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#FirstDraft Planning Day 3: Continue Story Structure/Timeline Setup

Friday, January 12, 2018

Today’s story-prep is a continuation of tasks that come from what was originally Day 4 in the FirstDraft60 process: Story Structure & Timeline. You can see in yesterday’s post what I got accomplished and what I need to know/do in order to start working on a more specific chronology for my story.

Tonight, I created calendar pages for 1843–1844:


I also did some research on steamships of the 1840s and how long it would take to sail from Kingston, Jamaica, to Philadelphia. I found a great website, Sea Distances, which not only shows the distance between two ports, but calculates the time at sea for an average speed of travel. Using that, I determined that it would take a side-paddle sea steamer packet between 8 and 10 days to travel directly to Philadelphia from Kingston.


And tonight, I got so caught up in what I was doing, I was surprised when the timer went off to tell me it was time to stop. I actually had to check it just to make sure I’d set it for a full hour and not half an hour. I LOVE it when I get caught up in story-work stuff like that!!! (Of course, it’s never been prep work or research that’s been the problem for me—it’s the actual writing work that I struggle with falling into and losing myself these days.)

If you’re following along, how are you doing with your prep work?


If you’ve never done FirstDraft60 and want to try it, you can see the whole series at the #FirstDraft60 page linked in the header. The tasks do build on each other after the first several days, but you can move them around to best suit your style. Be sure to start with Day 1—Determining Your Commitment and Motivation with Guided Questions.

One Hour of Writing Time per Day
My one hour of writing time is scheduled for each day from 7 PM to 8 PM Central time. I’ll try to remember to send reminders on Twitter, followed by results afterward each day (after all, I do have time for social media scheduled both before and after the writing block).

If you’re playing along at home, you can join me at that time or set your own schedule for when you’ll be writing (or reading, if you’re not a writer!). Be sure to check in below in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook with your results!

One Comment
  1. Sarah Madelin permalink
    Saturday, January 13, 2018 3:44 am

    Hi Kaye! I did the FirstDraft60 in October 2016. I didn’t make it through the challenge, but doing the first 30 days gave me a good start on planning a story. I’m just starting up with writing it again and thought I’d jump into this challenge with you since it was so helpful last time. I’m working out some of the kinks in my outline, etc., so I’m sure this will be helpful again. Plus, I loved being part of the challenge and sharing in other writers’ processes last time. Thanks for offering the opportunity again!


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