I’ve written content regarding writing goals and objectives in the past but one mistake I made in these articles is that I focused so much on long-term I forgot to talk about short-term goals. This article will cover short-term goals in the case of novel writing.
Since we all love to write, the writing goals should be easy to set.
However, if we want to make our novels look so good where they can rise above the competition on Amazon, it always takes more than just writing to make this happen.
So, let’s get into the goal-setting mode here.
How can you, the writer set such goals for your book to look fantastic. This is, of course, considering you’re a free spirit and don’t mind the editing process along with everything else that goes into writing your novel.
First Draft Goals
What kind of goals do most authors set for their first draft?
Usually, they’re just happy to write each day and while that’s fantastic and all, it makes more sense to do something else: edit every other day.
Wait? What? Edit during the first draft?
Yes, because I can tell you from experience this works wonders.
I can also tell you from experience that when I wrote Northern Knights I neglected my editing during my first draft and came up with a disaster of a work.
Do yourself a favor and avoid disaster by taking your time and editing your work.
I like to write one day and edit the next.
I’ll do this until my first draft is finished.
This short-term goal is simple: Just write on the odd-number days, edit on the even-number days.
But, we need more if we’re making this a goal.
Let’s set a specific time to write and edit. Perhaps first thing in the morning, or late in the evening after work, or our daily commitments.
Short-Term Goal Number Two
Keeping up with my daily times which should be sacred at this point, I move onto my second goal: ferocious self-editing.
What is the goal?
I’m looking for any major plot holes my initial edits failed to find and destroying them.
I don’t edit once, but I’ll edit twice, and my goal remains: seek and destroy all major plot holes and make sure no other reader other than myself finds them.
I don’t worry too much about grammar here unless I find something that annoys me to the point I can’t ignore it and I’ll make a quick fix.
But the main goal is to knock out those plot holes.
Short-Term Goal Number Three
Okay, onto the next one. Now, I’m looking to tackle dialogue and minor plot holes.
Do I have a character who seems like they’re giving a speech every two pages with little to no white space?
In such instances, I always have at least two people per scene, so I’ll go ahead and add in some much-needed dialogue.
I don’t care if someone preaches to another, but man, let’s make the dialogue more realistic here.
Also, it’s never believable when people state someone else’s name in dialogue every sentence. In fact, it’s more artificial than manufactured candy. Leave it to the amateurs.
Yes, I have a bad habit of doing this and it’s why I’m intent on hunting it down and snuffing it before the masses see my work.
Plus, my minor plot holes, even something that most would brush off, are my next victims here. We’re putting everything in sync with this edit.
How many edits?
Ha! At least three, if not more. I’m anal, but it’s my editing style. Again, I don’t want anything left to chance here.
Goal Number Four: Grammar Errors and Typos
While I’ll leave in some grammar errors from a dialogue standpoint if I have a character who speaks in such ways, errors in narration are a huge no-no and should be axed.
As mentioned earlier, I do correct grammar and typos if I see and can’t ignore them.
But at this stage, the plot holes are covered, the dialogue is good, the characters’ personas are believable, so it’s time to put an end to all the madness and buckle down on grammar.
For one, typos are getting fixed relentlessly. I’ll also use stronger nouns and verbs while axing adverbs and adjectives. I hate them when I write my own fiction. For that, they’re gone for the most part, unless I can’t think of anything else, then they’ll survive.
So, it’s not only typos, it’s hunting down weak words and tackling them in favor of stronger ones.
Goal Number Five: Final Proofreading
At this point, I’m reading my manuscript like a book, so I’m uploading onto my Calibre. I always find about fifty more errors here, which is why I bother to do so, and so should you. It’s free and easy to download and gives your book an actual bookish feel.
Before I upload to Calibre I’ll first format my work.
I justify the margins, double-space my paragraphs, nuke the entire document (fancy word for simply copying and pasting my whole doc onto a separate MS Word), and make it feel more like a book.
Once properly formatted, the book is ready to be read but as I said, there are about fifty more errors to find here.
For some strange reason, it’s easier to find errors when in this format. I guess it does something weird to our brains, I shouldn’t wonder.
Oh, and just because it’s a final proofread doesn’t mean it’s a final proofread, okay?
I usually read this thing through a grand total of three times before I’m satisfied.
Goal Number Six: Upload that Baby!
Now, it’s finally ready to be uploaded onto Amazon or if it’s my Skyehawk Series, wherever e-books are sold.
Take about eight hours to create the paperbacks (Lord of Columbia Series only at the moment) and boom, be proud of my hard work over the past six to twelve months.
So, if you haven’t set short-term goals yet for the long-term “I want to write a book,” I suggest you break the major task down into sub-tasks because something tells me the ride will be far smoother.