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distraction thy name is Pokemon
distraction thy name is Pokemon

November was going pretty well, in fact I was even keeping a NaNo pace at the start. And then Pokemon Sun/Moon came out. I’m sure you can fill in the blanks ;p

As for the actual goals I completed Sugar Cane and Swam Monsters at 15,000 words, and I completed Glass Slippers rewrites at 39,000 words. The edits aren’t quite finished, I still need to do a read through and a scour through before it goes to beta readers, but considering how many new words went into and shuffling of scenes and ideas and subsequent fact/continuity checking this is still a pretty good result. Sadly, I didn’t get around to Charming Rivals or ‘Skeleton Romance’, though I did a lot of thinking about ‘Skeleton Romance’ and its climax.

For December I’m keeping the goals light as school lets out early so I’ll have both kids all day every day – except when I go to work! I want to:

  • Finish Glass Slippers edits and get it to betas
  • Complete edits based on writers group feedback of Charming Rivals

Stretch Goal:

  • Complete (or at least continue) ‘Skeleton Romance’ first draft

I’d love to have December as a ‘race to the finish’ but we’ll see how things go.

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If you caught my last post (October Goals Round-Up) you know I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year because I’m supporting my husband in doing it. But I did a quick check on my word count for this month so far and I’m on 21,050 – technically on track for NaNo (well, off by 567 words, but the day is young).

I got there by finishing Sugar Cane and Swamp Monsters (which lets face it isn’t a short story but rather a novellete at 15,000 words), and giving in to the demands of my muse (who wouldn’t let me think about anything else) by writing out the first 3000 words in ‘Romance is Dead'(working title), and finally by adding the carriage heist scenes(and answering a few other issues my writers group had) in Glass Slippers which so far have come out at adding 9,250 words to the story.

Obviously much trimming will be done on these words in later editing stages, but I’m just amused that I’ve kept pace with NaNoWriMo despite not officially doing it. Sadly, since the rest of the month is the trimming sort of editing I doubt tomorrow will see the same thing happen, or the rest of the month.

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Yes, I carved jack'o'lanterns again ;p
Yes, I carved jack’o’lanterns again ;p

I spent the first two weeks of October going over (and over and over) Charming Rivals, there’s something wrong with it I’m sure, but I’ve been suffering a lot of self doubt lately which I can’t seem to shake. I’ve done what I could and submitted it to my writers group for feedback so hopefully I’ll hear back soon if I’ve fallen short.

Then I had a dream. A story dream. I have them every now and then; a dream which would be an awesome story. I spent that day writing just short of 4,000 words of outline as well as some choice dialogue snippets which had to be preserved before wakefulness stole too much of them. The story is currently under the working title ‘Romance Is Dead’, but I’m positive someone in the same genre will have already used the title, so it’s just my reference point for now.

‘Romance Is Dead’ wasn’t my only idea this month, I also had two others, and figured out a way to make the long-shelved The Eighteenth Soldier work better so I can finally complete its draft with confidence(though I’ll probably change it to sixteen soldiers since I’m no longer trying to make it fit a theme of ’18’ ;p ).

I wrote 6,200 new words in Sugar Cane and Swamp Monsters. I’ve come across an unexpected thread in the story and am currently chasing the rabbit down the hole so might not keep all the words, but it’s fun none the less.

To be honest though, despite all that talk about working on Glass Slippers last month… well I didn’t even read the feedback from my group on it yet. I got so wrapped up in Charming Rivals, then ‘Romance Is Dead’, and now Sugar Cane and Swamp Monsters. I need to get myself into gear.

I think my biggest problem at the moment is a lack of confidence in myself. I keep thinking my stories aren’t that good, then it seems like all of them are sub-par. I keep forgetting several of my stories have been written ‘off the cuff’, self edited with no other eyes on them, submitted, and been accepted for publication. Two of those by the first place I sent them to. One of them even went on to be an Aurealis Awards finalist. So I’m not crap. Yet I’m having some trouble getting my subconscious to accept that fact. I’m sure every writer (heck probably every PERSON) goes through this. But it bugs me because now I’m not sure if something really is wrong with a story, or I’m just being silly.

Enough pessimism, my goals for November are:

  • Finish Sugar Cane and Swamp Monsters
  • Complete edits based on writers group feedback of Glass Slippers (and try to find beta readers if possible)
  • Complete edits based on writers group feedback of Charming Rivals

Stretch Goal:

  • Complete (or at least continue) ‘Skeleton Romance’ first draft

Though I may have to hold myself back from writing some of my new ideas also ;p

You may notice a lack of NaNoWriMo in my goals list. I’m not doing it this year. Why? Well partly for the same reasons as last year, but mostly because this year I’m supporting my husband in writing HIS novel! It’s a hilarious noir thriller called “I Am Not Liam Neeson”. I can guarantee if he finishes this he’ll sell his novel before I sell any of mine because it is comedy gold. And he doesn’t read my blog, so I’m not just saying that to pander him ;p

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I’ve been writing these every month, but I’ve been forgetting to cross-post them here. Oops ;p well, I’ll get back on track again now.

Writing Prompt: First Line Fun

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cat-typingIt’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, maybe that’s why I suddenly feel like I’m this cat ;p

This past month I wrote the entire first draft of Charming Rivals (16,300 words), did a revision of Glass Slippers, and also wrote, edited, and submitted Hanabi to Kitsune (5,700 words). That’s 22,000  brand new words (there’s a reasonable number of new words in revision, but it’s much harder to track).

After several months and only really scraping together a couple of thousand words and almost the only editing I did was with professional editors for stories I’d already sold, to suddenly slam out 22,000 words and then some in one month feels like powering through.

Now to see if I can maintain the momentum.

For October I’d like to:

  • Revise Charming Rivals and start getting feedback on it.
  • Take the feedback from my writers group for the first 5,000 words of Glass Slippers and use it
  • After the above get feedback on Glass Slippers as a whole and revise
  • Assuming the above is completed hire an editor and begin the process of professionally editing Glass Slippers
  • Write the first draft of Nix, Naught, Nothing (the third Charming For Hire story from the Retailored Fairy Tales world

I also hope to find the time to tinker with the new My Book Table 3 plugin which I backed on Kickstarter. I want to check out this ‘beautiful page’ mode and see how sexy it is 😀

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me with myriad lands
not the greatest photo ever taken of me, but too happy to care

Guess what I received in the mail today?

My contributors copies of Myriad Lands volumes 1 and 2!

Myriad Lands volume 1 contains my latest short story The Beauty of the Dance.

The Beauty of the Dance is set in a world where music and dance are the source of magic and power. In such a world what must being tone deaf and uncoordinated be like? Sune can tell you. Despite being an embarrassment to her talented, prominent parents Sune is smitten with one of the court’s finest dancers, Avalessa. When the object of her affections life is threatened by political intrigue and magical danger what can Sune do to help her beloved?

An Honorable Mention in the Writers Of The Future contest Q1 2015, this is one of those stories I had a marvelous time writing(I almost always do though ;p ) but also had a great time rewriting and editing (less common) with help from my fabulous writers group, Vision Writers, and the editors at Guardbridge Books.

I can’t wait to read the other stories in the anthology and I hope you’ll check it out too.

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Over on the Vision Writers website you can check out yesterday’s meeting takeaway post on ‘War and Commerce’ and the most recent writing prompt, ‘Weak Sauce’, too. Head over and give them a look through.

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scrunched paperThis last three months – bleh! Scrunch them up and toss them in the bin!

Not only the loss of this time but a long term plan I sat down and worked out with a friend mean I need to do some goal reassessment. I know it’s not really mid-year, but shh ;p

So, most of my goals are remaining the same:

Goal #2 – Be the best president I can be of my writers group, Vision Writers.

Goal #6 – Work with as many editors as I can.

Goal #7 – Find some dedicated beta readers.

Goal #8 – Keep Learning.

A couple of goals are changing slightly, becoming more specific to fit my more accurate long-term plan:

Goal #3 – Work on my several novellas will remain basically the same, just more specific, with a set list of titles to focus on.

Goal #4 – Keep writing and selling short fiction. Same as above, I have a set list and order, though there is a tiny amount of wiggle room with this one should inspiration strike.

And a few goals have been tossed out for now while I focus on ‘the plan’. There is one new goal:

Goal #1 – Stick to the plan. Which essentially is, while I will continue to traditionally publish some of my short stories I will also be releasing several novellas and longer short stories set in my Retailored Fairy Tales world.

So keep an eye out, I’ve got a few more stories coming out this year (keep an eye out for the Kickstarter for the anthology which will hold Glass Bones next month), so if you’re keen to be updated don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter.

 

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4576127693_94c35d2ae4_zI did so well in April I worry it might be hard to follow. I can’t help but wonder, I set less goals for April, then got more done than expected. Should I follow that model?

Nah!

  • Finish Charming Rivals
  • Using Vision Writers feedback clean up (working title) Kitsune In Space, give it an actual title, and submit to the anthology I wrote it for
  • Tinker with the possibility of a print edition of The Troll’s Toll. I worry it’s too short to be worth making into a paperback, but I’d like to try and see, even if I end up wasting a couple of days learning the software only to discover it is a futile effort, I’ll still have learned how to wrangle the software for future endeavors
  • Set up a submission for the Richelle Prize
  • Sit my ass down and really try to nut out the ending of (working title) Skeleton Romance so I can finish it
  • Start, ideally finish, first draft of Naught For Charming

Stretch goal:

  • Work on one of those NaNo novels I never finished (at the moment I lean far more towards Tucca of the Tides, but we’ll see)

I’m probably setting myself up a bit for failure considering this first week and a half of May is filled with social events (autism seminars, a destination wedding, packing for extended holidaying around aforementioned wedding) but hey, aim high 🙂

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TTT3D - zoomed inApril was a good month for me, with some great achievements. (Can’t remember the yearly goals? Check them out here)

Goal #3 (working on my novellas) took a good jump forward as I published The Troll’s Toll (my first venture into self publishing(not counting flash fiction here on my site). This means I’ve met my requirement of publishing ‘at least one of them’.

Goal #4 (writing and selling short fiction) proceeded with my writing a new short story (working title ‘Kitsune In Space’) and starting Charming‘s first sequel, Charming Rivals.

As far as goal #8 (learning) I did plenty. I learned how to format an ebook (Guido Henkel’s guide is super handy, but I needed a few other bits and pieces and some special formatting for my ‘about’ page so it’s an effective starter (and intermediate) but doesn’t have everything. Also, it’s free.). I also learned no matter how perfect an image is in the author’s mind for the book, sometimes it just doesn’t work out and you have to let go. And on top of that I discovered the Writing Excuses podcast and binged an entire three seasons of the thing. I need to take a break before delving deeper into the back list as I’ve been podcast listening for nearly two months now. Back to audiobooks!

And now, my goals specifically for April:

  • Revamp of website: Mostly done. I updated the look of this, the main part of the site, and I did a cool new books section. It took a lot of work though, making a subdomain, setting up a separate install of WordPress on there so it could have its own theme and using MyBookTable to make it all pretty. Considering my only website before this was an old Geocities Sailor Moon fansite I think I did a pretty good job with all the technical stuff ;p That’s probably why I’m waiting a little longer before I update my ‘free fiction’ section. I’ll try getting to that later this year.
  • Release The Troll’s Toll: done, though by the skin of my teeth really as I uploaded it late at night on the 28th. So late I didn’t have time to do all my release/out now promotion.
  • Help with the promotion of the releases of ASIM #63 (which contains my story Gaps) and Leading Edge #68 (which contains my story Charming): I had heaps of fun with this, I got to send out my first ever newsletter(and second), make book pages on my site and I even (after checking the publisher didn’t mind) put the magazines on Goodreads. I only hope my sales copy wasn’t too sales-y in my newsletters.

Stretch goal:

  • Write first draft of (very loose working title) Kitsune In Space: YES! Yes I finally completed on of my stretch goals. I even found the time to revise it and submit the first 2/3rds to my writers’ group for critique. I hope to submit it to a specific anthology at the end of May.

I also found the time to sit down and flesh out the entire Charming For Hire series, the full outlines of all the sequels to Charming, (Charming Rivals, Naught for Charming, The Glass Witch, The Handrell War, A Charming Child). I’ve even written a good portion of Charming Rivals‘ first draft. I found this time as I was waiting for my proofreader to send me back The Troll’s Toll.

So over all, I’m pretty happy with the results for April.