January 2023's Writer Support Thread

Welcome all to the support thread for January 2023.

:spiral_calendar:

:champagne: :clock12:

:tada: :confetti_ball:

:birthday: Happy Birthday to January babies.

Thank you, everyone that continues to participate in these threads – it helps others when you do participate, sometimes more than you think.

If anyone has specific questions or concerns I may help with, please let me know.

:open_book:



There are certain questions that are often brought up, so this month, I am going to share 3 articles by Claire Bradshaw, a freelance editor and proofreader based in Newcastle, Australia, and Rebecca Jean, a freelance writer.

Claire Bradshaw works with indie and traditional authors to prepare their works for publication, primarily editing fantasy novels.

I found her website: Writer’s Edit to be a superb resource and I do recommend it.

The first article deals with Writer’s Imposter Syndrome, a topic brought up this past week in December’s support thread.

Her strategies for overcoming this are themes that are emphasized here as well:

  • Remember you’re not alone
  • Talk to other writers
  • Remind yourself how hard you’ve worked to get here
  • Reflect on positive feedback
  • Keep writing!

Here is the Writer’s Edit Link

The second topic this month is one that is asked by newer authors a lot: How to write with structure.

Structure is the framework of a story. We are used to act-based structure an audience, as we are better able to absorb and perceive stories when they consist of clear sections – e.g. the beginning, middle and end.

The Three Act structure is common for all writing, from fiction to movies. Personally, I have found it to be too simple for Interactive Fiction writing, so I found an alternative: the Five Act structure. The Five Act structure allows more flexibility for the complexities of interactive fiction.

Here are the basics:

  • Act 1: Introduction – Exposition and inciting incident.
  • Act 2: Rising Action – More conflict and tension.
  • Act 3: Climax – The turning point.
  • Act 4: Falling Action – Fewer conflicts and a final moment of tension.
  • Act 5: Resolution and Denouement – The final conclusion and tying up of loose ends.

Here is the Writer’s Edit Link

The last topic came up among my reader’s group and was prompted by @Havenstone’s XoR WiP XoR2 WiP and the beautiful map he included within it.

Many writers ask: Does my story need a map?

Here is the Writer’s Edit Link to help you answer this question for yourself.



I met my December goals, so I am going to keep it simple and hope to continue the momentum I have built up.

January’s goal is: complete the chapter rewrite that I am working on in Patchworks.

January’s stretch goal is: complete another chapter rewrite in Patchworks

Again, Happy New Year everyone. :revolving_hearts:

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January goal: achieve an average word count of 1k words per day (31k+ words total.) I’ve maintained an average of 1,045.25 since starting a project on the 29th.

Inquiry: how many words do you write a day?

Inquiry 2: what are your tips and tricks for keeping track of all the branches and possibilities in your story? I’ve been using excel (which is how I have my average to decimal point precision :joy:)

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Answer: Usually between 1000 and 2000, but it does vary.

Answer 2: I do an outline phase at the beginning of every chapter that lays out all the branches, and at that time I generally try to go back through my list of variables and account for the ones that might be relevant. It’s very ad-hoc and probably not the greatest, but it… mostly works, so far. But then, I don’t have the branchiest stories in the world so that might help.

My Goals for January:

  • I’m going to try for around 40k words in Asphodel
  • A decent chunk of what remains of the Diaspora chapter. This is vague on purpose.

I also realistically need to be pretty aggressively job-searching this month, and while I don’t know exactly how much time it will take, I suspect it’s a lot, so I’m trying to allow some latitude for that in my expectations.

Happy New Year, all, and I hope you can hit the ground running, if that’s what you’re looking to do. :slight_smile:

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Hi everyone, happy new year. This year I’m hoping to finish the novel I started in November. Maybe do a full rewrite. Currently though, I’m looking for people to roleplay with in the Future Now universe.

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This month I want to finish the first chapter of my second WIP (I have no idea what to call it) and upload the first demo. Then I can go back to Ashbourne Hall for a month or two

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Dang, and here I am with a goal of 500 words per day. :joy: Though that’s mainly because I’ve got a lot on my plate.

As for the second inquiry, I also use excel! I’ve got a sheet for tracking wordcount, one for outlining the story, one for variables, etc.

My goals for this month is to make some decent progress on my third chapter. I hope to have a skeleton for the whole chapter so I can spend February filling it out.

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Heyo friends!

I have been making some good progress, I am still a little mixed on how to organize later parts of the story but I am trying not to stress too much about it, since I want to encourage myself to make progress.

I’m at about 27k words now? I think it’s good progress, considering I started about two weeks ago? Especially considering I cut about 10k words throughout the editing (that I counted).

I’m hoping to finish the Prologue and Chapter 1, then releasing the demo. It has a natural cliffhanging point that I couldn’t help myself but to stop. My goal for the next two weeks is to finish the WIP, my goal for the month is to try to organize the story a bit more and write some fun stuff outside of the story itself as stress relief. I am trying to keep positive, focusing on the writing itself helps relieve some of the stress, I think.

Also, I heavily recommend everyone try Visual Studio Code, it is exceptional for writing extensively in code, highlights mistakes. It is free software; I hope publishing a link is okay if not let me know and I’ll remove it: Visual Studio Code - Code Editing. Redefined If anyone wants to install it, but has questions about installing the Choice Script Plugin or other issues feel free to come to me and I’ll help! :blush:

Inquiry: how many words do you write a day?

I typically write about 1.5k - 3k words per day so far, depending on how much time I am in the actual coding program and how much time I am devoting to more background elements (portraits / setting / side characters / etc)

Inquiry 2: what are your tips and tricks for keeping track of all the branches and possibilities in your story? I’ve been using excel (which is how I have my average to decimal point precision :joy:)

I would love to see what you do! Currently I just visualize it in my head, and test, but I imagine as the story gets longer I’ll need a more professional way to organize it so that it doesn’t become overwhelming.

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Morning, Everyone!

December was a busy month for me, that’s for sure. I started a project, The Eden Project, that I’m pretty excited about. I was planning to finish the first chapter today, but the holidays (and work) got in the way. I think that’s something all of us aren’t surprised about. I was planning for it (the first chapter) to be around 5,000 words. Instead, I have over 10k, and the chapter isn’t finished yet. Whelp.

For January:

  • Finish the first half of Chapter One and have that open entirely for reading
  • Finish all of Chapter One by the end of this month and get a bit of Chapter Two done, too

The Five Act Structure is part of the Three Act Structure, just a lot more in-depth. For instance, Act 01 and Act 02 in the Five Act Structure is Act 01 in the Three Act Structure. I never really liked the Three Act Structure myself. I had shifted towards the Five Act Structure for its added explanations.

One particular source I love that I use is Jessica Brody’s “Save The Cat! Writes A Novel: The Last Book on Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need.” It dives into a story’s Beat Sheet (an invaluable source for any writer). It’s important to understand the key scenes or plot points, where they are in a story, and why they are where they are.

For instance, it uses a Three Act Structure – to a degree.

Act 01, for instance, has five Beats to it:

  • Opening Image
  • Theme Stated
  • Setup
  • Catalyst
  • Debate

Act 02 has seven Beats. Act 03 has three.

The ‘Midpoint’ Beat, also known as the Climax, hits in the middle of Act 02 and has several beats before and after it before Act 03 begins. It presents a clear roadmap of everything that needs to happen to get there and the false victory or defeat during the Climax.

I also might be a small nerd regarding story structure…

(That’s generally what happens after spending most your life studying it…)

On a good day, I can get around 3,000 words. Some of it is character information. Others are on the back story, ideas for future interactions, and world-building. When it comes to the actual story, I can get around 1,000 words a day if I push myself. Most days, it’s closer to 700 words (especially if I’ve given myself a headache because I’ve been sitting at my computer for most of the day).

My current process is…chaotic.

I have major locations that the Player will be in already mapped out, each in a different chapter. For instance, the first chapter takes place in the MC’s home. The second is in the woods and a cabin. Third, in a mountain. This is fairly forward.

Chaos ensues when the branching comes into play.

For instance, in the first chapter, the MC has a scene where they are presented with a few different choices – and each of those choices has five or six sub-choices that are being tracked and will play into the next chapter. To track that, I must understand the chapter I’m working on.

I use Scrivner. I have dozens of folders, each about different aspects of the project. One I use for characters, another for the house, the different scenarios that go into the house (such as staying inside or going out into the garden), and the codes I’m tracking in each of those choices are also recorded so I can quickly reference them (along with descriptions of what those codes mean).

The Eden Project is considerably smaller than another project I’m working on with a friend of mine, but I haven’t gotten anywhere far enough to discuss that one (outside of the fact the Project Binder I have on that one is insanely large and infuriating to deal with when I’ve been away from it for a month or two).

For me, I track everything. It lets me know if I have loose ends, later, and I can double back and check in on it. Or rework something if it isn’t the way I like.

In CSIDE, Chapter One is spread over eleven scene files so far. It makes it easier for me to navigate through the chapter to know which scene file needs attention, depending on where an issue is, instead of having to swim through thousands of words in one document. That makes it easier to break apart and figure out where everything is at.

The Overall Thought?

I’m insane.

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My therapist suggested me to keep a log for my plans day per day, lets see how it will turn out.

Still waiting a day to talk with a trusted person (my cousin) face to face… everyone is just too busy and I’m the only one still unemployed.

What I’m going to write this month?

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Again i am in a dark place. No idea about goals or anything. Maybe my goal is not erasing again all my previous work. I am a lost cause.

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It might not work for everyone, but I like to make time goals. For X amazing of time I write. I don’t reread or edit, I just write. Then I go back later to do that stuff, after I’ve separated from that writing session. I think doing something similar might help you to not overthink what you’ve done and deleting huge chunks of it

(And if you’re still working on that vampire game, I think it’s gonna be cool. I hope you put up a demo at some point)

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I was unable to achieve my goal for last month, but between being sick all month, exams, and the holiday hubub, I’m trying to give myself a little grace. Its just a little extra frustrating since I’m leaving for a conference later today, so I know I won’t get much done this week. My goal for when I get back is to write for at least an hour every day. I think one of my biggest roadblocks to finishing things is that I rarely sit down to write unless I can finish a whole scene, but if I can get over that and write everyday, I think I’ll be in a much better place.

I actually get quite a lot. I can be a fast typist. Just the other day I got over 2,000 in one day while I was sick and watching the Great British Baking Show.

I have very few things written down. I have some random notes in a google doc, but for the most part I keep track of everything in my head, and so far I haven’t had any problems, but I’m still working on my first chapter which doesn’t have very much branching to it, so its fairly easy to keep track of.

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I want to develope Infanta, my Future Now OC, some more. Recently, I imagine she’s come across an orphan girl. Maybe she’s the kid of someone Infanta killed and Infanta couldn’t just leave her to fend for herself. I’m thinking of calling the girl “Dicky”, short for “Benedicta”

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My goal for January is releasing Chapter 3 of my WiP.

I wish all of you luck and hope you achieve your goals too! :slightly_smiling_face:

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My first monthly goal (excluding Nano) is to build a proper writing habit.

I’m aiming for 500 words a day to start with, and by the end of the month I want to have found the right time of day to set aside so that it just becomes a natural part of my routine.

Hope to see everyone else doing well this month! :slight_smile:

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Inquiry: how many words do you write a day?

I don’t really have an average. Some days I write 800-900.

Some days (as I did on December 30th) I write 5,000+. It all depends on where I am at at that point in the story.

What are your tips and tricks for keeping track of all the branches and possibilities in your story?

My story is more of a ‘trip’ than a puzzle, so most variations are relatively mild. The things I have the most issue with are the different romances, which I’m lucky are pretty popular, so my readers help hold me up and remind me of things with them.

The biggest issue is working out the mysteries that the game has. There’s quite a few plates spinning around, and just because I know where they all go, doesn’t mean I don’t twist myself into knots sometimes.


OT: Hello. It took me quite a bit longer to finally publish that chapter despite what I posted on one of these threads a few months back.

I’m not going to give myself an actual goal, as it seems whenever I give myself one, I cannot hold to it, so I’ll just say what I want to do instead:

  • Do the final tune-ups and hotfixes/additions to Chapter 5 of AToH.
  • Write at least the beginning of Chapter 6, which I have already begun to organize in my head + investigate a little (i hate economic collapse i hate it i hate it i hate it i hate it).

This month will be a little hectic, I think. My birthday is in two days, my uncle who hasn’t visited since before COVID happened will finally get to visit us from Spain, and I’m starting my heaviest 4-month period in college, as I’m nearing the home stretch for my degree (I graduate next year, hopefully! :slightly_smiling_face:), but since I’ve moved past the combat section which worried me, and moved back into the political scenes, which I enjoy more, I hope I’ll be able to get at least the beginning of the Chapter squared away.

Good luck to everyone else in their (actual) goals! :smiley_cat: Oh, and happy new years!

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The way you approach your goals, @Jjcb is a great approach for many reasons. Some people need more formal goals, but many just need to have a general plan in mind to move forward. Then there are those that write best by taking it day by day.

Now to reply to @Gearhouse:

When writing new material: I average between 1,000 and 3,000.

When rewriting: Anywhere from 300 and 3,000 words a day. This all depends on needs.

I am an outliner that uses general outline to map the way forward, but who lets the story dictate details, as long as it stays within the guardrails I set up.

To point you to the correct tools for mapping, I would first ask if you are a person who works well with visual aids?

If so, there are several visual graphing apps that can help you with flow charts and other such devises.

There are threads that list specific apps to use if you want to browse them.

Here is a good thread to look at:

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Happy new year, all!

Thanks to the holiday period (extremely nice but involved travelling to Italy to see family so was intense) I’m pretty tired at the moment, but beta testing Royal Affairs is going well. I’ve had a lot of very helpful feedback. Currently I’m detangling the method I used for closing off romance options in the late game; the way I did it in the first draft isn’t suitable so I’m figuring out what would be better.

My goal is to finish beta testing sometime this month!

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Happy new year to everybody!

Last year’s goals were achieved (15 hours per week for non-work related hobbies), totaling around 780 hours for the whole year. About 3/4 of that time was dedicated to writing, resulting in 190K words split across two projects.

If last year was about building habits, this year will be dedicated to improving efficiency. Even though I spent those hours primarily writing or coding, I found myself distracted a lot by changing songs, watching videos on youtube, and such. I want to train my monkey brain to not only resist distractions but not crave them anymore. As a more measurable goal for this purpose, I will try to write in 20-minute bursts with no distractions at first, then gradually increase this interval until I don’t need any external tool to measure the bursts.

Writing-wise, I have set a goal for writing at least 200.000 words this year which, hopefully, will bring me very close to starting the beta for ‘The Strongest Writer’ (I aim for around 250K - 300K words with a satisfying ending for the first part, with the intent of writing of sequel if it’s well-received).

For this month, I want to finish chapter 2 and create a Tumblr page for my game.

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I’m in the very early stages of writing, but my optimistic goal for the month is to finish three scenes I have set up that are intended to establish the player character and some of their past relationships.

But I’m shooting for at least getting the scene I’m nearly done with done and the subsequent scene done.

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