Hello, readers!

We're Back movie poster

Does anyone else have fond memories of this movie, or is it just me?

So, I said I shut down except for ROW80 because of school. I’m glad I did, because I came out of it with a 4.0 semester! Better than that, my transcript is updated and I graduated summa cum laude!

I do plan on joining ROW80 again this season, so I guess I should talk about goals. How about some targets, first?

I want a novel self-published or in the pipe for traditional publishing by the end of the year.

I want to be in a job that puts me on the path to a career in technology.

I want my blog to beat out last years traffic.

Now none of those I can guarantee, obviously, but I can definitely do things to work towards them.

I need to be writing again, and right now, I struggle with even small word counts for writing. So my first goal is going to be a muscle building program for my fiction. In addition to doing a full planning document for one of my story ideas, I’m going to start a writing regiment.

The Snowflake

My planning method combines Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method with Larry Brook’s Story Engineering. What I mean by that is I do the high level to focused planning of the Snowflake, but inform each step with Story Engineering.

I’ve found this method really makes it clear where I’m going with a story and makes it much easier to write at the end. The Snowflake has 10 steps:

Snowflake fractal

Taken from Ingermanson’s blog

  1. One Sentence Summary
  2. One Paragraph Summary
  3. Major Character Motivations
  4. One Page Summary
  5. Character Summaries
  6. Four Page Summary
  7. Character Charts
  8. Scene Spreadsheet
  9. Scene Pre-write
  10. First Draft

The key parts where I add Story Engineering is to the plot summaries, where I use tent-pole scenes for the paragraph summary, expand from them to major events (And pinch points) for the one page, and slowly expand from those key scenes as I expand the summary. I also use the Story Engineering Beat Sheet for step 8. In order to hit my goal of a finished novel, I need to be ready to begin step 10 by the end of ROW80 Round 1. So the quick and dirty schedule: One step of the Snowflake per week. Check-in on Sundays.

Writing Muscles

So short version, I’m going to push my limits a little at a time to make sure I can find time and build up to writing at a respectable pace. Novels are the writing marathon, after all.

penSo over the course of Round 1, I’ll start really low, and build up to a much faster pace.

Week 1: 100 words of fiction Mon to Fri. Week Count: 500 Total Count: 500
Week 2: 150 words of fiction Mon to Fri. Week Count: 750 Total Count: 1250
Week 3: 250 words of fiction Mon to Fri. Week Count: 1250 Total Count: 2500
Week 4: 400 words of fiction Mon to Fri. Week Count: 2000 Total Count: 4500
Week 5: 600 words of fiction Mon to Fri. Week Count: 3000 Total Count: 7500
Week 6: 850 words of fiction Mon to Fri. Week Count: 4350 Total Count: 11750
Week 7: 1150 words of fiction Mon to Fri. Week Count: 5750 Total Count: 17500
Week 8: 1500 words of fiction Mon to Fri. Week Count: 7500 Total Count: 25000
Week 9: 1900 words of fiction Mon to Fri. Week Count: 9500 Total Count: 34500
Week 10: 2350 words of fiction Mon to Fri. Week Count: 11750 Total Count: 46250
Week 11: 2850 words of fiction Mon to Fri. Week Count: 14250 Total Count: 60500

That feels fast, but I’ll know by the end how to fix this regiment for next round!

Job Search

This one is more complex, because the job market is obviously questionable. I’ll put in at least one resume for a job I definitely qualify for between each check-in. Beyond that, I’ll start emailing various HR departments about unlisted openings both locally and further afield. I’ll say one a week for this one.

At some point during this round, I need to put together and spruce up a LinkedIn profile.

Blog

Saving the best for last, of course. There are two things I want to do with this blog: More tutorials about things that interest me, and more posting about things I care about in general. That means my topics are going to go wider, but it’ll be a lot more interesting (At least I hope so!). I’ll start that out by developing an updated TweetDeck guide for the new TweetDeck. By new, I mean the Blue one. If you’re still using the Yellow, just check out the current guide!

Primary ButtonsFrom there, I really want to talk about my experiences with Linux OS and maybe convince a few more people to try it out. I’ll start that with a primer on building Virtual Machines and get into the fun things I like to do on my machine. I am tempted to write a newbies guide to Arch so all of you can get to claim you built a working Arch installation. (Seriously, this is a cool thing to tell people.)

Because ROW80 asks for updates Wednesday and Sunday, I’ll leave Monday and Friday to doing tutorials and other things. So how about Monday I write what I like, and Friday I’ll post a new piece of a tutorial. That gives me four posting days a week which should support my goal to build my readership.

Reading

This is kind of that thing I throw on there just to say I’ve done it, and since I joined the GoodReads challenge for 2013, I’ve got a lot of books to read. The short list right now:

Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig
Illusions: Confessions of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach
Story Engineering by Larry Brooks

When I read these ones down, I’ll pick out a few more and update my to be read list.

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