515 Lost World Saga Progress March 2016

March passed by like a blur like Marches always do. Can you remember March? I always struggle in the year. A lot has bitten at my time apple this month so my novel progress was lower than expected. I managed to cram in a few days of good work towards the end of the month but there hasn’t been a mass of progress.

Now that I’m not recording word count, so much as repairing certain elements, I am continuing along the vein of tightening up the structure. I am still replacing as many “Thing” “Very” and “Like” words as I can. I am also trying to simplify and bolster areas that need it.

My novel is growing now in terms of chapters. First draft reached 11 and by means of spreading things out into better sections I have now reached 15 chapters (and growing). I’m more than half way through the novel and it is proceeding well.

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515 Lost World Saga Progress February 2016

February is traditionally the short month. Even with a leap day this year, it is still the shortest month of the year. It also passed by very quickly.

The Lost World Saga as noted in the last post, is happily into the 2nd Draft stage. Reporting will now change because my new target is not based on Word Count.

February Progress 2016

515 Lost World Saga Progress February 2016

Draft 2 for me is about architecture. I am breaking down the established chapters I’d created in 1st Draft and redistributing them into smaller bite-size chunks.

The first 3 chapters have been inflated to 9 smaller chapters ranging from 2,500 – 4,000 words.

I have also taken a further look at the language used in 2nd draft to remove a certain adverb and two other trouble words. In order to make the writing a deeper read, I’ve taken away words that I use regularly but don’t do much by the way of description.

  • VERY (Adverb)
  • LIKE (Preposition)
  • THING (Noun)

When I rewrite any of my sentences to exclude these three danger words, they are lifted from humdrum to hazzah in seconds. I fully expect that when I submit the final manuscript for editing, there will be a number of other bad habits that once higlighted, can be eliminated.

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515 Saga 2nd Draft

It’s official folks, as of the 2nd of February 2016 I declared 2nd draft territory on the 515 Lost World Saga.

515 Saga 2nd Draft!!

The book has taken me a considerable time to get to the 1st draft status complete. I tend to write a little differently than some writers in that I like to fully explore the ideas before getting to the end of the 1st draft. I expect that subsequent drafts will be considerably easier than the initial one. I felt it was time to dip my toe into getting this part done because it is fairly straightforward. I do have some adjustments to make and there are the odd few chapters that I’m not happy about.

My first architectural decision was to reduce the chapters (in most parts) to around 3,000 to 4,000 words so that they didn’t run on too long. Thinking about it tactically, a reader likes to have a pause, especially if they are reading before bed. Giving the reader a good place to get up to rewards them for the next time.

Because I’ve never been in 2nd Draft territory I decided to hit up my favourite Google+ group to find out about what their thoughts were.

What is a Second Draft?

That’s a contentious issue. I could say that it is the second stage in my production process but with a second draft you do things slightly differently than you did in the past.

I asked this question to a number of my fellow writers on the Google+ Writer’s Discussion Group to get a general opinion of what they do on a second draft and was interested with the results.

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515 Lost World Saga Progress – January 2016

I am coming close to the end of 1st draft and starting to button down the last parts of the chapters. Chapter 10 and Chapter 4 (listed in order of most work required) are the last two pieces of the puzzle and they need some attention to grow. In terms of schedule I am currently ahead but mindful that May 2016 will be a period when I will be downing tools for my final project for Open University (T317 Innovation). I am confident that I’ll have something by October 2016.

It has been a tougher month for writing, I am a fair bit down now on previous months because when focusing on a single chapter, it takes longer (whereas jumping between chapters allows me to quickly add more and be free).

I am a little concerned with the taper in Chapter 10 that I am repeating something that occurred earlier in the book but with a slightly different set of variables. As I move closer to the 2nd draft axe blade, I am conscious that I don’t want to be writing words that may stand a good chance of being chopped in the draft process.

I’m keeping this update short and sweet this time. February for definite is a shorter month but fortunately I don’t have that much left to do.

Word Count Summary – Comparison from 1st January to 31st January 2016

  • Chapter 1 – 10,184
  • Chapter 2 – 10,176
  • Chapter 3 – 8,317
  • Chapter 4 – 3,695
  • Chapter 5 – 7,782
  • Chapter 6 – 7,512
  • Chapter 7 – 4,387
  • Chapter 8 – 6,306
  • Chapter 9 – 6,475 (7,031)
  • Chapter 10 – 364 (4,956)
  • Chapter 11 – 4,595 (4,596)

Total: 69,793 (74,942)  + 5,149

Previous Update:

December 2015


515 Lost World Saga Progress December 2015

I believe that December is a difficult time to get a lot of writing done, mostly because family time and time spent with significant others takes a priority.

My progress is still going the way I want it and the novel is beginning to take shape. I’m happy I’ve locked in the ending now as it is only the parts in between that need fleshing out.

I’ve identified another key actor in my plot who surfaces from time to time. This character (Serin) is quite important to the flow but only has a rare interaction with the main protagonist which allows the story to switch focus from time to time. Chapter 8 & 11 have seen the most action respectively and I’m enjoying the freedom of jumping between at the moment. I’ll be addressing Chapter 10 in January as it needs some direction.

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515 Lost World Saga Progress – November 2015

515 Lost World Saga – November 2015 Update

Now that I have a core project and a deadline in mind, I have been working on my novel in my free time in order to get it ship shape. In the past I’ve always had the danger of starting something new. Now, all of that must remain locked away with only 1 sanctioned project. I’ve done well on that front with no slips back to old habits. Now it is all the one project.


The 515 Saga is moving well with the conclusion now locked in. Chapters 1 – 6 locked in.

I’m finding it much easier to truck along towards that final group of completed chapters at the end and I’ve been sorting out some other issues along the way.

I can foresee that the final stage of the 1st draft will be plugging the holes.

I use one of the methods I’ve pioneered in my guide to assist with writing block, that is to leave placeholders. “<>” or “{}” are helpful along this front.

I also use spacers when time has passed such as “<<>>” or “<><><>“. The beauty of a book is that time can pass. Lots of time can pass if you want it to. In most movies, time does not pass so quickly because you can lose the thread of the story on the big screen.

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Sanctioned writing for 2015 – 2016


As promised it is time to share the single writing project that I’m working on for the forseeable future.

I mentioned in my previous article, it was important that I narrow down or “sanction” only one novel going forwards. I have a problem whereby I start brilliantly, get to the middle or a writing crisis, then stop. This has ended in me having too many unfinished products at the end and I felt I needed to change this in order to get a book published.

I decided to choose the 515 Lost World Saga because it is in my comfort area and I felt it was marketable. I’ve also enjoyed writing it thus far and feel that it could easily invoke a sequel (I’ve actually started thinking about one).

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September 2015 Writing Analysis

As part of the point of JackoWrites.com, my major goal is to get published, I feel it is important to get the ball rolling. I’ve been writing science fiction since 2004 but am without a single published piece and I want to change that as soon as possible. Nobody is aware of my work and if I continue to potter like I have been nobody ever will. The time is ripe.

The Catalyst for Change

I decided to have a go at a commercially published book after having some minor success with my blogging blog (BlogPrefect.com), completely unrelated to my science fiction, fiction and fantasy works. I felt that if I could field the heat from other readers on my work then I owed it to my written works to publish them.

Writing for me is a passion and a love. I never tire of it.

There are two things that have always held me back from going further with my writing despite having gone deep into the process.


Everybody hates a critic. I’m no exception. I do admit it is a necessary evil and I should approach it in an adult way but for a long time my writing has been my own. I’ve approached it in a childish fashion, avoided critique where I could, and have just hid my work away like a hermit.

The truth is that you can be your own worst critique and over coming those demons can be tough. I feel I’m at the right level now to let it all go and let the sails take the wind.

Fear of being average

I’ve had a general fear of whether I was just average. Average is the level I seem to have performed in life and that fear my writing would be much the same. Not to cast any scathing comment on other writers but I’ve come across rather average novels in my time and don’t want to be just another one of those guys or gals sitting in a sea of average.

What changed?

The blogging changed matters, whilst I have had a few minor comments of negativity; predominantly I’ve done okay and in some cases, better than okay. This has relaxed me to criticism, to a degree, and I feel like I can emerge better despite it and because of it.

I don’t feel so average any more. I looked back on some of my old writing and it is still holding my attention. Of course, those ideas I carry forward need a few more drafts worth of work but I can definitely see it working for at least 5 of the titles so far.

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Writer’s Block Guide


Writer’s block can be a terrible affliction and anyone who has committed to some heavy writing will have suffered this crippling issue at one point or other. Even if you haven’t yet developed symptoms it pays to add some techniques to your arsenal that should prevent the affects later.

Writer’s block is the common symptom of not being able to commit words to paper, or in our more technological age, words to white screen. Like an illness, writer’s block can be cured with the necessary action but it is a situation that can be difficult to overcome.

Wikipedia notes this condition as:

“… primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown. The condition ranges in difficulty from coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years.”

A common issue in part related to the trouble of Writer’s block is Blank Page Syndrome.

“It can happen to a writer at any point in time, irrespective of their career success. This syndrome can be very irksome to authors and often leads to a long span of time where they cannot come up with anything new.”

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