Purged progress: First revision, 31%

Purged is coming right along! It’s getting tightened up! The characters are becoming more fleshed out! The pacing is getting smoother! The description is more vivid and direct! Huzzah! Rejoice! Have a pint! Or a glass of milk or whatever. I don’t know what you like.

I’ve been taking at least an hour every evening to dive into Purged for revisions. I usually manage to go through a chapter a day at this rate. It varies, though. In some instances I find a chapter that’s already pretty tight and doesn’t need much work, but then I find another where I rewrite entire sections. It just depends.

Regardless, I still believe that this will be my best work when it’s all done. I’ll always love Foreordained and My Name is Hammerfist, but Purged is a heavy hitter.

I hope I’m not talking it up too much…

What I’m reading right now

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. Gotta be honest, I’m losing steam on this one. It’s a formidable 500 pages–about 200 longer than her usual Hunger Games books. I’m over a third of the way and I’ve found myself growing less and less interested. It started out strong, but the pacing is too slow, which causes a lack of urgency. And it’s kind of tough to associate with the protagonist when he’s kind of the antagonist to begin with. It just doesn’t grip me anymore.

I think there’s a lesson to be learned here. But I’ll explain that in the next section:

Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller. This is a marketing book that was recommended to me by a coworker. It’s pretty good so far–a concise read of just less than 200 pages. For people like me who study storytelling, a lot of the content here isn’t incredibly new. The book basically outlines the hero’s journey.

The marketing twist on it, however, is that we put the customer in the protagonist’s position and our company as the trusted guide. We help them solve their problem and achieve success in a meaningful way. We’re here to help them. Kinda cool, huh? I love marketing that revolves around being helpful and building relationships so that really vibes with me.

What Donald Miller really drives home the importance of being direct and concise. That’s the thing that The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes isn’t doing particularly well, in my opinion. Suzanne Collins’ editors were probably so eager to put out another bestselling Hunger Games book that they didn’t cut away the book’s fat like they should have. The Hunger Games is a speeding freight train of violence and philosophy. Ballad is not.

Check out Building a StoryBrand here.

Essentialism by Greg McKeown. This is another marketing book recommended to me by the same coworker. Just finished it this week. And I gotta say, this goes in my top five business/self-help books, probably second only to Dr. Carol Dweck’s Mindset.

As the title suggests, what McKeown petitions us to do is focus on the most important things when it comes to our jobs and personal lives. Sometimes we (I really mean “I”) have the tendency to pull ourselves in a lot of different directions to please a lot of people. But when we learn to segment the tasks at hand and focus on the things that matter most, it drives more effective results at home and at work. Fantastic read. I’ll link it to Amazon right here.