I am off and running. The first draft of Book 1 of my trilogy is being developed. So far I have written a little over 17,000 words, which translates into approximately 68 pages. The finished project will range from 320 to 400 pages. My completion date for this segment is the end of June or early July. Feels good to be writing consistently again, but much more work remains.

Last week I met with my writing coach, Alida. I was encouraged. I had questions about describing an abstract concept. As an example, I showed her a few paragraphs where I had attempted to do this. She made some insightful recommendations, but overall she thought my writing had improved and was progressing nicely.

I was initially gratified by her comment, but realized I was still on the lower end of the learning curve. I have in the past talked about the process of writing. In fact, over the winter, Alida had focused my energies on this area. At our last meeting I had an epiphany. The more planning I do, fewer re-writes will have to be done. I remember my teacher at the Loft telling us she had rewritten two-thirds of her book before she submitted it for publication. I was completely stunned by her comment. Hopefully, by the time I get to Book 3, I will have become better at planning.

Basically, planning involves time lines, sequence arcs, building tension, and planting seeds that raise questions. These are just a few, but the element of planning is just scratching the surface. Next come character development, plot lines, scene development, and background research, to name a few.

I could go on, but I assume you get the picture. Writing is work. For example, once my first draft is done (hopefully before July 4th), I will take a short break, rest my brain, and then review what I have written. This is basically another re-write. Once I approve this draft, I will submit it to Alida for editing. Guess what happens next? I rewrite it again. I will continue to rewrite until I am satisfied.

Yes, writing has enjoyment when you see your story unfold. It surprises you when elements you never contemplated pop up. Or when it takes you in unexpected directions and unplanned plot twists develop. All of this is true, but it comes down to one simple maxim that I learned in my Loft class. Writing is all about keeping your butt in the chair.


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3 responses to “READY, SET, GO!


    Bet you didn’t anticipate any of this when you wrote the first words. Keep , we are looking forward to the finished product. J K Rowling said that when she started the Harry Potter series she already knew what was going to happen on the last page.

    Keep planning and writing. We are here to offer support and look forward to the day when we will hold the finished product in our hands.

    Judy and Jon


  2. Kendel Ohlrogge

    Thanks for the update. Let’s get together for coffee again in the next couple of weeks.


  3. Bill Percy

    Mark, I’ve intended to respond to your posts since you started this site and Michele has urged me often to connect with you. The time is now, I guess! You’re so right about planning, and about the hard work. I’ve been helped enormously by a writer named Larry Brooks — his approach is off-putting at first (his books: “Story Engineering” and “Story Physics”), but man, his way of structuring things turned me around. So good you have a mentor in Alida. My original manuscript got exactly the same feedback yours did and so I’ve drafted novel #2 and outlined #3. The first novel, “Climbing the Coliseum” is finally published (indie publishing, and available online at, Barnes and, and The publishing and marketing side is even more a learning curve than the writing is! Keep up the work and good luck with your reaching your goal of end/June or early/July! Ambitious!


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