Toby’s Update – December 2019

What a month it has been! When you have nine months to prepare for a life changing event, you think you have got it all covered. Think again. Last week my son was born, happy, healthy and he and his mom are doing great. Really great.

The joy and elation of that moment and of the past days are – at this moment – hard to put into words. The lack of sleep on the other hand is easier to describe.

What does that mean for my writing? Let’s take a look at where I left off, and then where this is going to go.

Almost there

The seventh draft of Book One is almost complete. After a couple of tough weeks – where I had to force myself to keep writing daily – I figured out the difficult plot points and was able to write myself into the next roadblock: the dark night of the soul and the climax.

The dark night of the soul for the protagonist is pretty well laid out, however I need to a chapter from another character’s p.o.v. to complete the story.

The climax is a different beast altogether. This one, I need to outline from scratch. I feel it will be worth the effort given all of the bits I’ve foreshadowed and set up. The main challenges I have:

  • building up the tension
  • writing the action, clear and engaging
  • using the magic in a meaningful way
  • showing the character change

These are all challenges a writer must face, so I am not too daunted by it. The main constraint right now is lack of sleep and, with that, time. If I need to choose between sleeping and writing, right now, sleep is very high on my priority list. That being said, stories and books do not write themselves, so I will work on finding my writing time. Once the little one has some sort of rhythm.

Outlining the climax

This is the hard part. What I will use is Blake Snyder’s Five Step Finale outline. Although I’ve found the movie beats don’t entirely translate to written stories (and no — I have not read Save the Cat Writes a Novel), I find using these beats helps my thinking.


Another challenge is that with every three chapters I go forward, it seems I need to back track for consistency and foreshadowing. Rather than do this piecemeal, I take some notes in my outline tracker and will return to the story with fresh eyes and a clear mind. Sometimes ideas that look good in the moment, might not look as good when revisited. Best not to change too much on a whim.

That’s it for today! I hope you enjoyed the update. Thank you for tagging along on this journey. Two-thousand-nineteen has been a great year for writing!

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