Can I Complete a New Draft in 11 Days?
This is the beginning of the next eleven days, during which I'm going to complete the second draft of A WARNING TO THE CURIOUS. The colors are for different acts: blue for the first act, yellow for the first half of the second act, pink for the second half of the second act, and blue for the third act.
It's a map of my book that I've developed to include the additional element of my personal time goals. If I know I have only a certain amount of free time to achieve a goal, I arrange the parts of the book that I need to accomplish by date on a calendar, so I keep track of time - which is another thing ADD people have trouble with. Left-brained people have little trouble with getting stuff done by a set time, but I need constant reminders that time is passing.
Why eleven days? Because the house is empty for eleven days, so it's now or never. If the first act takes up a quarter of a book, I need to complete it by the end of the first quarter of the time I have available.
Can it be done? Is it humanly possible? I have no idea.
But by the end of tonight, and half a bottle of wine, those squares are going to be filled, and tomorrow? Tomorrow, the adventure begins!
I've had some questions from friends on Facebook about what the squares stand for, so I'm copying and pasting my response here, for the curious:
Each square is a chapter. I write on it a chapter heading that describes the main focus of the chapter, then expand on this with a separate bulleted list of scenes in each chapter afterwards, but for writing a completely new draft I like to leave things loose, so I start with the ending, set up the beginning that pushes my character through the door to begin his journey, and then ask myself what has to happen to prepare the character for the ending. What choices does he make? And what are the consequences? These provide as many complications for the second act as the antagonist does. If there's more than one main character, I do this for each one, including the antagonist (who's the hero of his/her own story) then combine them into a more detailed book map later. It just means I don't have too much to read to know what comes next. Details are for revision, not for redrafting.
Since this photo was taken the last yellow square has become wholly pink—it's the optimum place for the midpoint of Act II, where new information is revealed that changes Tempus' plans. This is when things become personal, raising the stakes. From here on the challenges become far more dangerous and difficult, leading into the climax; thus the change of colour. That midpoint shift might happen in one scene, or spread over several chapters, but I need that gear shift in the middle of Act II to keep the reader riveted (hopefully) for the sprint to the climax.