2017 Goals Second Quarter Report: Shine Cycle

Another three months have flown by, and 2017 is now nearly half gone. Since one of my goals for this year was to “After each quarter, assess progress and note any necessary amendments to goals in a blog post,” it’s time to check myself again, as I did back in April. I’ll also look over last month’s monthly goals, rather than making a separate and redundant “writing status update” post.

The second quarter went much better than the first. (Not that it could really have been worse.) I don’t think I”m anywhere near caught up to where I’d hoped to be, but I’ve made definite progress, and while the end is not yet in sight, “the end of the beginning” may be.

Monthly Goals

Before I get to the year-long objectives and goals, here are the goals I set last month for the past four weeks:

  • Make consistent progress: I’ll count this as a success if each week I accomplish 15 “points” in my task tracker.

Not quite. One week I only reached 5 “points,” though the other weeks I managed enough that the average stands at 19.

  • Finish “snowflake step 5” for The Invasion, which means (by the current plan) creating “character synopses” for eight more characters.

Done.

  • As a good start on “snowflake step 6,” get through the first paragraph of the “one-page” synopsis that I will be expanding into a “multi-page” synopsis.

Done, and I (barely) got through the second paragraph as well.

  • Create “motivation summaries” for at least two characters.

Hmm! For some reason, none of these came up in the task queue in the last four weeks! So I didn’t accomplish this, but only because I shouldn’t have put it on the list of goals in the first place.

  • Write personal histories of at least two characters.

Done, and both are the last missing pieces for character profiles; one is already scheduled to appear in this space in two weeks, and the other will follow a month later once I collate the sections together.

Yearly Goals: So Far

Next, here are the goals I set for the Shine Cycle for the year. For each one, I’ll comment as to how I’m doing on it so far and how likely I think I am to accomplish it by the end of the year. (I’ll omit the one goal that was accomplished in January.)

Outlining

  • Objective: Finish a complete and detailed outline of my chosen story.

I’m not to the point of resuming the outline as such yet, but I think I’m on track to be at least well into the scene-level outline by year end.

I’ve recently started “step 6,” which is the “multi-page synopsis”; “step 7,” the “character charts,” is looming (and scheduled before the scene-by-scene outline in my task tracker), so even if something disrupts my schedule I should be able to accomplish this before year’s end.

Character Development

  • Objective: Have a biography, history, description, and “character logline” or “motivation summary” for every named character.
    • Goal: Write at least fifteen character biographies or histories.

I created four character histories this last quarter, for a total of six this year; as my task tracker thinks I’ll get through eight more by the end of December, I think it’s still possible, but not likely I’ll quite accomplish this goal this year. But the odds are shortening.

  • Goal: Create “character loglines” or “motivation summaries” for at least five characters.

In addition to the three I managed in the first quarter, I apparently wrote five more of these this quarter, for a total of eight. So reaching nine, as I suggested three months ago, now looks almost trivial, and fifteen looks possible.

Worldbuilding

  • Objective: Create sufficiently-complete, sufficiently-detailed, maps of the worlds and areas with which the Shine Cycle is concerned.
  • Objective: Develop each race and culture that the Shine Cycle is concerned with sufficiently to portray it distinctly and excite potential readers’ interest.

As I mentioned last quarter, I keep plugging away at adding tasks for specific details required for these objectives to my task tracker … just near the bottom of the queue, so there’s no progress to report.

  • Stretch Goal: Get at least half-way through the “race fractalling system” for elves.

When I set this, I hadn’t rearranged my task tracker to put developing The Invasion from start to finish at the top; when I did that, I also took the opportunity to put pretty much all the worldbuilding “create tasks for …” tasks at the top of the queue, so that once I get through them I’ll have more reliable estimates. (I also had to pull everything out and put it back, because formerly “snowflake outlining” had been filed as “worldbuilding”.) So my task tracker now doesn’t think I’ll get to starting the “race fractalling system” on the elves until January 2019.

On the other hand, I think I’m going to “double-up” some of the simpler “create tasks for …” tasks (that only need me to schedule five or so tasks, not a dozen or more), which will (once the “velocity” adjusts to this change) make me get to this somewhat sooner.

Actual Prose

  • Goal: Get at least a quarter of the way through the first draft of the story I decide to focus on this year, or 25,000 words in, whichever comes first.
  • Stretch Goal: Get at least half-way through the first draft, or 50,000 words in the story I’m focusing on this year.

As I said three months ago, giving the state of the outlining, I consider these unlikely, but given my progress this quarter the odds are shortening somewhat.

Blogging

  • Objective: Regularly post substantive Shine Cycle-related content here, as an incentive to continued progress and to attract interested future readers.
    • Goal: Post at least twelve Shine Cycle-related posts (not including writing status updates, year-end retrospectives, and the like) to this blog.
    • Stretch Goal: Post at least eighteen Shine Cycle-related posts (with the same exclusions) to this blog.
    • Stretch Goal: Post at least one Shine Cycle-related post (with the same exclusions) to this blog every month.

The total count of posts that have appeared so far and what I’ve already written and scheduled for the future stands at twelve so far. So, goal accomplished, and if I can keep up on character histories eighteen seems well within my reach.

One a month is trickier, as the last précis is scheduled to run next week.

  • Objective: Create blog posts using “worldbuilding” material created using the various “systems” and question sets.
    • Goal: In the process of transferring material from my answers to “the Wrede questions” to “background essays,” reduce the length of (the temporary copy of) the former by at least half. It currently stands at about 1500 lines and 36,000 words.
    • Stretch Goal: Finish transferring material from my answers to “the Wrede questions” into “background essays” and schedule the first post using that material to run on this blog.

I don’t think I even touched this material in the last quarter.

Next Month

The year, so far, has been nowhere near what I had hoped, but this last quarter was also far better than I had feared after the first quarter. So I have hope that, God willing, I can make significant headway on my long-term objectives in the rest of the year, and that any disruption of my plans will be to the good. More immediately, however, here are my goals for the next month:

  • Make consistent progress: I’ll count this as a success if each week I accomplish 17 “points” in my task tracker.
  • Finish “snowflake step 6” for The Invasion: expanding the “one-page synopsis” into a “multi-page synopsis.”
  • For “snowflake step 7′ for The Invasion, create “character charts” for at least five characters.
  • Create at least one character history.

We’ll see.

Writer friends, how are your goals for the year going?

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