Wednesday 3 July 2024: Productive day

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

After a bit of a rough night, we were up relatively early to take the poet to the dentist. He was full of cold (hence the rough night) and secretly hoped the dentist would send him home again. But the dentist didn’t, and he was in there for a full hour. I can’t imagine sitting in a dentist’s chair for even half an hour, let alone a full hour.

He was having 2 old fillings replaced, and this dentist reconstructs the teeth around the new fillings. And that’s what takes the time. It knocked him about a bit and he was glad of the lift and when we got home I made him a cup of hot, sweet tea, not realising that he was doing some heavy lifting in the conservatory moving my old fireside chair into the office.

There wasn’t room in the office for the chair before, but now the dog basket is gone it was feasible again. It’s still a bit big. It’s a lot big, actually. But it gives me somewhere in the office environment to do hard copy reading. That can be proofreading, reading a non-fiction book, or even a novel if it’s part of my working day. And it keeps the work to the work room instead of spilling out into the living part of the house.

I helped him get it through the doors and then we had our tea and biscuits. I settled down to watch Week 5 of my first writing with depth workshop, but I couldn’t find my jacked earphones, so the poet, who’s a professional coach, had to listen to Dean Smith’s lecture. At the end he said Smith was a good lecturer and he laughed at the assignment we were given (to do in our own time now that the workshop isn’t formally live).

I’m not going to go into detail because, well, copyright. But I worked out how to keep the examples we’re being given as illustration of what we should be learning. I couldn’t copy and paste the extracts, so I was writing them all out by hand, which was taking longer than I thought it would. Then I realised I could save the extracts as jpgs and they were all already named. So now there they all are within the folder for this workshop.

It meant less than one Pomodoro this time, rather than two. But before I went into a Pomodoro break, I started today’s blog post. Next job was PROJECT MANAGEMENT FOR WRITERS: GATE 3. I’d got a bit stuck on the first chapter on Monday. I was hoping I just needed to warm up a a bit. I have to write out a beat sheet for THE BEAST WITHIN as it’s the writealong for this series, and I ran out of time allocation on Monday.

I read through what I had done, which included adding words to the resources section too, and then carried on from where I’d left off, leaving a placeholder for the beat sheet. (The chapter is about beats.) I thought I might already have one somewhere, so I went in search of it…


What did I find? I found an entire sequence of events, with 4 Acts and 40 Chapters outlined!

But no beat sheet.

I had 3 Marcie Craig books in a Scrivener file that I moved to my current live working folder, and the file included the series bible so far, complete with a load of characters, character sketches, character images. I found a brief overview. And I found 6 completed chapters plus one partially completed chapter.

But no beat sheet.

The full sequence was just under 3,500 words. I added in the writealong notes from Book 2 of PROJECT MANAGEMENT FOR WRITERS, which was just over 4,000 words. And the book itself was currently sitting at more than 10.600 words. That’s just under 18,300 words in all. HOW DID I FORGET I HAD THIS?

And how did I NOT already have a beat sheet?

I did some quick jiggery pokery and used the first Pomodoro for the project management task to convert the sequence of events to a 15-step beat sheet, but still including the sequences. That meant I could cherry-pick what I wanted for the first chapter of the project management book, and I still had scenes and sequences for later chapters.

At some point in the future I will schedule in a rewrite of this full sequence of events, taking into account everything I’ve learnt since I wrote it. Hopefully then THE BEAST WITHIN: A MARCIE CRAIG MYSTERY (Book 2) will finally be written.

With the extra work, I managed to add almost 4,000 words to the project management book, so I put that away until the next day. My target was a chapter a day, but that could equally be 2,000 words per day. Some chapters will be short, and some will be long. So I changed my daily target to 2,000 words per day.

Next up, I thought about my next 12 STORIES IN 12 MONTHS, and I decided to go with FIREWORKS AT KILLIECRANKIE for this one, as it fits the prompt. It’s 2 ticks off the list (brainstorm and outline), as those are already done. And I created a 10-project story planner to match the other two (editing and book writing).

I played around with my planning spreadsheets. I made 3 in the end: my book planner; my short story planner; and my client edit planner. All for July to December 2024. I created the book planner first, got all the formulae working and the colours right, and copied the pages from July to December. Then I duplicated it to make the others, moving blog posts from the book planner to the short story planner, as they’re also short.

It was quite time consuming with all of the different formulae for words written/pages revised, but once I did that, along with graphs, etc, I created a new spreadsheet for the writing planners to feed into, so I know how many words in total I’ve written in a day, a month, and a year. As the client edit planner is just one workbook, I didn’t bother making a new one for those figures to feed into.

That done, I had the rest of the day for THE HAUNTED HOUSE HOTEL, my cosy Halloween novelette. Well, the target is 24,000 words. I suppose it could be classed as a novella. I finished setting up the Scrivener file for this story – when it’s finished it will be merged with other Horvale mysteries – and I mapped out the first 3 chapters.

All in all, I had a very productive day. Bring on more of the same today, said she hopefully. After all, I don’t have any errands to run today.

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