I Might Be Crazy, But That’s Why I Was Accepted into This Program

Yesterday, Mr. Patrician and Mr. Hansen sat me down for a conference about my Timeline (pictured above), and we came to the realization that the plan I had for my book originally might not be possible. They gave me two options: Only finish the book chapters and maybe the cover, recognizing the work I’ve put into this project and know that even if I don’t complete it the way I originally planned that it is in no way a failure, or continue on my current path, completely stress myself out and work like crazy for the next two weeks to get all of my chapters done, unsure if that’s even possible.

I chose the latter. The reason? Read the title again. I’m nothing if I’m not persistent, confident, and a little condescending.

I’ve been given specific instructions on how to edit my chapters so it goes through two processes (through Grammarly’s program and then a real person) instead of the feedback hell I mentioned earlier. I’ve also been instructed to update my Action Plan, AB task board, and Timeline daily. What’s a Timeline, you ask because I’ve mentioned it twice already and have yet to elaborate? Why I’m glad you asked!

A Timeline is a Gantt chart designed in a way to showcase everything on our Action Plans. On the side, everything I need to do is listed, and then it shows when it will/has started, how long it will take to complete, and how much of it is done. My Gantt Chart has sections for things like Character maps, writing the plot skeleton, and creating the cover. I have different sections for each chapter I’m writing, as well as chapter editing so that I know exactly when everything will be happening and can plan my days accordingly.

With the help of Mr. Patrician, we set my Timeline up so I’m currently up to schedule. I need to revise chapter 8, but chapter 8 draft 0 is done, and I start feedback and editing of chapter 1 today, which I’ve already done the Grammarly part of. I know that if I keep up with my timeline, I can complete this project the way it was supposed to be. I’m not particularly stressed at the moment, which is honestly surprising. I get stressed in the line at Subway all the time because I’m not sure if I want chicken or beef and my turn is soon approaching, so this is a vast improvement.

The next three weeks are devoted strictly to writing, editing, getting feedback and applying that feedback. I have to finish all drafts of the remaining three chapters, and then edit all of them by the time winter break comes around, and since I never do anything celebratory during the break, it’ll be more than easy to complete the cover, character sketches, and compile the book so that it’s ready to order the exact day I get back from the break.

Wish me luck!

-Southerly Vernon

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Third Time’s the Charm

Wooooow, I am super sick at the time of writing this. I have missed basically all of week 8 as I have come down with the biggest friggen flu, my dudes. Not a fun time. I’d say I was strong! And brave! That I didn’t let this flu stop me from working! But no, I totally did. When I came down with the fever on Sunday, I laid down in my bed and have barely moved since, just waiting for the room to stop spinning.

Thankfully I mustered enough strength to continue work on my third chapter. Once I have all my starter chapters, they’ll go through, what I like to call, “The Ring Of Feedback Hell”, where I get several different people (including my mom (Hi mom!)) to edit my chapters and tear them to shreds. Once each chapter has been edited by three (or more) different people, I edit them myself, and then they’re complete.

My project hasn’t really gone through that many changes. I had a complete story idea already when I came to Propel, so there wasn’t much development to go through. For a (very) small time I had the idea to change what character the antagonist would be. I was writing a scene where the main character is questioning another character and she asks about a teacher, and my brain was like “Ooooooooohhhh you could use that! Some expectation subversion! Switch the villain to the teacher, even though you heavily imply the other dude!” And I thought I was a genius!

But then I realized changing the villain would completely defeat the purpose of the the main plot macguffin: the missing brother. The teacher would have next to no correlation to the missing brother, and it would ruin the ending. So, I scrapped it, but it was definitely an idea.

My project has a pretty straightforward set of phases. I’m not really sure what order they should all go in, but the main one is completing all chapters — edited or not. That and designing and creating a cover. I believe a cover is one of the most important parts of a book. An important phase that I already completed and which nearly killed me was the plot skeleton. I have no clue why a plot skeleton was so hard to write. It’s probably because I’m super unorganized, as I’m sure you can tell just by reading these blog posts.

In the next few weeks, once I recover from whatever virus I got, I’m going to be finishing my starting chapters and putting them through The Ring of Feedback Hell. I’ll also be working on character concept art for the two “side” characters, Abe, the missing brother, and his sister Harriet.

Wish me luck.

– Southerly Vernon

Grace Keeps Using a Chair to Move Around

The title of this post probably doesn’t make any sense, but it was the best thing I could come up with. It’s also a fact. Another propel student, Grace, is, and will continue to, only move around on a swivel chair. Which, if you think about it, is a good example of how propel is going so far.

We’re all getting a lot more comfortable around each other (enough to act weird and not stand up from a dang chair) and we’re all slightly lazy. Before, most of us were just trying to find our place here and be as nice as possible so people liked us. Now we’re friends and don’t give a crap.

Other than developing relationships with other people here, I’ve also been developing my story. We finished our proof of concepts last week and did a presentation on them. My POC wasn’t as much of a learning experience as I feel everyone else’s was. A lot of stuff about writing I already knew, but I did learn how to write a proper plot skeleton. I also learned that lists are important, whether they’re of things you need to do or of resources you can use.

I successfully completed my POC and am now moving on to completing the rest of my chapters. I finished chapter two just a few days ago and now I’m taking a small break from chapters to work on writing presentations. In the end, I’m really hoping to complete this book and publish it. It would mean a lot to me, and I would get to learn about the publishing industry. The more practice, the better.

I most likely won’t publish my book while I’m at propel and will try to publish it in the oncoming semester, but other than that, I’m going to create a cover, more character maps, all that kind of stuff. I’m excited for designing the cover, as it’ll have to be dark and edgy to match the theme of my book.

I’ll leave this post off with the promise to update about the Grace situation.

~Southerly Vernon

(Immediate update: She got off the chair to come sing Country Road with us.)

New Year, New Beginning

The moment I heard about propel I knew I wanted to join. A program dedicated to helping students explore career options? Yes, please. I’ve been completely bored with the average cycle of high school since the day I started. I really need something like propel to spice things up and give me a challenge, even if it will be the most stressful challenge of my life.

School started a few weeks ago, and so did propel. Ever since, things have been going rather well. A little slowly, but well. The other students are all kind and intelligent, so it’s easy to get along with them. The teachers are very… interesting people. They’re funny, there’s no doubt in that, but they’re very, very strange. They always make jokes about having their monthly shower, and their teaching methods are a little unorthodox. But this entire program is unorthodox. That’s why I love it.

If you asked me what I wanted to do for a final project when I started propel, I would have answered with “A novel.” If you asked me three months ago when I got accepted into propel, I would answered with “A novel.” You could have asked me when I was six and I would have answered with the same thing. Naturally, I chose to do a novel. I’ve had this certain story idea in my mind for two years now, so I’m excited to get it out of my mind and onto pages.

For my proof of concept, I’ve been tasked with completing a list with mostly small goal, like writing the first chapter, preparing a skeleton plot, and creating a list of writing resources for techniques and critiques, among other things. Completing this by October 15th (the due date for our proof of concepts) will prove that I’m able to work hard, work at a steady pace, and can finish chapters in a set amount of weeks while still having other tasks to complete.
I’m fully aware that this will not be an easy project, and I’m excited to challenge myself to finish writing the novel and get it published. This semester will absolutely be the most interesting one of my life, and I’m ecstatic to keep you all updated.

To the hope I’m not biting off more than I can chew,

Southerly Vernon