Since we’re also closing out the decade, I thought, rather than focus how much things collapsed in the last six months, I’d prefer to look at how much I achieved in this decade.
I went from someone who had completed the first draft of one novel and very little else to someone with 5 completed novel drafts (some edited and ready now, some that will never see the light of day), wrote over 39 short stories and novellas, and went from unpublished to published in both the traditional and indie settings (more in the trad than indie). I was also president of the Vision Writers Group for four years (and still a member). I also had two beautiful children, went on some wonderful travels (best of all a trip to Japan), and generally had a pretty good time, even reaching 15 years service with my day job employer.
Now we’re in 2020 both my kids will be at school, which means I can put more time into my writing, but also need to buckle down and get some more ‘day job’ work done too.
So now, without further ado, my writing goals for 2020:
Finish (at least) the next three books in the Charming for Hire series and get books 1-5 ready for publishing
Finish The Troll’s Toll sequel (I’ve had a few people asking after this but have been trying to get the two antagonists to stop being such limp noodles) and publish, then get a leg on with the final book of the trilogy
Keep on keeping on with the short stories
Work with more pro editors – I really want this. I plan to hire one or two for freelance work. Technically this could fall under ‘keep learning’, but I don’t want to let it slip into that and go missing.
With a stretch goal of – if time allows – fixing up Glass Slippers for publication
the first Retailored Fairy Tales novella is already available
After reading Eat That Frog, Turning Pro, The War of Art, The Successful Author Mindset, and listening to quite a few different writing related podcasts recently I’ve been thinking I need to focus more on a single series, or at least the universe that series is in. So now, in my quite early mid-year goals check-up, I’d like to announce I’m going to be focusing almost exclusively on my Retailored Fairy Tales universe for the forseeable future.
This will of course lead to some adjustment in my goals for the year.
My goals previously stated, with revisions following are:
Rewrite Written by The Stars – for the sake of focus I’m cutting this one for now. I really love this story and i know a complete rewrite will save it from the editing purgatory it is currently languishing in, but I want to focus completely on my Retailored Fairy Tales universe
the latest Retailored Fairy Tales short story, Groundskeeper, is available in Stupefying Stories v 22
Complete edits on Lovely/Lonely – same story as above, I love it, but I’m trying to focus. I may still work on one or the other of these two noves if I start feeling a bit ‘burned out’ on RFT but I’m essentially relegating these to ‘stretch goals’ now
Get the Charming For Hire series ready for publication and release it – this is now my number one focus, though the release part may change, I want to have all but the very final book first draft and the first four at least professionally edited before begining my release schedule, that way I can do a rapid release. If necessary that may mean release won’t start until next year and I am zen with that (I can explain the whys of this more but it goes into book marketing and the current market a bit and might be boring to those of you who aren’t also writers ;p )
Continue writing and publishing short fiction for traditional markets – I’m not cutting this one completely. I’ll continued to edit(and re-edit ;p ) and send out my existing shorts, but for the rest of the year I’d like as many of my new stories to be in my RTF universe as possible
Work on my fiction podcast – staying about the same, but might just change it to making my own audiobooks. i still love this idea though, I want to narrate some of my fiction so much XD
Write at least one new novel – I still will, but they’ll be all be Charming For Hire ones ;p
Work on more Retailored Fairy Tales stories – lol, unchanged
Continue learning – I’ll never cut or change this one. Ever.
So a little bit of cutting, a little bit of modification and some stay perfect just as it is. Sounds a bit like editing ;p
And for any fans of The Troll’s Toll, you’ll be happy to know I’m going to refocus on writing the second of The Troll’s Troubles Trilogy and finally outlining the third book too. No ETA right now since Charming for Hire is my number one focus, but if you’re keen let me know and I might shift to The Troll’s Troubles instead.
I fell just short of my goal of writing 50k words of The Charming War/The Handrell War. 47.5 k so close! But between school holidays, all the public holidays and a bad case of ‘I got a video game for my birthday’-itis to have managed to get that close is Herculean in my opinion.
As happens with NaNo novels I know there’s a lot of chaff words, characters getting excessively verbose for no reason other than to up my word count and doing more highly introspective navel gazing than I’d typically write, so I’ll have plenty of words to shave. However unlike other times, I’m not feeling burned out on the project. I’m confident I can finish it and do my word trim pretty quickly and start working on the next Charming book.
I was so hyper focused on getting the Charming book done I didn’t touch any of my short story back catalogue.
For May my goals are:
Finish the first draft of The Charming War/The Handrell War
Get at least three more back catalogue short stories back out there
Prep thorough outline for next Charming book (‘The Glass Witch’)
Start process of hiring a professional developmental editor for Charming Rivals
Write one new short story (ideally set in the Retailored Fairy Tales universe)
You might notice most of my goals are still centered on my Retailored Fairy Tales universe. There’s a reason for that which I’ll go over in a blog post tomorrow, my ‘Quite Early Mid-Year Goals Check-Up’ ;p
And as usual, if you’re curious as to what I’ve been reading through April, here’s the list with links to my review on Goodreads if I made one:
I did pretty well this month, not as good as I was hoping, but definitely made some headway against the lost time so far.
The ending of Nothing Charming was a bigger mess than anticipated >.< I needed to rewrite the final scene into two heftier scenes (I summarised some of my final points too hard and fast, my beta readers were unanimous in response to that), but in the end I managed to finish the structural edit. All events and structure are as they should be. I still need to do a fact check, a line tinker, and a proof read, but I’ll save that for after I’ve written the next one so I can cross check facts across all three books.
Complete edits on Nothing Charming: as established above, done.
Prepare the plot outline for ‘The Handrell War’: 90% done. I have an event outline perfected, but there’s a few conversations I know characters need to have to resolve somethings and set other things up for later books, but i don’t know precisely where to fit them. I think when I’m elbow deep in the story I’ll be able to feel it out.
Write two new short stories: I wrote two new short stories as hoped, ‘Apple Knight’ (3,000 words) and ‘Spinning Gold’ (500 words).
Get all my back catalogue stories back out there: I got four more of them updated and out there, not as many as I would like, but not shabby either
Read through the current Written by the Stars draft, lift plot points, rework with Story Equation to create new plot outline for use in Camp NaNo in April: I changed tack in the last week of March, figuring I need to focus on just the Charming series right now, once that’s all done and out I’ll let myself look at other things. I feel like the focus will ground me better, and if I move with the right amount of speed I can still get it all done. so instead i made ‘The Charming War/Handrell War’ my NaNo project for April.
Throughout March I attended a couple of webinars and read 5 craft books, that’s plenty of ticks for my year long learning goal ;p
For April my goals are:
Write 50k of The Charming War/Handrell War (and figure out its title ;p). 50k might be all of it, not sure, should be in the ball park though.
Get the rest of my short fiction back catalogue out there
At the start of the year I set myself a goal to read 100 books this year. I’ve just finished the first quarter of the year and I’m within spitting distance of halfway to that goal. I went too easy on myself – that or I’m doing too many chores and therefore reading heaps more audiobooks ;p
Reindeer Boy – a squishy one-shot full of cuties with antlers ;p
The Last Fifty Pages – because I needed an extra push to wrap up my ending right and this book released with perfect timing
Shadow and Bone – I wish I hadn’t read King of Scars first, totally ruined the big mid-point twist, and I know I would have freaking died over it without the advanced warning. I totally cheated myself,
Siege and Storm – very happy to have my second trilogy this month also not suffer from saggy middle syndrome. Tight and trim here.
I really don’t want to write this one, because I’ve done so little. But when you realise how much I had to work around it’s surprising I got anything done!
I finished reading all of the Deep Editing lecture packet from Margie Lawson (though I’ve not applied it to ALL of Nothing Charming yet, only what I’ve edited so far). Speaking of Nothing Charming, I’ve edited a further 22 pages using both the Deep Editing class, the four beta readers’ feedback and my own nous. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but I only had access to a computer for ten days this month, and most of those I was working the day job, packing, cleaning, and critiquing other peoples’ work for the Vision Writers meeting this weekend.
To break down how I went with my goals directly:
Proceed with edits on Nothing Charming: I did 22 more pages. Progress FTW
Percolate some flash fiction ideas while driving on the holiday: I had two ideas while away, but I don’t know if they’ll end up being flash, they might be more my usual short story length ;p an idea’s and idea though, length doesn’t invalidate that in my opinion.
I might have managed to edit a few more pages of Nothing Charming, but I recieved a nice rejection back for Mermaid In A Jar so edited that story both with the feedback from the rejection and with the Deep Editing course. I’ll do one more read through later today and submit it to the next publisher.
bonus points for the skink in the bottom left hand corner
The massive time suck was the road trip to Sydney. While it was no good for my writing and editing it was super fun in general. I also got to see a lot of baby (or at least immature) birds that I’d never seen before. I saw baby peacocks with their peahen mother, and an immature bush turkey (it was so small and scratching up his little mound already uber-cute!). There were kangaroos at every campsite, some sidling right up to our tent. We also met some super friendly possums and land-on-your-arm lorikeets – and those are the wild animals! We also went to Taronga Zoo and the Sea Life Aquarium (dugongs!).
As much as I goaled low for February, I need to make up for the lost time. Here are my March goals:
Complete edits on Nothing Charming (and maybe convince friends and family to chip in for a professional edit for my birthday ;p )
Prepare the plot outline for ‘The Handrell War’
Write two new short stories
Get all my back catalogue stories back out there. At the end of last year I fell seriously behind and I hate sending out stories that haven’t been self-edited between each rejection – you never know what I learned while they were out and what I’ll catch on a fresh read
Read through the current Written by the Stars draft, lift plot points, rework with Story Equation to create new plot outline for use in Camp NaNo in April
Yes I *know* I keep saying ‘no more NaNoWriMo’, but its a checkbox on the Five Year Best Seller course, and I don’t want to skip any steps.
And lastly, a stretch goal of:
The list’s a bit long, but I’m confident I can handle it, especially with Harley at kindy an extra day a week to meet the minimum attendance requirements.
Lastly, for those who want to know, here’s the books I read in February:
January was busy. Here in Australia this is summer school holidays, so I had both the kids at home all but literally the last three days of the month. On top of that I helped T-J fix some of our sagging ceilings in the house (he did the nastiest part of the work, the climbing in the roof during searing Australian summer days!), and also installed a new car stereo, which ended up being a much more complicated process than I’d at first anticipated (whatever happened to plug n’ play?).
There was good stuff too. Xander’s birthday is early in the month, and we took him to Paradise Country where they currently have all sorts of cool Shaun the Sheep stuff including a stage show, statues, meet and greet ect . You can probably guess we bought him quite a bit of stuff at the gift shop there too.
But you’re probably here to see how the writing is going(and whether or not I’m working on the story you want to read ;p ).
I set three goals at the start of the month and here’s how I went with them.
edit and resubmit several of my ‘in circulation’ short stories: I got two more back out there, but have several more I need to hurry up and get around to
compile beta feedback on Nothing Charming and complete edits using the Deep Edits lecture packet from Margie Lawson: It’s a longer path than expected combining four peoples’ feedback, your own new ideas, AND the advice from a course all at once. Also, school holidays >.< I’m just a little over half way done page count-wise, but previous experience tells me the ending often requires the most work, so time-wise I’m probably not really halfway done, but it’s hard to accurately guage.
compile beta feedback on Lovely/Lonely and commence edits:. I don’t like to be editing two things at once, too much risk of mucking up, so I haven’t even touched this.
So one completed, one half way done (approximately) and the other untouched. Not too bad considering I knew I was setting the bar high. It might come as a surprise, but I really didn’t waste much time at all on Ragnarok:Eternal Love. I did have a bit of fun, and can see myself logging in every now and again, but I’m not addicted like I was to the original. I don’t know if it’s me, the platform, or the game.
My February goals are going to be pretty skinny. I’m on holidays so almost entirely AFK for two weeks, plus don’t forget the sort of planning and fall out such a big family trip has. And most of the first week of February I’m working lots of extra shifts at my day job while various bosses take their accrued days in lieu from the Christmas period. I’ll be lucky to get one productive week out of February, and I’ll probably spend most of that doing my feedback for the next writers group meeting >.<
So my February goals are:
Proceed with edits on Nothing Charming with an aim to ideally complete them(but the knowledge I probably won’t)
Percolate some flash fiction ideas while driving on the holiday(there will be much driving ;p )
I’ll shoot for the stars again come March ;p
I plan to share some views on some anime I’m really enjoying in the next few days, and I might share some stuff from my big trip too, so hopefully more blog posts between now and my next goals round-up (which was totally my modus operandi last year ;p )
And for those curious, here are the books I read in January:
edit and resubmit several of my ‘in circulation’ short stories (stories I’m currently sending out and trying to sell).
compile beta feedback on Nothing Charming and complete edits using the Deep Edits lecture packet from Margie Lawson,
compile beta feedback on Lovely/Lonely and commence edits.
as long as I can resist playing this ;p
It’s a fairly hefty list (even if the last one is more open ended with merely ‘commence’ edits ;p ) considering it’s school holidays so I’ll be doing this with kids constantly at home around me. I have some lofty stretch goals for the year though (I didn’t list them in my yearly goals yet) so I’m planning to get as much done early on as I can.
Last year I gathered all this wonderful feedback, but haven’t had a chance to actually go over and get to work on the notes. So this month is the start of rectifying that.
Also, whenever I get a short story back with a rejection I always give it at least one run through before putting it back out there – after all usually at least a couple of months have passed and usually I’ve learned or thought of a few new things which I can use to improve my work. I do quite a few more than one if it was a feedback rejection, because I have notes to work with.
Anyway, here’s hoping I don’t spend all my spare time paying Ragnarok M: Eternal Love when it comes out, and get lots of work done!
I loved my gifted cat calendar from Japan so much I regularly posted pages on my Instagram
When I first went to write this post all I could think of was the last third of the year, where things were not great, especially not writing-wise. I thought “I’ve barely achieved anything this year. Man, I don’t want to write a round-up post about how much I failed.” But then when I looked through it, of my nine goals, three were partially completed and five were thoroughly completed. That’s only one actual fail. I cheered right back up.
On the other hand, I don’t want to entirely gloss over the failure. After all, imagine how much more I could have achieved if I hadn’t gotten bogged down in my own head/bad habits for the last few months?
I found a place which makes amazing udon near me, so this was me a fair bit of the year ;p
I love giving feedback, but this year, partly out of ambition, partly out of obligation for the large amount of beta-ing I was asking others to do, and partly because I struggle to be the no-saying meanie I severely over extended myself in the giving feedback department. In addition for my 5-6 short stories I critique every month for my writers group meeting I also beta-ed eight novels. Near the end I started to get frustrated it had been so long since I’d worked on my own stuff and that turned into a bad habit where, when I felt like I wasn’t getting anything done, I’d fall back on games for my sense of achievement, instead of using them as my treat for a job well done. I’m sure you can guess how much that helped the sense (and reality) of not getting things done…
On the upside, compared to 2017 I didn’t burn or severely slash my hands and arms, though 2018 didn’t like my right foot since I slashed the underside of my foot rushing to get a bin out in time and later severely sprained my ankle running to the park with Xander (it was six weeks before I could walk properly, and it’s clearly never going to be ‘back to normal’ because it’s very easy to pull if I walk or land funny). Generally though, health-wise, it wasn’t as awful.
my special little snowflake ;p
Harley is very much a threenager. Someone please tell me the tantrums go away >.< Also she gave me a LOT of late nights while trying to drop her day nap but failing. This mean she’d have her nap late in the afternoon, and would wake in the evening refreshed and ready for play for a few more hours, meaning we’d be up super late. She’d sleep in the next morning so *she* got the right amount of sleep, but I’m up early to get Xander ready for school and on the bus, so no helpful sleep-in for me. However, she is adorable. You should hear her singing ‘Baby Shark’ XD and her vocabulary is exploding (she’s a little late in speaking, and considering Xander is non-verbal this was a massive concern for us). She is also nuts for My Little Pony. She struggles with words more than two syllables long, unless it’s Fluttershy, or Twilight Sparkle, or Rainbow Dash, then she has allllllll the syllables ;p Also, I can’t believe she starts kindy this year!
Xander is still a sweet prince. He puts up with Harley like an ANGEL. This boy is the kindest big brother in the universe. Harley is even one of his very few verbalised words (and the way he says it too too cute!). He’s doing well in school and I can’t wait for his birthday in a few more days because he’s going to love some of his presents and where he’s going for the day.
And back to the writing, here’s how I went with my 2018 goals:
Goal#1 – Publish the Charming Series: I want to have the first four ready to go, I’ve currently got the first two ready, and three needs me to action its feedback (I’ve gathered the beta feedback just haven’t yet actioned it), so I’m close, but I’m determined to not just rush junk out there, I’d rather have them well-polished and ready for rapid release.
Goal#2 – Get beta feedback on Lovely/Lonely: Success, I gathered it. I haven’t actioned it yet, but the goal was specifically about gathering so I count this as a win.
Goal#3 – Continue writing and publishing short fiction in traditional publishing markets: I wrote six new short stories (Alone Time, Delivery Man Wanted, Money For Meat, The Taste of Blood, The Last Breath Before Foam, Against The Black Knight). One story was published this year, Groundskeeper in Stupefy Stories#22. I’ve been waiting a while to see this one finally in print so am super happy, plus , it’s a part of my Retailored Fairy Tales world which I’m planning to focus on a fair bit this next year or two. As for other stories such as the six new ones I wrote I’ve been submitting almost exclusively to pro markets this year, which means less sales so far, but I have had some hold requests and feedback rejections, which is always promising.
Goal#4 – Take my back catalogue of short stories that are out of their exclusivity periods and self-publish them: this was planned to fill out small gaps in the publishing schedule of the Charming for Hire series, so since I didn’t release that I didn’t want to squander these. I did do some work regarding formatting and covers though, so this is a partial complete with a good reason for not finishing.
Goal#5 – Start working towards creating a monthly fiction podcast: well, yes, I’ve *started* but still only at the most basic levels, looking into hosting, production schedule, what I’ll need, basic fiddling with Audacity, but no recordings. I’m still undecided as to whether I’ll do a serial show (a novel read in parts) or a short fiction podcast (different story each episode).
Goal#6 – Continue being a good president to Vision Writers Group: I feel I completed this duty well this year. When the Yahoo boards glitched out I swooped in like a superhero (;p ) and found us a new home for the group as well as carefully laid down the foundation for my retirement. Yes. This was my last year as president of the group, I’m still remaining and active member though. Gotta get my critiquing/being critiqued fix somewhere ;p
Goal#7 – Complete one of the unfinished novels: I finished ‘Keys, Clocks, Quests’ just after Camp NaNoWriMo back in April. The two halves are quite different from one another and the plot outline mutated a bit so extensive self edits will be needed, but hey, I’ve still completed the first draft of my fourth novel.
Goal#8 – Continue learning: I’m fairly confident in this one. I added a few more podcasts to my already hefty subscription list, continued on almost entirely up to date with the 5 Years to Become a Bestseller course, and also took part in Margie Lawson’s ‘Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues Like A Psychologist’. I read 10 new craft books this year as well. I also beta read 8 (yes EIGHT) other people’s novels in addition to my normal feedback for Vision, and you learn a lot when teaching/critiquing others too.
Goal#9 – Rewrite Written by the Stars: I didn’t even touch this. Unfortunately it was scheduled for the ill-fated end of the year, so didn’t stand much of a chance. It’s now scheduled for the start of 2019 at least.
Even my crossword app is giving me ‘subtle’ hints I need to get to work
Like I said, not as bad as I thought. I also did all of my mini goals set last year (updating the site’s look, adding my ‘books read’ to my monthly goal round-ups, and upping my reading speed). Not to mention I read A LOT. 101 books officially completed and reviewed. I did read a few books which were bleh and I didn’t finish. I didn’t review them and aren’t counting them. I also listen to a lot of fiction podcasts.
I also enjoyed a lot of story in the form of watching anime while up late trying to get Harley down, and through my bad gaming habit. I posted about my favourites already. If you missed them or are curious here’s my Top 8 Anime of 2018, and Favourite Video Games of 2018(at least I got a blog post out of all that distraction ;p ).
And to wrap this all up, my goals for 2019:
Rewrite Written by The Stars, ideally also do my self edits and get some feedback so I can send it out to agents and publishers again.
Complete edits on Lovely/Lonely. I have the feedback, now to action it so it too is ready to be submitted.
Get the Charming For Hire series ready for publication and release it. This year for sure! I still want to have the first four 100% ready and ideally the 5th close to it so I can use the rapid release tactic.
Continue writing and publishing short fiction for traditional markets. I love doing this. Not sure I could stop if I tried.
Work on my fiction podcast. I’m not going to rush this too much, but I’d like to seriously start recording some stuff very soon. It’s something I really want to do, but also want to do well.
Write at least one new novel. What will it be? Even I don’t know yet ;p
Work on more Retailored Fairy Tales stories. I’ve got the loose plots for some Troll’s Toll sequels rattling around up here as well as some other ideas.
Continue learning. This one’s always here. It will never not be.
Are you setting any big goals for yourself in 2019? Anything you wish you could see from me? Your enthusiasm might make me add it to my goals list.
In June Harley turned 3, so cue birthday party! She had a fabulous Trolls themed party at the new local park. She had a blast.
The class on writing better body language took up a lot more headspace and time than I’d expected. It was totally worth it, but it also meant nearly all my writing time each day was taken up by it. And with winter hitting here in usually sunny Queensland I can’t even pretend I can breathe through my nose.
Editing T-J’s novel is harder than you’d think. He’s requested I write additions in and he’ll edit them, but his voice is on the other side of the planet from any of the voices I’ve used, and whenever I come across something I have to write extensive explanations of what I mean/why I mention or corrected it. It’s a very clean draft but there’s still lots to do >.<
Because the course and T-J’s novel were my priorities nothing else on my goals list for June got looked at. It’s maddeningly frustrating for me when I see ‘how little I got done’ but i know I still got a fair amount done so I’m trying to not get too upset over it. Plus, when I did my mid-year goal check (which you can see below) I realised I was doing pretty well for the year.
Now for my mid-year goal check!
Publish the Charming For Hire Series: Some progress achieved. I have the first three stories completed and have feedback on them all, just need to implement the feedback on the third one and outline and write the fourth. I want the fourth to be at least finished to first draft level before I work on covers ect to release the first three so I can do a rapid release schedule.
Get beta feedback on Lovely/Lonely: I have the feedback, I just need to implement it ;p
Continue writing and publishing short fiction in traditional publishing markets: I’ve written six new short stories so far this year and while I do need to hurry and get a few stories back out in circulation I’m always careful to do a new edit or at least read-thru and tinker of each story after it has been rejected. I have one story I’m waiting to receive the editor’s changes on before publication in the next month or two.
Take my back catalogue of short stories that are out of their exclusivity periods and self-publish them: Got nowhere so far, but mostly because I’m waiting to get the Charming stories ready so I can release some of these in any gaps in the Charming series’ schedule.
Start working towards creating a monthly fiction podcast: I’m doing plenty of research on this, a microphone is on it’s way. My big stumbling block ATM is whether it’ll be a short fiction podcast (a different short story each episode) or a serialised fiction podcast(one story told in chunks across multiple episodes). Until I know which format I’m going to do I can’t really proceed.
Continue being a good president to Vision Writers Group: No complaints ;p Though we are having some fun with the print version of our most recent anthology which is taking up a frustrating amount of time as I have to tinker over and over again with files.
Complete one of the unfinished novels: I completed the first draft of ‘Key, Clocks, Quests’ in May so huzzah, this one is 100% completed (though KCQ itself still needs to be self edited and beta read before it goes out in the world, but I have a finished draft and that’s what the goal was about).
Continue learning: Listening to podcasts, reading craft books, reading books in my genre, researching markets I want to sell to, researching successful self publishing, researching book marketing, attending webinars, doing courses (the 5 Years to Become a Bestseller course, and Margie Lawson’s ‘Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues Like A Psychologist’ for two I’ve done so far this year). Also every month critiquing others work. I think I can safely say I’ve got this one (not that I’ll be stopping or even slowing down on this one; I know I’ve still got heaps to learn)
Rewrite Written by the Stars: no progress thus far at all. Too busy on all the other stuff, but I do still have half a year ;p
I’ve broken down all the tasks I need to do for the rest of the year to keep on track with my 5 Years To Become a Bestseller course and my own personal goals and I *should* be able to manage it, though I’ll have to be careful not to get distracted.
My goals for July are:
Complete an early stage edit of my husband’s book, I Am Not Liam Neeson
Beta-read a friend’s novel
Use Beta reader feedback on Nothing Charming to edit it
Start using beta-reader feedback on Lovely/Lonely to edit the novel
Write at least one new short story
Catch up on the reading for my five year best seller course
I’m reading some crime/thriller books right now to help me get more in the headspace for T-J’s crime/thriller, but of course his book is also heavily comedic so I’m struggling to find stuff that’s really like that out there. Any recommendations?
Books I read in June:
Surpassing Certainty: Janet Mock’s second memoir, focusing on her 20s. I’m ready for her one about her 30s now (pity she’s not finished living them, I’ll be waiting a fair few years)
Feed: at long last, I’ve only been meaning to read this when it was just a single book on its own ;p
Oh what an eventful month ;p As seems to be my habit I have yet another injury to report, this time spectacularly sprained ankle. Fortunately, unlike my repeatedly injured arm, a sprained ankle is GREAT for writing because it’s the perfect excuse to sit down with your leg elevated and get to typing.
As such, I met my main goal and completed the first draft of ‘Keys, Clocks, Quests’ at 130,000 words. Obviously there’s going to be some trimming before it’s ready. I have an editing plan set out since I’ve written this draft in stints across the last FIVE years, but I’m following the well-beloved advice of letting the manuscript ‘breathe’ for a while first. This gives me a chance to work on some other projects instead of going into full burnout on the project.
Speaking of burnout I am now 100% sure NaNoWriMo no longer works with my personal writing style. Something about the competition effect of it makes me forgive crappy writing too much(because who cares, more words) and push myself way to hard for the ‘win’. It took me more than two weeks after NaNo was done to write the final 10k words because I felt so burned out, for the first 9 days of May I was only writing 100 or so words a day and those by great force of effort. If I ever say I’m going to do NaNo again, remind me of this moment please.
On the plus side though, I did have that moment of pieces falling together perfectly during the final battle when things I’d been putting in on a whim suddenly converged with one another for a perfect recovery from the blackest moment, enabling my hero to defeat the big bad 😀 I even started writing it with tears of excitement in my eyes!
I started working on T-J’s novel too. It’s an amazingly clean draft for a first timer (and I know what they look like usually thanks to the massive amount of critiquing I’ve been doing over the last six years at Vision Writers Group meetings). Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect – there’s still pleeeeeeenty of notes. Let’s hope my marriage remains intact after he’s read all my comments ;p
On the ‘keep learning’ goal I set for the year as a whole, one of the courses I did was significantly more basic than I’d expected. Anyone who’s listened to the podcasts I have for even one year (significantly less time than I have) would already know all this info, and for free. Luckily I picked it up for a song and got a bunch of bonuses some of which have proved more useful, so I’m not pissed.
Also re: learning I’m still tracking along well with the 5 Year Best Seller course and I attended 4 different webinars, but they were mostly on book marketing, not craft ;p
Complete an early stage edit of my husband’s book, I Am Not Liam Neeson
Do all assignments in the Margie Lawson course I’m taking
Beta-read a friend’s novel
Use beta-reader feedback on Lovely/Lonely to edit the novel
Use Beta reader feedback on Nothing Charming to edit it
Write at least one new short story
Well damn son, I do set me some lofty goals. Especially considering I have Harley’s third birthday party to plan and a house which is, thanks to my sprained ankle and a lovely cycle of colds working through the kids, a little bit messier than I’d like it to be >.> Plus I’ve been invited to an old friend/coworker’s wedding <3 but he knew me back when I was skinny and stylish so I have until September to drop a few dress sizes and look suitably smashing.
For those who want to see what I read through May, these are the books I read:
The Red Queen: OMG what a massive book! And that satisfaction of finishing a series you started when you were 14 *ahhhh* at long, long last
The Journey: an Obernewtyn prequel short story, might not have great appeal to those who haven’t read the series though
The Dark Road: another Obernewtyn prequel short story which confused me, and broke my heart… but I enjoyed ;p
Last Dragon Standing: another great ending to a cool series. No disappointment here (except that it’s all over now and I didn’t realise it was the final book when I grabbed it)
Artemis: no idea how it took me so long to get to this book considering how much I loved The Martian
The Speed of Dark: I loved so much of this, but very mixed emotions about the end, read my review if you need more info.
Redefining Realness: Janet Mock’s biography of going through childhood and her teen years as a trans woman.
Write To Market: I’ve heard about this book a million times, finally got around to reading it
I’m always looking for good fiction podcasts so if you know any feel free to share them with me. I’m also curious about serialised novels via podcast, but don’t know where to start, so if you know any good fantasy ones feel free to link me 🙂
Kirstie Olley is an award-winning speculative fiction author and the full-time wrangler of her children Xander and Harlequin.
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