Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Summary, A Status Update and A Justification

To summarise:

I want to be a published author. To achieve this, I need to write a novel worth publishing. To do this, I need to gain a bit of skill, practice and confidence to start and complete my first draft.

So, in an attempt to reach this first milestone, I've devised the following goals (which I have explained in painstaking detail in previous rants):

Goal 1 = 14 hours of committed writing a week.
Goal 2 = complete essential reading to improve level of skills and knowledge.
Goal 3 = complete Course modules relating to novel writing, incorporating my novel into the assignments.
Goal 4 = read as much as possible, both in fiction and non-fiction, across different genres. Read, read, read!!!

End result = best first draft anyone has ever written!

Of course, writing a first draft requires a lot more than what has been listed above (e.g. plotting, character development, research) but I see them as steps rather than goals.

In terms of when I can start my novel, I have decided that I must complete Goal 2 and that I also must be up to the relevant stage in Goal 3.

Status (in brief):

Goal 1 = pretty dismal so far: 9.5 hours, 40 minutes and four hours thus far. If I can consistently do 10 hours a week, I'd be happy. 14 hours is the ultimate, but 10 will suffice (compromising my goals already, yeah?)

Goal 2 = Stephen King's On Writing is read (no notes taken yet) and I have started Howdunnit: currently reading about a day in the life of a cop.

Goal 3 = Ah yes, the Course. Well, I must admit that I am going pretty well. I have finished the first draft of Assignment No. 12 (dealing with dialogue and atmosphere) and I'm pretty happy with it. In fact, I have churned through this assignment quicker than any other and I think its my best work on the Course. Yay! Next up, I will have to submit three short stories and one article to the "real world" and then I will be ready to go on to the next Assignment (and start my novel!!!)

Goal 4 = an easy one. Finished Peter Temple's The Broken Shore and am a third of the way through Stuart MacBride's Cold Granite. Reading like my life depended on it.

Well, now, enthralled reader, you are probably sitting there thinking, what's all this goal stuff, why have I overcomplicated it so, why can't I just sit down, shut up and write the damn novel. If you are thinking that, well, that's not very nice, is it? But I will address it (and here comes the justification part of this blog), I need to structure my approach in this way because all other attempts over the past four years have fallen flat on their faces. I've lost confidence, I've lost interest, the dreaded Course has gotten in the way and I've lost focus. Hopefully, if I apply my goals, at least for this first novel, I will be so well prepared that I will achieve that ultimate dream - a completed novel.

And it's my life, so back off! (cough) sorry.

Anyway, better get back to it; start cracking!

Sorry, did someone say, 2nd Test at Adelaide?


Tracker knacker said...

Best of luck with your attempts. I havent worked myself up to your level yet (i cant even comprehend what it would take to do a novel!). Stephen Kings on writing is a great book. Thats the one with the cool fans short story at the end right? Anyway if you wanna drop over to my new blog i'd be happy to hear your comments on my published stuff (remember i'm a rookie)

Tracker knacker said...

Also, you shoudl check out Robert Mckees great book 'story'. I found it very helpful. It pulls no punches.

Daryl Nilbett said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence Tracker and the reference to Robert McKee - I will definitely check it out!

I've checked your blog and your work is great - keep it up!