View Full Version : The 5 levels of DEFCON for writers

12-10-2011, 12:29 PM
I was writing a blog entry about my 2012 New Year's Resolutions, and I made a comment about raising the DEFCON level of the seriousness of my writing, and I thought it would be fun to post the idea here. This is the part I wrote about DEFCON levels:

I’ve gotten some good writing done in 2010–stuff that actually reads back satisfyingly, as opposed to making me cringe. I think this is a sign that I’ve matured and grown as a writer, and I suspect it’s getting close to that time where I concentrate on finishing a novel or screenplay and send it out there to meet publishers/studios.

I was right in my forecast, and all throughout 2011, I wrote nonstop, and my writing effort has upped its seriousness level to DEFCON 3. In the past, it's always been just DEFCON 5, or maybe 4. Does the rating seem kind of abstract? Well, I sort of see it like this:

DEFCON 5 - Strategy on paper but no action taken. Have some cool ideas and will jot them down, but will not actually take action to pursue them.

DEFCON 4 - Locked and loaded, and shots fired. Actually writing, but without a sense of grim determination and urgency to see it through as finished works ready to be submitted to agents. There may be long stretches between writing anything--it's really more like a hobby fueled by inspiration rather than discipline.

DEFCON 3 - Heated battles raging. Determined and focused, and writing regularly as part of a daily routine (whenever possible), and it's only a matter of time before the work is completed and sent out to agents.

DEFCON 2 - Missiles launched and heading for targets. Manuscripts have been sent out and dealing with rejections or negotiations.

DEFCON 1 - Targets destroyed, and all out global destruction imminent. Agent signed, book deal signed, and dealing with pre-publishing details like cover art, font choices, marketing strategies, and so on.

So, which DEFCON level are you current at? (If you had previously reached higher DEFCON levels, even if your current state is lower, you should still pick the higher levels if your goal is to reach those same levels again.)

Cliff Face
12-10-2011, 01:05 PM
Well, the highest I've gotten is Defcon 2. I've submitted completed works before. But I've never been accepted anywhere.

However, my current WIP is in Defcon 4, pretty much. Intermittent writing, seems more like a hobby than anything else.


12-10-2011, 11:02 PM
I got to Defcon 1.5 once (agent signed and thisclose to a contract with Tor.) Currently at Defcon 2 again. But this time...! :)