Writing status update (#46)

For all that it feels in some ways more like a week has passed than a month, it’s been four weeks since my last report (on the second day of Christmas) on recent progress on the Shine Cycle, my fantasy series-in-preparation. In that time, despite the busyness that always makes Christmastide hectic, and despite being laid somewhat low by a cold last week, I did get some Shine Cycle development work done.

As I said in my last report, and in my year-end goal-setting post, this year I’m changing my method; instead of working a little bit on each story in turn, I now plan to work on one story at a time. After soliciting advice from fellow writers in the Holy Worlds forum, I have decided to start with The Invasion. Rearranging my task tracker to reflect my new plan (and also my realization that “the snowflake method” is primarily “plotting,” not “worldbuilding”) was a significant effort in itself (mostly because pulling everything from the “backlog” into the “icebox” slowed my browser to a crawl at best and made it freeze entirely for minutes at a time until I had gotten things put back in the order I wanted), but now that it’s done I shouldn’t have to do anything of that scope to it for the foreseeable future.

In addition to that task, I had set modest goals for myself along the lines that I had been following:

  • As part of “snowflake outlining,” following the guidelines for that process, finish profiles of all major characters in The Invasion and create them for at least three of the five major characters of The Alliance.

Done. I had even finished the third Alliance character early enough last week that I could have moved on to the fourth and fifth, but I decided that other tasks (outside the scope of this report) would be a better use of my time.

  • Create at least one character logline or motivation summary.

Done. But only one.

  • Write at least one character history.

I didn’t get to this, however.


  • Reduce the length of the part of my answers to the “Wrede questions” not yet incorporated into “background essays” (future blog posts) by at least 15%. (It currently stands at just under 1500 lines and about 36,000 words.)

I did work on this, but only reduced the line count by about 3%, to about 1460, and the word count by about 2%, to about 35,500.

  • Write at least a hundred words of “actual prose.”


Now, for the next month. All this task-rearranging has left my task tracker’s estimates of “velocity” even more unreliable than usual, and I’m also changing to a new methodology, so I will again state modest goals for the near term but hope to far exceed them.

  • Write at least three character histories.
  • Create “character loglines” or “motivation summaries” for at least four characters.
  • For “snowflake step 4” of The Invasion, expand each sentence of my single-paragraph plot summary into at least a paragraph.
  • For “snowflake step 5” of The Invasion, write “character synopses” of at least three of the principal characters.

(The “worldbuilding” side is not forgotten, but all the tasks for the next while are of the form “create tasks for …”, which has to be done but I try to avoid mentioning in my goals.)

We’ll see how this goes. God willing, I’ll have some progress of some sort to report in mid-February.


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