It Starts With…

The beginning. Just like with a story, though, it’s important to know where to begin.

I actually end up doing my best in the beginning of my stories. My characters are strong. My dialogue is snappy and my descriptions are floral, but not quite violet yet. I love the story. I love the characters. I want to write forever.

The the middle comes… But that’s a different blog post. This one is about my views on Beginnings ™.

As I said before, I think I love my beginnings because I spend a lot of time thinking of where they should start. Too far in the past, and the hero’s journey is delayed in the pre-quest, ordinary world that can bore people. Too far in the future, your reader might not know what’s happening or where the plot is. Some novels I’ve read have recovered from this, but sometimes it’s more of a chore for me to read than it should be.

So when I start writing my beginnings, I try to think of those scenes right before everything changes. Before the call to action happens, when I can show the normal life. I make sure that there’s something going on – it has to be exciting – and that my main character is front and center. Don’t have the first character your reader meets for an extended period be a secondary or side character. If that happens, maybe reassess whose story it is.

When editing, I think that most people end up changing the beginning in some way. Usually moving it forward to where the action starts, or when the main character starts to get himself or herself into trouble. I’ve had some novels like that.

My current novel, Depleted, starts right when Frankie (the main character) meets the man who is going to change her life by suggesting that her “lack” of alchemical talent isn’t a failing. She just learns differently. I have a fear right now (at 22k in) that the plot has taken far too long to start, but that’s what editing will be for when it’s all said and done.

Is this a problem with the beginning? Maybe. But sometimes, during my edits and revisions, the beginning ends up being the last thing I write.

2019: A Writing Odyssey

January’s WriYe Blogging Circle question reads as follows:

What’s your WriYe Word Count goal for 2019? Why did you choose it? What are your plans for the year? What do you want to accomplish with your writing?

My yearly word count goal is small. Much smaller than past goals have been. For years, I usually aimed for 300,000 words. Seemed a good plan – roughly 1,000 a day where I could miss some – and I was usually successful. In 2014, I banged out close to 700,000 words and finished a lot of novels.

And then I disappeared. I stopped writing. Work got to me and life got to me and I just didn’t focus on writing like I had in the past. I had a few false starts with I think one novel being finished between 2014 and 2017, and then not a single word in 2018. 

So this year – with a new kid, teaching a full load and my new-found love of triathlon and marathoning – I am focusing on quality words and editing. My goal is 120,000 words, meaning roughly 10,000 a month. Not to brag, but I know I can do 10,000 in a day if it comes down to it, so it’s that reassuring fact that will prevent me from feeling like I’ve failed if I don’t write for most of the month.

To be honest, the small word count goal is actually motivating me more. I’ve only missed one day of writing in the novel (I focused instead on research) and I’m already near twice my monthly word count goal. I like what I’m writing. And I’m also re-reading older novellas and novels and enjoying them. Which, for those who have known me, is monumental. I usually hate every word I’ve written

I guess I’ve grown up and matured a bit, huh?

For the accomplish part of the question, I mentioned it in my last post (about fifteen seconds ago) but I want to get published. I want to finally make this hobby of mine into something I do. Something I’m known for outside of the WriYe community. I’ve even told people at work that I write! Hopefully, I’ll see a fraction of success.


What are you most looking forward to in 2019?

This is half-writing, half-social… But I’m looking forward to connecting with old friends again. Erin, over at Erin Foster Books, brought me back after disappearing and already I feel that same click with the WriYers that I always have – new and old. And then we connected with old friends from a LiveJournal community and… It’s already shaping up to be a fantastic year for friends, writing, and more.

Words and Wyles

Hello, writing world.

It is I, K. A. Wyles, speculative fiction writer (horror and fantasy, mostly) and scientist. But this blog only focuses on one half of that, and it’s not the one with beakers and flasks. More about me will be in the About Me page, so let’s focus on the details here.

It seems I, once again, find myself re-starting this blog. But, fittingly, I am also creating a website to go with it so, win/win. I see that the time I was ever blog-active was 2014, which was the last year I really did any significant writing. The day job ate me up, gave me a second job, and I have finally been able to break the 60+ hour work weeks by having a child.

They’re good for something I guess. (Warning: There may be sarcasm.)

So, back into the groove. I have a story I’m already working on, but surprisingly, I’ve started to finally care about publishing a novel. It’s always been a “side” thing of mine; I write for fun and if something seems good, I’ll publish it. I didn’t want to edit.I just wanted to spit out all the writing in my brain and share with my friends.

But now? Now I want to publish and send my work to strangers. That’s my main focus. Over on WriYe, I’ve started up a group goal known as #Pub2020. It’s just what it sounds like: Get Published (or an Agent, or an Editor, or a Marketable Draft) by the end of 2020.

Is it a stretch goal? Yes. But it’ll get me focused. And having a group of fellow writing friends – new and old – do it with me will motivate me not to quit. I hate failing and I hate failing in front of people more.

Since I’d like to be serious, I’m also going to start taking the whole platform thing serious too. Which means new Twitter focused on writing, potential self-published novella to get my name out there, maybe a website?, and – most important – this blog has to come back to life.

And what better thing to bring it back to life (like the zombies that inspire it) than the January WriYe Blog Circle? That post will follow this one. Then my goal is one post a week about what I’m doing, my opinions on happenings, anything I find interesting, and more. Maybe a few excerpts. And polls on what I should focus on for things like PitchWars.

Here’s to 2019! May it be full of words and wisdom.