picked up two teaching contracts that will limit my time, and one of them includes editing and writing new chapters to my advanced grooming textbook. Three books in my fingers waiting to get out – this will keep me focused on the process. Don’t have an agent waiting for a rough draft but would like to have one complete by time I go to R5J for Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Saturday, October 1, 2016 11:35 pm

      Hi, Uncle Reid! I’m so happy you’re going to give this a shot. The posts/information will be focused on fiction writing, but I’m sure there’s enough that will be applicable to what you’re wanting to write for it to be beneficial to you!

      Like

  2. Saturday, October 1, 2016 3:17 pm

    1. What story are you going to work on?
    A. Never Say Try and Don’t Ask Why – Life Lessons from ?
    B. Maybe God Didn’t Join Us Together – Life after Divorce and other events
    C. Pecan Pie and Horses – A Love Story
    2. Who’s your support team?
    Don’t have a writing support team as such. Going to consider three levels of support teams: Immediate Support Team (Wife, Mom, Mother-in-law, Daughter, Oldest Son), Intermediate Team (author niece, sisters (3), brothers (2), Network Team (former and current students) – will work on getting specific individuals from Network.
    3. What do you hope to achieve?
    Have a first rough draft of one of those three completed by December 3 and a presentable draft ready for consideration by support team by December 20.
    4. Do you really have the time to commit to this challenge right now?
    I have as much time now as I ever have. I have good technology now so I can write on planes as I travel. I usually have times at hotel from mid-afternoon (4:00 or so) to will use 60 day calendar to organize that time and get some writing done.
    5. How will you set realistic goals—and adjust them as time goes on?
    I will use my computer and my purple paisley college ruled composition book to write ideas, thoughts and notes (already been doing that) then use the calendar to adjust and schedule.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Saturday, October 1, 2016 11:37 pm

      I really like the three-level support system. It’s always important to realize that there will be different intensities of support from people based on the relationships we have with them—and what we’re willing to share with them when it comes to writing.

      And purple paisley college-ruled composition books for the win! 😉

      Like

  3. Carol permalink
    Saturday, October 1, 2016 5:56 pm

    1. What story are you going to work on?
    I’m doing a total revamp of the story I worked on for Camp NaNo in July.

    2. Who’s your support team?
    My hubby is great support. But my main writing support is Kaye.

    3. What do you hope to achieve?
    Completed first draft of mid-grade novel

    4. Do you really have the time to commit to this challenge right now?
    I have 24 hours in the day like everyone else. It’s a matter of priorities.

    5. How will you set realistic goals—and adjust them as time goes on?
    Have my calendar done for the first 30 days of the challenge. Will adjust as needed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Saturday, October 1, 2016 11:38 pm

      So, Carol, you’re not going to scrap the current story for the one you had the lightning bolt for the other day? 😉

      I’m thrilled to be your support—and I’m so happy that we’re going to try to get together weekly for encouragement and writing support. I’ve missed having someone to do that with so much!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Carol permalink
        Sunday, October 2, 2016 6:02 am

        This is going to be the first story in the series. Each of the three friends will have a story. The historical will wait until I finish this. Or, I could start the general research while I’m working on this. 😀

        Like

  4. Saturday, October 1, 2016 9:22 pm

    1. What story are you going to work on?
    I’m going to revisit a former Nano that I got about 5k words on. It needs lots of work. It’s a paranormal story.

    2. Who’s your support team?
    I work at a community college, so I have several people for support. They include a co-worker, an English professor, and a resident who is also doing Nano. Plus the hubs.

    3. What do you hope to achieve?
    I want 50k usable words that I can edit into 75k-80k.

    4. Do you really have the time to commit to this challenge right now?
    Like the others said, I will make it a priority – after all the other priorities.

    5. How will you set realistic goals—and adjust them as time goes on?
    My writing buddy and I are doing several write-ins weekly. And I’ll do marathons and 1k/1hr whenever I need to. I refuse to give up this year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Saturday, October 1, 2016 11:41 pm

      Hi, Michelle–welcome!

      I’ve never done NaNo before (well, I’ve tried it for a week or so and then given up). What is the support system like there? Is it easy to get hooked up with a supportive, encouraging group for accountability?

      We’ll be doing both scheduled and impromptu 1k1hr sprints as well as some other weekly writing challenges in November—not the least because I need to get that word-count in!

      Like

  5. Saturday, October 1, 2016 11:04 pm

    1. What story are you going to work on? a new historical “Heart’s Freedom”.
    2. Who’s your support team? I don’t have anyone right now–just me, myself and I.
    3. What do you hope to achieve? I hope to get to the mid point (45K to 50K) and expand on it further in November and, hopefully, have a completed first draft by November 30th!
    4. Do you really have the time to commit to this challenge right now? In October, I hope to write as much as I can, and will do my best to accomplish some writing every day.
    5. How will you set realistic goals—and adjust them as time goes on? On the days I work (4 days–12 hour shifts), I’ll probably plan small goals–1K or 2 pages, but on my days off, I’m hoping to accomplish what I couldn’t do on those work days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Saturday, October 1, 2016 11:44 pm

      Hi, Lori!
      I’m glad to see someone else will also be working on a historical-set story.

      I’m also happy that you found this blog so that we can be your support team through this challenge!

      While I wouldn’t discourage anyone from writing in October, the way this challenge is set up is to do all of our prep work in October and hold off on actually writing until November. But it’s up to you to decide how this will work best for you. Once we get several days into it, you’ll be able to better gauge how to work this program best for your schedule and your goals.

      Like

  6. Sunday, October 2, 2016 1:11 pm

    1. What story are you going to work on?
    A Y/A novel 50,000 to 75,000 words.

    2. Who’s your support team? My immediate family and friends.

    3. What do you hope to achieve? To have a quality finished manuscript by Dec 31.

    4. Do you really have the time to commit to this challenge right now? I will make the time, no excuses.

    5. How will you set realistic goals—and adjust them as time goes on? By breaking up the goal into small increments and completing each step along the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Friday, October 14, 2016 5:58 pm

      Shannon–
      As with Shirley, I’m just now realizing that I never responded to this comment with a welcome to the challenge. Now that we’re two weeks in, how are you doing?

      Like

  7. Shirley permalink
    Sunday, October 2, 2016 11:21 pm

    1. What story are you going to work on?
    A 99% revamp of a Historical Romance novel I’ve been attempting/wanting to write for several years. I’ve thought about starting completely fresh as I have other ideas but this one is still the one I’m feeling compelled to tell.

    2. Who’s your support team?
    I moved 3 years ago (1000+ km move) and as I live out of town and had a new baby shortly after moving I have not made any friendships that have progressed to the ‘get together for a coffee and gab session’ stage yet. However, I do have a good friend from before my move that will support me as much as she can and my husband fully supports my writing. Also, our oldest daughter (almost 13) is going to take part in NaNaWriMo Young Writers Program (already doing her own prepping) so we will try to keep each other accountable. I have a couple friends from my book club on Facebook that are also doing NaNaWriMo so we will support each other as well.

    3. What do you hope to achieve?
    I am hoping to complete at least half of my novel (52,000 words) by the end of November and just continue into December with a goal of having a complete rough draft of my novel by New Years. I have set myself a 2000 words per day goal, with Sunday’s off, and if I am not struggling to meet that goal at the end of the first week I may increase it. I also hope to rediscover my love for and joy in writing that I feel I have misplaced.

    4. Do you really have the time to commit to this challenge right now?
    As a stay at home mom, yes…and no! lol While my husband and preteen can respect my writing time my toddler attacks me anytime I am at the computer and is very persistent and not easily distracted. So I am planning, as of tomorrow, to stay up after my oldest goes off to the school bus in the morning (7:30am) and use the time until my toddler wakes up (roughly 2.5 hours, sometimes 3) as my writing time and then will add in another hour (at least and if needed) after I have spent a bit of time with her. I may also hand-write if my toddler becomes difficult and then transfer it to the computer after my older daughter or husband get home. I am committed to doing this and am feeling (illogically) like it’s now or never!

    5. How will you set realistic goals – and adjust them as time goes on?
    I feel that my goal of 2,000 words per day (minus Sunday) for a total of 52,000 words is completely doable for half of my first draft, especially if I can get it done during my solo morning writing time of 7:30am – 10am (sometimes I may get until almost 11am). I also feel that should I be able to write more than 2,000 on any given writing day I will definitely do so and if this becomes the norm I will increase my daily writing goal and may just complete my entire draft in one month after all (which I would love I to do and may adjust that goal as well but I feel the need to start small so I don’t feel overwhelmed).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tuesday, October 4, 2016 12:04 am

      Hi Shirley–just wanted to say I’m in a similar position, so maybe we can encourage each other along the way. I moved from Chicago to TX last year and still haven’t met many people. Friendships are harder to come by as an adult, I think. I also have toddlers to manage while trying to write, so your statement about your toddler attacking you at the computer rings true for me as well!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wednesday, October 5, 2016 9:15 am

        That would be awesome, Sarah! 😀 Yes, I agree friendships are harder to come by as an adult. Are you on the NaNo website? If you are we can be “writing buddies” on there if you like, I’m Taylorsl83. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Friday, October 14, 2016 5:57 pm

      Shirley–
      I just realized that I never officially welcomed you to the challenge by responding to your comment on this post. As I said in a more recent post—I have a lot of catching up to do!

      Like

  8. Tuesday, October 4, 2016 12:00 am

    1. What story are you going to work on?
    My story–women’s fiction about a social worker who accidentally becomes a country music sensation–has been bumping around in my head for more than a decade. I started it in college as a screenplay, but I’m happiest writing novels. This character has stuck with me for a long time. She’s got gumption, and I’d like to see her story through.

    2. Who’s your support team?
    My husband and mom are my closest allies. They always root for me, for which I’m so grateful. I also have two writer friends who I’ll ask for a little handholding through the 60 days (is it 58 days now? It took me a while to commit, so I’m a little late to the party…).

    3. What do you hope to achieve?
    I have a pair of nearly polished novels that I’ve been working on for six years. I think that, because they’re my first books, I’m scared to turn them loose. I adore the characters and I’ve practically bled their story onto the page after all these years. I want to write something totally different to break through my fear of promoting my writing, whether it’s submitting to agents or self-publishing. I’m hoping to have a rough first draft of a story that I’m proud of and yet don’t cling to as tightly, so I can move forward and try to publish something.

    4. Do you really have the time to commit to this challenge right now?
    I have twin toddlers, so I don’t have time for anything, ha! But I’m making time for this.

    5. How will you set realistic goals—and adjust them as time goes on?
    I did Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July and managed to stick to my goal until halfway through. One day of not writing led to another, etc. For this challenge, I’m going to write every day, no exceptions, even if I can’t make my 1667 word goal every day. I think for me the key is not to break the chain of productivity.

    Thanks for hosting this, Kaye! I’m really excited to be part of the challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tuesday, October 4, 2016 6:04 pm

      Welcome, Sarah—glad to have you along for the journey! And don’t worry about being a few days late to the party. There will be plenty of time to catch up during October—you’ve probably already done some of the stuff we’ll be doing. The first few days are purposely light on work just so everyone has a chance to get into the habit of doing this every day (me, especially!).

      Like

  9. Friday, October 14, 2016 6:16 am

    Welcome back, Kaye! I’ve missed your posts. 🙂

    1. What story are you going to work on?
    My contracted novella for Barbour (first major contract! Thanks, Chip!), “Waltzing Matilda”.

    2. Who’s your support team?
    Ummm. Fellow NaNoWriMo’s?? Peeps on facebook? My two crit partners?

    3. What do you hope to achieve?
    To smash out the first draft of my novella. 20k. I’m not worried about 50k. I just *need* this novella done.

    4. Do you really have the time to commit to this challenge right now?
    I have to. It’s contracted.

    5. How will you set realistic goals—and adjust them as time goes on?
    667 words per day. Hope I can do that. My main worry is that the plot I have isn’t long enough. :/

    Like

    • Friday, October 14, 2016 5:56 pm

      Welcome back, Lucy! It’s tough but good to be back doing this regularly. It’s so hard to get back into a habit once dropped, you know?

      CONGRATULATIONS on the new contract! You’ll love working with Barbour. They’re what we call here in the south “good people.”

      Like

  10. Monday, October 17, 2016 10:01 pm

    1. What story are you going to work on?
    Part 2 of a YA short story series currently titled Crown of Shadows.
    2. Who’s your support team?
    Hubby, co-author for the series (although she’s given me free reign on part 2 to see what I come up with), parents, online writer friends.
    3. What do you hope to achieve?
    Complete my first draft for part 2. Not sure if it will be all that long in terms of length, but I tend to spend a lot of time on my first drafts. It’s how I’ve always written, so I’m pushing myself not to edit as much on my first round.
    4. Do you really have the time to commit to this challenge right now?
    yes, no excuses.
    5. How will you set realistic goals—and adjust them as time goes on?
    I have no idea how long it will take me to write a certain number of words, so I am going to practice on a different project to help me set realistic goals prior to Nanowrimo.

    Like

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  1. Follow Along Fiction #FirstDraft60 2016: Day 1 #NANOWRIMOprep  – Literarily Illumined

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