Book Review: Passing it on Before Passing On by H. L. Foster, M.Ed.

Passing it on Before Passing On

by H. L. Foster, M.Ed.

Rating: 4 Stars

Before I Begin

Let me tell you where I stand before I review this book. I come from a family with a long history of alcoholism. I grew up with a father who couldn’t control his drinking, and I’ve seen aunts, uncles and siblings go down that hard road. I am not an alcoholic; I see things from the other perspective. While I’m not addicted to alcohol, I feel I have developed characteristics stemming from being conceived under the influence and living within the shadow of an alcoholic.

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My Epic Writing and Personal Goals for 2019

Eye on the DestinationAs an epic fantasy writer, I suppose it is only fitting for me to make epic writing goals. Normally, I don’t, but 2019 will be different. I’ve been feeling it in my bones since September that this year was going to be my year.

For the past five or six years, I’ve been all over the place with my writing and editing. I’ve not made a lot of headway with my books; it’s disappointing. I’ve done a lot of work with little to show for it. Last summer, I realised why.

I spent autumn figuring out the best course of action and putting a few things in place. Now that the prep work is complete, it’s time to launch the new goals, ones that will get me closer to what I desire.

Changes

Obviously, there will be changes. To make time in my life to meet my 2019 challenges, I had to reduce time spent on other projects and other types of work. This means, once I finish the two editing/formatting projects scheduled for 2019, I won’t accept others.

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How to Make and Accomplish Goals

Eye on the DestinationI’m a huge believer in goals. Let me rephrase that. I’m a huge believer in setting realistic goals. Goals that are impossible to reach, other people’s goals and goals set for me by someone else are unrealistic, and I have no interest in them. Years ago, my goals were simple. I had only a few and they were easily reached. As I got older, goals became more complicated and harder to accomplish. When I failed at them, it disappointed me, but I didn’t change my behaviour, so I failed more frequently.

Wisdom comes with age and the older I got, the more attention I gave to those who successfully reached their goals. I started making goals and succeeding more times than I failed. They were goals for writing a novel, researching genealogy, getting my articles in newspapers and magazines, buying a new truck and a boat, making more time for camping and fishing and completing projects around the house.

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What I learned about writing two novels at the same time.

NaNoWriMoFor NaNoWriMo 2018, I wrote two novels at the same time: Revelation Stones and Beyond the Myst. I didn’t plan it that way. My goal was to complete the first novel. The second one started as a homework assignment from my writers’ group.

I focussed on the book I wanted to complete first, writing a minimum of 2,000 words a day for it. I wrote 1,500 words a day for Beyond the Myst.

To keep the stories separated in my mind, I wrote Beyond the Myst in the morning between 5:30 am and 7:20 am. If I didn’t reach my goal, I spent a few minutes after the morning chores to complete it. I wrote Revelation Stones from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Often I finished early, so I was in bed by nine o’clock. I get up at 4:35 am, so I need to go to bed early.

Before each writing session, I’d envision the scene I was about to write. This put me in the mood to write and provided details I might not have considered. I run scenes in my head like movies, so I get a clear idea of what I want. The scene is basically written before I sit down to the computer. I just record what happened.

I’ve never tried to write two full novels at once. I have written a short story while writing a novel, but usually I’d write the short story in a few days, then return to the novel writing. This whole experience of writing two in one day was completely new to me. Here’s what I have learned listed under the benefits and the drawbacks.

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My 2018 NaNoWriMo Experience – Why Was I Successful

NaNoWriMoNaNoWriMo 2018 has been extremely successful for me. My record for words written in a month stood at 60,000. In November, I shattered that and wrote 143,770 words. That’s an entire fantasy novel. I’m thrilled, shocked and every other word that means unbelievably amazed. I never knew I could do it. There are two reasons for that:

  1. I’ve never done it before.
  2. Others said it couldn’t be done.

So, how did I do it? I’m not exactly sure, but here’s what I think I did right.

The Writing Stage

The stars aligned in 2018 and after completing several assignments and miscellaneous projects, I was left in the middle of October to complete the draft for Revelation Stones, the 3rd book in the Castle Keepers series. I had also started a small assignment from my writers’ group, one I thought would be a short story. However, it turned out to be a full-blown novel, one that ties in to the Castle Keepers series. I predict it will be 100,000 words. I called it Beyond the Myst.

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NaNoWriMo Saturday Word Count Update

NaNoWriMoThis is the last Saturday update (late, but still here) to share my writing progress for NaNoWriMo.

Between November 24th and the 30th, I wrote 34,835 words. That brings my total world count for NaNoWriMo to 143,770 words. The most I’ve ever written in a month.

Beyond the Myst still needs about 45,000 words to complete it. I plan on writing those by December 31st. Revelation Stones was almost complete by November 30th, so I spent the first three days of December finishing up the final chapters, writing the major battle scene, the homecoming and the epilogue that carries readers into the next book. The first draft stands at 164,256 words. I hope to trim that to 150,000 words.

Later this week, I’ll share what I’ve learned about writing so much in one month and working on two novels at the same time. All I can say is I love writing more now than when the month started. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do than this. I’m so psyched about the next book, Healing Stones, I’m already dreaming up the opening scene. I’m excited to see January 1st, although if I finish Beyond the Myst early, I cannot promise I won’t dive into Healing Stones to let the adventure continue.

Last Day for NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMoIt’s the last day of November and as of bedtime last night, I’ve written 135,880 words since November 1st. It’s a record for me, one that once stood at 60,000 words in a month, one I don’t plan on breaking any time soon. I still have one more day to add to that record. Specifically, 18 hours, but I’ll be in bed before midnight, so that will trim down to about 15 hours.

My goal today is to write every minute I can. It’s unrealistic to do this every day, but today, the last day, I will. I’ve cleared everything off my schedule. Besides usual housekeeping duties, getting kids off to school and work, feeding animals and the unexpected interruption (fingers crossed the power will stay on today), I will write, drink tea and work towards the end of Revelation Stones, the 3rd book in the Castle Keepers series. It currently sits at 139,614 words, Chapter 32, Scene 2. Looking at the six scenes left to write, I imagine it needs about 15,000 more words before I can write THE END. Much of the second-last scene has already been written – it came to me a week ago, so I recorded it.

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