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Michael Cohen Has Never Been to Prague in His Life, Except for that One Time

Confirming another part of the Michael Steele Trump-Russia dossier, Mueller has evidence Cohen was in Prague in 2016.

“The Justice Department special counsel has evidence that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and confidant, Michael Cohen, secretly made a late-summer trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Confirmation of the trip would lend credence to a retired British spy’s report that Cohen strategized there with a powerful Kremlin figure about Russian meddling in the U.S. election.

It would also be one of the most significant developments thus far in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of whether the Trump campaign and the Kremlin worked together to help Trump win the White House. Undercutting Trump’s repeated pronouncements that “there is no evidence of collusion,” it also could ratchet up the stakes if the president tries, as he has intimated he might for months, to order Mueller’s firing.”

Oh wait, nothing matters anymore. Nevermind!

You read it! Thank you so much! Want more? 

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James

“The Star Pirate’s Folly” Started with Music (The Decemberists)

The Mariner’s Revenge Song

The Star Pirate’s Folly started with a song I first heard in high school over 10 years ago. My posts are getting all nostalgic for simpler times, I guess. My older brother and I used to drive in to school together in a used ’93 Chrysler Sebring with maroon-eggplant colored paint and grey, fake leather seats that had cracked and split from too many Texas summers. I rode shotgun, and he picked the music (mostly).

It was one of those early summer mornings before the sun had time to bake the cool air away. He told me I had to listen to this song, and to the lyrics in particular. It’s a pretty long song, and when we got to the parking lot it was still playing, so we stayed in the car and let the music keep playing even though it meant risking a tardy in first period.

Music: The Decemberists

Artist: Arthur Janz

Impact on The Star Pirate’s Folly

If you listened to “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” and you’ve read the book, you probably saw a lot of parallels. What I tried to do when creating this series was mash together a ton of my favorite things into one story and hope that it came out different enough from any one of them that it would feel like something new while keeping intact the ingredients that inspired me in the first place.

I wanted something like… a female version of the main character from “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” living out the story of Jim from Treasure Island, but set in a universe that borrows from Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars series, and Ender’s Game while also making sure there are plenty of pirates, references to Greek mythology,  some American history–you get the idea.

The worldbuilding aspect is a lot of fun for me, outlining a new idea or thinking of new details I can add to my universe. As a kid reading fantasy and sci-fi books, I always looked up to the authors who could create something unique and impactful. Certain things have always stuck with me, like the beginning of the lunar colonists’ revolt in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (which, btw, is a fucking awesome title). Or Ender’s team of Dragons, fighting against a rigged game. The mice of Redwall Abbey defending their walls from Cluny the Scourge and his horde.

I tried to create moments in The Star Pirate’s Folly that combined my understanding of our own world with the specific details of my world and the emotional journey of a broken girl trying to hold onto her sanity.

Did I succeed? I guess we’ll find out. 🙂

You read it! Thank you so much! Want more? 

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James

Creating New Stories (with Orson Scott Card)

When I was 16 or 17, my parents bought me an amazing birthday present: I got a plane ticket, and admission into a writers’ workshop in Utah taught by Orson Scott Card.

For me, that was nearly half my life ago! Crazy. Anyway, my dad went with me over the summer and stayed at a nearby hotel in Salt Lake City while I was in the workshop. I remember being one of the youngest people there, but the class had a wide variety of ages. The workshop took place in a large meeting room with rows of white plastic tables–it may have been a classroom, I can’t remember.

Orson Scott Card has been one of my favorite authors since I first read Ender’s Game. I’d seen his face on the back cover of my books, but seeing him in person brought him to life for me. He had short-cropped gray hair and a trimmed goatee flecked with white. Rimless glasses rested on his nose. Throughout the course he stayed very energetic and animated, though I did get the impression that he felt a bit ill at ease in front of the “class.” He reminded me of an English teacher I had in high school.

We started with the basics of creating new stories, since the point of the workshop was for all of us to write a fresh story and have others critique it. Card stood at the front of the class and said he was going to demonstrate just how easy it was to create new ideas for a story by creating a crowdsourced outline with our class. Let me see if I can remember how this went.

Basically, Card asked for suggestions from us for characters, then for motivations for those characters, and then for ways in which we could stop the character from getting what they want. These are the basics of story: people with needs to be satisfied, and the ways in which they are prevented from doing so.

As long as these basic ingredients are there for a story, you will have a character with goals to achieve and setbacks to work against. Even if this is just a turtle stuck in a ditch, slowly working step by step toward freedom, nearly cresting the edge–when suddenly a mighty crack splits the air and a thunderstorm unleashes a torrent of rain that causes the turtle to slide back into the muddy ditch.

It’s not the most interesting story, but it’s got the basic movements of a character –> fulfilling needs –> while encountering setbacks.

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James

What Happened at Charlottesville’s “Unite the Right” Rally Last Year?

This is a VICE News interview with Christopher Cantwell, a speaker from the alt-right “Unite the Right” event in Charlottesville protesting the removal of a Jim Crow era Confederate statue. The whole video is really worth watching–the chants of “blood and soil,” the tiki-torch-bearing white supremacists, all of it is truly unsettling.

Cantwell is a self-proclaimed fascist who by his own admission seeks to normalize racism as part of his long-term goal to create a pure Anglo ethno state free of African-Americans, Jews, and non-white immigrants. VICE News interviewed him after a neo-Nazi terrorist attending the rally drove his car intentionally into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.

Please watch this interview, because this is going to get worse before it gets any better. I transcribed it below if you don’t want to watch the video.

The thing that we need to understand about fascism is that a key part of the definition is physical, violent suppression of the opposition. They see the use of force as another tool in the toolbox of getting what they want–in fact, it’s the only way to get what they want, since Cantwell is literally calling for the forced removal of all non-whites from his “ethno-state.”

Trump supporters marched shoulder-to-shoulder with white supremacists and Nazis whose goal is the forced mass removal of non-whites from the US.

Cantwell: “I’d say it was worth it. We knew we were gonna meet a lot of resistance. The fact that nobody on our side died, I’d go ahead and call that points for us. The fact that none of our people killed anybody unjustly, I think is a plus for us. And I think that we showed our rivals that we won’t be cowed.”

Vice: “Can you describe what the video appears to show?”

Cantwell: “The video appears to show someone striking that vehicle. When these animals attacked him again, and he saw no way to get away from them except to hit the gas. And sadly, because our rivals are a bunch of stupid animals who don’t pay attention, they couldn’t just get out of the way of this car. And some people got hurt, and that’s unfortunate.”

Vice: “So you think it was justified.”

Cantwell: “I think it was more than justified. I can’t believe–the amount of restraint our people showed out there, I think was astounding.”

Vice: “What do you think this means for the next alt-right protest?”

Cantwell: “Well, I think it’s gonna be tough to top, but we’re up for the challenge.”

Vice: “Wait, why? Tough to top? I mean, someone died.”

Cantwell: “I think that a lot more people are gonna die before we’re done here, frankly. People die every day, right?”

Vice: “But not like of a heart attack. I mean violent death.”

Cantwell: “People die violent deaths all the time. This is part of the reason we want an ethno-state, right? So, the blacks are killing each other in staggering numbers from coast to coast. We don’t really want to have a part of that anymore, and so the fact that they resist us when we say, hey we want our homeland, it’s not shocking to me. These people want violence, and the right is just meeting market demand.”

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James

Building A Patreon Community

Preemptive thank you to future patrons! You all rule.

1 The Star Pirate's Folly patreon banner insert

Today, I started a Patreon page. Here’s my spiel:

My name is James Hanlon and I’m a science fiction author. My first book, The Star Pirate’s Folly, is a dark, young adult adventure novel that blends the classic story of Treasure Island with science fiction like Ender’s Game and The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. If that sounds cool to you, it’s only $2.99 on Amazon!

I’ll be writing the rest of this three-part series and posting each chapter’s first draft online as I write it. There are various avenues where you can get it for free, but I am here to ask that you join my Patreon community for as little as $1 per month and help me grow one humble book into a career I can build my life around.

It’s no small thing, I know!

The more patrons I get, the more money I can afford to spend on cover art, editing, and advertising. Every patron will be able to give input on the story as it goes along, so if there’s something that you really love, really hate, or really want to see, you can let me know! I want to write the books that you want to read.

I am focused on building a community with the overall goal of reaching 1,000 “true fans” who love my work and want to support my writing in the future. I want to make a living doing what I love, so if you can find it in your heart (wallet) to become a patron even for just $1, or to buy a copy of my books and stories, I will forever be grateful.

Thank you all.

James

Journalists From Sinclair Broadcast Group Fire Back

Vox: We’re journalists at a Sinclair news station. We’re pissed.

Some journalists from a Sinclair-owned news station have anonymously written a group letter airing some of their grievances over the controversial must-read segments that went viral from an edited Deadspin video which showed anchors at 45 local news stations simultaneously reciting their scripts.

“We are journalists at one of the 193 local television stations owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, a media corporation with conservative and pro-Trump ties. We are writing this essay because we’re disturbed by the editorial direction our leadership is taking, and we want people to know that many of us at Sinclair reject what our company is doing. We’re writing this anonymously because if we spoke out under our names, we could lose our jobs — and potentially owe money to Sinclair.”

These journalists’ jobs are held hostage to force them into spreading propaganda. In order to continue providing for themselves and their families, they have to do what their bosses tell them. Everyone working for Sinclair is essentially facing the same threat: obey, or be punished. And with Sinclair trying to buy up even more stations to expand its reach–possibly even double it–they are about to lower that same guillotine over even more news workers. Say what we tell you to say, or else.

I’m torn on how to feel about the employees of Sinclair who are put in this position. On one hand, I want them all to refuse, resign, whatever they have to do in order to stop the spread of this blatant propaganda on behalf of the Trump administration. But on the other hand, that’s a huge sacrifice for any of these people to make–they would be putting themselves and their families at risk, possibly even facing expensive legal repercussions.

There’s the crowdfunding route–they make a public display of quitting and hope that the public backs them up to pay their legal bills and support them if they can’t find another job. This has worked in the past for some, but it’s putting a lot of trust in what must feel like a moonshot from someone forced into that decision.

What we need to solve the root problem is to bring back the Fairness Doctrine:

The fairness doctrine of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, was a policy that required the holders of broadcast licenses both to present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was—in the FCC’s view—honest, equitable, and balanced. The FCC eliminated the policy in 1987 and removed the rule that implemented the policy from the Federal Register in August 2011.

Obviously, there’s a lot of room for interpretation with “controversial issues of public importance” and “honest, equitable, and balanced.” But in a practical sense, this law meant that if you were going to use public airwaves, you had to do it in the public interest and in a balanced way:

“The Fairness Doctrine had two basic elements: It required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest, and to air contrasting views regarding those matters. Stations were given wide latitude as to how to provide contrasting views: It could be done through news segments, public affairs shows or editorials. The Fairness Doctrine simply prohibited stations from broadcasting from a single perspective, day after day, without presenting opposing views.”

Oddly enough, in the 2005 article I just referenced looking for information on the Fairness Doctrine, Sinclair Broadcast Group rears its ugly head again:

“When the Sinclair Broadcast Group retreated from pre-election plans to force its 62 television stations to preempt prime-time programming in favor of airing the blatantly anti-John Kerry documentary Stolen Honor: Wounds that Never Heal, the reversal wasn’t triggered by a concern for fairness: Sinclair back-pedaled because its stock was tanking. The staunchly conservative broadcaster’s plan had provoked calls for sponsor boycotts, and Wall Street saw a company that was putting politics ahead of profits. Sinclair’s stock declined by nearly 17 percent before the company announced it would air a somewhat more balanced news program in place of the documentary.”

Since we don’t have the Fairness Doctrine, the only thing we can rely on to change Sinclair’s mind is their profits. A boycott by their advertisers would achieve that:

“If companies decide they are no longer willing to advertise on a propaganda platform, this could have an impact. Look at Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News host and alleged serial sexual abuser who was fired after an advertiser boycott last year. In the midst of the boycott, O’Reilly went on Easter vacation with his family and never reappeared on air. It’s happening at Fox again now: Currently, Laura Ingraham, the Fox New host whose show was dropped by at least 15 advertisers after she attacked Parkland shooting survivors, is also on “Easter vacation” with her family.”

There are problems with this strategy too, though, because advertisers are unlikely to respond as quickly or aggressively to a boycott of Sinclair as an entire media company:  “Sinclair’s fragmented, inherently local structure … makes it much more difficult to rally a boycott against than a national program like Laura Ingraham’s ‘The Ingraham Angle,’ for instance.” So the pushback against Sinclair will have to be very strong for advertisers to take notice and join a boycott. For now, it seems they’re waiting to see how the public reacts:

“Specifically, advertisers are paying close attention to channels in more liberal markets such as KOMO-TV in Seattle (whose reporters too have been more critical of the Sinclair mandate), according to another local TV buyer. They are watching ratings closely in these markets to see if these mandated right-leaning scripts at all have an impact on the number of people that tune in. If the numbers take a hit, advertisers may take the plunge.”

Thanks for your time! Join the crew on Patreon for exclusive content.

James

When 20,000 American Nazis Descended Upon New York City

When 20,000 American Nazis Descended Upon New York City

On February 20, 1939, over 20,000 American Nazis gathered in Madison Square Garden for a “Pro-America Event.” At the same time, in Europe, Hitler was finishing construction on his sixth concentration camp. Seven months later, the Nazi army invaded Poland, triggering the bloodiest war in history.

“Ladies and gentlemen, fellow Americans, American patriots, I am sure I do not come before you tonight as a complete stranger. You have all heard of me through the Jewish-controlled press, as a creature with horns, a cloven hoof, and a long tail. We, with American ideals, demand that our government shall be returned to the American people who founded it. If you ask what we are actively fighting for under our charter, first a socially just, white, Gentile-ruled United States. Gentile-controlled labor unions, free from Jewish Moscow-directed domination.”

(A protester interrupts the speech, is beaten, and hauled off stage by guards. The audience of American Nazis cheer as he is led away. Later, they give a Nazi salute while an orchestra plays the Star-Spangled Banner.)

I hope most people can all agree that Nazis were evil, if there is any definition of the word we can accept these days.

I’m watching American citizens from 1939, just before World War II, who were convinced that the Nazis were a force for good. And there could be nothing further from the truth. Yet they fully believed it. Why is that?

Look at them and listen to what they’re saying. Propaganda. Lies. Xenophobia, scapegoating, racism, it’s all there–it’s just wrapped up in the American flag. Jews were literally being mass-murdered by the Nazis at the moment this speech took place, while the orator opens by disparaging the Jewish press. Yet 20,000 Americans openly supported the Nazis in the middle of New York City. Why is that?

Can you imagine a Nazi rally 20,000 strong taking place in NYC today? And that was in 1939, when 20,000 was a much larger percentage of the population. It would be more like 50,000 people today. Why did so many people believe in what the Nazis said?!

Thanks for reading! Join the crew on Patreon for exclusive content.

James

Sinclair Broadcast Group Is Extremely Dangerous to Our Democracy

This has nothing to do with writing or science fiction.

I’m not sure which is more disturbing–watching this video of 45 local news anchors simultaneously reciting a script given to them by their bosses at Sinclair Broadcast Group, or reading the script itself as it was given to the anchors at Seattle’s KOMO News.

Hi, I’m(A) ____________, and I’m (B) _________________…

(B) Our greatest responsibility is to serve our Northwest communities. We are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that KOMO News produces.

(A) But we’re concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country. The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.

(B) More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories… stories that just aren’t true, without checking facts first.

(A) Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’…This is extremely dangerous to a democracy.

(B) At KOMO it’s our responsibility to pursue and report the truth. We understand Truth is neither politically ‘left nor right.’ Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.

(A) But we are human and sometimes our reporting might fall short. If you believe our coverage is unfair please reach out to us by going to KOMOnews.com and clicking on CONTENT CONCERNS. We value your comments. We will respond back to you.

(B) We work very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced and factual… We consider it our honor, our privilege to responsibly deliver the news every day.

(A) Thank you for watching and we appreciate your feedback.

These anchors were forced to sign contracts in order to work for Sinclair which “stipulated that employees could be subject to a ‘liquidated damages’ clause requiring them to pay Sinclair up to 40 percent of their annual paycheck as penalty.” So not only are they at risk of losing their jobs if they refuse, but if they tried to quit in protest they could be liable for thousands of dollars in damages to Sinclair for ending their contract early. They were essentially held hostage to spread “fake news” propaganda–exactly the same thing they’re seemingly warning people about.

David Smith, the executive chairman of Sinclair Broadcast, is using these local anchors to exploit the trust they’ve built up with their audiences in order to spread his message. Think about what they’re saying. They warn of “irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country,” and how “members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think.”

You might say, well yeah, of course there’s fake news! And members of the media DO use their platforms to push their own personal bias! And you’d be right. So let’s talk about biased members of the media pushing false, one sided news stories, what they push, and who they’re pushing it on.

If you lean left, you might be thinking Breitbart, Limbaugh, Drudge, Fox, InfoWars…

If you lean right, you might be thinking NYT, MSNBC, ThinkProgress, The Young Turks…

“Fake news” is a term that Hillary Clinton first used, believe it or not. In December 2016, she made a speech decrying “the epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda that flooded social media over the past year.” Trump only picked it up a month or so later when he told CNN’s Jim Acosta, “you’re fake news.” Then, he began repeating it endlessly after Trump supporters responded well to it.

Either way, Sinclair Broadcast Group is definitely a right-leaning organization: “During the 2016 election, Sinclair stations were perceived to have offered Donald Trump soft interviews on local news outlets in states that were important to his electoral college victory. The station group recently hired Borys Epstein, a former White House spokesman, as a commentator.” David Smith of Sinclair said on April 3, 2018 in an exchange with New York Magazine, “The print media is so left wing as to be meaningless dribble which accounts for why the industry is and will fade away.”

And now, Sinclair has forced 45 local news stations to air “must-read” segments “warning of the dangers of ‘fake news’ in language that echoes President Trump’s rhetoric.” Ajit Pai, head of the Trump Administration’s FCC, “intends to raise the limits on the ownership for TV stations, currently capped at reaching 39% of the country.” This would lead to Sinclair “extending its reach to 72% of American households.”

72% of American households would be getting their local news from David Smith’s perspective, while thinking that each channel was independent and looking out for their best interests. Think about that video, and how anchors A and B established trust with their viewers by reminding them that they’re from the local community–eastern Iowa, mid-Michigan, San Antonio, etc.

They are trying to get people to mistrust other news sources in favor of theirs. Sinclair aligns with Trump and the right wing, so what they’re doing is discrediting “liberal” or “left” news, even though they try to claim that “truth is neither politically ‘left nor right.’ Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.”

Factual reporting cannot be their focus when the anchors are forced to say these things. Propaganda is dangerous to our democracy.

Thank you for reading! Join the crew on Patreon for exclusive content.

James

Shitty First Drafts: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Slush

Making Word Slush

First, say it with me: shitty first drafts. It’s liberating.

I first learned of shitty first drafts from an essay by Anne Lamott called (you guessed it) “Shitty First Drafts.” Basically, the idea is that it’s really okay for a draft to be shitty at first. That’s not to say that what you’re going to write is shitty, it’s not to make any judgment at all of the writing itself–that’s the point. Don’t worry about it. It’s fine if it’s a bit shitty for now because we’re going to fix it all later anyway, so don’t worry about what you’re saying and just keep writing.

Somewhere I heard someone call this process “making word slush,” creating content that you can work with later–like making snow before building a snowman. Going back and editing is counterproductive to writing. Don’t edit until you’re ready to show it to someone besides yourself.

I’m telling myself as much as whoever you are, dear reader, that it’s okay to write shitty first drafts because we shouldn’t worry about the quality; editing comes later. Write first, and if you can avoid it, don’t edit while you write. You just want to focus on creating pure, unfiltered word slush to work with later.

BUT. As much as it’s important to accept the shitty first draft, to love the shitty first draft, we also have to prepare for it. With something as long as a novel, it’s so easy to get lost and drown in just how much there is to think about. For me, the prep work to getting my first book completed was absolutely essential. I have to have a road map, I can’t just wander through the story without knowing where it ends.

Some people like that, and if you’re a seat-of-the-pants type of writer, YOU DO YOU. The Star Pirate’s Folly started when I was just struck by an idea, I got up, and immediately started writing the story in my head. I built the outline after, and I didn’t even end up using that first draft in my final copy, but writing those first few pages was SO important for the story because it gave me something to work with.

Mind map –> Outline –> Write

This is my formula. Bottom line, if you have an idea, get it down on paper/in a document, ANYWHERE, or you might forget. Personally, I like writing my outlines and mind maps by hand first and transferring them to Scrivener, a writing program (which is awesome for outlines!!). If you’ve never heard of a mind map, it’s basically just writing down ideas in a web and connecting them to each other. It makes outlining so much simpler.

I like to use an 8.5 x 11 legal notepad and a pen, but some people like to get a huge piece of construction paper or something with more space. Mind mapping is something I wish I’d done for my first book, so that’s where I started with book two, The Star Pirate’s Return. Since it would give away the plot, I can’t show you that, or go into much detail, but I’ll talk about it in terms of the first book.

The basic idea of the plot arc came from a Kurt Vonnegut lecture called “The Shapes of Stories.” I won’t go into that, but google it! It’s really cool. He’s a funny guy. (Okay, I had to google it myself anyway to get this cool picture, so here you go!) The basic shape of Bee’s story in The Star Pirate’s Folly was the “Cinderella” variety:

**WARNING: SPOILERS FOR BOOK 1 BELOW**

plot cinderella

At the beginning of the story, Bee is pretty low on the “good fortune” axis of the graph–surviving day to day on whatever she can, unable to really pursue her goals. She catches her first real break with Hargrove, who gives her a place to collect herself and be safe. Then, she gets her ticket off planet by selling the map, Starhawk shows his face (but only as she’s leaving Surface), she makes new allies with the Wanderlust crew, and so on. In the end, she gets her shot but has to sacrifice everything she’s gained. It doesn’t match up perfectly, but that’s where I started.

**END OF SPOILERS**

The important thing for me was just getting a framework for my story. I had key events at places in the book that acted as landmarks for my outline and let me keep in my head a basic idea of where I was in the plot. Tools like the good/ill fortune graph really help with visualizing the story.

Mind map –> Outline –> Write

Start with mind mapping. Just get everything out. Write your title in the middle, circle it, and then start with your plot (at least, that’s what I did). Write down the first thing that happens in your story, circle it, and draw an arrow from the title to your first plot point. Next event, circle, arrow, you get the idea.

If you get stuck on the plot or don’t have it all figured out yet, make new blobs from your title for characters, for setting, for anything you can come up with. When you’re finished, it will probably look like the ramblings of an insane person and that’s okay (I hope).

Your Outline Is Your Road Map

Once you’ve got a handle on your plot and you feel like you’ve gotten your ideas out onto a mind map, start with outlining. Your story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Try to break the plot points on your mind map into these general sections, then from there break each beginning/middle/end section into chapters.

If you’re more familiar with the three or five act structures, use that. I decided for my first book I’d write 40 chapters at roughly 2,000 words each, which works out to 80,000 words or 320 pages. But you can use whatever proportions you want–I just like short chapters.

Beginning/Act 1: Chapters 1-5, 10k words, 40 pages

Middle/Act 2A: Chapters 6-20, 30k words, 120 pages

Middle/Act 2B: Chapters 21-35, 30k words, 120 pages

End/Act 3: Chapters 36-40, 10k words, 40 pages

Don’t feel like you have to follow this ratio exactly, this is just what I ended up with because it felt right for the book. What you want to do next is make an outline for each chapter using the information you wrote in your mind map. Break each chapter into 3-5 scenes.

All you need is quick sentences that sum up an action or event which leads the characters through your chapter and ultimately through your whole story. Point A to Point B. Cutting the work into small chunks makes it much more manageable. It might not be totally legible, but here’s the most recent outline I used to finish The Star Pirate’s Folly. 

**WARNING: SPOILERS FOR BOOK 1 BELOW**

20170324_134146[1]20170324_134204[1]

 

**END OF SPOILERS**

For me, quantifying the book into a number of words or pages made it something I could wrap my head around. At first it was pretty intimidating to think about all the words I hadn’t written yet. But as I got farther into the book, keeping the wordcount in mind made it easier to plan and adjust my outline as things came up.

And because I’d been thorough with my outline and plotted out each chapter, I got a better idea of which parts of my story would need improvements and which might take more space than I thought. Some chapters got removed, split up, or combined with others. Each time I made a big change I’d update the outline so I had a “current” version in addition to my old ones.

Just going to say it one more time.

Mind map –> Outline –> Write

Thanks for reading! Join the crew on Patreon for exclusive content.

James

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