It’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 😀
This 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.
The goal I probably did the most work on last month was Goal 2 – being a good president to my writers group. Our group is working on an anthology to celebrate its 20th anniversary. I spent a lot of time hunting down old members and trying to contact them. I discovered there’s a surprising number of successful authors who don’t have websites, or social media, or any easy way to contact them >.< So if you are a published past member of Vision and didn’t get a message from me, that might be why (or I never heard you were a past member). I also had several other things to do with the anthology front and back matter and edits organisation. Also I worked on a presentation plan for an appearance at BWF again – but in a different way this time! And dealt with a website outage. Busy busy!
Goal 3, working on my novellas saw some attention, with me utilising some beta reader feedback for The Troll’s Toll and writing a further 10,400 words in Skeleton Romance(working title). I also did a plot outline for a couple of novellas I’ll be writing soon (The Charming Sequel and Glass Slippers). Also wrote the first 1,500 words of Glass Slippers.
Goal 4, write more short fiction. I wrote the first 4,500 words of Sugar Cane and Swamp Monsters, a new short story, and wrote a plot outline for another short story I want to write for an upcoming anthology(which the working title is almost too ridiculous to even say outloud).
Goal 6, work with as many editors as I can, went well. I worked with editors (a team of them 🙂 !) on Charming, a different editor on God’s Chosen, and yet another on Glass Bones – and that was just in February. When you count my January edits I’ve worked with five different editors (or groups of editors). An exciting start, and I’m sure learning lots(which of course satisfies goal 8, keep learning ;p ).
In regards to my February specific goals:
Finish the first draft of Skeleton Romance(working title) – I wrote another 10,000+ words, but came across a problem, I have two antagonists whose narratives need wrapping up. My original plot outline was only concerned with wrapping up the romantic and platonic relationships and the self-growth of the protagonist, not the antagonistic stuff. What an over sight! And i made some pretty nasty villains who are going to be harder to polish off that i at first thought. It’s going to take a bit longer than I thought. Again. also, there is nothing novella length about Skeleton romance now – it’s a novel ;p
Get betas back for The Troll’s Toll and utilise feedback – I did so. The Troll’s Toll now has a more solid ending and a lot of lovely compliments ;p
Get betas back for Foxworth and utillise – I’ve only had one beta reader get back to me. I was so busy with the anthology and the edits for my professional sales I forgot all about this goal until this very moment ;p Time to send a few polite emails.
Write the new Charming sequel – I didn’t write it, but I did get the plot outline done. I still feel there’s a little something missing from the story though, so I’m researching a lot of lesser known fairy tales trying to find the missing puzzle piece (plus, reading fairy tales is fun 😀 )
My stretch goal, to write some more flash fiction, was sort of done. I’ve come up with 3 new short stories and started a couple of them, but none of them are flash fiction, they’re all 7,000 words or longer in their projected length. They’ll still suit my purpose of getting more stories to try and sell traditionally though ;p
All up, I think I did make February Fabruary. It was a busy and productive month.
January went well, I completed or near-completed all the goals I set for the month(though I didn’t touch my stretch goal), made some great progress on my yearly goals, and received three acceptance letters for short stories. That’s given me the confidence and drive to make February, FABruary.
I know, it’s a smaller list than January. Let me explain. I have two more stories I should be receiving edits on this month, and a possible third which could drop on me at any time. Also our family has a couple of weekends away planned, and I know I won’t do any writing then because I’ll be having family fun. That and this list doesn’t include things like the reciprocal feedback I’m giving my beta readers, the critiquing I do each month for my writers group and all my household goals that have nothing to do with my writing (like cleaning the spare bedroom and organising Xander’s toy mountain).
Without further ado, FABruary’s goals are:
Finish the first draft of Skeleton Romance(very loose working title)
Get betas back for The Troll’s Toll and utilise feedback
Get betas back for Foxworth and utillise
Write the new Charming sequel
And my stretch goal is:
Write some flash fiction with Holly’s course (or at least use it to give me some short stories)
I need that stretch goal because I’ve almost run out of short fiction to sell traditionally. If I want to keep making traditional sales I’m going to need some more material ;p
With three new acceptance letters for short stories received this month it was certainly a good start to the year.
I also got a great start to the working with editors goal(#6), since two editors (one for one of the new stories and one from a while back) have worked with me already.
Goal 3 went well too as I did a good amount of work on The Troll’s Toll novella, and wrote a huge amount in the Skeleton Romance novella.
In fact I made progress on my yearly goals #s 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8. (Can’t remember what the goals were? Read this post(scroll to the bottom if you only want to know what goals I set))
For my January only goals:
Write ‘Skeleton Romance’ – I wrote 32,800 words. It’s not finished, but a good chunk is done
Prep a years worth of writing prompts for the Vision Writers website – completed
Make the new banner for the Vision Writers website – done
Continue updates of the Vision Writers website – done most of it, still some more to work to do though, and it will always need updates
Final review of The Troll’s Toll to prepare it for beta readers – I did indeed
Find beta readers for The Troll’s Toll and reciprocate – Found some, got some back (not all yet), still working on reciprocating for all of them (some haven’t sent me anything yet – storing up favours I guess ;p )
Send Foxworth to the Foxworth Feedback Community for beta reading – yes. Haven’t got any back yet though. Memo to me: give beta readers set date to have feedback returned by ;p
I didn’t get around to either of my stretch goals, but stretch goals are just that – the goal you do when everything else is done.
I also had a nice long chat with a good friend/writer/mentor to help me focus on a business plan and all the fiddly bits underneath the bonnet of that phrase.
Not a bad start to the year, but the start of the year is usually easy – you’ve got all the enthusiasm from New Years resolutions. Can it be maintained all year long?
In addition to setting my yearly, overarching goals, I’m setting myself monthly goals. Some of these goals I’ve set now, well in advance, and others I will play a bit more by ear – I know what they’ll be but have no set month I intend to finish them during.
For January my goals are:
Write ‘Skeleton Romance’ (very loose working title) novella
Prep a years worth of writing prompts for the Vision Writers website
Make the new banner for the Vision Writers website
Continue updates on various pages of the Vision Writers website
Final review of The Troll’s Toll to prepare it for beta readers
Find beta readers for The Troll’s Toll and reciprocate
Send Foxworth to the Foxworth Feedback Community for beta reading
Plot outline Footprints In the Sand novella and check with friend in police force to ensure I’m procedurally correct for a rural NSW police force
So far I’ve written nearly 15,000 words in the projected 30,000 word novella I’m temporarily calling Skeleton Romance, and I’ve prepped 7 writing prompts for Vision. Through voting with the active members we’ve settled on an image for the Vision banner and I’ve been collecting info to update several pages of the website.
Not a bad start for the month/year – lets hope I can maintain the pace.
The month started out well enough, then my body decided to abandon me(more than one trip to the hospital to check baby was doing better than I was and fortunately she was fine even though I was not) and by the time I recovered from that my life decided it needed some more drama on top of that – but let’s not get bogged down in that.
I achieved goal #5(start my newsletter). Yes goal #5 is completed. Done and dusted at last and you can sign up here and get the free bonus ebook of ‘Stolen Hearts’.
Goal #4 (writing and submitting short stories) I wrote 6,000 new words in two different short stories. One(working title: Light In The Deep) was intended for a specific anthology but I blew the word count out of the water and haven’t even finished the first draft so I (╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻ and started writing another story(working title: The Broken Mirror) since to trim Light In The Deep down to word count would take out too much of what I love about the story.
Also – kind of goal #4 related – both Short Circuit and Stolen Hearts were listed as honourable mentions for Twelfth Planet Press’ Years Best Speculative Fiction 2013 anthology. I totally would have missed that without the keen eyes of Shane Halbach (thank you 😀 ).
Goal #6(keep learning) was furthered by watching a Holly Lisle webinar and joining Critters (but because of the drama I’ve fallen behind 🙁 ) so I’m working hard on that as always.
And lastly goal #1(being a good president to my writers group) kept me busy with trying to reorganise a new meeting date since our usual ‘first Sunday of the month’ meeting day was Easter Sunday. Still don’t know for sure if I’m doing a great job, but no one’s tried to depose me yet ;p
For such a short month I was surprisingly busy, but at least I managed to get a lot done.
For goal #1 (being a good president to my writer’s group) we’ve commenced work on an anthology to celebrate 20 years of Vision Writers writing and critiquing one another. The anniversary is next year, but as most people who know about publishing are aware it’s not as simple as snap your fingers and done, so we’ve a long road.
I also organised and ran my first writers retreat. It was all Vision Writers members, but it wasn’t an official Vision event. We all had a great time and you can find out a little more about it here if you’re interested. I would like to do it again, but not any time too soon – not with baby on the way ;p There’s so much organisation that you might not realise is involved.
In regards to goal #2 (final revision and editing for Storybook Perfect) I still haven’t started it, but that’s because I only want to revise one book at a time, and I’m working on goal #3 which is the revision of Written By The Stars. I’ve been using holly Lisle’s How To Revise Your Novel course to help me get as much done in one pass as possible. For most of last year I was stymied by the massive world building lesson, lesson 7, but I finally defeated the daunting lesson and moved through another 6, I’m almost finished 😀
I wrote an extra 3000 words in ‘Foxworth'(previously known as Tubby) based on the group’s feedback, and according to those who gave the story a second read through made it even better. I also finished ‘Couples Counselling’ at a total of 3358 words and submitted it to my writers group for critique. Then I wrote a new flash fiction piece called Ella’s Baby (500 words) and did some editing on the novella ‘The Troll’s Toll’. Because of The Troll’s Toll’s larger length I’m seriously considering self publishing it as it’s length makes it a hard sell to just about every market I know of.
I’ve been working towards goal#5(starting a mailing list) too – finally! I have formatted two ebooks and made my first cover, all working towards the freebie for signing up. I’m repackaging a competition winning story that’s now out of print. You’ll see the results very soon.
Goal #6 (keep learning), well I learned lots through goals 1, 3 and 5 and even (as you always do from good feedback) some from goal 4, so still chugging along.
On wonderful, but slightly less goal orientated notes, I enjoyed my 3 year blogiversary and I added Goodreads buttons all over the website 🙂
There should be a ‘belated’ in brackets at the start of that title ;p
As mentioned yesterday I not only went on a writers retreat but organised the whole damn thing(including lunches and dinners), so the end week of January was a crazy rush for me – hence utterly forgetting to do my goals round-up.
I sent out only a couple of stories (most of my polished ones were sent out at the end of last year so are still awaitng acceptance/rejection), but I did do a crazy massive edit on Glass Bones to make it an acceptable word count for a particular magazine running a theme I thought it very apt for. I took Glass Bones from 8,400 words to 6,000. I wasn’t sure I could do it, but somehow I did(I might post about that more soon).
I wrote a new short story ‘Tubby’ based on the writing prompt I created for the Vision Writers website. Tubby came in at 2,300 words and I submitted it to my writers group for critique. I also got back to work on Couples Counselling(an idea I had last year) and wrote an additional 1,800 words in it. So goal #4 is chugging along quite nicely.
As far as goal #1, being a good president to my writers group I think I’ve been doing well. This is based on a lack of hate mail and no one throwing rocks at the back of my head ;p . No, really, I’ve based that on me getting to work on the Vision Writers website, updating pages, getting the start of a regular blogging schedule underway – including making up (what I hope are) new and original writing prompts. Not to mention the writers retreat (despite it not being an official group event I’m sure it fostered happiness within the group), lots of organising for that!
While I didn’t touch #2 or #3, number three did get a thorough going through at the retreat, but since this is a January round up we can’t count work done in February.
2014 has been a bit of a turbulent year, my vertigo returned(and fortunately left as well), our family went on it’s first fly-away trip, I took off a fabulous birthday weekend to go to Canberra for the Aurealis Awards ceremony, I’m pregnant and had a rough first trimester. More good than bad, but certainly life did it’s best to get in the way of my dreams ;p Never forget, good things can get in the way as much as bad.
I wrote a reasonable amount of short fiction this year, some of it sold, some of it is out looking for homes and a few are still in need of a bit more TLC before making their way out into the world. For those curious my 2014 stories were: Look Skyward (11,000), God’s Chosen(5,000), Princess Paladin(not quite finished and in need of a solid revision, currently written 8,500), Motherhood(900), The Ashes(1,700), Gaps(5,000), Anything To Fit In(500), Back To Work(400) and a couple more which at this stage will probably never see the light of day (some stories are great ideas, but don’t quite live up to your expectations when they make it to the page). I’ve totaled about 45,100 new words in short fiction for this year.
I was published twice this year, Anything To Fit In on the website 365 Tomorrows, and Nightfall in 18. I also have received an acceptance letter for a story that will be published next year(assuming all goes well, you will be reading Gaps in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine this June), and one of my unpublished stories (Charming) received an honourable mention in the Q4 Writers Of The Future contest(as soon as I receive the certificate you can be sure I’ll show it off ;p ).
In regards to Key, Clocks, Quests I only scraped in a few thousand extra words, I kept prioritising other work because this was my stretch goal.
I decided to give NaNoWriMo a go again, so have 51,900 words in a new novel: Tuuca of the Tides. It wasn’t one of my original goals, but I do have the first third/half of a new novel at least. I enjoyed it, but sometimes wonder if I shouldn’t have directed that energy towards Key, Clocks, Quests instead.
So my word count for the year comes in at 97,000. Not bad, but compared to last year’s 146,400 and 2012’s 159,800 a drop in new words (though a lot more editing and revision happened this year – not to mention vertigo – so I’m not beating myself up over it).
My goals for 2015 may seem a little on the light side, but considering the due date for baby #2 is in June and anyone who has had an infant knows nothing is really going to get done in that first three months or so, I’m going a bit light on myself.
In 2015 I’ll be president of Vision Writers too, so I’ll be losing a small amount of my writing energy to helping the group. I’ve got a few things up my sleeve, but that’s for the group to hear, so if you want to know, you need to come to our meetings ;p
I am determined to try and get both Storybook Perfect and Written By The Stars completely revised and ready to go out to a short list of agents before my due date. Depending on how busy life is I’m not certain this can be achieved, but it won’t be for a lack of trying.
So goals are:
#1 Be a great President of my critique group Vision Writers (this will help new writers as well as myself)
#2 Complete final revision of Storybook Perfect
#3 Complete final revision of Written By The Stars
#4 Continue to write and publish short fiction
#5 Start a mailing list
#6 Keep learning
Really, keep learning is pretty easy, and will be easily bolstered by #1 and #4(4 because good rejections come back with feedback you can learn from), but if needs to be in there because I’m not a master yet ;p
Anyway, got any big (or little) goals for 2015? Who’s ready to muck up written dates by still putting down ’14’ instead of ’15’ for the next four weeks or so?
Kirstie Olley is an award-winning speculative fiction author and the full-time wrangler of her children Xander and Harlequin.
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Read The Troll's Toll: A Retailored Fairy Tales Novella now.
Read 'Charming' (Honorable Mention in the Writers of The Future contest Q4 2014) in Leading Edge Magazine issue 68.
Read 'Short Circuit' (finalist in the 2013 Aurealis Awards Best Fantasy Short Fiction category) in Oomph: A Little Super Goes A Long Way from Crossed Genres.
Read ‘Hanabi to Kitsune'(Fireworks and Foxes) now in Tales of the Sunrise Lands from Guardbridge Books.
Read ‘Glass Bones’ now in WARRIOR an anthology choc-full of LGBTQIA warriors all across space, time, and imagination.
Read 'Gaps' in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #63. Click the cover to buy.
Read The Beauty of the Dance(Honorable Mention in the Writers of The Future contest Q41 2015) in Myriad Lands vol 1: Around the World.
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