Here’s how my 2016 went, as far as my writing goals were concerned:
- I did a major revision on The Believer, changing it from YA to MG. I needed to cut about 20k words. I got it down by 11k, and I’m in the process of another revision to improve the voice and reduce the word count even more.
- I did a minor revision on Time Guardian, but I’m still getting the same feedback on the opening pages…that they just aren’t doing the job. I’m still not sure how to fix that, so it’s on the shelf for now.
- I did query Messy, got a few bites, but not takers yet.
- I actually participated in NaNoWriMo this year for the first time. My goal was to get a good start on a new MG sci-fi I’ve been thinking of, not to get 50k words. I achieved what I set out to do and wrote about 15k words in November. A nice start!
What I’d like to do this year:
- I need to query SOMETHING (pretty much anything) more. Most of my stuff probably needs work before doing that, but I have lots of options so that shouldn’t be a problem. So…complete revisions of The Believer, and do some work on Time Guardian and Messy and I’ll have lots to work with.
- Finish my current WIP that I started in November.
- I give up on being a regular blogger. 😛
Happy 2017, cheers!
For the most part I did well accomplishing my goals for 2015:
- I finished extensive revisions on both Time Guardian and Messy (formally called A Hoard Life). I did some querying with Time Guardian, and while the concept interested agents, the pages didn’t manage to draw anyone in to want to read more. I think another revision is in order, I’m not ready to give up on it yet. I only just stared querying Messy and have had some success getting requests, but I need to get it out more.
- I massively revised The Mystic Road, but it still needs more work before it’s ready to take any further.
- I also did really well with my exercise program, I only missed workouts when I was ill or on vacation, etc.
- My only fail this year was right around November I lost all motivation to work on revising, querying, or writing at all. I’m fine with taking a break, I probably really needed it so I’m not upset about it, but I want my enthusiasm back for the New Year.
- Plus…I’m the worst blogger ever!
My goals for 2016:
- Work on revisions for Time Guardian, especially making an effort to improve the first chapter and clean up some other story issues, then query more.
- Continue querying Messy. Revise as necessary.
- More revisions on The Mystic Road, consider querying when ready.
- Work on a complete rewrite of The Believer. This was originally a YA fantasy that I think will work better as a MG fantasy. I already have notes on the planned changes, but it will be a huge project. I need to cut around 20,000 words and make some major plot changes in a few areas.
- Writing a new MS isn’t necessarily a priority again, but it would be nice to work on something new. If I can fit that into my plan it would be great.
- Continue keeping a writing journal, I really like doing that and it keeps me on track (that’s how I knew I was losing motivation because I stopped making entries. Step one in getting my writing mojo back is to write in my journal, it keeps me accountable).
- Continue the exercise, which is great for both body and mind.
- Learn guitar and ukulele. I started leaning guitar last year and I got a ukulele for Christmas, so I’d like to take the time to practice with them at least a few times a week. I don’t want or need to become an expert or anything, I’d just like to be able to play some songs for fun.
- Finally, last year I wrote a whopping four blog entries. That’s just downright PATHETIC! I don’t want to be a fantastic blogger with a zillion readers and all that jazz. Most of what I write here is for my benefit instead of others, but I’d like to try and write at least one entry a month like I’ve done in years past.
I’ve moved my book list to Goodreads, to make it easier to update and keep track of. The link to my “read shelf” is on the book list page. I also deleted my Quilting Bee pages since the club is pretty much defunct now…which is very sad…still, it was a lot of fun while it lasted! For now, this not-often-updated blog is mainly dedicated to my reading and writing.
Remember that whole, “I’ll try to post at least once a month” thing? Yeah, neither do I. Well, I stink at blogging.
Here’s an update on my writing adventures: After an extensive revision, I started querying my second YA novel in earnest. I’m only just getting started so I don’t have much to report, but this MS got a full request from a Twitter pitch event last year and I hope that wasn’t just a fluke. Yes, the full request ended in rejection, but that’s still better than all the silence and form rejects I got the last time I queried. However this turns out, I’m still making progress. Slow progress, but I’ll take it.
In the meantime, I’m revising a MG contemporary. I finished the first draft last year and finally got it out again. I’m excited about this one, but it needs more work in the details. I’ve had several beta readers give feedback and it’s been fairly positive and helpful. If all goes well and I work hard, I think I can have it ready to query by the end of the summer.
I’m happy to say I accomplished all of my goals for 2014:
- Continue querying my first MS after rewriting the query. I rewrote the query and it was the best version yet, but after a few additional months of querying with no response whatsoever, MS #1 has been shelved. I’m okay with this…moving on to other projects. And just because it’s shelved doesn’t mean it’s dead. I may just need to wait until there’s a better market for it (some minor feedback from agents I did get suggests this was their major issue for not requesting to see more, so I can wait).
- Revise two manuscripts–done. However, only one felt query ready. I sent it out a little, got one full request for it that resulted in rejection. Then I decided it needed more revision, so both manuscripts are still in the working stages.
- Finish a new MS–also done. This goal was an on-the-side goal if I had time. It turns out I did have time and I got it done.
- Continue keeping a writing journal–no problem.
- Regular exercise–check.
My goals for this year are pretty similar, but I want to query a lot more so the focus will be getting multiple manuscripts to the querying stage:
- Finish my planned revisions on Time Guardian (YA romance/sci-fi) and get it back out there into query land by spring.
- Massive revisions on my new MS, The Hoard Life (MG contemporary). Get it into the hands of a few CPs in the spring/summer and try to to have it query-ready by the end of the year (earlier, if I can manage it…I think I can). Query this one extensively, especially if I have no luck with my earlier MS.
- Continue revisions on The Mystic Road (MG fantasy). I think I can also get this one query-ready, then it can wait its turn if the others don’t work out.
- Writing a new MS isn’t a priority this year, although if I find I have the inspiration and the time, I have no problem starting one. Even if I don’t start a new one, I would like to take some time to flesh out ideas I have rattling around in my brain and outline a few plots to consider for later.
- Continue keeping a writing journal. I find this really helpful to keep me on track.
- Continue exercising regularly. Not only is this good for the body, but it helps clear and focus my mind. Also, keep up with the new menu I’ve been using for the past few months that seems to be helping a lot–more whole foods, less processed foods, and be aware of portions and snacking.
Happy New Year to all, let’s make 2015 great!
Back in July, I started a new WIP. This is new territory for me, it’s a Middle Grade Contemporary. Up to this point I’ve only written Young Adult, and none of it was even close to contemporary. I can honestly say it’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever written, but the challenge has been great and it begged to be told so I’m glad to get it down on the computer screen. My current word count on the sloppy first draft is 30,000 words. My goal is to finish it by the end of the month.
Then I need to give a previous MS more attention. I’d hoped to be querying it by now, but I’ve decided it needs more revision before it’s ready for that. I did query it a little during the summer (very little) and entered it in a few contests. While I did get some interest in the concept, there’s still some plot points that need clarification. It stinks to pull it from querying for now, but I hope when I’m done with this revision it will shine and generate even more interest. Here’s to hoping anyway.
“…medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”
So Robin Williams didn’t write these words, but he’s the one who said them (as Mr. Keating in Dead Poet’s Society) in a way that made me pay attention and remember.
I first heard these lines as a senior in high school, sitting in a movie theater with several disgruntled friends (they wanted to see some shoot-em’-up blockbuster movie, I don’t remember which now, but I insisted we see Dead Poet’s Society. I was so stubborn about it, I flat out told them I’d go alone if they weren’t going to be persuadable, and I got a lot of heavy sighing and eye-rolling in return…but to this day I don’t regret standing my ground to see it even if I had to be pretty annoying to get what I wanted at the time). Those lines, and so many others from this single movie stuck with me for years and years and I truly believe that a lot of what I took away from it made me want to be a writer in later years.
Because (from the same movie): “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” More lines delivered by Robin Williams. His is the voice I hear in my head telling me these words are true. I credit him for making me want to share my own words.
Robin Williams made me laugh. A lot. And that’s a beautiful thing. But he also made me think and feel.
“To quote from Whitman, ‘O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?’ Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?” —Robin Williams as Mr. Keating, Dead Poet’s Society
What will your verse be?