My Novel Progress and Various Other Updates

Hello Readers (and Writers!)

It’s been a pretty depressing few months in the news as most of you, I’m sure, are trying to avoid the horrors of the 24 news cycle. The irony is that while I sit here building a new world from the ground up for my novel’s universe, humanity seems to be hell bent on taking apart the physical one in which we all live in…It makes no sense to me…Humanity’s actions as a whole quite frankly is pretty disgusting right now…(not everyone – but those who I am referring to, know who they are) so I’m not going to talk anything further with all that negativity floating around (I’m trying hard to turn over a new leaf sort of speaking).

Let’s focus on Good news and a couple updates since my last article, I’m assuming that’s why you are all here!

Mr. Beast #TeamTrees Project

One piece of news I received last month is that the the #TeamTrees movement in which Mr.Beast (Jimmy) was heading up turned out to be a complete success. A while ago I donated to this cause and am happy to see that his campaign to get everyone to fund planting over 20,000,000 trees not only accomplished its goal but was able to raise above that number hitting over 24,000,000 dollars for planting (1 tree = 1 dollar).

That’s an incredible thing and in my opinion should become a yearly drive to replant trees all over the world because we are losing many faster than planting can replace them.

Deforestation, wildfires and climate change is rapidly affecting our planet and trees are the one natural thing that is an efficient carbon capture tool to reduce greenhouse gases and C02.

It is literally a race against time to stop the planet from the tipping point of no return.

Climate disasters are now costing in lives and in dollars many times normal averages for loss each and every year as the planet warms.

Planting trees (and maintaining the forests) is so critical. Consider donating. It’s the least we can all do.

** Please note that I am not affiliated with Mr.Beast or his company (although I have met him and am a fan of his for his work in actually making positive change in the world).

Check out for more details.

Adam Skelter’s New Book called “Story by Numbers”

My favorite mentor and teacher in the realm of Story structure and methodology, Adam Skelter has a new book coming out which is available for order called “Story by Numbers”. It’s up on Amazon right now (links below)

If you don’t know who Adam Skelter is, check out his video interviews on Film Courage YouTube channel (search for Adam Skelter) or go to his YouTube Channel “The Art of Story” (formerly called “Anatomy of Chaos”) and check out the 3-part Video series he did to explain story structure the way he sees it. It definitely changed my learning and gave me the tools I needed to start writing my stories more effectively, teaching me more about storytelling than any other source material I had read.

I am now anxiously awaiting his hardcover version to arrive in the mail. Based on the popular video series he did that apparently includes much more in the book version. The 4 act structure and the 24-plot point method as well as going more in-depth on creating a captivating story and the mechanics in which to do just that are in this book. Order the book but also watch the videos.

You can order the digital copy or preorder his hardcover version of the book on Amazon by using this link below and also the workbook edition:


Main Book                      Workbook

My Novel Progress & Perspective

Progress report. The editing stage is taking a long time to get through. I am slowly going through chapter by chapter on my fifth draft for my upcoming novel (Title being withheld although some of you may already know the title from a while back) on my middle-grade fantasy adventure novel, painstakingly rewriting and condensing to shrink word count.

I went from 106,500 aprox words to now at around 93,000 words by cutting a lot of extra background information and dumps as well as condensing and re-working some sentences. My target is 85,000 words (the long end of a middle-grade fantasy – first book). Middle-grade fantasy novels are typically 65,000-85,000 according to industry averages.

I may or may not reach 85,000 on this draft but I’m okay with that. What’s important is that I’m making significant progress at chipping away and condensing the novel.

Why not give the title of my book away? Most of the reason of the secrecy for the title and logline is because I am still on the hunt for an agent and I do not want competition for the book idea to surface (except to them) or have problems later on registering things because the title is known. Yes some online opportunists like to mess things up for newbie authors. I’m playing it safe and close to the chest until I am confident the book is done and possible in the hands of a publisher who is busily marketing the book for me. I am not anyways near this stage yet.

What I can tell you is that the Fifth draft is a much better draft than my previous draft. To date the novel has gone from being a screen play with 3 drafts, transformed over to a novel with 5 drafts not including the current draft (which makes 6 actual drafts including the first vomit draft). The novel so far has taken over 2 and half years (with some months of breaks here and there due to life, family and distractions all being there too) to get it to this stage of development. Thats how long it takes me. Others mileage may vary.

At an almost done, and confident looking, fifth draft, I I am hoping to find an agent shortly. The first rounds of agent hunting was illuminating but I made the horrible newbie mistake of sending the novel out before it was ready.

That’s okay. We all make mistakes, in fact its part of learning and hopefully agents won’t hold that against me.

This story has been burning in my head for over two years now and i hope I will get the opportunity to have it published and share it with you. Until then, it’s back to working on it.

My Experience with the Ups and Downs of the Writing Journey

The English language barrier. Complicated for everyone. Mastering it is a skill. It’s not easy.

My particular skill at writing English properly has improved over time but it’s been a journey getting to this point (yes I am a naturally English speaking white guy who was brought up in the public school system) and I do use tools to assist me for overcoming some of my, ummm, bad habits at times.

I never thought English writing would be so important when I was a kid. I was wrong and now it haunts me each day, however, as I continue to write I keep getting better. I keep chiselling away at every sentence until its near perfect as possible or at least until I look at it again and think to myself, is that what I wrote?

Editing can be a downright depressing phase. To go over those countless words and sentences, realizing that what you thought you were translating, that beautiful moment in your head to the page only ends up a weak interpretation of what actually ended up on the page. It’s disheartening to think your doing well only to realize after five drafts the manuscript may still not be ready.

One piece of life advice for every child I have who is in school possibly sitting in class, hating their grammar lessons is, don’t take any subject for granted. Don’t dismiss it. Learn all you can and try to the do best at everything. Now I know why that advice was so important. You just never know when you are going to need to draw upon skills you haven’t developed or used in a long time.

We, of course, all have shortcomings and gaps where we excel at some things and perhaps not so much at others. We also have preferences and get excited, firing that dopamine into our brains with subjects we like rather than subjects we hate, but I am hear to tell you that all knowledge is important and may be necessary at some point in your life.

The key to learning is mostly all motivation. If you have a goal with a purpose you can learn or achieve just about anything you set your mind to. Don’t assume it will be easy even with the proper motivation, it won’t be but the key is to be persistent and break things down into manageable pieces. Once you realize that, you can accomplish just about anything.

However, I now know why writers and non-writers say that writing a book is one of the hardest endeavours to accomplish.

It’s just so damned hard. Don’t worry, I’m not giving up.

To be a successful writer, you not only have to have some life experience but also use many other skill sets and knowledge to get there, especially in this digital creative world we now live in that drives publishing.

There are so many skills unrelated to writing itself that are necessary: Organizing your thoughts, physically laying out the book in microsoft word, psychologically understanding your characters to make them more believable just as a few examples.

Don’t forget about the business knowledge and pure artistic skills needed to make your world come to life too.

Writing is not just about writing.

To write words and sentences on a page isn’t that hard. Creating a coherent, emotional, captivating and entertaining story with depth and some measure of uniqueness is much more difficult as it turns out. those words have to more than just appear on the page, they have to have meaning to the reader.

The good news is that tools like Adam Skelter’s book (see above links), are great resources to learn the more nuanced parts of the craft of storytelling so that your writing will get better.

To add another layer of complexity:

Writing popular fantasy fiction today means that I am in fact creating a franchise or at the least, an interesting Intellectual Property that I hope one day to leverage and make my fortune with. That is one goal of doing this at all, albeit a long shot at best.

Creating something I can be proud of and have others enjoy is a much more satisfying feeling than just simply making money however I won’t lie, I’m a struggling artist and writer. The money won’t hurt and is much needed.

To be successful as a writer in this realm then, you can’t really create anything less anymore as the market (and subsequently television, movie or other media options) drive what people buy. Time is precious. Some won’t even read your book anymore and just collect it. That’s okay as long as they BUY the book however as the writer my focus is on the story. The more your story and novel reflect what people want (or think they want) will determine most of your success after publication.

Another aspect that I’ve learned is that the more mass market and appeal your product is, the more it will sell.

All of this makes that much more difficult than just writing a novel. It is a lot of weight to carry.

But in the end, what will keep readers coming back? A great story and characters. A great beginning, middle and end.

It goes along way.

Until next article,

Keep creating, writing and reading.

I’m finishing this fifth draft in hopes of finding an agent in the next month or two.

Note: If you are an agent out there on the hunt for a good middle-grade fantasy novel to agent (doesn’t hurt to ask right?), Drop me an email or send me an email through the contact form and I will send you my query letter once this draft is completed (serious inquiries only however).

Take care of yourselves out there!

P.S. The header image was taken from a custom map in a game (Foundation – A steam game) I recently started played around with to start to map out the world I built in the novel in actual 3D. It’s a side project with a specific goal in mind unrelated to the writing itself of the novel. The image is essentially an artistic template for me. A sort of graphical representation for story telling and a stepping stone for my artist inspiration, if you will.

I can’t say much more about it yet at this time, suffice to say this is not any kind of final art or anything for my novel but just another tool i decided to play around with so that I can get from A to Z.

Sometimes even great artists need a starting point



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