So You Want to Write a Story (Appendix B) — What’s Your Mountain?

In the spirit of the bazillions of other January motivational posts…

What’s your mountain?

As a reader, it can be daunting to start a series. Sometimes the pile of books is so heavy it’s hard to carry the whole stack at one time. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not a fast reader; I’m pretty average. At my fastest, I might read a book in a week. So thinking of reading a 10 book series is daunting. Even reading a trilogy can feel that way!

As a writer, it’s a similar predicament. I look at some of my ideas and know in my gut there’s no way they can be told in a single book. It might take 3 or more books to do the idea justice. 

Last year, I wrote (on average) a little over 1,000 words a day. My goal is more this year, but let’s work with those numbers. A schedule of 1,000 words a day equals out to a full length book every 2-3 months. A book can seem like a mountain. A series—the damn thing can seem so tall the precipice disappears in the clouds. Maybe daunting isn’t the right word to describe looking at a mountain that might take years to climb. 

But this isn’t an advanced writing course or even an intermediate one. I intended this to be for beginners—maybe your mountain is a short story, your memoir, or maybe it’s your first novel. Either way, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve been there. All writers have. 

I started A Battleaxe and a Metal Arm back in January of 2021 and the first episode came out in March. As of January 2022, it’s nearing 200,000 words in total and a year of monthly installments—for comparison, a normal-sized novel is roughly 80,000 words. It’s by far my longest work to date. 

When I started BAMA, I brainstormed some of the realms that the heroes would traverse, and I made notes about some of the major reveals (and thought of some ways to hint at those reveals earlier on). Other than that… BAMA was written one episode at a time. I don’t know exactly how long the series will last or what the mountain will look like when I reach the top, but I’m climbing it anyway. 

I started with the first 15,000 word episode and kept going. 

But I’d climbed other mountains before—I’d written short stories and drafts of a couple novels (some shorter and some longer).  

The mountains may change in size, but they’re still mountains. And no one climbs a mountain in a day. 

If you’ve read my post on Training to Become a Better Writer and other writing entries, then this may sound familiar. But it’s so incredibly important that it bears repeating:

No one climbs a mountain in a day. 

So, in the spirit of January, figure out what your mountain is. Then work on climbing it, one day at a time.

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