Author Journal 17th – 23rd June 2021

Last week was a belter of a week! Yip, the days did wheech by, but so did the work. Here’s a look at how it went.

Review 10th to 16th June 2021

My Writing Goals for Last Week

  • Complete Editorial Pass for Character (6/7) from Sparking Story Drafts by H. R. D’Costa
    • Action Step (AS) 38b
    • AS 38c
    • AS 38d
  • Start Final Editorial Pass for Odds and Ends (7/7)
    • AS 39a (the aim was to get the first half of the task done)

Did I Achieve My Goals?

Yes! Not only did I achieve the goals I’d set out, but I completed AS 39a and AS 39b 🥳. I even made a start on AS 40, but it’s going to need another day or two to get it all done. (There are charts, calendars, local information, and weather data for Marseilles to put onto the index card outline and my editing/research notes.)

As of this post, I’m currently at this point in the final pass:

Stage 3 (Final Stage) of Iterative Outlining: Editorial Pass 7/7 (Odds and Ends) — progress

So, How Did I Finally Get Ahead?

Unfortunately, I didn’t find a magick potion or a fancy timepiece that stopped time… man, if only. Nope, I stole and bribed my way ahead.

The stealing was from me. I stole a few hours from outwith my work schedule—mainly my downtime—and got my head down to plough through the tasks. I also bribed myself, well Neenee (my inner chimp) with a sneaky jar of Irn Bru, an extra coffee here and there, if she got on with the job. And finally, because of the bribing and the thieving, the work got easier and, well, fun. The changes I made through the action steps improved the story so much that devoting extra time to the pre-editing was no longer a chore; it was a pleasure.

Neen with her (our) beloved Irn Bru

What Changes?

Here’s what I did last week that helped improve the story.

AS 38b saw me using my Character Pyramid to ensure that my main characters (MCs) were in the most scenes and that the characters on the next level down had their share (less than the MCs) and the characters on the level below that had their share (lesser than those above them).

In addition to that, as this is a dual protagonist story, I ran through the outline, checking that both MCs had an equal share of scenes and that point-of-view (POV) scenes were evenly distributed between them.

Still using the Character Pyramid for AS 38c, I tackled a common issue where writers shine the spotlight on someone other than the MC during the climax, as in an ally saves the day.

I’d managed to avoid that pitfall but did notice that I’d kept some moments—non-climax—where allies shone bright off-screen. To remedy that, I put those moments into the outline to give them their moment in the limelight.

AS 39a helped me up the impact of my scenes. By analyzing the mood change (positive to negative or vice versa) within each scene, I saw that some of the changes weren’t strong enough. So, I made a few modifications to those scenes, and the outline came out stronger for it.

As I’d made some significant changes to the plot several weeks ago, I had already done the work of AS 39b by incorporating multiple storytelling needs (character development, theme, subplot, etc.) into my scenes.

On Tuesday, both Jez and I needed to have a bit of a rest, so we put our bike ride on hold. I hadn’t planned on working. I was going to sit back and crochet or play Halo.

But, nope.

I knew that I had a chapter to read before I could make a start on AS 40 this week—as I mentioned before, it’s a complex and time-consuming task. AS 40 is a seven-item tracking agenda. The items to track are:

  1. Dropped character traits
  2. Dropped characters
  3. Dropped conflict
  4. Loose ends
  5. Image systems
  6. Theme
  7. Timing, weather, local holidays, etc.

The time-consuming part comes from going through the index cards for each of the seven items. I’ve dealt with the first six and now have the final—most researchy—item to deal with this week.

That brings me to…

This Week’s Goal

  • Work on Editorial Pass #7 (of 7): Odds and Ends (Sparkling Story Drafts) for Working The Asset.
    • AS 40
    • AS 41a
    • Make a start on AS 41b (the final, final, FINAL step before writing begins!!!)


ThursdayAS 40
FridayAS 40 and Blog post
SaturdayAS 41a
SundayAS 41b
MondayAS 41b
TuesdayDay off–bike ride
WednesdayDay off–bike ride

Well, it’s time for me to sign off and reward Neen with a cold jar of the ginger stuff. Until next time, thanks for stopping by, and take care.


Author: Susan T. Braithwaite

Royal Navy veteran from Scotland. My journey into writing started with a screenwriting certificate program at UCLA Ext. Since then, I've worked as a freelance content writer, erotica author, proofreader, professional beta reader, and content editor. I'm now working hard on my dream writing career: romantic suspense author. When I'm not writing, I can be found drinking too much coffee, obsessing over yarn, and planning world domination with my husband,, and our squirrel army.​

6 thoughts on “Author Journal 17th – 23rd June 2021

  1. Chris Hall says:

    It’s really interesting to see you chart your progress as you continue with the analysis, Susan. I imagine after this the actual writing will be a breeze… and so much fun! I’d only be checking the weather in Marseille once I got there and consequently falling down another rabbit hole 😉
    Golly, I’m so looking forward to reading this!

    PS – love the pic of Neen 🙂 Yous both should know I once did an insurance inspection of the Irn Bru factory in Wigan – since replaced by a housing estate – sadly I was unable to resist the line of the drink being made from girders.

  2. Photos by Jez says:

    Well done, Sweetie 👏 That’s an awesome amount of work you got done 😃

    1. Thank you, Sweetie! Couldn’t get it done without you 😍

  3. bushboy says:

    Naughty for stealing downtime but glad two days are in the next schedule Susan 🙂

    1. I plan on vegging–after some bike time 🚴‍♀️

      1. bushboy says:

        Exercise and chilling are a good combination 🙂

Leave a comment below--I'd love to hear from you!, pub-9446438291097940, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

%d bloggers like this: