Cariad Eccleston

Just a gin-filled dork.

2018 mid-year writing check-in

24 June 2018

Oh, look! We’re half-way through the year!

I wonder how I’m getting on with my goals for 2018? Surely I’m half-way through completing them, right?


At the end of 2017, I set myself these three goals for 2018:

  1. Publish a novel.
  2. Submit stories to three anthologies.
  3. Write 1,000 words per day more often than I don’t.

How’s that novel going?

When I look back at where Esthree Postbuild was six months ago, I can absolutely see progress.

For one, I was trying to tell the entire story in one 50,000-word novella. It took me close to half a year to realise that the reason why that wasn’t working was because I had to skip a lot of story to make it fit. Now, it’s looking more like a short series rather than a one-and-done story.

I can also see how the story has got a ton better. Six months ago, the story centred around a character who was being dragged around and just wanted to be left alone. Now, though, I’ve got a cast of characters who are flawed and need to change, and are dragged into an adventure where they become proactive and end up better off than they started.

But… this progress ain’t enough for me to hit the goal of publishing by the end of the year.

See, realistically, I can write about 5,000 words per week. Let’s say I’m pretty much at zero words now, since I’m still working through the world building and planning. If I want to write 100,000+ words starting today then I’d need 20 weeks, which takes me to the end of the year. That doesn’t include any time for editing or revising, either.

So, damn. This goal is likely to be a miss.

How’s those submissions going?

At the beginning of the year, I was working on a couple of stories to submit to the MCSI: Magical Crime Scene Investigation anthology.

Those particular submissions failed miserably. I had one story I really liked, but I didn’t submit it because it broke a rule. The second story was okay, but it needed more time than I had.

And then I stopped looking for anthologies, and I decided to focus on Esthree Postbuild.

So, this goal is a failure too, but at least it’s through choice!

How’s that daily word count going?

The truth is, I’m not sure. I totally forgot about this goal, so I haven’t been tracking it.

It’s likely safe to say that I haven’t hit it, though.

And… I don’t think I’m going to start tracking it.

When I’m in planning-mode – like I am now – then word count is kinda irrelevant. Writing out 1,000 words of notes doesn’t necessarily mean the novel is 1,000 words closer to being done. If 900 of those words end up getting deleted the next day because only 100 of them were gold, then was that day more or less “successful” than a day when I only write 100 words in total?

It’s just not a useful goal!

Revised goals for 2018

I’m going to collapse my three original goals into just one: Get at least 70,000 of first draft done by the end of the year.


Well, that’s the mid-year review done. Now, what did I say I’d try to do last month?

June retrospective

I set myself a regular goal and a stretch goal last month:

At the bare minimum, I want to have the story outlined up to the midpoint. As a stretch, how about I get the whole second act outlined? Now that would be awesome!

Well, shortly after I set that goal, I changed my plan of attack.

I was writing the story from beginning-to-end, and disregarding point-of-view.

But – oh boy – it’s just impossible to track goals and motivations that way. I was trying, but just getting in a mess, and ending up with sequences of things just happening.

But then I tried applying Dan Harmon’s Story Circle to each of the main characters, and – wow! – the story really took off.

Last week, I set myself the goal of writing a 4,000-word summary of the four main characters’ points-of-view.

A week on, and three of them – Esthree, Bolide and Fiscal – have their summary. The only one left now is Milli, who’s only 2,000 words in.

Writing beats per character

But! But! But! The story sans point-of-view detail is pretty-well mapped out and understand now between the first three characters. So, I’m calling this goal achieved!

July goal

I’m setting myself a series of small goals for July:

  1. Finish Milli’s 4,000-word summary.
  2. Format the four summaries into a single three-act structure, with beats earmarked so I can keep an eye on pacing.
  3. Squeeze in any glue required to make the four points-of-view work together.
  4. Have 20,000 words written in total.

I reckon that’s do-able!