My (strange?) reviewing process

Having recently completed a review of the first twenty two chapters of my book, the way in which I carried it out got me thinking that I definitely have a different outlook on the review process.

While I still have approximately eight chapters left to write before I can begin reviewing a draft of the complete book, I made the decision several months back to review what I currently have, and there was only one reason why I reached that decision. Prior to that I had been away from my writing due to other life pressures (my full time job and such) and by the time I was able to get back into the swing of things I struggled to write fresh material; the break had removed me from the momentum. I felt then that I didn’t have any other choice but to read over the existing twenty two chapters, however it was not only to refresh my memory.

After considering the options for how I could approach the review, I spent time mulling over the big task of ‘editing while reviewing’. I asked myself “Will that slow you down with finishing the book, or will it improve the writing of the final chapters having amended the story and characters along the way?” When viewed like that I couldn’t get the idea from my mind. I was sure it was the wisest thing to do, because I already had to unwillingly experience writing breaks, and if that happened to me again, I at least wanted to have the majority of the story reviewed and edited; less work to do to achieve the right mindset again.

So the detail then. How did I carry out my twenty two chapter review?

Don’t laugh, but being a Virgo and a Dragon, I live according to structure and sensical processes. And I can’t omit to say I printed the chapters out and worked from paper. This is easiest for me to do across all I do, be that my writing or my tasks at work. But as a nature lover I do think of the trees and so I plan to hold onto the printed copy as a reference for when I need to check something quickly; it beats having to turn on a computer every time.

Think of the below as applying to one chapter, then another, and then another.

Step 1: Read chapter in question, marking the print-outs with a red pen

What to mark:
– Fixes to grammar
– Notes / thoughts on improvements
– Notes where clarification and/or elaboration is needed
– Flags to check the accuracy of something (name/location/time of day/distance on map)
– Notes on character/setting development
– Specific flags for parts requiring amendment across the story (as opposed to just in the chapter in question).

Step 2: Go to a writing journal and start a page for the chapter in question, summarising the chapter in a maximum of ten lines (lengthy chapter).

Step 3: After summarising, title a new section on the page ‘Development needed’ and bullet point key notes on what needs more work (take these from the marked items listed above).

I got quite critical of my own work in my mark-ups, because I personally work best with that kind of feedback from myself; it pushes me to think more creatively. Honestly, I admit that there are many marked parts that I consider to have been written weakly. It happens to the best of us. We are all writers-in-progress until we break into the market.

As a snapshot, here are my closing thoughts on the approach I took to reviewing my WIP book. In three simple words though, I liked it; it worked for me.

  • Forces you to be critical
  • Allows you to see overall picture –  see common developments needed across the story
  • Allows key points to be reached quickly by hand from a journal
  • Good to have summary to hand to refresh when needed
  • Excellent preparation for proceeding to write fresh material – the amends will be at forefront and less amendment needed down the line as remaining chapters will be accurate
  • Allows you to play with sentence structure, resulting in better wording.

Finally, here are what the next steps in the review process will look like following the three steps outlined above.

  1. Plot, character, and language development (on paper)
  2. Grammatical changes (on computer)
  3. Rewrite relevant sections; chapter by chapter (on computer)
  4. Write new material until book’s end – chapters twenty three to thirty (on computer)
  5. Print out chapters twenty three to thirty and repeat process on these previously unreviewed chapters
  6. Review of whole book on screen to successfully complete draft #1 of the book.

Why taking a break from writing can be a good thing

 Folks – I’m back blogging after quite some time, and it’s safe to say I’m in full swing again. Unfortunately I just couldn’t set enough time aside over the last few weeks to write this post, despite best intentions every day. The topic I will cover is one I’ve wanted to post about for a while now, and finally I’m able to get my thoughts on the subject out to you guys. So without further ado, let’s get straight to it. A break from writing – why is that a good thing?

To bring the question directly into context, let me briefly update you all on my own writing progress. Due to unforeseen events in my life recently, I was pulled away from my writing for nearly two months. Not ideal or desired of course, and at the time I felt very stressed thinking about how I was behind in my work and how I wouldn’t make the deadline I had set for the first book of my trilogy to be completed by year end. However, I came to realise that taking a break from writing is not necessarily a bad thing; in fact it can be very much the opposite. Coincidentally, I attended a work related conference during this time and one of the speakers said something that really struck a chord with me. He expressed his views on innovation, quoting that innovation is stepping away from something for a period. That thought really stood out to me amongst the man’s presentation because I interpreted it in relation to writing to mean that taking a break would allow new ideas to come. And after I took a break (although not by choice), that’s exactly what happened to me.

Fast forward to October of this year… I sat down one day to start writing chapter 22 of my book and suddenly I was faced with a big problem. After a tough time trying to write the first paragraph, I realised that I couldn’t possibly expect to just launch into writing again; I needed to refresh my mind on the previous twenty-one chapters. It had been too long since I was writing frequently, so I felt it was important to review everything to date before I furthered the story. The decision was made at that moment. I knew what I had to do. And so I began to read over all my work, right from the Prologue. As you may be guessing as you read this post, it was during this review that I seen windows of opportunity to not only develop parts of the story, but I also spotted sub plots that needed to be altered for the better. I must admit that the idea of changing certain parts of the plot had already came to me prior to review, but at that time I wasn’t sure when the right time would be to do the revisions. That is, until I read through the twenty-one chapters I had and seen that the parts in question most certainly needed to be rewritten. This realisation brings me nicely onto my approach for rewriting, which I will be kicking off this coming weekend. Before I forget, I will briefly discuss early morning writing later on in this post – something I’ve already posted about many months back, but an important approach I used this year again (however, from 3am instead of 5am!). 

So then back to my approach to the rewrite. Whilst I am now well and truly behind on my plans to finish Book 1 of my trilogy by the end of December, I have accepted that my writing cannot be rushed; nor can it be forced for that matter. I am taking the revisions/rewrite in five-chapter instalments because I feel this is the least overwhelming way to do it. This week I went to my local library and printed the first five chapters of my written work on the book, ready to attack with the dreaded red pen. On the pages I intend being ruthless with myself and my work – it’s necessary, isn’t it? If you can’t be your own worst critic then you’ll struggle to take feedback from pre-publishing readers (peers) or editors. At least that’s my view on the subject. I want to scrutinise and challenge every word. Every sentence. Every paragraph. Every chapter opening. Every chapter closing. Every character. Every description. Every scene of dialogue. Every name. Basically, EVERYTHING. Once I have done that analysis on the printed copy of the first five chapters, I’ve came to the conclusion (after much thought) that the rewrite should happen immediately. I will take my red pen notes and sit down on my laptop and rework those chapters until I’m happy that the story is improved to the highest standard it can be in order for me to move on to rewriting the next five chapters. Yes, on one hand this approach of mine will slow down my progress with the book, but again I made another decision to not force or pressure myself with deadlines and timings anymore. If I do that, I’ll only disappoint myself again and again and again. This book of mine will be ready when it’s ready, and not before. The end date is now TBD, but I’m happy with that. It’s in the interest of myself as the writer to take it easy and just write what I can when I can. Between my busy job and other things in my life, I believe it’ll all come together. Well I don’t believe it will actually, I know it will. Disappointment is not good for the soul and I’ve set myself at this stage a lot of different dates for completion, none of which I’ve even come close to. Unexpected events in life occur regularly and what may be my biggest priority in life is pushed down the list, much to my dismay.  Sh*t happens and we have to just go with it. Let’s have faith in ourselves, dammit! 

The latter thought leads me to share another failure on my behalf, occurring only recently. At the end of October when I finished reading the twenty-one chapters I have written so far, I had a great idea to do NaNoWriMo; with my own little twist though. I was so pumped and excited after reading all my work to date that I came up with a plan to set myself the goal challenge of writing 50,000 words across the month of November. It would have been 1,667 a day; quite a lot for someone who unfortunately isn’t in a position to commit to writing daily. Of course NaNoWriMo is supposed to involve the writing of a new novel from start to finish, but the twist I had in mind was that I would write 50k words of my own book, which I hoped would allow me to complete the first draft of the book in its entirety. Essentially I was setting myself that goal so that I could get a first draft down on paper quickly, knowing fully well that first drafts are always destroyed and rewritten several times before being considered a final product. But, it was the glaringly obvious sections that needed a lot more development that made me see the light and accept that there would be no escaping a revision and rewrite. It simply has to be done now, at this exact moment in time. I cannot continue writing the last eight to ten chapters of my book based on content I know must change, especially when that confirmation is at the forefront of my mind. And so that plan was thrown in the bin, and I made my way to the library to print those first few chapters. So… here I am, ready to rock and roll this weekend. I am excited for what the output will be of the much needed revision. 

Before I round up this post, I want to touch on just two extra subjects. Firstly I want to revisit early morning writing. Some of you may remember around this time last year that I got up at 5am to write, and I can truly say that during the course of the few months that followed I wrote a lot of kickass material. For me, there is no better time to write than first thing in the morning when the mind is fresh and the imagination runs wild; free from distraction. To add to this best practice from my point of view is the even earlier time of 3am, the hour of creative people. Earlier this year towards the end of Q1 and for a decent chunk of Q2, I rose at that seemingly ridiculous hour of the morning and wrote until 6am, sometimes 6:30am, before preparing to go to my job. At the time of doing this, I didn’t write a post to cover the advantages of it and my personal successes, but I can say now that it is the most productive writing I’ve produced to date. I’m very proud of the work I achieved during those three hour blocks those mornings. A colleague of mine gave me a book on loan upon hearing that I was taking that approach, and the book was titled Daily Rituals (or maybe it was Daily Routines, come to think of it), which detailed the routines of famous writers, inventors, poets, etc. You’ve guessed it – a lot of them started work at 3am, hence why I previously referred to it as the hour of creative people. From what I’ve come to understand, many creative individuals (such as writers) work from this time early morning for the same reasons I did and still do when I can. They do it because it’s productive. Proven productive, more to the point. So folks, if you’ve not tried it I highly recommend you do. Even for a week. Try it and monitor the results against what you usually achieve at other times, be that evenings or weekends. Unfortunately I can’t always manage to do this because of tiredness and other factors, however I plan to start it up again as many mornings as I can once I’m back writing chapter 22 onwards. 

The second and last point I’d like to mention is that I attended two writing courses/workshops in October; one centred on characters and the other on dialogue. As a writer who finds dialogue difficult to master, I gained vital information on how best to write powerful and meaningful dialogue. For now I won’t go into the nitty gritty, but I will post a separate update on that at some stage soon, especially since I covered the topic last year here on this blog during times of struggle with the technique. Two pieces of advice I will give though is that reviewing and playing with verbatim transcripts are a great way to practice perfecting dialogue. One task we had to do in the Dialogue workshop was to cut down a transcript of a conversation between two Irish politicians so that we were left with the real nuggets of information; the hard-hitting dialogue. Last but not least, plays are a great way to look at best practice dialogue because of course they consist of just conversations; spoken exchanges. 

Well, I hope this post has been an interesting and somewhat useful read for you folks. On a closing note, I promise to post more frequently. I’m embarrassed with my lack of contact, and as a result have been planning further posts for sending your way shortly! It is hard to keep up to date with this blog when I am also struggling to find as much time as I would like to write my book in itself, so I’d like to ask that you bear with me. Take care everyone – and hey, don’t ever give up because no matter what hurdles or disruptions we face, we’ll get there in the end with our books 🙂 

Writing dark fantasy scenes 

Let’s face it, scenes of a dark nature aren’t the easiest of tasks when it comes to writing. And it’s clear why when you stop away from it and look at it from outside. Dark scenes within fantasy are difficult to write because of their characteristics. Unrealistic. Scary. Powerful. Okay, I’ll dive deeper. 

Fantasy isn’t real. Yes, we all know that. It contains characters, activities, and actions not part of the modern world. Things that came from imagination. Make-believe. So before we even get to the point of writing these scenes, we already have one hurdle ahead of us. The scenes will not be containing anything of the norm for readers, so how can I keep their interest? It is then that some writing techniques come into play. 

So you’ve struggled with writing a scene involving dark magic (and maybe a character was killed, or perhaps only tortured), and now you are reading over the scene wondering if it will be believable or not. As a writer, you have two choices. Either you edit the scene until it’s right or you leave it and carry on writing – you’ll come back to it in the next draft edit). I think no matter which decision you make, you’re going to face the same hurdle. You still need to make that scene as realistic as possible. When you’ve sat comfortably again to take a look at the particular dark scene, liven up the detail.

Description is critical to implement into fantasy writing. A classic writer who loved description was Tolkien. I’m not saying we all need to do what he done in his famous pieces of work, but detail is required at some degree to boost credibility for those dark scenes. They may be alive at crisp, clear vision in your head, but the reader needs description in order to see what you see. 

A second technique that I would recommend is bringing your baddies out. Let them have their moments in the spotlight. If you have a solid protagonist and one antagonist, allow both to swap centre stage for just a couple of minutes. Antagonists can bring light to the darkness in subtle ways. Wise to remember though- they, by their very own nature, are dark individuals. Darkness follows them and stays with them. They’ll add their individuality to scenes naturally, but give them a shove forward now and again. 

If you’re introducing new names into dark scenes of writing, try to get it across that whenever they are mentioned, it’s in reference to a bad place. I think this technique is about blending the names of places, characters, or fantasy languages into narrative which has tone already embedded within. If the scene built an atmosphere successfully, then there should be a form of darkness attached to it. Your aim is to link places, characters, or whatever it might be, to evil places, characters, etc. Dark scenes unfortunately call for a balancing act. There’s the side of you that will want to enjoy the writing (because dark scenes are really fun to write – anything can exist in fantasy!) struggling against the other side that will tug at you to be serious and learn to add that all so crucial descriptive writing into dark scenes early on at the beginning. 

I feel, from personal experience, that dark scenes take longer to write than straightforward, action-free scenes. Fantasy books progress in stages, and there can be a tipping point where darkness descends upon the story. And if it does, allow it to. Challenge it. You’ll be glad you did when writing dark scenes comes more naturally to you. 

Choosing your target audience 

The title of this post is deliberate. Getting straight to the point, I don’t believe all authors can determine their would be buyers before the book actually gets on shelves and sells. In a lot of cases, it would seem many best selling books fell into hands of a different group of people, based on who the content of the book ended up appealing to. I can use my situation as an aspiring author to put my thought on this subject into context. 

I am currently twenty chapters into my book – approximately 100,000 words (I’ve not counted since I’ve started part two of the book) – and it’s now, at present, that the book is getting darker. I always had this in my plan for the plot, but if I’m realistic on the book to date, I’d have to say it could have ended up attracting young adults. That’s not a genre I particularly want to target, because my book is darker in the second half. These last couple of chapters and what is yet to come are major parts of my plot. From the beginning, these dark scenes were down on paper for my outline. 

So then, I’ve been wondering lately what the outcome will be if my book gets picked up by a publisher. I have a strange feeling I could be advised to tone it down and target YA. The content is vicious at times and going against the norm in some circumstances in scenes, but it’s the direction the book is going in. The direction the book was DESTINED to go in. I don’t feel it’s right for that audience. 

Thinking of the subject from another angle, is it wise to craft your writing in such a way that it limits certain groups of readers? Well, this is where I’m sure there will be various opinions. I think a tightened, focused view could block creativity to a certain degree. For example, again in context, if I was to just go back over my work to date and take away the references to darker scenes and all full blown scenes of an ‘over 18s’ nature, I could very well be left with a young adult story. However, I would be then limiting the general reading population; adults. Perhaps the book would really have appealed to readers 23-34 (I’ve just taken that age segment at random). 

What does this all mean? Just let the book be written as it’s destined to be, I say. Have arguments with publishers over the target audience and plot if that’s something that happens. Ultimately, it all comes back to the same principle. You decide how you want your plot to be. Do you change it because a professional advises or encourages you to? Or do you stick to your beliefs and keep all the topical parts in? 

Some may hit this hurdle, others may not. I have no idea on case stories, so I can’t speak from experience; my own or otherwise. But I would love to hear from anyone reading who is or was in this situation. Particularly if there’s any tips for us on how to get past it, should it arise. 

Who knows what could happen? It’s not to say my story as it’s being written now will be the finished product. I could remove parts and rewrite it over and over numerous times. With writing, anything can happen! Stories lead the words, and we all know that stories have minds of their own. Not to mention characters. As our characters change and develop, plots can take different paths. Then a decision is needed on how the story continues.

Writing is no easy feat at times. And yes, we write for both ourselves and future readers. Just consider while you write who you are writing for. It still needs to be for YOU. You created the story and are bringing it to life. Don’t lose the fun it provides you as its writer. 

91,747 to 72,531

I’m finally back blogging. I started a new job five weeks ago and it’s very hectic, but here I am again. Fresher and less stressed on a cold, yet tolerable Saturday afternoon in Dublin.

So I edited the first half of my book and I must admit, it’s a worthwhile exercise to do. It allows for many things, which is what I’ll be covering in this post. Now, I’m onto the second chapter of the second half of the book; gaining momentum. 

Recently I set myself a new goal for completing the book in its entirety. By the end of this year I aim to have the book finished, including edits. What I want to have by then is the final draft. It means committing to more writing, which will be difficult with the busy new job I have. It shouldn’t stop me though. I’ll be heading for this deadline regardless.

Before I started editing the first half, I had 91,747 words to play with. Two drafts later and I was left with 72,531. That’s nearly a 20,000 word drop. Does it bother me that I’ve lost those words I worked hard to get? No. Here’s why.

Going through my hard work, I came across scenes here and then that I felt weren’t relevant or necessary to the story. Honestly, these parts didn’t add anything to the plot. In fact, the plot moved slower in places than it needed to because of these scenes. Realising that, I removed them. Then was the search for follow-on scenes throughout the book. Those too were removed. The story now reads better without these slow scenes.

Next is the controversial act of removing characters. Some of you reading this might be surprised to learn I omitted three characters from my story during my recent editing process. All three were not crucial; they were minor characters. In the case of two, there is definitely no further use for them. With the other, however, I’ve him sitting nearby on the sideline. He may be useful at a later stage. I don’t expect to re-include him as such, but he’s an option at least. The other two are not. They’re gone and I don’t want to see them crop back in again. I don’t think I was ruthless because I had no connection to them. Both appeared in the early chapters and reading back over that part of my book made me see that they unfortunately didn’t serve a purpose. The result for me as the writer? I’m happy with my decision to remove three minor characters. The important thing is that my lead characters and the main secondary character carry the story at the forefront. Without giving too much away, there is enough going on in the background within the plot to keep the story alive. There is no need for characters who don’t add something unique or exciting to the story. Just remember to use the find tool to search character names, otherwise you’ll have parts still remaining with removed characters present or being spoken of.

Despite the title of this post, I actually deleted more than 20,000 words from my writing. I wrote extra paragraphs and scenes in various places, expanding in one of two kind of ways. The first reason I added words in places was because of the removed characters. Where a character was involved in a key scene in the story, I altered it so that the scene remained strong and workable without the character. The other reason was to just elaborate on scenes deemed weak upon reading during editing. Therefore the impact on my work count following my edit was that while it was reduced, it was also boosted at the same time.

Another outcome from the halfway point editing was a character name change. There was one name that always stuck out for me as being difficult to pronounce. Furthermore, it could potentially be taken up as being pronounced in two different ways. In a previous post around the time I first started this blog, I discussed the naming process in fantasy. A genre consisting of many make-believe things, it’s important to consider how readers will interpret and speak mentally and aloud each name. If it’s not clear enough, it should be changed. I eventually accepted during editing that one certain name I had for a female was open to interpretation and mispronunciation, so I renamed it. Now it’s completely clear there was only one way to say it. 

Important to mention, but briefly as it’s a given this should be done. I thankfully was able to build on my lead character  and the main secondary character. I believe this is an ongoing process, particularly where lead characters are concerned. This is a bigger piece, and gradual perhaps in some cases, but it’s crucial in my opinion to continue to grow your lead character. Going over your work will single out opportunities for growth. Stay focused and these chances should he revealed. Not to rely on that, read over drafts with an eye on all parts involving the lead character. Be smart with how you develop such critical characters.

As you will hopefully see from this post, editing at the halfway point is beneficial to any writer, even in screenplays, TV scripts, and so on. It helps see the story from an almost new eye. Of course I’ll always be incredibly too close to it, I am the writer after all, but it does allow a fresh perspective for reading a chunk from start to finish. Waiting for a decent number or chapters before editing is best practice. I feel it wouldn’t be worth the time if it was anything under ten chapters. The more the story is written, the more of a context there is. There is more action and movement to absorb and take in. Waiting until you have ten or moee chapters is what I would personally recommend to up and coming writers. On the other hand, don’t wait too long to do the first edit. How many is too many will depend on the word count per chapter, though. As the writer, you can decide when the best point is to begin that first time edit.

I will be back soon with a totally different topic – Choosing your target audience. 

Keep up the writing, folks 🙂 

The halfway point

From the outset when the story
formulated in my mind, it was destined to change direction around the halfway point. Not just slightly,
dramatically. The setting would change entirely and there would be new characters introduced.

In short, the story was always going to get darker after part one, and recently as I worked on the last chapter of the first half, it was clear to me that the best thing for the book would be a divide. I want my readers to have the urge to turn the page and continue onto part two, with interest and eagerness. I want them to be hooked with anticipation for what is to come.

So… I’ve done it. I’ve reached the halfway point of my first book. Unrevised and unedited, mind you, but still, I made it!

From Ireland to Australia and back to Ireland again, my story has been created and brought to life. Beginning in winter 2013, I spent six months working on initial plotting and world building before moving on to begin writing the prologue. Twenty-two months and fifteen chapters later, 91,747 words face me for review. It’s been extremely tough at times and it took a lot of effort and perseverance, but despite the pressure, I couldn’t be happier with how the story has grown. It may have taken a good chunk of time to write these 91k words, but I am damn proud of myself, especially considering the majority was worked on while carrying out a full time job.

So what’s next?

A lot of solid work is now needed on the word count I have for part one in order to get it to a place I’m satisfied with. Even though each chapter was drafted at least two times (some up to four times), the writing to date needs to be looked at as a whole. It won’t be 91k words when the revisions and edits are done, but it could actually be more. I wouldn’t expect the count to jump down too much with the removal of a few parts here and there and the odd sentence restructure, but if I start to add pieces to it, I could end up with more than what I had originally. That wouldn’t be a bad thing at all now, would it?

What I plan to pay attention to in the revision stage:

1) The boring yet essential checking of sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, tenses, word capitalisation, and so on. 

2) Narrative

3) Scene transition

4) Paragraph breaking

5) Loose ends

6) Inconsistencies

7) Dialogue

8) Character development

So folks, wish me luck. Tomorrow I’ll be getting my teeth stuck in and even though I’ve allocated a month for me to revise and edit, I’ll be continuing to scrutinise and amend for as long as it takes. Writing for part two is not going to kick off until part one has been saved in my files excitedly as ‘D1 P1’. Ah, the thoughts of it! 

A successful year for writing 

At 2015 draws near to its close, I want to reflect on my year in writing. I am completely over the moon with what I’ve achieved this year. Taking time off today, I wrote yesterday my last 1500 words until 2016. Now at approximately 78,000 words, my first book is well and truly underway. In fact, it’s moving at a pace that makes me really happy and proud. Considering I was working in a busy contract role in a corporate company for ten consecutive months, I’ve managed to reach a word count that I’m more than cuffed with. 

My achievements over the last few weeks in particular are a result of the newly started writing schedule I settled on and changed my lifestyle to suit. During these few weeks, I woke at 5am Monday to Friday to write before going to work. Some days it was tough, especially the last two days as it was hard to keep waking so early, but I averaged 1,000 words each of these mornings. I was always intent on writing, so each weekday morning I woke at 5am to my alarm ringing and got up for the sole reason of writing my beloved story. My imagination was on full go – I didn’t have stress and exhaustion from work, which is the case in the evenings. So many amazing ideas came to me and allowed me to produce impressive material (at least I think so!).

For 2016, I plan to write DAILY. Yes, daily. Even if sometimes it’s just a sentence or a few paragraphs, I am setting my mind on keeping my book moving every day. I will continue to do my early morning writing sessions during weekdays but I will also write even just a small amount Saturday and Sunday. The bulk of my weekly writing will still be completed week mornings but on the weekends (as busy as they can be) I wish to write something too – it has to keep going! I don’t want to see it become my focus only for five days of the week. That’s not good enough. It should be seven! Always seven. 

By the end of May 2016, I hope to have a complete first draft of the first book in my planned trilogy. To perfect it may take the rest of the year, however, I don’t know exactly what time frame is needed for that stage. Let’s say, I should be well on track to bring my book to publishers at the start of 2017. I like the number 7, so 2017 sounds good for that goal – the biggest goal of all when it comes to writing a book. 

So, to the year of great writing successes – thank you! And to the coming year – bless me with outstanding work and achievements of my writing goals. The same to all of you fellow writers. Make it the year of you. The year of your goals. Ultimately, make it it the YEAR of YOUR WRITING GOALS. I’ll speak to ye next year 🙂