Posts in Writing
Writer to Writer: Character Backstories

Hi everyone!

Yes, it’s me. The same girl who swore she was going to start blogging regularly, and then took… oh, a year and a half off? 🤦🏻‍♀️ Sorry about that! I’ve missed blogging quite a bit—for whatever reason, I don’t enjoy journaling and can never force myself to do it, but blogs really become more of a conversation. I’m sure if I really forced myself to build up the habit I could… but I would much rather chat with everyone over here!

So, here’s my quick update: I’ve had a super quiet summer. I’m working on a revision for what’ll either be a Fall 2020 or Winter 2021 YA (currently called LORE) and I’ve been jumping in and out of my Spring 2020 release that I am SO excited to finally share with you guys. The Spring 2020 project just makes me happy and I’m looking forward to getting everyone’s take on it!

I’m headed off to my future sister-in-law’s bachelorette this weekend, but my newsletter should hit everyone’s inboxes on this Friday. Since I don’t have much news for said newsletter, I decided to make this newsletter pretty advice-heavy. The overwhelming request was for me to talk about how I go about developing characters—a topic I am ALWAYS happy to talk about! 😊

I get a monthly traffic report from this website, and while poking around the search results, I was pleasantly surprised to see that so many people are still finding some of my older posts with writing advice! (I also kind of cringe re-reading some of the posts because I relied so much on intuition and not as much on actual craft!) Sooz suggested that I might consider migrating some newsletter writing advice over here, to the blog, or at least breaking some of it off so I’m not crashing into everyone’s inboxes with monster-length emails every other month. 😅

I think it’s a great idea, both to show you guys the kind of content I include in my newsletters, and also to connect those newsletter subscribers to blog followers. If you totally hate this, please don’t hesitate to let me know as gently as possible in the comments! 😂

As I mentioned above, this month’s newsletter (if you’re looking at the archive, it’s the August 2019 How I Craft Characters + Writing Updates email) breaks down my four steps to developing characters, and I’m going to share my step #3 here. This step focuses specifically on how I think about character backstories and use them to reinforce my main character’s arc. That’s right—I don’t come up with backstories first! It’s important for me (and potentially you!) to know who the main character is before I can work my way back to figuring out what events made them.

The example I use over the four steps is Han Solo, so I’ll continue with that over here! The internet could always use a little more Solo.

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How I Develop Character Backstories

I think a lot of writers (myself included) struggle with the balance of how much backstory to include, and how soon. In my first draft, what I call my "draft zero," I'm telling the story to myself, so I let myself off the hook and include the backstory wherever I think I need it. Once I have the full story down, I have a better sense of how that information can be better spread out so readers aren't wading through info dump after info dump. So my first piece of advice here is to cut yourself some slack in that first draft!

If you’re joining us from the newsletter, you already know a bit about my love story with Anatomy of a Story by John Truby. Sooz introduced this book to me a few years ago and it’s totally changed the way I think about writing and helped restore my confidence after a low period. I go into a little more detail about how I use a few of his steps in the newsletter, but the most relevant one to figuring out your character’s backstory is to think about your character’s weaknesses and needs. Truby (and me!) believes that characters should actually have two needs. These are:

  • Psychological: How they’re hurting themselves.

  • Moral: How they’re hurting others.

The character doesn’t become aware that he or she has those needs until the climax of the story. These needs are what the character must overcome over the course of the story in order to grow and either achieve their desire or attain some kind of resolution. They serve as the foundation of your character’s emotional arc. Some folks like to think about it in terms of The Lie the Character Believes. I use both! Though, admittedly, I tend to think of the “lie” as the excuse the main character gives himself or herself about why they’re not going after their desire/goal, and the inciting incident offers them a chance to go after it and break out of that holding pattern.

I recommend starting here and working backwards. Truby recommends starting your brainstorming at the very end of your character’s arc (what he calls the self-revelation—a little more on that in the newsletter). Something I’ve always instinctively done as a writer, even pre-Truby, was to make sure I knew who my characters are the start of the story and exactly how they’ve changed at the end of it. Having a firm grip on these things helps you craft a specific moment that sparked the needs in those characters.

I tend to think of backstory in a few different ways:

  • World backstory: Part of worldbuilding—what’s happened in that character’s world leading up to the moment the story begins. Because I start developing all of my stories by developing the cast of characters first, I can directly link fears/beliefs/opinions that they have to those events. This is the backstory I really struggle to pace out over my stories.

  • Flavor backstory: To me, this is those random details that get brought up in the story to round out a character or share a bit more of their personality. I try to include unique/distinctive events to make the character pop. (See: Miracle Bus Boy in TDM) What matters most to the readers is who the character is RIGHT NOW and who they’ll become, so think of this like adding a pinch of salt to really draw out your character’s essence.

  • Emotional arc backstory: What we’re going to talk about now—the foundation of the character’s needs.

When it comes to your main character’s backstory, I almost always recommend teasing it out over the course of the story rather than revealing it all upfront. This adds in another layer of tension and mystery, and it allows your readers to get to know the present-day character and get to like them first. The best example of this in my work is probably the reveal of what happened with Ruby’s parents in TDM. I love a big reveal! (Side note: it was super interesting to compare the impact of revealing this same information early in the TDM film vs the way I withheld it in the book!)

A sympathetic/tragic backstory is a great and very popular way to get an audience on your character's side, though it can start to feel cheap or like misery tourism if every single character in your book has one. A backstory doesn’t have to be incredibly tragic to have an impact on readers. Your goal as a writer is to get the reader to connect on an emotional level with your characters, which means tapping into the human experience. While we might not have experienced, say, mental or physical torture or loved ones being murdered, we all experience moments of disappointment, regret, humiliation, loneliness, or feeling forgotten. Even quieter instances of these emotions can still be powerful points of connection. Compare: the shame/regret of blaming yourself for someone’s death vs the shame/regret of blaming yourself for a loved one missing out on a dream.

That said, I do LOVE a big emotional backstory—they best suit the stories I’m trying to tell. If I were writing a contemporary romance, for example, I would probably scale the backstory back a bit.

In any case, this emotional backstory moment is something I’ve always done instinctively as a writer. I used to call it the childhood trauma, thanks to this iconic-to-me Buffy scene, but I now prefer Truby's term for it, which is the ghost. One thing to remember: your character knows that this event changed their life's trajectory and beliefs, but they might not realize (or be willing to accept) to what extent. I consider this to be the most important backstory I include in my book.

What's interesting is that we don't actually know what Han's ghost is for the entire original trilogy--we get hints of it and can draw our own conclusions. While I know everyone didn't love Solo, I find it really interesting because the whole movie effectively functions as Han's ghost! It completely explains the origins of both his psychological and moral needs.

Here is how I would break it down for our favorite scoundrel:

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Han's psychological need in A New Hope: To believe that he can be part of something bigger/more meaningful.

In Solo: We see a young Han grow incredibly disillusioned in his time serving the Empire. On a very basic level, they strip him of his identity and reduce him and the recruits to identification numbers. But we also see them fighting pointless, losing battles that seem to achieve nothing. Later, we also see that his partnership with Beckett and his team is anything but.

Han's moral need in A New Hope: To stop being so self-interested and pushing others away through his cynicism and lack of trust

In Solo: I consider Qi'ra's betrayal/double-cross to be the true origin of Han's hardened cynicism. If nothing else, it marked the demise of his idealism. Reality didn't so much as check him as it body-slammed him. Beckett also plays a role in this, and warns Han, "I trust no one. Assume everyone will betray you and you will never be disappointed."

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After watching Solo, I had the same feeling about Han as I had about Anakin after watching Revenge of the Sith. While you still see that character change over the course of the films, having this backstory adds another, deeper layer that really increases the feeling of triumph and tragedy.

A truly impactful character arc sees a character struggle with their needs as they’re forced to make decisions and moral judgment calls—these moments are how you show readers how your character is or isn’t growing. What’s ultimately the most satisfying to readers/views isn’t necessarily that the character achieved their objective or stated goal, but the changes they undergo in the struggle to get that treasure/destroy that ship/find that magical doo-dad.

Han makes the right moral call at the end of A New Hope, which allows us to see how much he’s grown/how much he’s changed. The inverse is true of Anakin and it’s just as compelling, albeit more tragic: he makes the wrong moral call, but we still see how much he’s changed from the more innocent Anakin we both knew. As I was saying before, we don’t necessarily need Solo or Revenge of the Sith to still feel the impact of Han’s choice to come back in A New Hope, or, in the continuation of Anakin’s arc, Vader’s choice to save Luke at the end of Return of the Jedi, but, man, does the emotional arc backstory help those moments hit harder. (In fact, the first time I watched Return of the Jedi after Revenge of the Sith, I actually cried at the moment Vader saved Luke!)

I think that about covers it! If you guys have any questions about this method, please feel free to leave ‘em in the comments, along with any other writing topics you’d like me to cover. Otherwise, make sure you’re subscribed to my newsletter for more strategies on building out your characters!

Grateful
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Hi friends!

First--I just realized the last few posts had the comments switched off! Sorry about that. I used blogspot and Wordpress for so long that I sometimes forget Squarespace has different settings. In this instance, I have to turn them on before actually posting. Squarespace is so great in some ways... but, like, how do I add a sidebar to the blog? How do I post links to the years of archives? (This is probably a sign I should have hired an actual designer to do this site, eh?)

In any case, HAPPY THANKSGIVING to everyone celebrating today! As the year winds down, I've been doing a lot of reflecting on the good and bad of 2017. Some of the good: my brother got engaged to a wonderful lady! I bought a house! I took trips to places I had never been before! I published two books! Those are all incredible things. But I think that this was one of those rare years where things didn't quite balance out, and the bad just swamped everything else. A lot of it has to do with the constant stress with what's happening in domestic and global politics, but it also just feels like so many dark, ugly things in our society were exposed this year, and each month brought a new thing to be angry about. It became a year of necessary pain and confrontation, and I hope it means that we can find better ways forward in 2018. 

I had a year of bad anxiety; I find that what anxiety I have is pretty manageable, so it's not something I frequently talk about. That's probably part of the problem. So much of that anxiety is rooted in a fear of failure and disappointing others, which of course means that it's tied strongly to my work. I knew my anxiety was beginning to get out of hand when I couldn't even appreciate the successes I had professionally this year without that constant, creeping fear of What if it all goes away tomorrow? 

Recognizing those spiraling thoughts initiated the reset I'm in right now. It's included a Twitter and Tumblr detox, and removing a lot of extra voices I didn't really need in my life. I am SO GOOD at using those negative voices as road blocks. I plant them in my mind and let them creatively block me and trap me in this prison of uncertainty about the smallest storytelling decisions. My poor writer pals were constantly getting "What do you think about ____ or do you think ____ would be better?" type messages. That indecision really had me in its teeth.

I think I'm mostly through that now. What helped for me was going back through and really analyzing what did and didn't work in my most recent books, and taking it upon myself to figure out solutions and read craft books addressing those problems. What that indecision and anxiety ultimately boiled down to, I think, is a feeling that I wasn't in control of my stories or my career, and working on craft is a way to feel more in control of a process that had been largely intuitive for me. 

I'm 22 chapters into a ~35 chapter book and feeling good about it--or at least less agonized over the things I know aren't working quite right yet and I need a critique partner's opinion on. The deadline I set for myself was December 1st, but that was always a little bit crazy. This is going to be a long book (somewhere around 145k, which is par for the course with my other YAs) and because of Prosper touring + promotion + book 2 drafting, I only really got to start working on it in October. I've written around 70k words this month alone, which was only possible by addressing the aforementioned anxiety.

As I've gotten older, I feel like I've mellowed out so much. What was going on with my writing was really reflective of what was going on with my life in general. My truths have been simplified so much over the last four or five years. I'm thankful for that. 

This April marked the fifth anniversary of my dad's death. I look back on it now and see what a radical shift that was in my outlook on everything. I don't talk about this very much, both because my dad was a very private person and because the way he suffered at the end of his life and how quickly his health deteriorated was incredibly traumatic. I'm still processing it, and how it's rippled out through all of the choices I've made, and the anxieties I can't seem to fully let go of. (In reality, that What if it all goes away tomorrow? is really What if it all goes away and I can't support my family if something were to happen?)

The other day I went on an email deleting spree, finally clearing out my inbox of emails I'd had since 2008. I cringed and rolled my eyes at myself so many times, and finally understood what a slow, deep current maturity is. You really have to earn it along with hindsight. Because all of these radical highs and lows, I have so much less patience for drama that doesn't really matter in the end. I don't want to waste my time with people who aren't true friends, or on stories I don't love with my whole heart. The clarity that comes in knowing that our time on this planet is limited is another one of those painful processes that we all go through, but ultimately helps us change and move forward.  

Anyway, I'm sorry for rambling. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this year, I'm working hard to be grateful for those painful things out of my control, and for the growth I've undergone because of it. I hope you all have a peaceful holiday, or even just a lovely, calm weekend with those you love best. 

 

Need a recap of PASSENGER before you dive into WAYFARER?

Hi guys!

With less than a week until WAYFARER comes out (!!!), I'm so excited to share what I've been calling the MEGA GRAPHIC of PASSENGER! It recaps everything from the plot, to the terminology of the travelers, to the time travel rules, to the characters themselves. 

You'll notice that it looks super daunting when you first open it, but its really meant to function however you need it--you can skim the sections you remember and refresh everything you don't. If nothing else, I would recommend revisiting the time travel rules as well as the very last section, which recaps what happens in the last two chapters of the book. 

To access the full graphic recap click the image below!

 

Pre-order WAYFARER at:
AmazonB&NBAMiBooksIndieboundIndigo, Target

 

The One About IN THE AFTERLIGHT!

Hooray! Today is the day! Happy book birthday, In the Afterlight!  I don't want to say much about the book right now... I really want you guys to have a chance to read it first and form your own thoughts and feelings before we delve a little deeper. But I'm so excited to be able to share the end of Ruby's story with you at long last. It's been an incredible journey in more ways that one. When I finished the copyedits on this book and sent it back to my editor for the last time, I had that same feeling I had after finishing the first draft of The Darkest Minds--I just missed the characters and wondered what they were doing and if they were okay. The feeling was more pronounced this time around, knowing that it was the end of the line. The Darkest Minds series is the first trilogy I've ever attempted and I learned so much about myself as a writer and storytelling over the past few years. Gosh--four years?? I still remember the apartment I was living in, the job I was working at, coming home each and every day tired but still desperate to get back to writing The Darkest Minds. 

Thank you guys from the bottom of my heart--I'm so honored and thrilled you've come along for the ride and that you care about these characters as much as I do. You are the best, the best, the best.

 

 

OKAY!  Time to get down to business:

 

Twitter chat with @NookBN TODAY!

I'm chatting with B&N today on Twitter at 4:30 PM EST time and everyone is invited! Ask me all your burning questions! Or just follow along on the hashtag: #NOOKTalks.  I'm hoping to keep this pretty spoiler-free for IN THE AFTERLIGHT. 

 

Launch Party at Books of Wonder TONIGHT! 

If you're in the NYC area, my eternal fave Books of Wonder is hosting the launch party for IN THE AFTERLIGHT from 6PM to 8PM.  We'll start with a chat between me and my fab editor, Emily, and then open it up to audience questions (if you have any!). After that, I'll sign books! It's going to be a ton of fun--I hope I see you guys there!

 

More upcoming events!!

Tomorrow morning I'm flying home to Arizona for an event at the Phoenix location of Changing Hands on Thursday, October 30th at 7 PM.

And then, on November 3rd, I'll be at Blue Willow Bookstore at 7PM!

On the east coast? I'll be at YALLFest in Charleston on the weekend of November 8th. Will post my signing time and panels next week!

 

NEVER FADE is 99 cents!

Yes, the good news never stops! ;) For a limited time the ebook of book #2 in The Darkest Minds series, NEVER FADE is available for less than a buck. Here's the Amazon link, and here's the link for B&N.

IN THE AFTERLIGHT Playlist 

I've been slowly but surely adding tracks to the playlist each week! I'll be adding the last three songs this Friday. Here's the playlist so far:

 

I think that's it for now... I can't wait to hear what you all think of book 3! Let's chat a bit more next week about the story itself :)

The Comic Con One

Hi y'all!  Sorry for not dropping in on Sunday or Monday (I'm trying to establish an actual blogging schedule with limited success), but I was busy, busy, busy trying to finish the story I've been working on since last October!  And I did!  Last night, around 12:30 in the morning. I decided to suck it up and push through to the end, even though I've been feeling under the weather and I kept turning around to gaze mournfully at my bed. I'm really proud of myself for finishing this one--I'm allowed to say that without looking like a d-bag, right?  I've had the idea in the back of my mind since 2009, but I didn't start working on it until Columbus Day weekend last year (when I took a research trip to Boston).  I was going to be all dodgy and secretive about it, but I flat-out said it was Middle Grade in that post and, well, no use pretending.

That's really why I'm proud that I finished it--writing MG is out of my comfort zone, but I wanted the challenge after feeling a little burnt out on YA.  I honestly have no idea if I actually succeeded. Initially, I really struggled with the stylistic changes you have to make to write for a younger audience.  I tend to be a long-winded writer both on a micro sentence level and a macro storytelling level, so it was an uphill battle to change my usual syntax.  It ended up being 65,000 words (just under 250 pages) which is still a bit long for MG, but, hey, that's 100,000 words shorter than the first draft of the last book I finished (she says, trying not to cry).

In any case, it needs a bit more polishing and time to settle before I talk about it, but--I'm excited!  Finish it was one of the goals I had for October, so I'm actually ahead of schedule. Even if it all comes to nothing, I learned a lot about writing MG and I'm really fond of the characters and story.

(I was going to write some slick transition here, but I'm feeling pretty miserable/not-so-clever/headache-y today. This morning on the subway train--which, of course, was running "at slower speeds due to an earlier incident"--I started feeling REALLY ill. I woke up thinking, "I should probably call in sick to work today," but in the two years I've worked here I've never taken a single sick day... and, well, this girl has pride.  Anyway, bad choice.  I felt worse and worse and worse when I transferred to the Q, and, lemme tell you, there are few places worse when you're sick than a super hot, super crowded train.  I started stripping off my scarf, my coat, my knit vest to try to cool off, but I could feel the sweat pouring off me. And all I kept thinking was, YOU WILL NOT BE THE SICK PASSENGER, BRACKEN.  YOU WILL NOT HOLD UP THIS TRAIN BY PASSING OUT, NOT AFTER SO MANY JUDGE-Y TWEETS ABOUT SICK PASSENGERS GETTING ON TRAINS.

This is when the train stopped all together and I basically gave up on life and set my purse and lunch bag down on the ground so I could lean against the pole and puke on the evil person sitting directly in front of me, watching all this happen, and not offering me the chance to sit down.  A girl a few seats down finally got up and thank God for that--I think I was two seconds away from sitting my ass down on the floor of the car to avoid falling onto it.  So yeah, not a super fun day.)

I just wanted to remind you guys that this week is NEW YORK COMIC CON WEEK!!

I would LOVE to meet you guys if you're attending!

Friday, October 12th

11:00 AM-12:00 PM. Disney Publishing Worldwide Booth 1132

I'll be signing THE DARKEST MINDS galleys in the Disney Hyperion Booth alongside Dan Krokos (author of FALSE MEMORY).

1:30--2:30 PM, 1A14  PASSION, POWER, AND PARANORMALS! Panel

Authors Keri Arthur, Maureen Johnson, Tahereh Mafi, Tonya Hurley, Margaret Stohl, Dan Krokos, Alexandra Bracken, and Kalayna Price discuss the inclusion of romantic elements in their action-packed novels. If dating the undead wasn’t tricky enough, these protagonists must also battle the forces of evil while trying to keep their sanity and the world safe from destruction. Moderator Jocelyn Davies will have the authors divulging the steamy details behind creating their characters and their tricky love affairs.

1. Keri Arthur (Beneath a Darkening Moon) 2. Maureen Johnson (The Shades of London series) 3. Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me) 4. Tonya Hurley (The Blessed) 5. Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures) 6. Dan Krokos (False Memory) 7. Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds) 8. Kalayna Price (Alex Craft Novels) MODERATOR: Jocelyn Davies (A Beautiful Dark and A Fractured Light, Editor at Razorbill)
(I'm SO excited about this panel... and super, super nervous!  Luckily Jocelyn is captain of this ship, so I know we're in good hands and the audience is in for a real treat.)
3:15 – 4:15, Autographing Tables 2,3 and 4 Panel Autographing
I'll be signing BRIGHTLY WOVEN after the panel ends, but I'll have a few copies of THE DARKEST MINDS to give out, and--if the shipping gods smile down on me--TDM postcard-sized prints I can sign for you, too.
The One on a Budget and Deadline

Oy.  So I will be the first to admit that I'm not generally awesome when it comes to managing my finances.  I'm assuming this is because living in NYC means you don't have much in the way of finances to manage if you work in publishing.  (I try hard to save/invest all of my advance money and live off my day job income.)  Also, because I don't have to support/be responsible for anyone other than myself.  Lately, I think it's mostly to do with the fact that I've been super weak in controlling my impulse buys. This sort of relates to what I was talking about on Sunday--when you feel sad or miserable or upset, you look for things to make you feel better.  Some of them are good buys, and do help, but others are the result of boredom or a passing fancy or because there's a sale.  I end up returning almost everything I buy online, but I ultimately lose money in return shipping (UGH)--which basically feels like the same thing as lighting a $10 bill on fire.  I feel a lot of pride in the fact that I buy almost everything myself (my mom, bless her, will occasionally send me things she's found on-sale in AZ or baking treats) and I have a good credit score.  Nothing like a good credit score to make you feel like an adult!

Here's the thing, too: I'm a frugal shopper.  Seriously.  I rarely ever buy things that aren't on sale or available on eBay.  My mom very helpfully reminded me recently that eBay exists and you can find SO MUCH STUFF on there.  It's definitely a buyer's market right now, too.  Mom has been having issues selling things at a price level she'd like, which sort of inspired the thought in me that if I were to ask, a lot of eBay sellers would be willing to cut deals.  For example, I really liked this "vintage" (in quotations, because I don't count the 80s as vintage) Coach purse, which the company just reissued in their Legacy collection for over $250.  Well, eBay had about 40 listings of the original purse and I low-balled a seller from her asking price and she gave it to me for that.  I also got my duck boots for almost $100 less than they retail for, and my brand new-still-in-the-packaging bedding for close to $200 less than retail.  Lest you think I'm making crazy purchases, I'm not. I just need to be better about not buying things I don't need.

(Fashion tangent here, inspired by our conversation at assistant lunch today:  I do believe in "splurging" on things like a good coat, good shoes, and suit pieces that don't come from H&M.  Also, for the love of God, get rid of clothing that looks worn/thin/fraying/has holes.  Always aim for quality over quantity and save H&M/F21 for trendy pieces that won't be in style next season. Obviously that's hard when you have limited finances, but it's not impossible. One of my favorite blogs, Capitol Hill Style is an excellent resource for learning how to care for your nicer pieces and how to dress in a professional setting at all different price levels.  See, for example, her post today on black flats.  The key is to spend on classic, well-made pieces, and to take care of them.  Clean and treat your boots before you start wearing them this autumn/winter!!  And cut the strings on the back of your blazers and pencil skirts!!)

(Another tangent: I actually have cut back on the amount of fashion blogs/Tumblrs I read, because I think it was contributing to overspending.  I would definitely recommend you guys do the same if your wallet has been feeling a little slim lately.)

I have an account on Mint.com that I've basically ignored and haven't done much with.  It's just tough to get a guilt trip when you go over your monthly Chipotle budget, you know?  But it's actually really handy for setting goals for things like a trip, a car, a house, paying off a credit card.  It can be easy to fall into the trap of "invisible money," where if you're not paying with cash, your brain isn't fully processing the reality of how much money you're spending vs. how much is coming in. Their system holds you pretty accountable and sends you snippy emails when you go over budget.

(source and other screenshots of the site can be found here)

So why do I bring this up?  Well--as an encouragement for my fellow twentysomethings to get a better grip on their finances.  To show my high school friends there are systems to help you save for college and manage future loans.  To talk about setting goals and being realistic.

I went in to my Mint.com account last night and set harder goals for myself. In October, I want to really watch how much money I can save by cutting back on small expenses (trips to the CVS for snacks, taxis when I'm lazy, etc.).  It's becoming more and more apparent to me that I'm a goal-oriented person, and that if I don't have some kind of goal or project in place, I kind of... wander.  And that sometimes translates into online shopping or shopping in general to pass time or going out more than usual.  So last night I promised myself a few things:

1) I'll finish my current WIP by October 31st.  (This is actually way doable, I've just been procrastinating. [Actually, now that I think about this, it's totally contingent on when I get my revision notes for Sequel.])

2) I'll start writing Book 3 relatively soon--after I see my notes for Sequel--so I don't get caught in such a big time crunch again.

3) I'll start saving for a trip to Europe next year.

Mint.com estimated a week-long trip to the UK as being $3,600-ish for one person.  Which... I actually think is kind of low?  But it has now become my mission to save $3,600 over the next year and to supplement anything over with writing income.

Also, I really just enjoy the "high-fiving a million angels" feeling I get when I actually achieve what I set out to do.  So there you go!  What goals have you set for yourself recently?

Life, WritingAlex Comment