Yesterday, 11:35 PM

We were driving back home from a campmeeting service at our church. We pulled in to Steak and Shake to get a milkshake for my brother’s first soccer game (he lost, but we celebrated anyway).

I demanded a milkshake too, since I had just done some work on my Midpoint and worked through some tough problems about it.

Unfortunately, my brother got this epic medium chocolate milkshake with whipped cream and a cherry while I got a kids-meal milkshake that was trying to poison me with barf-inducing flavors. Instead of the chocolate I had ordered, I got a strawberry-vanilla concoction with barely a drop of chocolate syrup that was utterly terrible.

I got into bed after 12:30 and couldn’t fall asleep so I read a book until I did. After 1 AM-something, I eventually fell to the wonders of slumber.

But not without setting an alarm for six AM, of course.

This morning, 6:10 AM

You see, I’m behind on everything from my recent Texas trip we made in addition to our hurricane evacuation. We just got back on Sunday.

I used to stay up until the early morning hours—5-7 AM—working on my writing stuff, since I don’t have much time during the day, but my parents put a kibosh to that with devices away early. “Poor little Madi would stay up all night writing her novel,” they said. “So put devices away early,” they said.

But never fear, my lovely little love of writing! I’ll just get up early and do it! >:)

I had to start a new notepad this morning. I’m now on Notepad #6 of outlining, brainstorming, plotting and structuring. 😮

6:19 AM
Page 1

(^ these page numbers are for how many notepad pages I filled, not how many workbook pages I went through.)

I had a lot of fun this morning. It was great. I felt deathy and nauseous, but it was great.

If you can read my handwriting, spoiler alert.

6:24 AM
Page 2

I like to characterize certain little things with smiley faces and emojis. Most of my emojis I use during brainstorming or outlining are 😉 , >:), ♥, and XD.

6:28 AM

Personal revelation. Mm. >:D This is kinda separate from the Midpoint so NEVER MIND.

Oh, but here we go!

How will the Midpoint bring Ari to a new understanding about your subplot?
Hinari’s romance? >:) >:D

6:31 AM

Will this new understanding be a direct or indirect result of the revelations in the Midpoint? How?
Direct! Hinari can’t spoilerkissspoiler and Hinoki save her if they aren’t traveling to Masatoshi’s here. So pretty direct, the new understanding is. Well, kinda. Also kinda indirect? Wait, no, direct. Bc it’s set up as a result of Midpoint. The scene, anyway. But maybe the understanding is too? Sure.

This is how I think. XD

6:33 AM
Page 3

Foreshadowing. Not one of my strongpoints. On this recent trip, I read my second novel, Pursuit of No One, to my BFFs. (I’m rewriting that one after this one. Yeah, the one I’m working on right now.) 60k was a lot to read, but it was a lot of fun and they really liked it. 😮 They’re so amazing and supportive. :’)

I mention that to say that I was so bad at foreshadowing that I had to tell them “Okay, this is important” and “Remember when this happened?”

And then some things were so painfully heavily foreshadowed that what was going to happen next was completely obvious and they guessed it instantly.

But foreshadowing is a lot of fun, and I hope I’m getting better at it. >:)

6:35 AM

This section is one big spoiler.

My Midpoint includes a nice fight to the death between the two romantic leads, if you’re wondering about the title of this post.

But of course, they draw a tie. Otherwise the story would end right then and there.

And then in the scene afterward, he has to save her from Le Creepy Guy (he’s nameless) and they have their first kiss (he’s pretending to be her husband to protect her, because at this point they hate each other and definitely wouldn’t kiss).

(Falling in love, one step away from breaking something in my story called Code, also happens to be punishable by death. All the more reason not to kiss.)

(See, I have common sense and I’m not writing rushed romance.)

(You know, one scene: I don’t really like you! The next: Gimme a kiss!)

(… How did I even get on this?)

6:47 AM

I went on a really long tangent here about whether or not I should have a female head master of one of my samurai academies in the story.

But to my credit, it was related to foreshadowing. One of the masters needed to mention something to give the readers a little poke before the Midpoint, to let them know with a delicious sense of dread that something big is about to happen. That’s called light foreshadowing.

And I couldn’t decide whether he should say it to another fellow master—not his best friend fellow master, whom spoilerAri accidentally killedspoiler—and whether it should be a woman and if they should like each other! >:)

After realizing the master had gray hair I was like hah! Never mind.

Agh whatever this isn’t important I’m getting too wrapped up in the details MOVING FORWARD. →

6:52 AM
Page 4

I was really disappointed that the Second Half of the Second Act section only lasts for 25% of the book, so I moved the Midpoint up earlier one scene and pushed the Third Plot Point back two scenes to give myself 6k extra of Second Half of the Second Act to write (that’s when what I’m code-naming as “Big Epic Mission” you see up there takes place).

Just because I love it so much and I’M SO EXCITED TO WRITE IT.

7:05 AM
Page 5

A lot of the questions I answered were repetitive. So I decided to be sassy.

I feel like I’ve answered this before.

7:09 AM
Page 6

And here it is! The Second Half of the Second Act. I’m getting butterflies of excitement just thinking about how amazing and beautiful and epic it’s going to be.

I have to be careful not to get too excited about it, though. Remember when I got so excited and just ran away with my ideas for it that it messed everything up and I had to redo a bunch of work and then add in all those excruciating character arcs? Yeah, not making that mistake again.

7:30 AM
Page 7

I know you’re wondering what aesthetic writing photos have to do with the outlining process. But I assure you, they’re essential. (They’re dark because I could only see by the flashlight on my iPhone and took the pictures with flash.)

7:43 AM

7:45 AM
Page 8

*shakes head* Ari, Ari, Ari. Poor you. spoilerYou don’t realize that your worth is in Jesus until book III.spoiler You’re very deceived.

(Ari’s my protag.)

7:49 AM
Page 9

You can’t exactly fangirl and slam the keyboard with ASJKHFSDLKJFASHSL if you aren’t using one. So I scribbled my excitement instead.

I stopped for the morning at the Second Pinch Point. That’s the one structural moment I haven’t given any thought to. I felt so stupid!

Unfortunately, I haven’t plotted how the Big Epic Mission is going to go yet, and the Second Pinch Point falls right smack dab in the middle of it.

All I know is that there are a lot of inside people, double-crossers, backstabbers, betrayers, Hinari (Hinoki + Ari) falling in love, secrets, palace intrigue…! Lots of excitement going on. I have an idea of how some scenes will go from when I was working on Ari’s character arc, but I definitely don’t have everything figured out.

So if I don’t know how the Big Epic Mission is going to go, I can’t set a Second Pinch Point in stone.


Be sure to follow me on MyWriteClub for faster updates on my structuring progress!

My work ratio is really weird, because even though I’m 108 pages into the structuring workbook, sometimes one page of questions in the workbook could mean 2 or 3 notepad pages full of answering.

So for one single question—”What happens to emphasize the antagonist’s power and control?” I’ve gotta brainstorm the entire basic plot of the Big Epic Mission (my favorite 25% of the entire book ahhh) to know where to place that scene of what happens, which will require pages upon pages of Big Epic Mission brainstorming.

But I can only document how many workbook pages I’ve been through, since the amount of notepad pages I end up with by the time I’m done structuring could vary—no clear estimate there. See how terrible my work ratio is?

Wanting to wallow in the realm of my story world for a little longer (who am I kidding. My mind is always on my story. I daydream and imagine for it literally all the time.), I read some of my rewrite of chapter 1 from the original Loyalty Book I. (can you believe I’m working on the fourth draft?) It’s still a big steaming pile of breakfast crépe with lots of nutella and whipped cream, but I screenshotted my favorite part of it.

Sorry for the awful dialog. I rewrote chapter 1 back in May and didn’t really know what action beats were, though I unknowingly used them sometimes. My dialog has improved a lot since then.

This Session’s Music:

Yeah. This post isn’t over yet. Sorry. Not really. I’m not letting you off that easy. We’re only at 1.4k!

I listened to an interesting mix while structuring today. And so I’m gonna share it.

(On Monday, I went on a hunt for new music. I’ve gotten all the really epic popular action-adventure-movie-score type tracks from Audio Blocks already, and those all remind me of plotting for Book II, so I was really hurting for something fresh. Since I don’t like following the crowd, I found some incredibly epic tracks that weren’t popular, and I loved them.)

But not yet. First, I listened to…

Undefeated feat. KB by Tauren Wells

Northern Sky feat. KB by Capital Kings (hey, KB again)

And then my new favorite song right now (it changes). The first time I listened to it I was like 😮 THIS IS MY NEW FAVORITE SONG.

My dad thought it was pretty dumb, my brother deemed it “dope”, and I’m just like… EPIC. >:)

Rip it Up feat. Aaron Cole by Capital Kings (my current fave)

I’d link to each of these songs on iTunes if I knew how to do that. But try before you buy! If you like ’em, please buy the songs and support these epic Christian artists.

And then I decided to take a break from songs with lyrics and go with my new arsenal of drama tracks. I found them all by searching the word “epic” on Audio Blocks. I had quite a few, but I’ll only share my favorites.

Digital Epic Warrior Full Mix

Epic Hybrid Robot Warrior Full Mix

Epic Orchestral Hip Hop

This was my very favorite. It was just perfect. Repetitive enough so I could really think and brainstorm without the distraction of lyrics but just epic enough so that it was epic. I still haven’t gotten tired of it.

So yes! That’s where I am today. I’m on a vigorous catching-up schedule and am supposed to be doing three times my original goal per day… I still need to go through three workbook pages today to reach my goal of 15 pages, but I’m not going to have the time.

You know, all that brainstorming for the Big Epic Mission and all. Aaand I actually have to go get ready for service tonight now. XD

Be sure to follow me on MyWriteClub for more frequent updates! Are you doing any structuring for NaNoWriMo? I’d love to hear your methods.

Or, if you’re a pantser, that’s okay too. XD In that case, what are you working on?

I’m actually not doing NaNoWriMo. :'( In just five days, I wanted to be writing Book III. I’VE WAITED SO LONG. AND I’M SO EXCITED FOR IT.

But nope! I won’t be writing Book III until 2020. It’s depressing.

That’s alright, though. Quality first drafts that I won’t spend years rewriting are worth it! Not making that mistake again. Warfare Book I, you’re gonna be great.

Love you guys!

P.S. I wonder if my mom will make me another mocha for service tonight. >:) I already had one this morning, but the services are really long. I hope I don’t fall asleep… 😄