12WC Day 3 - Manage Expectations

GOAL FOR THE DAY: 

Think more about plotting, world building, and character development. Make a final decision what book LS00 will be about.

GOAL STATUS:

Completed!

Notes:

I didn't get much time to write today. Things at the day job (I work in IT) are hectic at the minute with pressing project deadlines and my wife has been really ill so I've been focusing in her and the kids a lot.

I think the best part about Chris's videos (and why you should really watch them if you ever try this), is that he showed how far he fell behind at certain points in his project. At times he wouldn't hit his word count and and one point he was over 10k words behind schedule. At times he was working on other writing tasks like plotting. At other times, life just took over. That's okay. It happens. And there will always be time to push a little harder a little further down the line. And before you know it, you've caught up.

Another thing that struck me was how much his word count success relied on his plotting. If his plotting wasn't as robust as it could have been his word count would start to drop off. When he built the plot up some more his word count shot through the roof again.

Many people are discovery writers, but I'm not one of them. Like Chris, I rely a lot on plotting my story, so this is something I will need to be mindful of.

I read Chris's reader magnet novella Planet Strider to get a rough idea of what my 

I'm glad I did this as it challenged certain thoughts/misconceptions I had.

  1. The novella has to be long: Planet Strider is around 10k words. Technical this makes it a novellette. But there you go. In my mind I needed to write a 40k book. I need to work on the MVP mentality.
  2. The novella has to be complicated: Planet strider focuses on the events surrounding one character. It gives us some backstory, the character's conflict, tension and culminates in a battle that nicely leads into book 01. It is fairly bare bones but no less entertaining for it. In my head I was going to write about two different character and it was going to be a long drawn-out story. Lesson learned

These lessons caused me to completely rethink my ideas for the novella. I had intended on writing about Frank, one of the primary characters in book one. But the more I thought about it the harder it would be to make that backstory lead into book 01. It would require a complete novel to do it justice.

I came up with a completely new idea and would focus on Lady Fia, who isn't so much a main character in book 01 but features more in later books. I got really excited about this idea and jotted down some notes and I really look forward to start plotting it on Day 5. I won't be able to give it the time it deserves on Day 4.

It just goes to show, even though we want to exceed our expectations it's important to manage them first.

Cheers,

Killian

12WC Day 2 - Master Plan

GOAL FOR THE DAY: 

Watch Chris Fox's videos 12 weeks video series, make a plan, and fill in the 12 week scedule.

GOAL STATUS:

Completed, yay!

Notes:

Initially I jumped in with the mentality; wirte, write, write! But this couldn't have been more wrong, or counter productive. I mean, I didn't even have a plan. So, I decided to spend a fee days planning. A trilogy in 12 weeks is no mean feat, and if I'm going to do it right I better get a plan laid out first.

I decided the best approach to planning would be first getting a handle of Chris's process. Why labour over building my own process from scratch when Chris has already done most of the leg work? So I opted to binge watch his 9 videos (each one corresponding to another weeks in the 12 weeks challenge).

And boy! Am I glad I decided to do this. It took so much guess work out of it for me. I took a few pages of notes on tips that will come in REALLY useful when it comes to all aspects of the process; writing, managing time, business, marketing, etc.

That's not to say I'm going to follow Chris's process to a T. Everyone is different and Chris and I lead very different lives with different pressures and demands on our time and attention.

With that said, the videos were, by far, the best place to start!

If you plan on giving this a go, I wholeheartedly recommend that you watch them first.

It gave me the kick in the ass I needed to get planning and scheduling sorted out early on. I know this will be key to keeping organised and hitting those tight deadlines.

I scheduled the entire 12 weeks in Google Calendar from April 24th to July 16th.

The first week is all about planning and plotting. Week two will be for plotting, writing, and submitting LS00 to the line editor.

Cheers,

Killian

12WC Day 1 - Where to Begin?

Goal for the day:

Write 4,000 words of SL00 (Fury Rising novella)

Goal status:

Did I reach my goal? No. But I did a lot more than write a few word so I consider this day a success.

Notes:

I only managed to crank out about 2000 words but I spent most of my creative energy on world building and plotting. I also prepared my scrivener file structure, which took some time as I don't yet have a template I'm happy with.

Since book SL01 (Star & Fury book one of the Lost Starchives) is already with the editor, I have a bit of a head start. This helps in two major ways:

  1. I'm up 63,000 words out of the gate
  2. I've already got the bones of my universe and plot created

That being said, it is still in its infancy. When it comes back I know there will be a lot of work to do and plenty of plot holes to fill in. I guess there are upsides and downsides to starting this on the back of other work.

The plan is to spend the next day wrapping up the plotting for the novella and getting started on a timeline and world map to help me keep track of things.

Word Count Progress

SL00: 2,000

SL01: 63,000

SL02: 0

SL03: 0

Total: 65,000

I also relaxed a little last night with some digital painting. The plan is to eventually create my own art and book covers. That's a long way off but I'm having fun. I got a bit carried away and stayed up late, though. Woops! It's just for practice but I'm pretty happy with what I knocked out with a few hours of learning.

Chris Fox - Trilogy in 12 Weeks Challenge

I’ve been half-heartedly keeping tabs on Chris Fox’s videos as he documents his ‘trilogy in twelve weeks’ challenge. The guy’s a machine… What more can I say?

When he announced the project, it struck me as an ambitious undertaking to say the least. But the more I thought about it and the more I saw his videos/posts in my feed, the more it dawned that this is an attainable goal for me. Hell, I just finished a 63K novel in 9 weeks despite some serious curve balls thrown by life.

I realized that if I knuckled down I could do it. However, I decided it would have to wait. There’s so much going on in the lead up to the launch of the Last Starchives series this Summer, after all. For anyone who isn’t aware, I plan to have four books (a novella and three novels) out by the end of August. With that in mind, I filed the ‘12 weeks’ idea away on a shelf in the back of my head with intentions of pulling it down again in September.

Then along came Lon Varnadore. He posted about Chris’s challenge on one of the Facebook groups I follow. Quite a few people (including Chris Fox himself) reached out to Lon encouraging him to give it a shot. After reading his post before bed last night, I thought to myself ‘hell I’m going to give this a shot too!’ Plus, it makes so much sense since it fits in with what I’m already trying to accomplish.

Last night I set my alarm for 0500 and here I am in the office at 0545 so I could get a head-start on the day and make more time for writing. This is important as I have a full-time job in IT and two young children at home. People say they can't write books because they have jobs and families to take care of. Well, I say why not?

To help me get into the frame of mind I quickly rearranged my work desk.

The idea is to complete a trilogy (plus a novella) over three months. I have already finished the first novel in the Lost Starchive series so I’m at a bit of an advantage. However, the first book is still with the editor and will still need some serious work when it comes back in the next two weeks so that can’t be discounted.

Here is how the series will look:

LS00 - Fury Rising - Novella - Lost Starchives Prequel

LS01 -  Star & Fury - Novel - Lost Starchives Book 1

LS02 - TBC - Novel - Lost Starchives Book 2

LS03 - TBC - Novel - Lost Starchives Book 3

By the end of the 12 weeks (July 16th give or take a few days) I should have all the above either launched or on pre-order.

I will post an update at the end of each day to tally up my progress.

Mainly, this is for my own point of reference and motivation. But who know? It might even help other writers who plan on trying the same. I will also put up podcasts or videos (haven’t decided which yet) each weekend, so keep an eye out for those.

Onward and upward!

Cheers,

Killian

Falling vs Failing

First, let me say, I can't overstate how strongly I feel about this subject. It's just another one of those things they don't teach you in school. You know, one of those important things to help you deal with life -- to help you become successful. Nope, algebra, the theory of general relativity and every important date before, during, and after WWII are more important. My gripes with today's "education" system aside, what I am about to write is important for anyone who wants to make a success of themselves, whether it be as an author, a parent or anything.

Recently, a writer on one of the closed Facebook groups I follow mentioned how they couldn't get their rights back from a publisher who was not doing their work justice. It went a little something like this:

Author's Post

"To let everyone know, I failed. Epically.

I mentioned a couple months ago that [a certain publishing company] was refusing to give my rights back to the books they don't care about or market, but had dropped to $.99, and the only thing I could think to do was stop promotion on ALL of my books.

I lasted 6 weeks. Now they've got the first [book series] book set to free, so I give up. It almost physically hurts not to market these books, when I love them so much. So instead of trying to out-stubborn [a certain publishing company], I'm going to just concentrate on new worlds and new characters, and figure out what to do with [book series] another day.

Now...where's the best place to market a free book that doesn't cost an arm and a leg? I'm about to do something stupid and spend this month's marketing budget on premade covers for a series I haven't written yet.

(Totally not a pity party post, I love these books and it just feels wrong not to market them at all.)"

My Reply

"You didn't fail. You fell. Falling is a natural step on the road to success. If you don't fall there's a problem. Most importantly, you've picked yourself up and dusted yourself down. Those are the next steps. What you've done doesn't sound like giving up to me. Fair play. Now, time to kick ass. Check out the SPF podcast about twitter for info on one way to market your book on a budget."

Moral of the Story

Life is a long series of falls. You can have all the money in the world or you can have none. No matter who, or what you are, one thing in life is certain: You will fall.

Falling isn't a bad thing. It isn't even important. But, what you do after you fall IS. There are two options. 

1) Do nothing. This is failing. 

2) Get up and try again. This is living.

We have been conditioned to believe that falling is a bad thing; that falling is the same as failing. Hell, the two are almost spelled identically.

Falling is necessary. Without it we do not grow in strength, in intelligence, and in character. Without falling we do not learn to adapt.

You can fall any damn way you want, a fall is a fall. Falling forward is great, but if you fall back, so what! Get up and carry on, and remember each fall is an investment in you, your future and your success.

Cheers,

Killian

Avoid Scams - Trust Your Sixth Sense

I don't know if it's just me, but there appears to have been a sharp upturn in a certain variety of "business" people using free webinars as hooks to promote expensive courses that will help you "become a millionaire!"

The hook isn't always that "you can be a millionaire" per say, but whether it be to make you successful, drive HUGE traffic to your site - or whatever - the premise is always the same; to make you rich. In the past, the most questionable "opportunities" were fairly easy to spot.

These haven't gone away. How many phishing emails have you received from scammers in the guise of a well-known company, even recently? How many ads do you still see where someone wants to help you get rich quick or get rich working from home. That rich foreign woman looking for a husband, that vanity press promising to sell a million copies of your book and that Nigerian prince offering you a cut of his fortune in exchange for your bank details, all have one thing in common. They are clear cut, obvious scams. Most of us have simply gotten really good at filtering them out - at least I hope most of us have. There can't be that many gullible people in the world, can there?

This brings us to the next stage. A number of components, including developments in technology, social networking and a shift in the population's social paradigm, have allowed "others" to come in on a whole other level. Most of the "opportunities" I've seen in the past six months have been presented by successful, well presented and seemingly knowledgeable young people. Some even offer value or hook you with information that is in fact useful. Once hooked, however, the next step is parting with your hard earned cash in exchange for something that is below par, or something you can get for free online with a bit of effort. Instead of "get rich quick" they say, "if you are looking to get rich quick, this is not for you because what I'm about to show you requires effort." The nature of both approaches is the same. They may look different, but both are designed to prompt the same psychological response and appeal to your desire for success, for a better life, for freedom. They don't promise the path will be fast, or even easy, but they still give the illusion that it will be easier than it is in reality. In other words, you can throw silver glitter on a turd, or you can throw gold glitter on a turd, but at the end of the day it's still a turd.

I don't need to name the proponents of these schemes. You've seen them on Facebook, YouTube, and various networks. You know who they are. I'm not saying that these people don't have anything of value to offer. But you need to ask yourself, "do I really need to spend all that money to get it?"

So, let's address the elephant in the room. Are these "opportunities" scams? Well, that depends on how you define the word scam. The Cambridge Dictionary defines a scam as, "an illegal plan for making money, especially one that involves tricking people."

The internet has created its own subset of complications in litigation when it comes to the real world vs the world wide web. Just think of all the tax scandals surrounding large online corporations. The same complications create confusion when it comes to what is, and is not, lawful. If we wanted to discuss the merits of an "illegal plan" here we'd end up writing a book, or a volume of books. But when all is said and done, just because something is lawful it doesn't mean it isn't awful. Just because something is legal, it doesn't mean it is moral or trustworthy. The internet casts an extra layer of gray over the world and everything in it.

Your definition of scam may be, "something that takes advantage of people and tricks them out of money."

Though, it is true many obvious scams fall under that umbrella, by the same logic the following would also be considered scams: get fit quick programs, bottled water, house mortgages, car insurance, paying for anything through installments, etc. In fact, it could be argued that many legitimate products and services are in fact scams, as many of these "trick" people out of their money. That's why online marketing is the huge machine that it is today. Advertising walks a hair-thin line through dark places where persuasion, coercion, and trickery converge.

Regardless of how you interpret the word scam, it is just that; an interpretation. But, none of this really matters. What DOES matter is that you recognize that you already have something to help you decide between opportunities and "opportunities". I call it your sixth sense. Some prefer to call it your BS sense. It's that tiny voice in the back of your head that yells, "it's too good to be true, don't do it!" Please, for the love of all that is good in the world, listen to that little voice. He/She knows what he/she is talking about. If something seems too good to be true, 99% of the time, it truly is. This really sucks when it comes to that 1%, which is easily overlooked as a result.

When I noticed this surge of new "opportunities" it made me wonder; if these successful people are so successful then why the hell do they want my money? I figured if they are as successful as they claim to be then my subscription is naught but peanuts. I found the answer in one of MJ DeMarco's books. These people make big bucks $$$ ka-ching. They obviously do well for themselves, so kudos to them. But, they also have a terrible relationship with money and live beyond their means. If you make 2 million dollars a year and you squander 3 million dollars on a lavish lifestyle, are you rich? Hell no, you have a million dollar deficit. In other words, you are poorer than most poor people. That makes you a serious financial liability. Even though that is an extreme example, it serves as a point. These proponents of the golden "opportunity" need more money, and who best to squeeze than the swathes of drooling sheeple sitting in front of their devices, glazy-eyed, with their hands extended and their wallets/purses wide open.

I'll admit, I watch these webinars from time to time, but I do so with no intention of buying into them. I find that some of these webinars contain little gems. Of course they do. Those gems are bait for their hooks. But, these webinars alone should set off alarms, especially the "live" webinars. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together can tell you when a webinar is not live, even one that is designed to appear live. I've got news for you. When someone says something is one thing but it turns out to be the opposite, that is called a LIE. So, when that same person sells you his amazing "opportunity" and makes all sorts of promises, why on earth would you believe he is telling the TRUTH? The mind boggles.

Sometimes the proponent comes from a credible background, but then they blow it by pushing one of these so-called opportunities. This is a real shame since a good standing is worth more than all the money in the world.

Do you want to know what makes the whole vulture-like "opportunity" culture particularly annoying? There are people out there offering AMAZING courses that are full of EXTREMELY valuable content and are worth so much more than their price. Mark Dawson's SPF 101 and Advertising For Authors courses are perfect examples. Unfortunately, as is always the case with human beings, all the good stuff gets buried under "one big pile of shit." Think Jeff Goldblum in that dinosaur movie. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise for those who are willing to dig deepest, but that's another subject for another day.

If you only take one thing away from this post, take this: When your BS sense is tingling, always – and I mean ALWAYS – run for the hills. Don't be a sheeple.

Sometimes our BS sense needs calibrating. These people are called "opportunity" or scam artists for a reason. They are always coming up with new and creative ways to hook you. How do you stay ahead of them? Keep educating yourself. Keep doing your research. Check out websites like avertscams.com. Check google. There are plenty of sites that offer great advice on spotting scams and "opportunities" alike. Learn from other people's experiences so you don't have to learn from your own. Learning through mistakes is the hard way. Why chose the hard way when you don't have to? If, for whatever reason, you do choose the hard way, make sure you only chose it once.

Or, you could let me teach you how to REALLY tell the difference between legitimate opportunities and scams disguised as opportunities.

I have 20 years of experience doing just that and have the success to show for it too. I live an incredible life, have an amazing family and own a business that is currently skyrocketing. Happiness comes from learning how to chose between what will make you happy and what will take your happiness away. Let me teach you my 5 secrets to happiness. But first... I'll need your credit card details.

Take care out there,

Killian

P.S. Bellow is an example of the difference between real success and what various opportunists promise.

The Majority of People Want the Steps to Success to Be
Success.

Get Rich Quick (Obvious Scam) Steps to Success
Buy my product.
Success.

"Opportunities" (Well Disguised Scams?) Steps to Success
Buy my product.
Learn.
Adjust.
Success.

The Exact Steps For Entrepreneurial Success!
Read books and find mentors.
Act.
Fail.
Learn.
Adjust.
Act.
Fail.
Learn.
Adjust.
Act.
Fail.
Learn.
Adjust.
Act.
Fail.
Learn.
Adjust.
Act.
Fail.
Learn.
Adjust.
Act.
Fail.
Learn.
Adjust.
Act.
Fail.
Learn.
Adjust.
Act.
Fail.
Learn.
Adjust.
Act.
Success!

Progress, Shorts and Instafreebie

How my head doesn't explode with so much happening inside it, I do not know. I've been making plenty of progress with The Fury and The Star (possibly being renamed to Furious Star). I have to admit, I was really struggling with it since the holidays, but things have been running a lot smoother now that I've adopted some great outlining practices. 

 

I had the cover booked with a design company for March but decided not to go ahead with it in the end. Don't worry, I'm not going to make my own cover. I wouldn't dream of it because it would only turn into a nightmare. The good news is my wife has agreed to give it a shot. She's an awesome photographer and has a BA in design, plus she is simply downright awesome when it comes to creative things like book covers, so I'm in the safest hands. I should have some proofs by March.

I've also decided to plow ahead with the short story collection. My short story "Into Infinity" wasn't accepted by the quarterly science fiction magazine, Shoreline of Infinity. If you don't already read it. but enjoy SciFi, you should check it out. Every issue is full of fantastic little gems. If I said I wasn't disappointed by the rejection, I'd be telling a big fat lie, which is funny seeing as I'd forgotten about it with everything else that's been going on. But, the rejection actually works in my favor, as it means I can now include it in the short story collection - as seen on this site's home page. The great news is, this collection - Into Infinity and Other Short Stories - will be published in the next two weeks. One of the publishing groups I work with are organizing a SciFi instaFreebie campaign, so I'm getting ready for that. I'll send out a newsletter with the details closer to the time, of course. The collection will contain nine stories (one more than originally planned), and it will run into the 20K word count region. I'm super excited about this as it will open opportunities in the run up to my first novel launch in April/May.

On that note, did I mention I now have an awesome developmental editor? Her name is Kendra Olson and her work is outstanding. She's penciled me in for March, 20th. René Meijer will then line edit before my street team takes care of proofreading. René is an amazing guy I used to work within the IT industry. He's been editing on the side for years. I still haven't built my street team, but the email will be sent soon so keep a look out.

My schedule for Furious Star is a quite tight and looks a little something like this:

March 20th: Submit to developmental editor

April 10th: Rewrite

April 14th: Submit to line editor

April 21st: Rewrite

April 23rd: Submit to street team

April 27th: Rewrite

April 30th: Publish

Of course, other things will be happening in between such as cover design, marketing, formatting, etc. And while it's with the editor I'll be outlining the second novel in the series (title to be released later in spring). Furious Star began as a one book show, but the ideas just kept coming and the characters just kept on growing, and it has developed into a trilogy. The books will come under the umbrella of The Lost Starchive Series. And who knows? There could me more than three.

That's probably enough for one post. It's the early hours of Monday as I finish this. Have a good week folks, and stay classy.

Killian C. Carter

  

How to Write Faster

Writing is hard work. "You are sitting at a desk typing. How can that be tiring?" I hear you say. But anyone who writes will tell you what a mental drain it can be. Creating things from nothing requires energy.

Often, the greatest challenge isn't writing too much, but rather, writing ANYTHING. For many writers, getting started can often be a serious hurdle. As they say in Gaeilge "tús maith leath na h'oibre", or "a good start is half the work." I personally find starting really hard because I'm the world's worst procrastinator. I decided something had to be done. So, I set aside a few days to read and research as much as I could about the writing process. This has set me on the path to building good, healthy writing habits. I'm still near the beginning of my journey. It hasn't been easy, but its a start and I can tell you Chris Fox has been an immense help. In fact, he has been the BIGGEST help, when it comes to writing itself. And I don't say that lightly.

Chris is the author of the famous Void Wraith science fiction series. He has also written non-fiction titles that help self-publishing authors to improve their writing output and marketing techniques. I'll write a little more about the techniques he teaches in a dedicated post. In the meantime, check out his website: www.chrisfoxwrites.com

The book I've found most helpful recently is 5,000 WORDS PER HOUR, WRITE FASTER, WRITE SMARTER. It has truly revolutionized my writing process. If you struggle with your output, I highly recommend that you read it.

5,000 word per hour is an ambitious goal for any writer, and most of us won't hit that kind of output at the outset, but it IS an achievable goal if you start building good habits, bit by bit, as Chris suggests. After only a month of reading this book, I'm hitting approximately 3000 words per hour. Since I currently only have one hour in the day to write, it is essential that I get as much out of those sixty minutes as is possible. Just think about that for a second! If I write for one hour a day - yes just ONE hour - from Monday to Saturday, I will have 72,000 words in 4 weeks. Folks, that is an entire first draft in a month. With that work ethic, you could be as prolific as you want to be.

Needless to say, I'm delighted with what I've learned in this book, and I know my hourly word count will continue to increase as I gain traction. I'm already writing faster than I've ever dreamed of.

If you check out Chris's website you'll see he's posted a number of videos. These are also immensely helpful, especially his series on motivation for writers. The video on outlining is another gem. you'll notice his videos are concise and full of actionable advice. It's not hard to find five or seven minutes to invest. This is refreshing considering that "fluff overload" has become the hallmark of the "how to" video. If you struggle to write, WATCH THEM! I promise you, you won't turn back.

Anyway, I started this post with the intention of talking about the struggles of writing in general. As you can see, it's turned into a bit of a Christ Fox worship session. But credit where credit is due, my friends. Chris fox rocks! (Chris, if you ever read this, that should be your slogan). Seriously, though, the guy is awesome. He has an ocean worth of highly valuable, low friction content. Just dive right in. Watch his videos and buy his books. If you struggle like me you'd be a fool not to. Reading Chris Fox = prolific writing. It doesn't get any simpler than that.

Here's to writing 5,000 PER HOUR! 

Killian C. Carter