Summer has arrived here in the Virginia mountains. Last night we went to a festival on the lake, sat on the in-laws’ sailboat and watched the fireworks over the water.

20160611_211613I spent yesterday afternoon sitting in the shade on our patio, reading Story Engineering by Larry Brooks and taking notes on plot structure. I’ve realized I tend to get stuck at what James Scott Bell calls the first doorway—the transition between the first and second acts. Larry Brooks calls it the First Plot Point, when the antagonist arrives in full force. His words on story structure will go a long way to helping me conquer this aspect of the writing process. So if you tend to get stuck, if structure sometimes eludes you, I’d wholeheartedly recommend Brooks’s work. James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure is also helpful, but I’m finding Brooks’s breakdown of structure especially valuable.

I’ve been writing at night, managing 2,500 words a day fairly consistently with this new writing schedule. Ideally I’d wake up at 5 a.m. and write until noon, but I’m a night-owl and nighttime writing seems to suit me. So if that’s when the muse speaks, I’ll keep showing up and listening to what she has to say.

And now, a check-in…

Writing: Wrote 12,713 words, mostly in Goblins and Grimoires. I’m at about the 17,500-word mark; the goal for that story is 28-30K, so I’m getting close. I’d like to finish that story and a third draft of The Faerie Key by the end of this round.

Reading: I’m about 75 percent of the way through Larry Brooks’s Story Engineering, which I’m reading slowly and taking notes on as I go. It’s really, really good. Seriously. Why didn’t I read it years ago? Also reading Once Upon a Curse, a short-story anthology. If you enjoy fairy tale retellings, I recommend it. And continuing to read stories in the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2. Just read a really steamy read called “Zola’s Pride” by Moira Rogers in that collection.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. Click here to cheer on fellow participants.

Is summer in full swing where you live? What is your favorite summertime activity?

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