June 2019 Writing Update

Happy Summer, everyone! Here’s a brief update on the writing progress I made this past month and what I hope to accomplish in June!

When I read through drafts of my own novels, I like putting the document on my Kindle.

May 2019: All of my goals for May were met, and with a week to spare! I think I was able to make such quick strides in completing my world-building and character profiles because most of the material comes from old ideas that I’m recycling or rebooting, so I’m fairly familiar with the worlds, people, and histories. It was just a matter of typing it up and making sure everything’s kept consistent throughout story changes and with new character arcs. With my spare week of May, I hoped to finish the outline for the first book, but unfortunately it didn’t get done this week. I’ll talk more about how I’m going to proceed with this series in a moment.

As for The Queen of Imagination, I also accomplished my goals with a week to spare. I read through the first draft, did a short and sweet series of character sketches, and re-outlined the entire book, combining chapters and cutting a few scenes along the way. While I already had to trim a few of my favorite parts, I have a feeling I’ll have to scrap even more scenes down the road. I’ll see how the story comes together after this edit, though—maybe I’ll be able to keep more than I think. As it currently stands, I do think that the new outline makes the book a stronger and more cohesive story, which is one of my goals for this first edit.

In May, I also managed to start cranking out a new series of blog posts. These posts are reflections on how my Christian faith intersects with each stage of the creative writing process, and they’ll appear every two weeks over the course of the summer. The first post on themes went up not too long ago, and the post on world-building will appear in a few days!

For my new series, I took a ton of notes for brainstorming and to work out various story issues. Sometimes those notes include world-building sketches, like these.

June 2019 Goals: Not going to lie, June is going to be insane. I’m working, preparing to move (which is not a quick or easy couple of tasks—it’s a month’s worth of things I need to get done), and I even have homework for graduate school due July 1st! Crazy! It’s exciting and overwhelming all at once, and reminds me that I’ll be moving into a season where writing becomes less of my focus and more of my stress-relief. With that, my goals for June will be simpler. I’ve also decided that because I work best by focusing on one project at a time, I’ll only work on one of my books this summer.

My big goal for the month of June is this: Edit half of The Queen of Imagination (through Chapter 20 of 39).

I have a minor goal as well: I hope to outline the first book of my new series this weekend, or by the end of next week. As I’ve been considering how to proceed with the series, I came to the conclusion that I’d rather outline each book immediately (or, in this case, a month or two) before I write it. I have a clear idea of where the story will go, but I want to create space for exploration and experimentation. I’d hate to outline all six books, start writing book one, and realize I dislike a particular subplot that I intended to carry on throughout the series. It makes more work for me if I have to go back through my outlines and change all of it. So, I think by focusing on one outline and rough draft at a time, I’ll save myself work and reenergize my writing.

But why would I choose to edit a book instead of write a new one, when I’ve been spending so much time developing this series and preparing to write it? I’ll admit, I’m anxious to start writing a new book. The Queen of Imagination was the last project I finished writing, but it’s been a while (a few years) since I started a book and finished it in the same year. But I’m trying to be mindful of the season ahead: graduate school. Despite my busy summer ahead with lots of plans and tasks to do, I’m more likely to actually finish editing a book in two months than I am to write one. I don’t feel like I’ll have the time or mental energy to balance both at the same time and make productive progress that satisfies me. Also, when I consider jumping back into the rhythm of school, I think that writing a new book will be more restful for me. I can use writing this new book during the fall semester as a way to relax, decompress, and engage in the creative parts of my brain in a way that revising/editing can’t quite satisfy.  It’s not necessarily an easy decision to step back from my more ambitious multi-project goals, but I think it’s probably the smartest direction for me to take.

This is a glimpse into my re-outlining process for The Queen of Imagination. Each scrap of paper is a scene, and includes the original chapters (or if it doesn’t appear in the original draft), which characters will be featured, and how it contributes to the story arc.

Thanks for reading this month’s update! What are your goals for the month of June? Where are you at in your current WIP?