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February Newsletter

[This is the newsletter I sent out February 2022. I send out one like this every month. If you’d like to receive these in the future, you can enter your email at my Mailchimp landing page.]

Hello friends!

Thank you so much for opening this email! This month resulted in major writing gains. Currently, I’m writing a whimsical modern fantasy. It’s about a paranormal dating service, but the plot includes action, deceit, and romance. The Plot structure is based on Pride and Prejudice.

First I’ll tell you a little about my author marketing antics and then we’ll discuss my troubleshooting and last some helpful things I’ve been enjoying. 

Marketing Updates:

Free Fridays — This is a weekly column of the top ten free science fiction and fantasy books on Amazon. I’ve decided to keep doing it since it is a good way to build relationships with readers. It’s also a fun way to keep my Twitter feed active since all of my articles on Metastellar automatically publish to my Twitter page. I use

Newsletter signups — In February, 5 more people signed up for this newsletter! Awesome! Send me a quick hello! 

Writing Updates: 

Progress — I estimate the first draft is 30% done. At this rate it’ll take me another 5 months to complete it. I want to go faster. 

Writing Goals —  This month, I decided to produce at least a hundred words a day for my first draft, regardless of how I felt. I loved and hated the results. The majority of the time I didn’t feel like writing at all. Pushing through despite my mood resulted in increasing my word count, creating a character that I love, two big problems, and a third problem I didn’t realize I had. 

First big problem — Almost 90% of part one occurs at one party. This has happened because I am shortening the plot structure of Pride and Prejudice so that events that Jane Austen had spread across multiple locations and parties are all crammed together. My solution to this? No solution. Just gonna leave it like that. I don’t think that I am experienced enough as a writer to be able to tell if this problem is actually a problem or not. 

Second big problem — Losing the protagonist. I was losing the main vision that I had for this story — and this caused a battle between my gut instinct and conventional wisdom. The main progress occurring in the story is inside of my protagonist — she is gradually forced to see the error of her ways and change. As I pushed through my word count this month, I had a sinking feeling that I was losing sight of her.

She was starting to seem weak and silly. But in my vision, she is strong. My gut was screaming against it, but conventional wisdom says that a first draft is supposed to be bad. So wrestled with it a little and finally gave in to my gut. I’m so glad I did because the editing only took one evening and now I feel like I’m back on track. 

Third big problem — How I introduced my villain. I didn’t even realize that this was a problem until I listened to this episode and this episode of my favorite podcast, Writing Excuses. The Writing Excuses gang discussed the right way to do a twist ending — which is that it should appear both surprising and inevitable to readers. A good twist makes a reader jump up saying something like, “Ohmigosh that’s why xyz happened! It DOES make sense!” A bad twist ending is one where readers never would’ve been able to see it coming. 

In my first rendition, the villain appears madly in love with the protagonist, but I have no intention of giving him a redemption arc. Instead of showing he is smitten by the protagonist, I should drop clues from the very beginning that he has bad intentions. 

I’m doing this by showing his curiosity about her social status and magical/technological powers. So it’s subtle, but I want readers to get a little uncomfortable like, “Why is she telling him all this? He shouldn’t be asking her that!” 

Please let me know if you have any thoughts on these issues as a writer or a reader/viewer.
Things I’ve been loving: 

Bridge Over the River Krim — This is a work in progress that updates every day at 10 am. I personally know the author! It’s laugh-out-loud funny and thought-provoking at the same time. It takes place a hundred years in the future where people are able to run around in virtual worlds including a very realistic simulation of 1500s England. The world itself is often the butt of the joke! 

Release and Drafting Methods — I am intrigued by how my friend Maria Korolov has been drafting and releasing her current work in progress — mentioned above. She has been blogging her novels for the past several months, pumping out a thousand words every weekday. And it also means that those thousand words are acting as both her first draft and her final draft. You can sign up for her newsletter on the link above. 

High Fantasy — I love high fantasy with exciting action, a strong plot, and copious dad jokes. That would include Avatar the Last AirbenderThe Dragon Prince, and King Arthur the Legend of the Sword. The last one was directed by Guy Ritchie and I am now a Guy Ritchie fan. I.e. I’ve seen Snatch with my mother last night.

Please let me know if you have any other shows or films for me to watch!  

American History — This month I’ve been listening to The History of the United States course on Audible. It’s very entertaining. I’ve been drawn to US history recently because the setting of my current work in progress takes place in an alternate America and the history matters.

Wow, Look at You!

Woah — only a few people read all the way to the bottom! You ought to shoot me a quick email saying ‘hey I read to the bottom (again)!’ I’d love to hear from you! 

Have a good one and thanks so much for reading!