After I picked myself up at the end of June, this month has been a big improvement progress-wise. I made an important decision that has completely re-shaped my novel, and I’ve set a completion date.

I’ve decided to add firearms into my world, because it fits with the time period I’m taking influence from, the early 1900s, and they would benefit the plot and make the fight scenes more interesting. So, I ordered The Writer’s Guide to Weapons by Benjamin Sobieck, which I was very excited to read! Pretty important too, since the extent of my knowledge was ‘Gun + Bullet = Deadie.’ I know, I know, but I’m learning! I’m even calling them firearms not guns! This book was also great because there’s a lot of knife-use in my WIP. Both MCs handle knives, as well as most of the side-characters.

This did lead to a problem: All the action scenes I had drafts of already hadn’t included firearms. This meant that a lot of scenes needed re-imagining – how would this particular scene go down, if the Big Bad had a pistol instead of a machete? Or both? If the villain wants the hero dead, why not just shoot them? There’s no Stormtroopers in my story – not all of these shots can miss! But if an MC is hit, then what? Revert to the good-old and wildly inaccurate ‘flesh-wound’ cliche and destroy any semblance of tension? There’s only so many liberties fiction can take.

I digress. All those questions will be answered in time.

Alongside wadding through research and re-inventing action scenes, I re-worked a bit of my opening chapter and that all important first-line. Right now, my first line is:

Wayfarers don’t pass through the valley anymore.

Being the 100th incarnation of the first line (or something like that, I’ve lost count) I quite like this one. Simple, clear, and poses a question. I’d like it to stick around, but who knows…

In the final week of July, I went on holiday – laptop-free, naturally. It was nice to revert to notebooks and do some relaxed writing.

And I did more work than ever before.

Am I surprised? Not really. It’s not exactly earth-shaking that no distractions leads to more progress. I outlined the Third Act, drafted scenes, assigned weapons to characters, figured out my villain’s motivation, and lot’s more.

To avoid another bout of zero progress like in June, I’ve decided to set myself a goal this August: 1,000 words a day and/or 1 scene a week. Modest, for sure, but small enough to convince me to overcome it. It’s much better, I think, to make a smaller goal and accelerate it than make a large goal that too off-putting to bother chipping away at. Since I missed July’s NaNoWriMo, and I’ll be busy in November with Uni work, August will be my own personal NaNoWriMo this year. We’ll see how this goes.

Finally, my completion date for this WIP is 25th December 2019. This will give me a good few months after Uni to finish the draft, because I have no doubt that Uni will have me bogged down with work!

Overall, better progress than last month. Not exactly as much progress as I’d like to be make, but I can’t deny I’ve made some important developments this month. Progress is progress – 1 word or 1,000 – each new word, each new piece of research, each development, is one step closer to the end goal.

Photo is my own.

The Writer’s Guide to Weapons by Benjamin Sobieck.

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