[Wyrd Words Weekly] Key checkpoints along the way to typing "The End"

Hello Reader,

We interrupt this broadcast with an important announcement from your favorite wyrd booklover:


Although I am usually the book recommendation engine in this household, my husband introduced me to these books. He couldn't stop laughing as he read the first one (All Systems Red) so I had to see what all the unmitigated chuckling was about, especially because it takes a lot to make Matt Artz crack a smile.

From the first novella, I was hooked on Murderbot's voice. And they've only gotten better as we've made our way through seven adventures with everybody's favorite rebel bot. I suspect I'll be through this final installment in the seven-book series by the time this email sends on Sunday, but I have no doubt it's going to be excellent. If you haven't met Sec Unit, Art, and the Murderbot gang, you're in for a treat.

OK, enough with the fan-girling, eh? We've got books to write!

Whether you're 25,000+ words into a NaNo fast draft or plugging steadily along at a bit slower pace like I am, now might be a good time to check in on your big-picture to make sure you're still on track.

I'm 10,000 words into my new project and doing just this type of check-in is what alerted me to the fact that I needed to do a bit more world-building before I moved on. It can be frustrating to stop the forward momentum to do a little research, some character work, and some careful thinking, but I know doing it now will make my story stronger, even if it does mean that I'm not writing forward at the pace I'd hoped for. Might as well binge-read Murderbots instead, am I right?

Whether you're a plotter or a pantser, hopefully you have at least a messy synopsis or that Tent Pole Scenes outline I keep talking about to help create a map to guide you through your first draft. Heck, maybe you even have a completed Query Audit or a full Inside Outline. If you do, congratulations (both for doing the work and for taking advantage of all the free resources I provide here)!

But don't forget that those planning materials are living documents. I recommend revisiting them periodically as you draft and updating them as needed to reflect everything you're learning in your messy zero draft. That iterative approach to drafting helps you ensure that you don't introduce story problems as you move through this initial draft. The tent pole scenes and jacket copy, in particular, can be revised so that you always have a current map to chart your course through the draft.

You can revisit these documents whenever you feel like you need to, but I recommend doing it at least every 25,000 words for longer works and as often as every 10,000 words if you're writing for middle grade, writing a novella, or writing something that's going to come in closer to 50,000 words.

This can be a great way to get through the messy middle of a draft without creating a frankenbook that's going to take a full rewrite to pull together.

If you're struggling through a draft and need a little extra guidance on what using tools like this to plan and execute a draft looks like, join me for my next Craft Magic webinar, The Synopsis as a Planning Tool, on December 11.

Hope to see you there!



PS - There's still time to apply to The Wyrd Words Workshop. If you'd like to hear first-hand about the magic we're making each week in the workshop, take a listen here. The Wyrd Words Workshop application closes November 30, so don't miss out on the best investment you can make in your story craft.

Julie Artz | author, editor, book coach, dragon

Julie Artz works with both award-winning and newer authors across the publishing spectrum from Big Five to small and university presses to indie and hybrid. She is an Author Accelerator-certified Founding Book Coach, a sought-after speaker and writing instructor, and a regular contributor to Jane Friedman and Writers Helping Writers, and a regular instructor for AuthorsPublish, IWWG, ProWritingAid and more. Her work as a Pitch Wars and Teen Pit mentor, a former SCBWI Regional Advisor (WWA), and her memberships in The EFA, the WFWA, AWP, and the Authors Guild keep her industry knowledge sharp. A consummate social and environmental justice minded story geek, Julie lives in an enchanted forest outside of Redmond, Washington, with her husband, two strong-willed teenagers (when they’re not off at university!), and two naughty furry familiars. She’s built a thriving book coaching business based on her values, her editing chops, and her knowledge of story. Check out her weekly newsletter, Wyrd Words Weekly, and subscribe today.

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