Fiction Writing Made Easy

#100: A Week in the Life: 7 Days Behind the Scenes with Savannah (July 2023)

July 18, 2023 Savannah Gilbo Episode 100
#100: A Week in the Life: 7 Days Behind the Scenes with Savannah (July 2023)
Fiction Writing Made Easy
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Fiction Writing Made Easy
#100: A Week in the Life: 7 Days Behind the Scenes with Savannah (July 2023)
Jul 18, 2023 Episode 100
Savannah Gilbo

In today’s episode, I’m taking you behind the scenes with me throughout my entire week, and I’m going to share what I’m working on, what big projects I’m focused on right now, and basically, anything that happens during the week. 

I'm always curious as to how people set up their day and what they're working on, and how they choose what they're going to actually work on that week. So, I thought you might be curious to know what I do all day as an editor and book coach—what I focus on and how I navigate through many, many, many action items. So, that’s what this episode is all about. I hope you enjoy this peek behind the scenes!

Rate + Review + Follow on Apple Podcasts

"I love the Fiction Writing Made Easy podcast!" ← If that sounds like you, please consider rating and reviewing this show! Your rating and review will help other writers find this podcast, and they're also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here, scroll all the way to the bottom, tap five stars to rate the show, and then select "Write a Review." Be sure to let me know what your favorite part of the episode was, too!

Also, if you haven't done so already, make sure you're following the podcast! I'll be adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the feed, and if you're not following the show, there's a good chance you'll miss them. Click here to follow now!

Links mentioned in this episode:

👋 Interested in becoming a book coach? Click here to learn more about Author Accelerator's Book Coach Certification Program!

👉 Looking for a transcript? If you’re listening on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, scroll down below the episode player until you see the transcript.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In today’s episode, I’m taking you behind the scenes with me throughout my entire week, and I’m going to share what I’m working on, what big projects I’m focused on right now, and basically, anything that happens during the week. 

I'm always curious as to how people set up their day and what they're working on, and how they choose what they're going to actually work on that week. So, I thought you might be curious to know what I do all day as an editor and book coach—what I focus on and how I navigate through many, many, many action items. So, that’s what this episode is all about. I hope you enjoy this peek behind the scenes!

Rate + Review + Follow on Apple Podcasts

"I love the Fiction Writing Made Easy podcast!" ← If that sounds like you, please consider rating and reviewing this show! Your rating and review will help other writers find this podcast, and they're also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here, scroll all the way to the bottom, tap five stars to rate the show, and then select "Write a Review." Be sure to let me know what your favorite part of the episode was, too!

Also, if you haven't done so already, make sure you're following the podcast! I'll be adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the feed, and if you're not following the show, there's a good chance you'll miss them. Click here to follow now!

Links mentioned in this episode:

👋 Interested in becoming a book coach? Click here to learn more about Author Accelerator's Book Coach Certification Program!

👉 Looking for a transcript? If you’re listening on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, scroll down below the episode player until you see the transcript.

Speaker 1:

I think the next question to ask ourselves is did I do my best with this story, given where I'm at in life and given where I'm at with my skill set, and is this a story I feel proud of and that I'm eager to share with other people? And if your answer is yes to these questions, then I think it's probably okay to give yourself the green light to publish or query or to do whatever next steps you're going to pursue. Welcome to the Fiction Writing Made Easy podcast. My name is Savannah Gilbo and I'm here to help you write a story that works. I want to prove to you that writing a novel doesn't have to be overwhelming, so each week, I'll bring you a brand new episode with simple, actionable and step-by-step strategies that you can implement in your writing right away. So, whether you're brand new to writing or more of a seasoned author looking to improve your craft, this podcast is for you. So pick up a pen and let's get started.

Speaker 1:

In today's episode, I'm taking you behind the scenes with me throughout my entire work week and I'm going to share with you what I'm working on, what big projects I'm focused on right now and basically anything that happens during the week, including any fun or interesting insights that come up as I work with other writers. I did an episode like this back in February of this year and I got so much good feedback on the episode. I heard from so many listeners that this was one of their all-time favorite episodes, so I decided to do another one and I'll probably do one about once a quarter from here on out. So thank you for all that feedback. Personally, I love doing these kind of episodes because I'm always curious to see how people set up their work day and what they're working on and how they choose what they're going to work on that week and things like that. So if you're curious to know what I do all day as an editor and a book coach, or what I focus on and how I navigate through my many, many action items, that's what today's episode is all about.

Speaker 1:

But before we get into my Sunday update, I wanted to tell you that this is the 100th episode of the Fiction Writing Made Easy podcast, and that is just wild to me. I started this podcast back in 2019, kind of just on a whim, which sounds really odd to me in hindsight, because I'm a big introvert. I'm an introvert through and through and I would have never guessed that I would have a podcast about fiction writing someday. So it's just crazy to me to think that 100 episodes later and at the time of this recording, we're at 1.5 million downloads and we have listeners all over the world. I mean, that is so crazy. It's so cool to me and I'm so thrilled to see and hear how many of you like this podcast. I'm just beyond grateful for you. So thank you for all the reviews you've left every time you've ever downloaded an episode. Thank you for subscribing and following and sharing the Fiction Writing Made Easy podcast with other writers. You are the reason I keep showing up here every week. So thank you so much. Know that I really appreciate you and I'm so glad you're here.

Speaker 1:

So, with all of that being said, and to avoid getting too mushy, let's go dive right into a Sunday night update. Okay, so this is my first entry for our behind the scenes podcast episode, and it's Sunday evening, which is when I normally sit down with my planner and I take a look at everything that's coming up in the week. I like to know what's coming up in the week ahead because I like to make sure I have enough time blocked out to get everything on my to-do list done. And if I don't kind of check this out on Sunday, then I start Monday morning feeling super all over the place and it's too hectic feeling for me. So knowing what's coming and what needs to get done helps me focus and troubleshoot problems before they happen. So, for example, I was just looking at the week ahead and what I have on my to-do list and I realized that although I wanted to record a handful of podcast episodes this week, I don't actually have enough time to record as many as I wanted to.

Speaker 1:

So you might have heard me talk about this before, but I try to batch record my podcast episodes five or so at a time, because it takes me a while to edit the audio and to do all the behind the scenes stuff like that. So having a handful of audio files already recorded just helps me be able to do the back end work whenever I have pockets of time here and there. So on my to-do list I wanted to record five episodes this week, but I just don't think I'm going to have that much time available because of other projects and commitments. So since it's Sunday and I haven't even started the work week. Yet I can start to move things around, which, in this case, I can either move recording all five episodes to the following week, or I can split the batch up and record three this week and two next, or vice versa. So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to plan on recording two or three episodes this week, because I will feel better having recorded some episodes rather than none. So, anyway, that's just an example of why it makes me feel so much better to look at my schedule for the upcoming week.

Speaker 1:

On Sunday. Now, I do have a few big things to do this week, so I have to finish a manuscript evaluation for a client, and I feel pretty good about being able to do that. I'm having a final coaching call with one of my other clients, who I've been working with for about six months, so she has a finished draft and is ready to move on to the next steps, with or without me, and I'll talk about that more later in the week. Abigail and I have to finalize our presentation for our book club meeting on Thursday, so we're going to meet with about 50 or so writers and discuss lessons in chemistry by Bonnie Garmis, and we're both super excited about this meeting. On Thursday I also have two group calls, so one of them is a Q&A with the students in my notes to novel course and the other is a Q&A with the writers who are in my story lab membership. I'll talk about that more on Thursday, but other than that I have a ton of little small things to do in between those bigger things. So I'll get into more details about those as the week unfolds. But those are kind of the big picture things I'm looking at this week.

Speaker 1:

So, without being said, I'm going to end my Sunday update there because I need to go make dog food. So I actually make my dogs homemade food every week following a recipe from a company called Just Food for Dogs, and all three of them are obsessed with it. This week I'm making the beef and russet potato recipe, so it's pretty much what it sounds like. It's beef, vegetables like peas, carrots, green beans and potatoes all cooked together in an instant pot with some fish oil and this nutrient blend powder just to make sure they get all their vitamins and minerals and things like that. But yeah, my dogs love it, no matter which flavor I make, and it's not very hard to cook. It takes me about 30 minutes to make their food for the whole week. So that's what I'm going to do, and then I'm going to head to bed early, because we were up at five this morning to take our two boys dock diving, so we are all super tired. But anyway, I will be back first thing tomorrow with a Monday morning update, so I will talk to you then. Good morning, it's bright and early Monday morning and I'm here to update you on what I have coming up today.

Speaker 1:

So for me, mondays are days that I work on my business. Sometimes that looks like recording podcast episodes, other times that looks like doing a bunch of admin type work. Just depends where I'm at for the month. Today is going to be a mixture of podcast work and admin work, because I do have to edit a podcast episode. It's an episode where I asked five coaches and editors to submit their favorite mindset tip. So I have the audio for each of those and then I have to kind of stitch it all together and record the intro and things like that. So it shouldn't be too time consuming, but I do need to get that done today. After that I'm going to be digging in and finishing the presentation for our book club meeting on Thursday and that's going to take a large chunk of the day. Then I have some other random stuff to do that I will catch you up on at the end of the day. So I hope you have a good day today and I will check in with you later for my Monday evening update.

Speaker 1:

Okay, I'm back and it's Monday evening now. I got that podcast episode edited and ready to publish to you all on Tuesday, so that's great. I also finished the book club presentation slide deck, so another big thing off the list. Abigail and I are going to meet sometime in the next two days so tomorrow or Wednesday to just go through it one last time before we go live on Thursday. So very excited about that and looking forward to the discussion. I also got a few other things done today that I needed to check off the list, so one of them was I filled out two speaker applications to basically pitch myself to two different conferences or summits that are coming up later in the year, and I love speaking at these events because, a I really like helping writers, obviously, and B they're usually free for writers to attend, which I think is pretty cool. I mean, who doesn't love a free learning opportunity, right? So I filled out those two forms. I'm sure they get many speakers who apply, so we'll just see what happens with those.

Speaker 1:

And then after that, I just went through my inbox and replied to a bunch of emails, because Mondays are always busy inbox days. And speaking of my inbox, I got an email from a past client letting me know she's publishing another book, which is very exciting. So we I don't think we worked on that second book together, or if we did, it was in the very early brainstorming phase and we probably just chatted about it briefly. But anyway, we had worked together on her first book, which has now been published, and she emailed me to tell me that, a her second book was being published, which is very, very cool, but also that, b it was so much easier to write because of the tools that she learned working on her first book. And I love hearing that so much because I really do believe and I see proof of this every day that with the proper tool set, writing can be fun and it can be easier, and it's so true. So I'm very happy for this client and I can't wait to share her story all over the place when I'm officially allowed to talk about it, but that was just a piece of good news in my inbox that I wanted to share with you.

Speaker 1:

So that's really it for today. I got done what I needed to get done and I'm feeling pretty good about where I'm at. So now it's time to go walk the dogs and make dinner and stuff like that. So I'm going to sign off for today and I'll be back first thing tomorrow with a Tuesday update, so I will talk to you then. Good morning, I'm here for a Tuesday update and this one's going to be quick because my Tuesdays are all about client work. So I have a few calls first thing this morning and then I'll be working through pages for some other clients, giving them feedback and things like that. So that's what I'm going to do today, and I have to jump off right now to go get on a client call. So I will be back later this afternoon with another update.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so it's Tuesday evening now and I got all my client work done, so that's good. I had two calls and then I had to go through a handful of pages and give other writers some feedback and things like that. So all of that went well, and there are two other things I wanted to tell you about that happened today. So first, one of my clients got an excellent write up in Publishers Weekly and I wanted to read you some of that. So this author's name is Jamie Varen and she was on the podcast a few weeks ago. It's episode number 91 and I'll link to that episode in the show notes if you want to check it out. And her book is called Main Character Energy. So the write up in Publishers Weekly describes her book and then it says Varen crafts fully realized protagonist whose authorial ambitions and frustrations will resonate with bookish readers. The plot takes many satisfying turns and the beautiful French backdrop will appeal to armchair travelers. Varen has a promising career in fiction in front of her. So how cool is that, jamie, if you're listening to this, big congratulations to you. You deserve every bit of goodness that's coming your way about this book and I love that. They called your book a sparkling debut. That is so cool and I love, love, love getting updates like this in my inbox and, of course, I had to share that with you guys today.

Speaker 1:

Now something else that happened today that I wasn't sure if I was going to share with you, but then, after thinking about it and sitting with it for a while, I decided it would be a good thing to share. So long story short. I have a client right now who is really mad at me. I read their first draft and I had to basically tell this person that their story didn't work for various reasons. Now, interestingly enough, the plot of this person's story does work. So there's an external change in the story from start to finish and things made sense on the surface, which I know is sometimes half the battle, right.

Speaker 1:

But beyond that, this writer has a few really difficult things to work with. So they have decided to use an unreliable narrator and they've decided to write in diary entries and real time, so kind of mixing those two things together and a few other things that just made this particular story more difficult to write than others. So just to clarify, it's not that the unreliable narrator or the framing device of the story is a bad idea. I'm not opposed to trying things like that but it was more of a combination of too many difficult things and then not the best execution of those things that made the draft not work. So you know, I always like to say that this is a judgment free zone, right, and that's how I approached the story and the feedback that I gave this author. So I basically said here's what isn't working and why it's not working, and then, on the flip side, here is what is working well and what we can amplify in the next draft. So long story short.

Speaker 1:

This writer is very upset with me right now, and they're upset because, from their perspective, it feels like I don't understand what they're trying to do with their story and they feel like I should see things in the story the way that they see them. So when I say something doesn't work, and here's why they feel like that thing does work and they have a reason why they think it works. So there is a disconnect there and that's why I wanted to tell you about this in my update today. Because here's the thing it's not like one of us is right and the other one is wrong. So I'm not going to tell this writer that they can't do what they want in their story. So, for example, I'm not saying don't use an unreliable narrator, but my job as their editor is to support them and help them get the story they want to tell on the page. So if what they have written isn't translating.

Speaker 1:

It's my job to highlight that for them, and I'm bringing this up because this type of disconnect between writer and editor does happen and when it does, it's very hard for both parties because, of course, nobody likes to feel misunderstood and no writer likes to feel like maybe their editor isn't a great partner or whatever those feelings are that come up. They're all very hard to feel when the feedback says something doesn't work. But what is really great about this writer is that they're brave enough to share their feelings in a respectful way. So I can tell that they are upset and unhappy because they're communicating their feelings and doing so in a respectful way, and because of that we can start troubleshooting and digging in to find the root cause of the problem. And I think that's what I want to highlight today more than anything is that when you're looking for someone to work with whether it's a beta reader, an editor or even an agent you're not always going to agree on everything or see eye to eye, and that person might have to tell you something that you don't like or vice versa. But what's important is that you keep that line of communication open and realize that it's not really about you or about them. So of course it's personal, because it's your story and that is a very personal thing that you worked hard on, but it's not about you as an individual or your editor or your agent as an individual. So I guess what I'm saying is don't be afraid to have these kind of hard conversations or to share your feelings, because in most cases, your editor or your agent or whoever you need to have this conversation with, in most cases they're going to want your story to work out just as much as you do. And, yes, it's going to be uncomfortable for you both. It's super hard for me to have a writer I'm working with feel upset and frustrated with me. I'm a sensitive person, so it's very hard to feel like you're responsible for making someone feel that way, but at the same time, it is my job and my duty to give this person an honest assessment of their work. So, anyway, it's not comfortable for either party, but if this ever happens to you and if you can keep that line of communication open, even if it's uncomfortable, you will get it sorted out and your story will end up stronger for it because of the collaboration that goes into the solution. So, anyway, just my two cents on that.

Speaker 1:

I also wanted to talk about the burden of knowledge that a writer has about their own story, because that's some of what's happening in this scenario. And what I mean by a writer's burden of knowledge is that you know everything there is to know about your story, right? So when you're writing it you can see it clearly in your mind's eye, but sometimes that doesn't translate onto the page. So when someone else reads your story, they might have a question or two or three or five about why a character did something, or maybe they point out something that doesn't make sense or whatever it is. So you, as the writer, have the burden of knowledge. It's the burden of knowing everything there is to know about what's happening and seeing it clearly. And it's a burden because it's hard to translate to the page sometimes. So that's why beta readers and editors are so critical to work with in this process, and that's for myself as well. So even though I'm an editor and a book coach, I still have that burden of knowledge about my own stories. So what's clear to me might not be clear to the reader, and that's really important to know.

Speaker 1:

And with this writer specifically, or why I'm bringing it up is that this is part of this writer's frustration. So in my notes, I will ask things like why is your character doing this? Or why did she just say this? What is she thinking and feeling? And the writer has a very valid explanation of why or what that person's doing. So the explanation makes total sense to me and I'm like, yes, that's great, but the context of that explanation is not on the page, so we need to put it on the page so that the reader can see what you're seeing. So I just wanted to tell you this as an example of what to keep an eye on in your own writing and to encourage you to work with people who can help you see where what's in your head isn't quite making it onto the page. So, like I mentioned earlier, one of the best things you can do is find yourself a partner, who's whether it's a beta reader, an editor or a coach or whoever that is. Find someone that you can have these hard conversations with, because they probably will come up from time to time, and find someone who believes in your story, because that's kind of what it all comes down to. I really do think that this writer and I will find a solution. We will find our way out of this mess, because we both really believe in the story that they're trying to tell. So, anyway, just wanted to share that and I hope it's helpful to some of you who are listening Now.

Speaker 1:

The last thing I wanted to share as an update for Tuesday is that I did record two podcast episodes today, so I didn't quite make it to three, but that's okay. I'm going to go ahead and move that final one into next week because I just don't think I'm going to have time to get that done the rest of the week, and that's okay. So, recorded two podcast episodes today. I probably won't go back and edit them. I'll just do that at some point when I have little pockets of time.

Speaker 1:

And yeah, overall, I mean today was kind of a mixed bag. Right, I got the good news this morning, I had some great client calls, then received an email from a writer who's super upset with me. So it was kind of a mixed bag, but you know it happens. Not every day is going to be all sunshine and rainbows, no matter how much we want it to be. So you know, just got to keep a positive outlook and keep doing the work. So, with that being said, I'm going to go ahead and wrap up my Tuesday update and I will be back first thing tomorrow with an update for Wednesday. So I will talk to you then. Hello and good morning. It's Wednesday now and I have some client calls today that are happening first thing this morning. So, again, I need to make this morning update quick. But after those calls I'm going to prepare for the two Q&A calls that I have coming up tomorrow. So one of them is for my notes to novel students. So if you're currently enrolled in the notes to novel program, I will see you tomorrow for our hour long Q&A.

Speaker 1:

And the other Q&A I'm doing is for my membership. So, for those of you who don't know, I have a membership that writers get invited into once they've taken my notes to novel course, and it's called the Story Lab. So basically, inside of that membership, there are different things that we do each week. In the first week of the month, there is an hour long training on a different writing, editing or publishing topic. In the second week of the month, we have group coaching. So I pick three to five writers to come on camera with me and we talk through whatever's got them stuck, or we might go through a scene and talk about what can be improved and things like that. In the third week we look at a scene together so either a scene from a published novel or a work in progress and we pick it apart to see what that structure looks like and what's working, what's not, and things like that. And then in the fourth week of the month we have a live Q&A session. So I jump on Zoom with all of my Story Lab members and we do an hour long Q&A. And since today is Wednesday and the calls are tomorrow, I'm going to go into the form that my students use to submit their questions and I collect them all and grab any links or resources that I might want to talk about or bring up during the live call and just get all that ready. So that's what I'll be doing later today, along with some other miscellaneous stuff that I will explain more later. So that is my very quick update and I will be back later today for an evening update. So I will talk to you then.

Speaker 1:

Okay, friends, it's Wednesday evening now and I got all the prep work done for my Q&A calls tomorrow. I also had some lovely calls with my private coaching clients that I'll talk about more in a second. And then I had some random admin stuff to catch up on after that. So one of these admin things was I had to write a handful of emails to promote an event that I'm speaking at in September and I know that might sound crazy because it's July, but whenever I'm able to, I like to get ahead of work like that. So I had the information and I just needed to sit down and write the emails and get them scheduled. So that's what I did, and it felt good to get that checked off the list.

Speaker 1:

But what I really wanted to talk to you about, or update you on, is what I talked about with two of my coaching clients today. So one of them had a finished draft and she's about to be out on submission for the second time. So, long story short she had an agent, but the relationship didn't totally work out. So they ended their relationship and now she's looking for new representation. And, in case you're wondering, yes, that does happen sometimes and in this situation it was all very amicable, but that's where she's currently at.

Speaker 1:

So before she sends her story out again, before she queries again, we wanted to make sure that her story was as good as it can possibly be. So we already made some changes to her overall story based on feedback she had received from some of the rejections that she had received, and we felt really good about those overall changes. But then we kept both feeling like something was off with the first chapter and we just couldn't pinpoint it. So we kept asking ourselves like, is this really the best way to start the story or can we do better and what would that look like? And what we ended up realizing is that her opening chapter didn't speak to the big picture enough. So it was a good opening chapter and it did work from a technical perspective.

Speaker 1:

But if we zoomed out and kind of thought outside the box and thought about what kinds of questions readers would be asking coming out of this chapter or how they would be feeling, we kind of realized that it just wasn't as good as it could be. So we brainstormed some ideas of things we could do to either tweak the current opening chapter to make it speak to the big picture of her story more, and some options of what it would look like if we just kind of trashed the whole first chapter and said where could we start? That's maybe a little different, but that gets readers asking the right questions and feeling kind of that overall tone of the story that we really wanted to establish in the beginning. So it was a really interesting thought experiment for us because we have been working on the story for so long and we had both kind of fallen in love with the opening and maybe weren't looking at it as objectively as we both could have. And that happens sometimes. Right, it's hard when you're looking at the same story for so long and you just kind of get used to certain chapters or certain details being there and especially when they work, it's like hard to talk yourself out of keeping them. But sometimes it's really good to just kind of zoom out and think of you know, what do I really want the reader to be experiencing at this point in time and are these details or are these chapters the right fit for the effect that I'm trying to have? So her homework today, leaving our call, is that she's going to go and revise that opening chapter and I'm very excited to see what she comes up with. I think this is the right call for sure, and it's going to be really fun to see how her query and goes, now that she has an even better query letter and even better synopsis and she'll have an even better opening chapter by the time we're done working on it. So very interesting and very excited to see where that goes.

Speaker 1:

In my other client call we talked about this writer's next steps. So this writer has finished her third draft and now she's heading in the direction of Indy publishing her book. And one of the questions she asked me today was okay, are we sure that this is ready to go? Are we sure there's not more I can do before it's published? And my answer to her was kind of like okay, look, we can tweak any story all day and it will probably never be perfect. There's always going to be something that could have been done better. But at the end of the day, we kind of have to just ask ourselves some questions. So number one is tweaking this story. What you want to spend all of your time doing so? Do you want to work on the story for three, four, five more years? And then, on the flip side of that question, I asked her if she felt good about where her story is at now. So I asked her if she's proud of the state of her current manuscript and does she look forward to sharing it with others as it sits now? And I could kind of hear her light up when she answered that question. She was like yes, I am super proud of this, I love the story as it is, and she felt ready to move on to other projects. So to me her answer is really indicative of the next best step for her, and that is to publish and get the story out into the world.

Speaker 1:

And I wanted to share this with you today because if you're ever in a similar situation, I think it's really important to realize that no matter how much you edit something, it's probably never going to be perfect. And I've even heard some of my favorite authors say that in hindsight there are things they would have done differently or things they would have changed about their published books, but none of those things would have really stopped readers from loving them. So it's really just kind of in the author's head things that they would have done different, and it's interesting to think about how there are things they wanted to change. But readers still love the stories, they still experience the story and have emotional reactions to them, they fall in love with characters and things like that, and that's really what most of us want from our stories. So it's interesting that in hindsight, yes, there are things they would have changed, but still look at the effect that their stories have had on readers and things like that. So, knowing a story can never be 100% perfect.

Speaker 1:

I think the next question to ask ourselves is did I do my best with this story, given where I'm at in life and given where I'm at with my skill set? And is this a story I feel proud of and that I'm eager to share with other people? And if your answer is yes to these questions, then I think it's probably okay to give yourself the green light to publish or query or to do whatever next steps you're going to pursue. It also helps to have beta readers and or an editor or a coach or an agent or somebody in your corner who can kind of say yes, I agree with you, it's time to let this project go and get it out into the world. So anyway, just some food for thought. I know that a lot of writers get into this position where they're just like I could spend so much more time working on this, but to what end right, knowing that something can never be perfect. To what end do we want to keep editing when it's really just time to take that next step? So just some food for thought, and I'm going to go ahead and wrap up my Wednesday update there. So I will see you tomorrow morning for another update and I will talk to you then.

Speaker 1:

Good morning, it's now Thursday and I'm really excited for what I have on the calendar today. So, as I mentioned yesterday, I have two live Q&A sessions today, one for my notes and novel students and the other for my story lab members, and I'm really looking forward to these because I love seeing all of my students and I love hearing all of their updates about how their writing's going, and I love answering their questions or helping them brainstorm or get unstuck. It's all just so much fun, and this is why Thursdays tend to be my favorite day of the week. So I have two of those calls today and then, in between those calls, I'm going to catch up on some client work and wrap up that manuscript evaluation I talked about earlier in the week, and there's also some miscellaneous admin stuff I need to get done. So that's really all I have for you this morning. I'll be back later today to let you know how everything went, so I'll talk to you then.

Speaker 1:

All right, I'm back for a Thursday evening update and I can't believe I forgot to mention that today is book club day in my morning update. So I literally just got off our book club call and it was so much fun. Shout out to anyone who joined us to talk about lessons in chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. We talked about so many interesting things, whether it was craft related or more general about the story and, oh my gosh, the people who showed up had the best questions and comments. I swear. Sometimes, abigail and I talk about how you all could lead the book club meeting because you have such excellent insights. So if you came to the meeting, thank you. I so appreciate you for being there and for participating. It was a ton of fun.

Speaker 1:

But for everyone else who did not attend, I think my favorite thing that we talked about in the book club meeting was how a character driven story or how a story where the internal genre takes the lead, there still needs to be concrete character goals and concrete conflict. So I'll probably do a whole episode on this soon, but I'm going to talk about it quickly here. At one point in the meeting I asked everybody who they thought the antagonist of the story was and almost everybody said the patriarchy. And if you've read the book you might be thinking yes, this is true, but there are multiple characters within the story who represent the patriarchy and who essentially are the face of the patriarchy. And there's one particular character who's the main character's boss, who I would say is the primary antagonist and who represents everything the patriarchy stands for.

Speaker 1:

And in the meeting we talked about how, when you are writing a story like this, it's really important to take something like the patriarchy or the government or whatever that force of antagonism is in your story and give it a face. So what are the kind of on the ground ways that your protagonist will come up against? You know, in this case, the patriarchy, and so there are multiple characters in the story that kind of put her up against what the patriarchy stands for and it's just really important to have that one main antagonist that might not speak for the patriarchy but that really represents, you know, everything the patriarchy stands for, just to make the story a little more concrete and, honestly, easier to write. So Abigail and I both see a lot of writers who want to write these great stories that you know talk about things like the problems with the patriarchy or the problems with the government or the problems with health care, you know, whatever that kind of nebulous general antagonist is and they struggle to get through their drafts, specifically act two, because it can be really hard to show actual, meaningful conflict when you're up against something like the government. So if you're writing a story like this, I would say that the biggest takeaway that I can share with you from book club is to give your force of antagonism a face. So you know whether or not they work for that force of antagonism or they're just representative of the ideals of that force of antagonism. I think either could work, but just something to consider. And if you're writing a story like this, you might find the recording of this book club meeting really helpful. So I will put the link to that in the show notes if you want to check it out, and I am going to do a podcast episode on this soon, so also stay tuned for that Now.

Speaker 1:

Earlier I mentioned that I had two live Q&A calls today and those both went really, really well. I love to see my students. Stories develop in real time from week to week and it's always so satisfying to watch as big aha moments happen or when someone figures out a big plot hole or gets to the bottom of who a character is or anything like that. It's just so cool. It gives me life. But anyway, the calls went great and they're both really fun.

Speaker 1:

One thing I wanted to tell you about is one of my students mentioned using chat GPT to search for comp titles, and I think that's a really cool idea. So if you don't know what chat GPT is, it's basically an AI chat bot so you can type in something like can you recommend novels published in the last five years that are similar in plot to Bridget Jones Diary or whatever you're looking for, and then it will spit out some suggestions. So not all the suggestions are perfect, but every now and then it comes up with something really cool and really usable. So I don't know, go check it out if that sounds fun. I thought it was a really neat way to use chat GPT in a way that's helpful. So, anyway, just wanted to mention that, and I think that's where I'm going to end my update for this evening.

Speaker 1:

I'm going to go drink a bunch of water, because I've done a lot of talking today. I don't know if you can hear it in my voice I feel a little bit froggy and then I'm going to take the dogs for a walk and I'm going to get to bed early and start reading the Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yaros, which I'm very excited to start. So I will sign off for today and I'll be back in the morning with another update and I will talk to you then. Hello, hello, happy Friday. I'm recording my update a little later than normal today because I had to take one of my dogs, luna, into the vet to get a shot, and it was just a normal yearly shot, so don't worry. But now I'm starting my work day a little bit later, which is fine.

Speaker 1:

I don't have any client calls today because Fridays are kind of my catch-up days or days when I finish big projects and things like that. So my main focus for today is to actually start planning for this five day challenge that I want to do in September, and you'll hear more about it the closer to the time it goes live. But basically I want to get a bunch of writers together for a five day challenge where we work on developing high concept ideas, so ideas that you can easily communicate in one sentence, that really hook someone's interests and make them want to read more, and I have some fun ideas planned for this. So today is just going to be kind of those really early stages of mapping that whole thing out, and I have a few other things on the list today, but I'll tell you more about those when I come back for an evening update. So I'll talk to you a little bit later.

Speaker 1:

Okay, friends, I am back for a Friday evening update and one of my clients just sent me a review she got from Book Life, which is the indie side of Publishers Weekly, and I want to read it to you because I'm super excited for her. So, first of all, it gave her book 9 out of 10 ratings across the board, which is amazing, and then it says a whole bunch of flattering stuff in the review, but I really like this part where it says while the topic of artificial intelligence is familiar territory for fiction, lauer's work feels especially original, riveting and timely, and I should mention this is Jennifer Lauer's book called the Girl in the Zoo. She was on a previous episode of this podcast, so that was episode number 85 and I will link to that in the show notes if you want to check it out. But I'm so proud of her and this is such a great review that I just saw before coming on to record this update, so of course I had to share it with you Now.

Speaker 1:

I mentioned what I was going to work on earlier, so I talked about this five day challenge and that's what I did work on planning out today. I don't have everything figured out yet, but I did a big brain dump of my ideas and I kind of put together a really rough project plan so that I know the gist of what I need to do, at least at this point. So you know things are going to come up. It's going to keep developing and changing, but at least for now I feel a little more organized. So yeah, keep an eye out for that sometime in September. It's going to be really fun.

Speaker 1:

The other thing I did today was I had to send the Women's Fiction Writers Association some information, because they do an auction every year and I donate some of my courses and or editing packages or coaching packages to their auction. So I had to send them some information so they could get everything set up on their end and it's a very cool auction for a really good cause, so I'm very happy to be a part of it. If you're a member of the WFWA and if you haven't seen their auction yet, definitely keep an eye out for that later this year. There are some really cool things you can bid on. So got that done today and then, other than that, I just caught up on some emails and did some miscellaneous admin work just to get things wrapped up for the week, and I actually finished what I needed to do today early.

Speaker 1:

So remember, earlier in the week I said I wanted to get five episodes for the podcast recorded, but I only got two done. Well, I could have recorded the other three today, but I decided to take my dog to the park this afternoon instead, and that was super fun, and then I came home and started reading a client's new draft instead of recording episodes. So, although I like to be organized and I like to kind of have you know all these different things I'm going to accomplish sometimes, even if I have white space or free space where I can kind of maybe go back and, let's say, record those three podcast episodes, if I'm being honest, I'm just not in the mood to do that today. So I like to also give myself the freedom and the grace to kind of say, okay, if I'm not in the mood for that today, that's okay, it is going to get done next week. And of course I'm always in the mood to take my dogs to the park I mean, who isn't? That's super fun. But then I also felt like just kind of having some quiet time and reading. And I have to start reading a client's manuscript next week for an evaluation I'm doing for them. So I thought, you know, I'll just get a head start on that and kind of have a quiet end to my Friday. So that's a really fun way for me to end the work week. I will end my Friday wrap up there.

Speaker 1:

I'm not going to do a Saturday update, but I do want to tell you what I have planned for the weekend, because I'm a dork and I'm excited about what we're doing. So we got an above the ground pool for my dogs. It's nothing fancy but it's big enough for them to get in and do a few doggy paddles from end to end. I think. It's about just under 15 feet long, so just big enough for them to, you know, swim back and forth once or twice. But anyway, one of the legs broke and they haven't been able to use it for a few weeks because we haven't gone to get the replacement leg yet. So we're going to fix that for them this weekend so they can swim, and it's going to be very hot, so I'm looking forward to letting them do that. And yes, I know I'm a total dog dork. I love my dogs and I love doing things that let them have fun. So that's what I'm doing this weekend and I'm actually excited. I'm also excited to dig back into the fourth wing because, like I said earlier in the week, I just started it and I'm eager to keep reading and find out what's going to happen. So really excited about that.

Speaker 1:

Now, one more thing I want to say before I wrap up is that last time I recorded an episode like this, I ended the week not getting everything done on my to-do list, but this week I did finish everything that needed to be finished and that feels really good. So my to-do list is not empty by any means. It's like a mile long. But not everything had to get done this week, and I wanted to talk about this quickly, because not working myself to death is actually kind of hard for me. I think it comes from my corporate days, where there was never enough time to do anything and not enough people to do all the things either. But sometimes I feel like if I have an easy week or if I get things done, then I must have done something wrong or maybe I'm not doing enough.

Speaker 1:

But this year I'm trying to be more conscious of this and trying to give myself white space and trying to reassure myself that okay, yeah, you did get everything on your to-do list done. That's a great thing and we all deserve a little bit of rest and a little bit of fun. So I don't know, I'm very curious. Let me know, dm me on Instagram if you understand the feeling I'm talking about, or leave me a review, because I'm just genuinely curious if you guys feel this way too, where sometimes it's like when you get everything done and you have some white space or let's relate this to writing so let's say you've created an outline or you've written a scene and you're like, dang, I'm kind of proud of that and I think it works, and then you start second guessing yourself because you don't think it should be that easy or that fun. That's kind of how I feel about my business sometimes Like, if I get everything done, I second guess myself, and I know a lot of the writers I work with. They'll finish a scene or an outline and they'll second guess themselves. So I don't know, maybe it's just human nature, but you, let me know. Send me a DM on Instagram. I'm just at savannahgilbo over there and I'd love to hear from you.

Speaker 1:

So that's it for today's episode. As always, thank you so much for tuning in and for showing your support. If you want to check out any of the links I mentioned in this episode, you can find them in the show notes listed in the description of each episode inside your podcast player or at savannahgilbocom forward slash podcast. If you're an Apple user, I'd really appreciate it if you took a few seconds to leave a rating and a review. Your ratings and reviews tell Apple that this is a podcast that's worth listening to and, in turn, your reviews will help this podcast get in front of more fiction writers just like you. And while you're there, go ahead and hit that follow button, because there's going to be another brand new episode next week, full of actionable tips, tools and strategies to help you become a better writer. So I'll see you next week and until then, happy writing.

Sunday Planning and Monday Work Tasks
Navigating Writer-Editor Disconnects
Story Lab Membership and Editing
Writing and Book Club Reflections
Weekend Plans and Work-Life Balance