Quarterly Writing Goals- Summer 2018

quarterly writing goals summer 2018So lately I’ve decided to really work on my writing. Like actually work on it somewhat regularly rather than poke at it every once in a while. There are a couple of reasons for this. One reason is that I actually finished my first draft of Mage after poking at it since college. It’s so exciting to have that first draft done. Growing up, I’ve started so many drafts that never went anywhere (probably a good thing as I think back on some of those drafts.) But this one I was determined to finish. Now I’m determined to make it presentable and hopefully publish it one day. I know I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me to get to that point, so I’m going to do what I always do when I have a big overwhelming load of work to do: break it down and make a list.

I will say, the idea of a Quarterly Writing Goals list isn’t my own idea. I’ve seen that many writers keep a similar list. The first place I encountered it was on the YouTube Channel of Jenna Moreci. (If you don’t mind a bit of cussing, you should check out her channel. She’s got a ton of great no-nonsense writing advice. I watch her when I need someone to yell at me to get back to work.)

The idea is that sharing my writing goals with the public will help keep me accountable. I am much more likely to finish a project if I actually verbalize and tell someone I’m going to do it. So here are my Summer writing goals.

Over the next three months I will:

-Finish my blog calendar for the year and stay on track. (New post every Friday!)
-Find and start reading a new book series, preferably in the genre I write in.
-Read through my entire manuscript and make notes.
-Write a short story for Mage’s world.
-Get through at least 8 chapters for the first edit of Mage.
-Finish character profiles for all major characters.
-Participate in a Flash-Fiction contest. (Maybe)
-Create one new Skillshare Class.

If I get 6 out of 8 of these done I’ll be happy. (I’m telling you this NOW, future self. If you get 6 out of 8 done that’s GOOD.)

Well, wish me luck! I hope everyone has a great summer!


Whistle While You Work


So, once upon a time, while browsing through the deep recesses of the internet, I stumbled upon this thread. Since then, almost every time I sit down to write or work on my novel, I put on Pandora in the background. Set specifically to my Hans Zimmerman/ Lindsey Sterling channel.

The other option is to go on YouTube. On YouTube I have a playlist called Epic Music that’s got a combo of gaming music and movie scores. When I really need to get in the zone, I’ll find a song that works for the scene I’m working on and somewhere on the internet is that song on repeat for ten hours.

(Fun Fact: I finished writing my college thesis at 3am while listening to Imagine Dragon’s Radioactive on repeat for hours.)

I have found that this is the best way for me to get in the zone, knuckle down, and focus on my work. It works even better if I can put headphones in and block out all of the rest of the world as I write.

How about you? Do you listen to music while you work? Do you have different playlists for different tasks? What’s your favorite song to work to?

Character Interview- Mage Youngtalon

Character Interview_Mage YoungtalonSo as I’m working on editing my manuscript, one of the things I’ve noticed is that my characters’ personalities change over the course of my draft, and not because of character growth. (This is why editing exists.) So in an effort to nail down who my characters are and what they are all about, I figured I should sit them down and interview them as a writing exercise. Below are the results of my interview of my main character Mage Youngtalon.

Hello, Mage. Thanks for meeting with me today.
Sure thing.

So wow, a lot has happened to you and you’ve achieved quite a bit for your age. How old are you exactly?
I’m 15, almost 16. I know a lot of people think I’m younger.

Yeah I was going to say, you look-

I was going to say 13…ish.
Uh huh.

So tell me about your life so far. Growing up, where did you live?
I lived in the kingdom of Delano, in the village of Andover. I’ve lived there as long as I can remember.

What is Andover like?
Well it’s an industrial town because of the Kingdom Laboratory. Most of the people who live there are connected to the Laboratory work in some way. It’s where most of the country’s scientific breakthroughs are made. Inventions. Technological advances. Research. Things like that. My father, Dr. Talon Youngbranch, was the Mechanist, which is the title for the lead scientist there.

Wow, and did you also work at the Lab?
Not… officially. *grins* Technically I’m still too young to work there, but Papa tends to bring work home with him and I tend to help. It was my hope to work alongside him when I came of age and eventually take over as Mechanist for him when he retired.

So I noticed your last name is Youngtalon but your father’s name is Talon Youngbranch.
Yeah… that’s how sirenames work. I’m my father’s son… so Young-Talon.

So your grandfather’s name was Branch?

So, what about the rest of your family? Your mother? Do you have siblings?
My mother died when I was really little, I don’t really remember her, but her name was Storm. The name suited her very well, according to my Papa. Apparently my older sister Sketch takes after her quite a bit.

Tell me about Sketch.
Well we’re very close. She’s my only sibling and basically runs the household. Papa and I tend to be absent minded. She really does a lot to keep our home in order and remind us to eat food and bathe occasionally. I really don’t know what Papa and I would do without her.

So how old is Sketch?
Oh… she just came of age. She’s 18.

You don’t look very happy about that.
Sketch is… very pretty. And I’m not just saying that because I’m her brother. At least half the boys in the village think they are in love with her. The thing is, I grew up with most of these boys. Let’s just say there aren’t many I’d approve of.
On top of that, Sketch has such an outgoing personality, a lot of the boys tend to think she is flirting when she isn’t. It’s the sort of thing that gets her into trouble.

Sounds like you are pretty protective of your sister.
You could say that.

So anything else about your home life growing up? Did you have a best friend?
Not really. When I was really little I played a lot with a neighbor boy. I don’t even remember his name. Chip maybe? But for the most part, I’d say Methuselah is my best friend.

My pet dragon. He’s a purplish red color. Likes to sit on my shoulder most of the time. He’s pretty temperamental and likes to get in the way when I’m working on something. Lately I’ve been trying to train him, but dragons are not as trainable as say a dog or a griffin.

What sorts of things are you trying to train him to do?
Well one of the first things I was hoping he could do is warn me of people approaching.

That’s interesting, what do you hope that will help with?
Well, I’m currently training to be a spy, so I can think of multiple instances where it would be nice to have a heads up about an approaching person.

You are an inventor who is training to be a spy?
… Yes.

Because it’s the only way to learn the skills needed to protect my sister.

From the trouble you mentioned earlier?

But don’t spies normally work for someone else? Like an organization or a kingdom? How does that help your sister? Wouldn’t that keep you away from her?
*grumbling* It’s my best option right now. I’m being offered some protection while training and I can’t help Sketch if I’m dead.

Protection from whom?
That’s classified.

You mean you don’t want to talk about it.
That’s what I said.

Well I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Last question, if you could tell your author anything, what would it be?
*Long awkward pause while he thinks*

I guess I would ask the author to give Sketch a break for once. She’s been through enough as it is.

(Ouch.) Well that’s all the time we have for today. Thanks again, Mage.
*shrug* Sure.

Thoughts on Avengers: Infinity War

This past weekend my husband and I left our 8-week old son with my mom for a couple hours and went on a much-needed date to go see Infinity War. Not exactly a classic date movie, but we have been going to Avengers movies together since before we were dating. It was a very fun movie and I enjoyed it even more because I wasn’t massively pregnant. (Fun fact: The last movie we had gone to see in the theaters was Black Panther and I went into labor a few hours after coming out of the movie. Apparently our son is a Marvel fan too.)

It’s hard for me not to view this movie as a chapter in an overall story rather than a stand alone movie at this point. A lot of the enjoyment for us comes from trying to guess what is going to happen next in the Marvel-verse. Some things we saw coming for Infinity War, but most things we did not.

The movie was fast paced. That can be good and bad. There was never a point where the action slowed down, and I think a little bit of falling action to let me catch my breath would have been nice. Also, I found it difficult to keep up with who was where. There were just so many characters doing so many different things. I think they did well with what they had. Juggling so many different characters in a coherent way is no small feat.

I think the biggest surprise for me was Thanos as a character. He has been a “scary” background threat for so long, I guess I was expecting a one-dimensional, power-hungry conqueror. But he was more personable than that. He had a motive. He had feelings! This made him more vulnerable and scary at the same time.

Spoiler warning!

So onto the more juicy parts of the movie: the character deaths. Right out of the gate, all of the Asgardian refugees were killed, which stings. I think I’m more upset about that than anything else. First of all, genocide is not cool. Second of all, having the Asgardians of all races wiped out makes the whole universe feel less safe. They were the protectors of the other realms and now they are gone.

I will say most of the character deaths don’t feel permanent. Basically everyone who turned to dust at the end of the movie is basically guaranteed to come back by the end of Part 2. How can I say this with such confidence? Because Spiderman. There is no way they are going to keep Peter Parker dead. He’s a fan favorite and makes Marvel and Disney lots of money, so they can’t kill him off for those reasons. But also story wise, he’s both the Captain America and Iron Man of the next generation of Avengers. He’s got the best of both Steve and Tony with none of the angst. He’s too important as a character to stay dead.

Some of the other characters I’m not so sure of. I want to believe they will be back because Marvel has spoiled me with characters that come back from the dead all of the time. I want Loki to come back, but I’m having doubts because of the way he died. Thanos literally said, “No resurrections this time.”

Trapped in Stone?

The other two characters I’m not sure of are Gamora and Vision. They didn’t turn to dust like a majority of the character deaths, but their deaths were directly associated with one of the stones. Husband and I have a theory that Gamora’s soul is inside the soul gem. I think most of us would agree that Gamora has still got a part to play in bring Thanos down.

So we have to wonder if there is something similar going on with Vision. Shuri didn’t get to finish what she originally meant to finish with her work on Vision. So how does that play into what was going on with the Mind Stone? Is Vision in the Mind Stone? If they rebuild his body and reclaim the Mind Stone could he come back to life? I mean the poor guy died twice, he kind of deserves to live in the end.

What I’m Looking Forward To

The thing I’m most excited to see dealt with in the next chapter is Dr. Strange’s “prophecy.” Dr. Strange knows the one way Thanos can be beaten due to his future vision and looking at all the possible outcomes. After doing that, he was willing to give up the Time Stone to save Tony’s life, so Tony must be the key to this “one way.” Since Iron Man started us on this whole adventure 10 years ago, it seems fitting that he should be the one to finish it.

I really enjoyed this chapter in the Marvel Saga and I’m eagerly awaiting the next chapter. Dang cliff hangers!

What were your thoughts?

If you are wondering why my post is early this week, it’s because I wanted to coordinate with my post on urban-fantasy.com. Be sure to check it out!