Writer’s Desk

Hello, dreamers. Sorry this post is a day late, but after a stressful weekend I gave myself a light day yesterday. I only wrote one page of Dawn of the Pioneers: a series of quotes. But we all need a break now and then.

However, while it was a welcome respite, as I always say the work of an aspiring writer is never done. I have a busy week ahead of me, as my busy month draws to a close. I still have a lot to do. That being said, here’s what I’ll be up to this week:

Dawn of the Pioneers

This is it: tonight I’ll be writing the final chapter of Phase 1 of my work-in-progress. It’s hard to believe I’ve only been working on it for a matter of weeks, but now at 20,000+ words I have the solid makings of a new book.

This chapter will see Randall Holmes visiting Vancouver, the capital city of Denali, for the first time. I’m excited to write the imagery, give the reader a better sense of just how much the colonists have accomplished in the three decades they’ve spent on their new planet. But there are still a lot of questions to answer.

My biggest challenge right now is character arcs. The next phase of the novel will see Holmes visit an entirely new planet: one that the reader has never seen before. This is a different colony, more developed and more Earth-like, with different rules and far more political turmoil. I’ll be introducing new ecosystems and new characters, and possibly bringing back a character last seen in The Pioneers. All the while, the next chapters will be interspersed with one or more “non-sequitur” chapters, showing the early stirrings of a major technological breakthrough on Earth, one that will change the course of mankind forever.

I have a lot of planning to do. As such, I plan to follow my usual process, and take a week off for planning, research, and revision before moving on to the next phase in early September. That break will also give me the chance to focus on my other big project…

The Pioneers

We’re in crunch time now. With Pitch Wars about a month away, I plan to devote most of the week to wrapping things up with The Pioneers. That means revising my query letter, and finishing my one-page synopsis.

It occurred to me this week that part of the reason I threw myself into The Pioneers last year around this time was because I really, really didn’t want to write my query letter and synopsis for Wide Horizon. Part of my reluctance stemmed from my relative ambivalence to the story, but mostly it was because I felt completely lost. A brief perusal of articles on the subject of query letters is maddening: it leads to a bevy of articles providing often conflicting information, all written by published authors whose query letters clearly succeeded.

This year is different. Not only do I feel more passionate about my manuscript, but I’ve found new and better resources (thanks primarily to Writer’s Digest). Thus armed, I’ve already written a query letter that, despite needing revision, looks a lot better than my best for Wide Horizon.

My goal this week is to complete a first draft of my synopsis and revise my query letter. That will give me a few weeks to revise my synopsis and pass both it and my query letter off to a few people, to make sure I’m on the right track.

And Everything Else…

Looking beyond the coming week, I now have a better plan for the coming months in terms of my overall writing efforts.

Last year, I began writing The Pioneers in June. I hit my stride around this time last year, but once Pitch Wars began the stress of it all wore me down, and writing ground to a halt. This year I started Dawn of the Pioneers a bit late, due to my final revisions of The Pioneers, but now that I know what to expect from Pitch Wars I’m confident that I can continue writing well into September. At the moment, my goal is to complete Phase 2 in September, hen take a brief hiatus to focus on other things.

The remainder of September and all of October will be devoted to pursuing other projects. That includes resuming my work in short fiction, as well as checking up on my Junk Drawer: trunked stories that could develop into worthwhile side projects. Part of this effort will involve perusing my existing short fiction pieces for potential inclusion in a self-published collection (an idea I’ve been tossing around for a few years now).

All of that side work is intended to help me spend a month and a half or so inhaling, in preparation for the final push on Dawn of the Pioneers, which will begin with NaNoWriMo in November.

There’s a lot to do, but I’m having fun doing it. This is where I want to be, and I couldn’t be happier. Keep reading, and dare to dream. – MK

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