Beautiful Books: 2017 Writing Goals

First of all, some exciting news! Thanks to all of you and your support, I am a finalist in the Speculative Faith Writing Challenge! The final round of voting has begun, and will go until Jan. 29th. You can read the top three entries HERE and vote for your favorite to win! Of course, I’d love to win, and the $25 Amazon gift card would be pretty nice too, but I’m just thrilled to have made it to the final round!

Now, on to the actual blog post: here I am squeaking through the finish line at not quite the very last minute to grab the Beautiful Books blogging challenge. You can find out more about this meme created by Cait and Sky at their blogs!

What were your writing achievements last year?

I wrote 44,000 words on Turrim Archive Book #2. That was the big one. I also did a TON of blogging. I don’t even know how many words I wrote on the blog last year, but it was a lot. I also got Minstrel’s Call through its first round of edits and off to my line editor and beta readers.

What’s on your writerly “to-do list” for 2017?

Finish editing and publish Minstrel’s Call.

Finish the rough draft of Turrim Archive book #2.

Begin rough draft of Turrim Archive book #3.

Perhaps… MAYBE… polish up my Cinderella retelling and try to get it ready for publication. This is the long shot. We shall see.

Tell us about your top-priority writing projects for this year!

Um… see the last question. They are listed in order of priority.

How do you hope to improve as a writer? Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017?

I hope to learn how to work more diligently at my writing projects. To get less distracted by facebook and other various forms of social media. I want to make sure I write something on my current WIP every weekday, even if it’s just a few words here and there, I want my days to be focused around bringing my rough drafts closer to completion. I’m also hoping to continue learning how to write more efficiently, not needing as many words to convey the story and characters of my works. Economy of words!

Describe your general editing process.

I write the rough draft. Throughout the drafting process I do occasionally go back through what I’ve already written and do tweaking, polishing, editing, adding, etc. Usually this happens because I have to remind myself where I was in the story before I can continue writing more. When I’m more consistent I don’t have to do this as much.  But the result is that the rough draft always ends up a bit more like a 2nd or 3rd draft because of all the editing throughout. Then I send the story off to my content editor… and I ignore the ms completely, usually starting a new project or moving on to work on editor’s notes from a previous project if they are ready. When I get my content editor’s notes back I drop everything and tackle those, working through the story, changing, re-writing, adding, deleting. Sometimes whole sections need to be completely re-written, other times things get left nearly untouched. It depends on the scene and the story. When I’ve finished that, I format the story and send it off to my beta readers and line-editor. This round of edits involves a bit more typo/grammar nit-pickiness. It also tends to be where I find out which words I’ve overused, and where I’ve repeated information or not been clear about something.

When I get those notes back, I open them all up simultaneously and work through the manuscript a line at a time going through each of their notes (this is why I keep my beta readers number down to 2-4, it’s already a rather overwhelming task). When I’m done with that, I do a spell-check/grammar-check read through and submit to Createspace so I can get a paperback proof copy. For the final proofreading, I feel the need to have the book IN MY HANDS so that I am less liable to miss things. I will usually have 1 or more other proofreaders go over the book after that, as well.

Then… finally, I am ready to hit “publish.”

On a scale of 1-10, how do you think this draft turned out?

Which one? Oh, probably the one I’m still working on? Well, it’s coming together. I’m about halfway done at this point, and I am enjoying the story more and more. The more I write of it, the less it feels like little snippets all strung together and is beginning to feel more like a cohesive story, which is encouraging. So… erm… right now I’d say I’m around a 5? But that takes points away for the draft not being finished. If I had to rate it only on what is done… maybe a 7.

What aspect of your draft needs the most work?

The fact that it’s not finished. That definitely needs work. But again, I feel like I need to go through it and make sure it all flows together. I’ve been writing it a bit differently than I’m used to. This is my first time drafting an entire novel in Scrivener, and I’ve been making good use of its ability to create each scene as its own little entity… but that also means that I am feeling like each scene is a bit disconnected from the rest of the story as a whole. I probably need to throw in some transitions at some point!

What do you like the most about your draft?

The characters. They are so much fun. I am really enjoying getting to know this new cast. I will always absolutely adore my Minstrel’s Song characters, but these Turrim Archive people… they’re pretty fun, too.

The other thing competing for my love is the world-building. This story had a much more fully-fleshed out world before I ever started writing the story than the Minstrel’s Song series did, and I’m enjoying the flavor and variety of subtle details I’m able to revel in as I write the books.

What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?

I definitely plan to self-publish this story. I am hoping to get more of the books written before I head to publishing this series, but I’m not entirely certain what the timeline will look like. Turrim Archive will be a 5-book series, but I’m not sure yet if I need to have all five books written before we start publishing. That would be my preference, but I’m not sure I like the idea of having that long of a wait between publishing Minstrel’s Call and publishing anything else.

What’s your top piece of advice for those just finished writing a first draft?

Same as everyone else’s advice. CELEBRATE! Then put it away for a while. If you have an editor, send it to them. If you don’t… just set it aside for a bit and write something else. Take a break from it. Editing goes better when you can look at your ms later through fresh eyes!

~ jenelle


DJ Edwardson

Yay, you’re writing in Scrivener! I wouldn’t worry too much about transitions, but that’s me. Just get that thing finished! That’s my motto.

And yay for characters! And yay for world-building! Oh, it is such a privilege to put thoughts to paper, eh?

Thanks for the updates on the new work. And please, please don’t wait to write all five before you publish. I want to read Turrim #1 now! Okay, I could probably wait until tomorrow or maybe even next week, but…I think you get the point.


Yes, finishing the novel is highest on my priority list right now. I’m hoping to have this ms finished around the end of February/end of March… the last couple of weeks have been encouraging, as I’ve been getting a lot done, hopefully the momentum can keep rolling.

Scrivener is awesome! I wrote Stone Curse in Scrivener as well, but that was a much shorter project.

Well…. I’ll think about it. With drafting being such a slow process these days, I think I may have to start the publishing process of Turrim Archive before book 5 is written… but I definitely want book #2 finished before I send book #1 off to the editors. Partially because throughout the writing of book #2, I keep going back to book #1 to leave myself notes about things to add/change/delete! But I appreciate the enthusiasm! :)

Deborah O'Carroll

Scrivener! That is all. :D

(…Okay, not ALL.)

Excited to hear about your writing projects, looking forward to Minstrel’s Call, and — ooh! Cinderella? :D Yummy. *rubs hands gleefully together*

I see the problem with either publishing before the series is through or waiting till they’re all done… Maybe a compromise where you have MOST of them done? But I do want more books soooon… buuut I also think it’s really important to have a series done before publishing, for the same reason you keep going back and tweaking book one, so… it’s tough! But if you COULD get the rough drafts done first that would be awesome, but anyway, I’m going in circles now. :P

Best of luck on your writing goals this year!!!


Scrivener! Such an awesome tool. And I love how incredibly easy it makes turning my books into ebooks. That is the main reason I got it, though I now use it for a lot more than just that.

I am super excited about the impending release of Minstrel’s Call… and will be starting to talk more about that soon, as I am beginning to receive back the notes and edits from my editor, and I talked to my cover artist the other night, which is giving me a better idea of when I might be able to hit the publish button.

I know! I’m so torn on this. But I think I’m just going to have to see what this year holds. Turrim Archive is not going to be ready in 2017 either way, so if I can get some rough drafts cranked out quickly this year… we shall see.

Madeline J. Rose

Ooh, Cinderella retelling? I am intrigued. :)

I hope to be more diligent in writing as well. The internet can be SO distracting, but it is nice for listening to music as I write.

This sounds like an awesome series! I can’t wait until you publish it! And I understand your plight of either waiting until the whole series is done or publishing before the series is finished. I’m trying to write a trilogy and it’s really hard because there’s always things I want to change in the first book that lead to drastic changes in the second book. It’s a hard process. But I wish you the best of luck in your writing goals! :)


I just sent the Cinderella retelling off to my editor, so that could be fun. Also, it’s a short story/novella, so won’t take as long to get it all polished up.

Yes, the internet is distracting.

Thank you! I am excited about it.


I love hearing from you, dear Reader!