Writing My Novel: The Plan

Tie Two things: I now have 16,000 words of my novel drafted.  I like to think of that as being a milestone.  Rejoice.

And I have decided that my summer plans for fiction now include writing tie-ins to my novel as well as drafting the manuscript itself.

But wait.  I know what you’re thinking: “He’s talking tie-ins before he’s even written the whole book? Is he crazy?”

No.  I don’t think I am, at least.

What I think I am is pretty damned smart.

You see, I have a really interesting kick to my SF/F novel.  It’s a piece of technology inspired by my love of MMOs, and while it’s not the main focus of the story, it’s interesting enough that I think it makes my universe unique.

And it doesn’t matter what character is around to utilize it; the technology still has an interesting SF spin no matter what.

So my goal for the summer is this: finish two additional short stories based in the universe of my novel.

One story will center on my novel’s protagonist, Ceril.  If my novel keeps its current progress and structure, there will be a six-year block of time between the events in the prologue and the actual meat of the novel.  I have a short story planned to bridge that gap.

The other story I have in mind will take a supporting character from my novel (or a new character; I haven’t decided fully) and explore an aspect of the universe that my novel doesn’t really touch on.  I don’t expect my main character to even be referenced in this story, though I would expect the setting to be familiar.

Pen and PaperBut why would I do this when my novel is still so far from being finished, much less readable?

Because I want to test the water.  I want to stick my literary toe in the pool and see what the temperature is.  I figure that I should be able to gauge interest about a lot of aspects of my novel given what kind of reactions I get from these stories.

That kind of feedback (not to mention platform building and whatever paltry cash comes from them) is going to be invaluable to actually making a go of being a novelist.

So yes, my planned summer quota of (at minimum) 2,000 words per day—10k per 7 days, actually, based on John Scalzi’s schedule—is still in place.  I just can’t guarantee it’s all going to be on my novel anymore.  And with my blog, too, I expect to be spending a lot of time this summer becoming very intimate with a keyboard.

It’s going to be a good summer, methinks.

By B.J. Keeton

B.J. KEETON is a writer, teacher, and runner. When he isn't trying to think of a way to trick Fox into putting Firefly back on the air, he is either writing science fiction, watching an obscene amount of genre television, or looking for new ways to integrate fitness into his geektastic lifestyle. He is also the author of BIRTHRIGHT and co-author of NIMBUS. Both books are available for Amazon Kindle.


  1. Actually I find this smart. I have a short story universe I’ve been playing in since I dreams it up years ago. I revisit it all the time. Just don’t let it distract you, I keep jumping between stories and yes it makes the universe more refined and is different aspects to toy with, I’ve only ever finished one of those stories. Technically two, but that but both are dying for some re-writes.

    So, current theory on why I’ve been having issues commenting on your blog is my browser. Chrome might not like your blogs. I jumped to Firefox this time.

    1. Not staying focused is my main fear for the summer. I typically have a lot of success at finishing short stories; it’s novels that don’t like to get past 8-10k for me. Since I’ve already broken through my typical barrier, I’m happy to say that motivation has found its way into my heart.

      And yeah, Chrome hates me. I’ve had problems with it myself on this blog. I am thinking of switching totally back to Firefox for all my browsing.

    1. I can’t wait to be done with it so I can feel good about myself and start the process for many people to (hopefully) read it.

      I do expect I’ll need some beta readers, though, as I run through edits.

  2. 2,000 words a day is a good target. It doesn’t sound like a lot but it is. I really need to step up the pace of my novella I think because I’m not getting through it fast enough. I find I can only write about 500 words at a time before my brain melts 🙁 I need a new brain!
    .-= We Fly Spitfires´s last blog ..How A Paper Clip Saved My Sanity =-.

  3. Hey,

    First, it’s nice to meet you through Incurable Disease of Writing blog. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

    Next…sounds like a good plan. One other bonus from doing this is that it will help you get to know the characters for your novel better and better. And, the more you know your characters, generally, the easier the book is to write. Many writers create pages and pages of notes just to get to know their characters – this sounds like a really smart way to do that and come up with another “product” along the way.

    Good luck!
    .-= Suzanne Lieurance´s last blog ..New at the Incurable Disease of Writing Blog! =-.

    1. And thank you, too. I’ve been reading ICDoW for a while now, but finally decided I need to get out there and start commenting. 🙂

      And my plan is for just that: learning my characters and world a bit better and more in-depth. I’m not much of a notes person. I tried and fell flat with my planning process. I figure that as long as I can make a “product” out of it, it’s not really as useless as notes have been to me so far.

  4. Sounds like a really solid plan for the summer, I love the idea of the tie-ins, they should really help you to get to grips with your universe. Can’t wait to find out what this mysterious piece of tech is – I’m a sucker for anything futuristic that we haven’t really seen before.

    Will you have made any revisions to the first draft this summer or do you plan to just get it written and then let it ‘mellow’ in a drawer for a while, like (I think) Stephen King likes to?

    1. I don’t know if you can say that you haven’t seen it before, but I hope that I have enough of a unique take on it that the techs that I merged seem to feel unique enough to warrant its inclusion.

      I don’t know about revisions yet. I would like to get it out there as soon as it’s ready, but I know it will need //massive// revision after this draft is done. I expect I will be inundated with school this fall, so I hope I can take that time to work on a new novel while I have a few beta readers toss themselves at this novel and let me know what I need to do with it when I begin revising.

  5. First, Congrats on persisting with and getting so far with your novel writing! That’s amazingly good work, Beej. I had been wondering how you were doin’ with it, so it’s great to know! (Yeah, Yeah, I’ve been /terrible/ with blogs.. I basically stopped reading/following altogether for quite a while earlier this year.)

    I don’t think your plan is a crazy one either. I think writing around the same world / idea is indeed a great way to refine it. Heck, you may even stumble across a story or angle you want to cover even more than the one you have in the initial drafting!

    That happened to me in a way. Was basically a little side note affair in the context of the original story I intended to tell, but ended up writing a short story about it and discovering it had real potential to stand alone as a complete story of it’s own, one that’d be worth telling and wasted as I had originally intended to cover it.

    Of course, life + natural laziness / letting the concern of quality worries get the best of me before I was done drafting ended that whole process. 😛

    1. Thanks. It’s just a drop in the bucket, though, really. 16k out of a what, 80k novel? If I decide to steer away from YA, at least, which is happening more and more in my head.

      And I know the natural laziness part, but it’s so fulfilling to think that I made something, wrote something, that I keep on going. I suggest you do, too. 🙂

      I did the same thing you did. When classes got hectic, I had to give up reading my RSS feeds and commenting so often. I kept up how I could, but just didn’t have time like I did before. I think that’ll change even more once finals are over. Glad to see my little corner of cyberspace is still on your tour list. 🙂

  6. It sounds like a solid plan.

    Speaking to my own limited experience, when I engage in a bit of world/universe building, I always find nooks and crannies that I’d like to explore, but may not fit in a “novel” proper. Side stories are a great way to explore more, as well as gauge interest and refine writing.
    .-= Tesh´s last blog ..Political Pop Quiz: Dual Wielding =-.

    1. I’m most concerned with gauging interest, I think. Like I’ve said before, I’m not very confident with much of my writing, so being able to test the waters will let me keep motivated that yes, people will want to read what I write. The refined writing and exploration of the universe are almost icing on the cake…delicious, necessary icing.

Comments are closed.