Gooooooooal…s for 2017

Well. MAN it has been a hard month, hasn’t it? But I know I should keep writing, even though that feels like it is the last thing I should be worried about. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about these goals (and trying to get caught up on my exam studying), so here they are, laid out for everyone to see. It may be hard, but it’s important to keep creating, even when the world is on fire.

Last year’s theme was “Getting my work out there.” I want to continue that trend this year, but the big goal is to start getting my novels out there. I don’t have any illusions that things move quickly, but I’d like to pick up my first novel rejection by the end of the year.

Novels

Iron Stars

robots
GIANT ROBOTS IN SPAAAAAACE

A plucky crew has a heist that goes wrong, they must band together to help get out of the jam. Oh yeah, and there are GIANT ROBOTS.

This is the novel that started out originally as a little novella over last summer, and ballooned into 65k. It’s very short for a novel, but it is definitely not a novella anymore. I am working on expanding it and there are pieces I can expand, so I think we’ll be able to hit 80k. Respectable, but certainly not large.

Goals:

  • I will finish draft 2 before the end of February
  • I will submit it to my beta readers
  • Oh yeah, I should ask folks if they want to be beta readers
  • Revise draft 3 before May
  • Start trying to submit it in the latter half of the year.

There’s a lot here, but mostly because this is a shorter novel I hope to be able to have a quick turnaround time. The first draft took about 40 hours; I’m about 70% of the way through this second draft, and I want to get the rest of the way there sooner than later so beta readers have a chance to look at it.

Muskets and Ghosts

mtg-card
Pictured: Someone with neither muskets nor ghosts

This is my first attempt back at writing fantasy in about a decade (I’ve referred to it before as Esper Guard, but that title is just awful). Honestly it’s me tip-toeing back into it, but there’s just something fun about world-building. I’ve learned a lot about the craft since last time I tried to write any kind of fantasy, and I’m excited to try out some of the techniques I’ve learned to do it better. I’m also mindful of some issues and mistakes I want to make sure I avoid, so… it’ll be a learning experience.

The project is a kind of a mash-up of 3-Musketeers meets Ghostbusters, supernatural swashbuckling. The project is still in the formative stages, but here’s what I hope to get accomplished this year on it.

Goals:

  • I will spend some time doing research and pre-writing
  • I will translate that pre-writing into an outline before the end of July.
  • I will complete the first draft and get it to my alpha readers.

Mostly, the biggest thing I want to make sure I do with this book is make sure that I do the free-writing properly. Iron Stars had proper free-writing, but I’m also hoping to outline something a little larger than a “novella”.

Short Stories

I learned last year in my attempts to write short stories that this is a unique genre. It requires it’s own skills, and these are skills that I don’t have. I started to work on this some last year, and I basically face-planted. A lot. So while my “quarterly short story” goal definitely didn’t happen, I realized I need to spend some time learning about this. I also need to spend some dedicated time just learning the craft of short-stories specifically, and that includes reading more of them.

My plan this year? Spend some time failing on purpose, and learning from it.

Goals:

  • I will trim down 1926 and submit it to Daily Science Fiction before the end of February.
  • I will do a research spike after I finish Iron Stars where I will try to draft 10 short stories in 4 weeks, while reading craft books on the topic.
  • I will read more short story collections.

I’ve collected some rejections for some of my work already, but I’d like to get more out there making the rounds and circulating. And it would be nice if, by the end of the year, I actually could get a submission accepted. While that’s my intent, I’m not listing that as a formal goal because I can’t control that part. I’ll instead control the parts I can: writing my ass off.

Metrics

I’ve blogged before about my elaborate spreadsheets

spreadsheets
Contain your excitement

and they’ve helped me keep track of several metrics. I know last year, for example, I wrote only 40% of the days of the years (that’s 146 distinct days). I wrote 229 hours over those days.I’d like to improve on those metrics. The biggest reason is this: if all else fails and projects go waaay longer than expected, as long as my ass is in my chair doing some writing at the end of the year I’ll be satisfied.

Goals:

  • Write 60% of the days of the year
  • Aim for writing 275 hours total by the end of the year.

 

It still seems very silly to be worrying about things like my writing metrics when politics is just so very hard – it’s been a hard month, but you know, I’m not going to let them take away my creativity. I’ve got exams and many things to juggle, but I’m still going to make sure my ass is in my chair and I’m banging out some words. And now you all know what I’m aiming for, so feel free to bug me and help me stay on task.

Until next time. Cheers.

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