In April I did Camp NaNoWriMo in an attempt to finally complete the first draft of ‘Key,Clocks, Quests’ (working title). It was the only goal I set for myself for the month. Now, after two NaNo’s, I have managed to get 120k done and am in the home stretch now, only about 10k to go until those two sublime words: ‘The End’.
I’m particularly impressed with the fact I still pulled off a 50k word month since it was not exactly a quiet month. The first two weeks were school holidays, never the most productive when the whole day is full of keeping two kids happy and a house clean ;p We also went to the Gold Coast Supanova (I spotted a Rei Ryugazaki cosplayer and was devastated I couldn’t get a photo with him because I was in line for Peter Capaldi’s signature so couldn’t just run over and fangirl) and I’d not finished Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom from last month, plus Atelier Lydie and Suelle came out in early April here in Australia, so I lost a fair bit of productivity to my gaming addiction ;p
Yet despite all that I still managed write the 50,000 words in ‘Keys, Clocks, Quests’ and also to edit a couple of short stories and submit them, as well as writing a little scene which will become part of another short story in the near future (fans of Mayu and Yuta from Hananbi to Kitsune rejoice, their story is going to continue after all!)
Throughout April I also attended another three webinars, nabbed a short video course at a great price (I’ll let y’all know if it’s a good one when I finally have the time to sit down and go through it ;p ) and have purchased a course that starts in June that came highly recommended. Of course, I’m still trucking on with the 5 Year Best seller course too.
In May my goals are:
Finish ‘Keys, Clocks, Quests’ first draft
Do an early stage edit of my husband’s book, I Am Not Liam Neeson
Use beta-reader feedback on Lovely/Lonely to edit the novel
Use Beta reader feedback on Nothing Charming to edit it
Books I read in April:
Beyond Magenta: like a short story anthology, but of bios of transgender teens
The Stone Key: My first reading of the fifth book in the Obernewtyn Chronicles (I quit reading the series as it was releasing so I could read them all in one go once the series was complete, but only just found the time now to finally reread the earlier books and read the new ones now)
The Sending: The sixth book in the Obernewtyn Chronicles
March was a busy month. I kept picking up extra shifts at work, and with Easter and school holidays at the end you can bet there was no lack of stuff to do.
Regarding my specific goals set for March:
Revise and find betas for Nothing Charming: I completed my revisions of Nothing Charming. The story ended up at 40k (almost a full legnth novel) and is now out with beta readers to get the feedback back to me by May 1st (a lot of the readers have already sent it back, but I’m focusing on finishing ‘Keys, Clocks, Quests’ as priority next month, so won’t look over it until I’m done that first draft).
Continue editing ‘Light In The Deep’ with group feedback and submit final portion for critique: this one got a little derailed. I got some feedback in the second portion I submitted to my writers group which meant I had to look deeper at a few things, and these problems need to percolate for a bit while I try to find the solution. (a bit more on this further below)
Choose between ‘Keys, Clocks, Quests’ and Tucca of The Tides and prep outline so ready to go for finishing in April (Camp NaNo): I did up a super outline of the whole of ‘Keys, Clocks, Quests’. I did this so I can finish the first draft on course for the changes I’l make to the start in revisions. It will also help keep me focused when I do those rewrites for the start(hopefully later this year). I even had one of my more experienced writer pals go over the outline with me and refine it – thanks Jake <3
Revise ‘Look Skyward’: didn’t touch it sadly. Blame Ni No Kuni ;p
One morning I woke up with a cool short story idea and thus was born ‘Against The Black Knight’ (1,700 words). So, though it wasn’t a goal, I’ve written another actually short short story. I’m very happy about that since I wanted to produce a lot of new short fiction this year. I’ve also been getting back a few rejections, editing with their feedback and sending the stories on to new homes, so I’ve really been rocking the ‘short fiction’ part of my yearly goals this March.
For the second time this year I had Harley in daycare but I didn’t go to my ‘day job’ and instead wrote. I edited a massive amount of Nothing Charming that day. Combined with the results from a similar test I did last month where a wrote and edited to great result. I’m hoping if this contines we might make it a weekly instead of monthly thing ;p
I did a webinar on better book descriptions (back cover blurbs) with Bryan Cohen (who I listen to a lot on his Sell More Books Show podcast) and another on ‘How to Get your First Ten Book Reviews’. I also read two craft books(Write Your Novel In A Month and The Story Equation) and did a course, and scored some notes from another course off a friend; so as far as my yearly goal to ‘keep learning’ went, I did a cracking job too.
In return for his beta-ing Nothing Charming, I gave feedback on a member of my writers group’s novel. It’s interesting to see how my feedback has improved over the years, some of the things I used to miss are easier for me to spot now, and I think I’m getting better at explaining some things. I only hope they enjoy reading my crits as much as I did giving them. I often worry when I do ‘big picture’ crits people will be mad at me ;p It sounds odd, but for example the feedback I got on the second part of Light In the Deep slowed my progress because I had to consider some deeper, overarching flaws. The solutions to some of those problems will probably unstitch some earlier events that I’d thought already edited – but that happens A LOT with really good feedback (not to mention, better to notice it now) but I know it’s frustrating to do these rewrites and I worry people I give that sort of feedback to won’t be as ‘ok, on with the work’ as me.
I also played some Ni No Kuni 2 this month, if you’re curious what I think of it so far you can check out my review. With all the transition memoirs I’ve been reading I also got distracted and went back to check out if an old webcomic I used to read back in the early 2000s was still around: Venus Envy. It was and there were a couple more years worth of strips for me to read. I *may* have re-read the whole thing ;p Like too many webcomics though, it has been dropped without being completed 🙁 I hope she’ll go back and finish it, but since it’s been abandoned a four full years I’m not very hopeful :'(
Valour and Vanity: another adventure-filled addition to this regency romance series (sounds a little oxymoronic I know) but extra points for the fact the storyline doesn’t revolve around actively seeking to tear apart the couple
Being Jazz: another transition memoir, I’ll be reading a few of these over the next month or two, both to help me be a better friends to my growing number of trans friends and so I can write better trans characters
Obernewtyn: time to finally read the whole series!
The Far Seekers: finding all those layers you missed on previous read throughs
The Keeping Place: woohoo, the next one of the series I haven’t read before – excited!
Goals for April:
Number One, All-Encompassing-Focus is to complete the first draft of ‘Keys, Clocks, Quests’ (and maybe even find it a real title instead of my lame working one ;p ). That’s it. If by some miracle I finish that early, then I’ll work on the beta feedback for Lovely/Lonely and Nothing Charming.
February was going so well, I had one massive week where I wrote 16,300 words one week, then the following week wrote four complete short stories (cumulative total 6,600 words), but then a gastro bug came along and decimated a bit over a week while I took care of sick family members, it even took me specifically out for five days.
This month was still quite productive though. I wrote a total of 25,700 new words and edited roughly 115 pages. I did a fair amount of work for my writers group too since we’re being forced to move online platforms due to the current one being too old and the files section regularly dropping out for the last couple of months.
Regarding mypre-set goals for February this is how I went:
Write for pieces of flash fiction – I wrote two actual flash length pieces(The Last Breath Before Foam and Delivery Man Wanted, both around 900 words), one still-fairly-short piece(Money for Meat at 1,800 words), and one not really short, but kinda short for me piece (The Taste Of Blood, 3,000 words). Thus I consider this goal successfully completed – if a little over length ;p
Revise and continue getting feedback for ‘Light In The Deep’ – revised the whole thing based on my writer’s group feedback on the first 5,000 words and have submitted the next 5,000. There are 2,500 words left for the next month unless further revisions blow it out or shrink it
Complete first draft of Nothing Charming, revise, and send to betas if time – I completed the first draft at 38,000 words, 18k of which I wrote in February. I started revision, but only a couple of pages, it’s still far from beta ready
Check places that pay for reprints re: my older sold short stories – I did not ;p oops
After doing a final pass (after my multiple passes last month) I’ve resubmitted Foxworth with the rewrite request, now to play the waiting game.
I gouged my foot open in the middle of the month too (running to get the recycling bin out on time ;p ) and couldn’t walk for several days. T-J put a TV in the bedroom so I wouldn’t be bored while I sat with my foot up, but it meant I played a lot of games (because pain put a buzz in my head that made anything but early morning words too horrendous to live). I replayed some of Atelier Rorona, it’s still one of my all-time favourites of the Atelier series. How can anyone decide between Sterk and Iksel? ;p I also have done a couple more dungeons in Persona 5. I was very naughty game-wise this month.
Quite an eventful month, hey? How was yours?
And now, without further ado, my goals for March:
Revise and find betas for Nothing Charming
Continue editing ‘Light In The Deep’ with group feedback and submit final portion for critique
Choose between ‘Keys, Clocks, Quests’ and Tucca of The Tides (both half completed NaNo novels) and prep outline so ready to go for finishing in April (Camp NaNo)
Revise ‘Look Skyward’
A lot of revision, I know, but April will be almost pure writing, so fair’s fair.
Oops, forgot to actually tell you what my month specific goals were ;p Oh well, here they are and how I fared with them:
Finish ‘Alone Time’ first draft: completed at 5,700 words, but its going to need a bunch of trimming
Send Lovely/Lonely to beta readers: successfully sent out
Start submitting Mermaid In A Jar: it’s out there ;p
Start submitting Not Human, Not Alien: also out there
Finalise the print copy of Darkest Depths anthology for Vision Writers: done and proof copy is on the way
Complete first draft of Nothing Charming: I’ve written 8,600 new words, but I’m sill around 10-15k from the end. I got stuck in a frustrating scene that bogged me down but once I escaped it I set a cracking pace
Complete rewrites on Foxworth per the rewrite request: I’ve done four passes so far focussing on deepening pov and inserting bad moods/days. the publisher reopens for submissions in February so I hope to do one final pass and fingers crossed they like the rewrite and ask to buy it.
I also started some revision on ‘Light In The Deep’ (my sequel to Hans Christian Andersons’ The Little Mermaid, following the story of one of her sisters in her greif over the little mermaid’s death) and submitted the first 5,000 words to my critique group for feedback.
January was a tumtltuous start to the year: a wedding, a funeral, school holidays, the Yahoo group boards collapsing on my writers group(and my trying to create work-arounds when the ‘help’ department turned out to be forums) – I’m surprised I got anything done ;p
Here on the website I put a few new things on the books pages, like badges for awards/ honourable mentions, shortlists ect. and plan to add some testimonials/review snippets next month. I also added three of the four missing anthologies to my sidebar(which involves making those 3d images myself, hence the delay ;p ). I also finally became an Amazon affiliate, so if you’d like to support me click this link and buy a million things on Amazon an I’ll get a little bump from them but your purchases don’t cost you anything extra(you don’t have to buy my book either, just don’t exit Amazon completely, simply jump into your wishlist or the search bar from the link).
Books I read in January:
The Devil’s Only Friend: the 4th John Cleaver book and one of the best examples of putting in enough info to cover the previous books but not so much as to bore or spoiler your reader I’ve seen.
Unmagical Girl: (manga) I couldn’t resist, but the story I imagined was more interesting to me than what I actually got (not that it was bad, just I got soooo excited about the other concept, I’ll probably write it myself ;p )
The Barefoot Investor: this was given to me by a friend for Christmas. It might sound like a weird Christmas gift but when you know he used this book to buy a house on a disability pension it’s far less so.
The Fifth Season: a quite stunning fantasy I’m eager to read the rest of the series
The Reason I Jump: a book by a 13yo autistic boy in Japan. A very quick read, but insightful and inspiring
Turtles All The Way Down: a cool YA book about mental illness, the lines between rich and poor, and friendship and romance.
I am already well adapted to listening to my non-fiction podcasts in 1.5x speed and have listened to most of my fiction podcasts in the last three weeks at 1.5 speed. I even listened to several books at 1.5x. I think this was a lot easier to adjust to than I feared. Some narrators and hosts can’t be listened to at 1.5 though, they already speak fast enough ;p Also if I am using my bluetooth speaker and my husband comes in the room he always mocks the sound of it and me for wanting to pack more into my day. I recentl posted on this matter, you can check that post out here.
My goals for February are:
Write flash fiction – I’m going to call it flash fiction February ;p I’m pushing myself to write at least four new flash pieces, one each week
Revise and continue getting feedback for ‘Light In The Deep’
Complete first draft of Nothing Charming, revise, and send to betas if time
Check places that pay for reprints re:my older sold short stories
My first 5 star book of the year, and I read it at 1.5x speed
One of my more casual goals for this year was to increase my audiobook and podcast listening speeds. Audiobooks already save me time by allowing me to read while walking, exercising, cleaning, and doing housework, but I also listen to 9 podcasts about writing craft/book marketing and 8 fiction podcasts (I also want to grow that fiction set). I want to keep reading 50+ books a year as well as consuming these (mostly) weekly podcasts, but I also want more time to write and sure as heck aren’t cutting into my time with my family. Increasing reading speed gives me the opportunity to try and have it all.
I’d set the goal aiming that in around 6 months I’d be listening to all my non-fiction podcasts at 1.5x speed and I’d *maybe* try audiobooks around that speed too by the end of the year.
I’m already listening to all my podcasts at either 1.5x or 2x, and have listened to most of the audiobooks I’ve read in the later half of this month at either 1.5x or 2x. I’ve already adapted. Only every now and again do I come across a narrator (or host) who speaks a little too fast to handle at the higher speeds.
T-J laughs at me. He teases me all the time about the not-quite-chipmunk sound of the voices. But while listeneing to the audiobook of Barefoot Investor and reading along with the print version my fab friend Jake bought me, I discovered listening at 1.75x speed is very close to my normal reading speed when reading a paperback or ebook (my reading is a tiny bit faster). This is probably why I’ve adapted so easily to the faster listening speed because my brain is already capable of absorbing this sort of information at this speed already, only my mode of consumption has changed.
If you’re in any doubt as to the improvement of my reading speed, I have kept up-to-date will all my podcasts and read 8 books this month. Also note this is during summer school holidays too! And my enjoyment of books hasn’t lessened; I read my first two 5 star books of the year already, Holly Balck’s ‘The Cruel Prince‘ and Naoki Higashida’s ‘The Reason I Jump’.
Do you love audio for reading or listening to podcasts, or are you hesitant to try it?
2017 has been a pretty good year to me (though health-wise it might have been a little kinder ;p ).
This is a long one, so the TL;DR highlights are here and my goals for 2018 are right down the bottom.
Apart from writing 78,400 new words and a whole bunch of self editing some of the highlights were, I had three short stories published: Hanabi to Kitsune, Mudgerwokee, and Glass Bones. I received two new honourable mentions in the Writers of the Future contest for Mermaid In A Jar and Foxworth.
There were a few exciting firsts for me such as receiving my first rewrite request(when you submit a piece instead of a rejection they say ‘hey if you fix up these couple of problems again you can send it back to us for reconsideration’, usually once rejected you can’t ever send that piece back to that place(it’s considered rude at the least and it’s against the submission rules at a lot of places)). It was also the first time an editor approached me to do a story for their anthology(instead of me submitting work to them).
I applied for a grant for the first time, and while I didn’t get it I got told I was close and got some lovely feedback on the sample I’d submitted.
The Troll’s Toll rolled along nicely, gathering up a decent number of very lovely reviews and only one of those reviews is by someone I know(and it’s only an acquaintance, not a friend who might feel they owe me a good review). All the rest are legit strangers who found my book and liked it. I do wonder about the couple of one star reviews on Goodreads, I don’t care so much about them being one star, it’s that they left no review beyond the star rating. I want to know what they didn’t like so I can gauge if there was something I should have done/done better or if they were someone who is outside my target market so I really truly don’t care at all ;p
In personal things my right arm had a run for it this year: oil burns down the inner arm (right where it brushes on laptop edges or desk edges when typing >.< ), a random weird swelling (assumed allergic reaction to a bug bite), and my Christmas present to myself, a bread knife slicing through my pointer finger right before Christmas. I’m certainly glad it was my right arm not my left since I’m a leftie, but typing does slow down dramatically when you’re down to one arm (cue bad internet jokes… we all know the ones I mean ;p )
This year also saw Xander starting to use some more words. He also verbalises more when signing and requesting now (even if the noise he’s making doesn’t really sound like the word he’s supposed to be saying). At school he’s also using some new PECS systems which seem to be working well and we’re hoping to get our hands on a PODD book for him this coming year so he can use one at home. It’s amazing to see how much he’s improved. He also got his first real haircut this year and both he and the barber survived ;p (we’ve been cutting his hair while he slept until now, which doesn’t result in too bad a look when you have wild curls like our little man)
Harley, on the other hand, has hit the ‘terrible twos’. Terrible is DEFINITELY the active word in that sentence. Time might have dimmed my memory, but I’m sure she’s worse than Xander was at that age. Partly because if she tantrums for something her sweet prince of an older brother gives it to her 99% of the time, reinforcing that tantrums get her results >.< We’re trying to teach him he can say no to her, and hoping that will help.
So, how’d I fair against my 2017 goals?
Goal #1: Publish at least three more of my Retailored Fairy Tales. I’d chosen this because I keep calling myself a hybrid author (which means I both traditionally publish and self publish), but 90% of my work was traditionally published. However, I recognised by my mid-year re-evaluation that I’d be rushing out poorer quality works if I followed this goal. There was no way I was going to let my self published stuff be of lower quality than my trad stuff, so I cut the actual publishing part out. Instead, I just worked on the production/revision/beta feedback/editing portion so I could have some polished work and revive this goal for 2018. I’m very on track to follow through on it in 2018 now.
Goal # 2: Finish first draft, complete edits, and get to beta readers ‘Skeleton Romance’ (also give it a real title ;p ). This went swimmingly. I finished it, did my self-edits, and gave it the title Lovely/Lonely (which I’m hoping my betas will let me know of the aptness). However when it came time to give it to betas, four other people in my beta-reading circle had asked for critiques on their novels just before Lovely/Lonely was ready and it was a safe bet everyone either wouldn’t have the time or would be all betaed out, and then it was December and Christmas, and as our friend Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins is wont to say ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’, so I decided to ask in mid-to-late January 2018 for betas instead.
Goal #3: Continue writing and traditionally publishing stories. This also went wonderfully. Not only did three stories get published, but I had my first case of an editor approaching me and asking me to do a story for them, but I also got my first rewrite request – and from an SFWA qualifying market too! I also got two more honourable mentions in the Writers of the Future Competition. I’m starting to rack up a lot of them ;p I also have one more short story under contract for next year, and several out there doing the rounds looking for homes. I also completed and wrote six new short stories and have the first half-two thirds of ‘Alone Time’.
I also signed up for the 5 Years to Become a Bestseller course (back when it first launched and it was only $25, it’s gone up since then ;p ) and have completed the first six months of work (it’s a five year course of course ;p ).
I also attended a short seminar by Joanna Penn (if you’re an indie author you know who I’m talking about!), as well as a couple of courses from the QWC, and attended the Brisbane Writers Group Convention (which is becoming much more about the craft and selling/marketing than finding a writers group).
Goal #5: Continue being an awesome president of Vision Writers Group. Well if being voted in again is any sign I must be doing well. This may be the last year I do this because I think there are some people waiting in the wings who would like to try their hand, I’m doing this for love and fun, but I think they have goals this role could help them toward, but let’s see how this year rolls.
Goal #6: Write at least three more Retailored Fairy Tales. I completed Charming Rivals, and have done the first third of Nothing Charming. I got the completed Glass Slippers off to betas but haven’t quite done the revisions yet. I partially completed this one but fell just short.
Goal #7: Complete a novel (as in to the point I can resume submitting to agents). I chose this because I have several half complete drafts and a couple of completed drafts in need of editing and revision. I chose Written By The Stars since it’s one of the oldest completed and is a standalone with a teensy bit of series potential. However it took me months to get through just the first third of the book (where as the first draft of Lovely/Lonely‘s edits took about a week, and they are similar length) and I realised it’s a lot bigger job than it appeared. I’m putting a full rewrite in my goals for 2018.
So that’s four goals brilliantly done, two partly done and being revived for 2018, and one being rolled into another 2018 goal with some other things. Not a bad result
And now, without further ado, my new goals for 2018:
Publish the Charming Series. This includes getting the first 3 out (Charming, Charming Rivals and Nothing Charming) and writing/revising/(hopefully)publishing The Handrell War, which will be the first novel length Charming for Hire story.
Get beta feedback on Lovely/Lonely, revise it with the feedback and start submitting to agents/publishers/competitions.
Continue writing and publishing short fiction in traditional publishing markets. This has never seemed to be hard for me ;p I already have several lovely stories I completed at the end of ’17, and several planned to do this year.
Take my back catalogue of short stories that are out of their exclusivity periods and self-publish them.
Start working towards creating a monthly fiction podcast. Uncertain yet whether I will be serialising a single story or just doing some short stories. I blame this goal on listening to and enjoying so many other fiction podcasts ;p
Continue being a good president to Vision Writers Group. We’ve recently had a turn over of sorts, several of our old regulars have gotten busy or successful and moved on and we’ve had a massive influx of talented newbies and I want to foster their growth and encourage them. I also hope to do more with the website, including (as I’ve recently started doing) making the images more ‘pinnable’.
Complete one of the unfinished novels (‘Keys’ or ‘Tucca’) and have it at least beta ready by years end if not betaed, revised, and out there doing the rounds.
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. All things I already do, all things I plan to continue doing. I’m also enrolled in the 5 Years to Become a Bestseller course, and have been following it pretty closely thus far and intend to continue on with that.
Rewrite Written by the Stars. I think she might just need a complete rewrite, but that *seemed* like too big a job – such a waste to cut all those words – but the recent slog through editing it makes me think it might be the easier way actually. This is my stretch goal for the year. The stretch on my stretch goal is having it betaed and revised with that feedback and out doing the rounds (a girl can dream, can’t she?)
The following are not so much goals as things I’ll be doing:
Another website overhaul. I also want to make some lovely landing pages just for my books/book series.
I’m going to add to the end of my round-up posts links to my Goodreads reviews of any books I read that month too, both fiction and non-fiction, and depending on my enthusiasm for that book, maybe a short snippet of a review.
Up my listening speeds. I’ll start with podcasts then add audiobooks. I want to be listening to podcasts(and comfortably absorbing all information in them) at 2x speed by the end of the year and audiobooks at 1.5x (If I can get to 2x that would be nice but I do partly feel fiction is a little nicer to dwell in). The reason behind this is I want to consume more, and the less time I’m listening to podcasts the more I am to books and I’d love to be polishing off more books every year.
Here’s hoping 2018 will be a healthier, less tantrum-filled year ;p Have you got any big goals for this year? If you’re thinking of making some goals but haven’t quite gotten around to planning them out yet I suggest you check out this blog post by the madly organised Talitha Kalago (author of Half A Million Words In Nine Months).
Much healthier this month (though a round of tummy bugs hit the kids and I have a little cold, it’s ultimately not anywhere near as bad as much of the rest of the year ;p )
I finished the beta feedback both on the near future sci-fi/dystopia novel and for the choose-your-own-adventure fairy tale novel. They took up the lion’s share of my month though.
I also entered Hanabi to Kitsune and Glass Bones in the Aurealis Awards, which requires ecopies, so I decided rather than badgering the publishers for ecopies I’d just makes one of my own stories myself and practice my ebook formatting skills. I’ve recently bought and almost finished reading The Zen of Ebook Formatting by Guido Henkel so they should be pretty schmick ;p
Finish Nothing Charming first draft – I wrote a new 1,000 words, but that was all I could scrape in before the month ended
Complete beta reading the near future sci-fi novel I’ve been given – done!
Beta read choose your own adventure fairy tale novel – done!
Work on those re-submission rewrites I was given for Foxworth – been mulling them over mentally, but not red pen to paper editing has yet started
Use feedback on Not Human, Not Alien to polish the story – feedback read, should be easy to implement, but didn’t get the time. Need to write a suitable thank you letter too (even if I paid for it technically by backing a Kickstarter project ;p )
Write ‘Alone Time’ first draft – I have rough sketched the complete plot now, so ready to write. Expecting this to come in around 3,000 words as long as I don’t chase any rabbits ;p
Also, the results came in from the latest quarter of the Writers of the Future contest. I’d entered Mermaid In A Jar in it and received another honourable mention. Very happy to get another certificate, but really wanting to actually win for once (always an honourable mention never a prize ;p ).
Since this is the home stretch of the year, my goals are largely about trying to wrap things up, ticking off the last boxes. Because two-thirds of the month are school holidays (meaning both kids at home with me), and my other job is working in a video games store… at Christmas, you can see how I might not get as much done as I hope, but I really want to close out the year well.
Complete Nothing Charming draft (no, really this time ;p )
Resubmission rewrites for Foxworth
Complete revision of Not Human, Not Alien, if satisfied start submitting it
Write ‘Alone Time’
Read the three craft books at the top of my TBR pile
Start submitting Mermaid In A Jar
Begin Revision of ‘Look Skyward’ (and give it a real name)
October was rather a write off unfortunately. Health of myself and my family, and a spat of nasty migraines meant there were multiple days at a time where I couldn’t even look at a screen. That’s the reason why this post is so late too. The only one of my goals I made any real progress on for the month was my beta feedback, but I’ve not quite completed even that yet.
For November I’m just rolling forward last month’s goals and adding giving beta feedback to another book as well. And hoping against hope I can finally have a month where I don’t have health problems ;p
When I set my goals at the start of last month I completely forgot to take into account the fact that approximately half the month would be lost to school holidays. Add in the hideous flu strains swimming in the Aussie air at the moment and I’m impressed I got anything done.
The biggest thing I did do was rage-paused editing Written By TheStars. Rage pausing is kind of like rage quitting, but you will come back to it, more like shoving it in the deep freezer in the garage(the one you can fit a human corpse in if need be) rather than drenching it in kerosene and throwing a match on it. It mightn’t sound like a good thing that I rage-paused Written By TheStars‘ edits, but when I stuffed it in the freezer beside… nothing. Nothing is in there.
Anyway, when I put Written By TheStars in the deep freeze I got out Lovely/Lonely (formerly known as Skeleton Romance) and edited it instead. And I completed the edits. Yup. Completed them. It’s ready for beta readers. The fact I can edit my more recent book in less than a month but the older book has taken months and not quite reached the 1/3rd mark is irrefutable evidence that over the last five years my writing has changed and advanced a lot.
My other goals (and progress on them) for September were:
Finish Nothing Charming first draft: Not quite, but I did write another 5,000 words
Beta read the non-fiction book and the near-future sci-fi book I’ve been given: I completed the non-fiction book but have only just started the fiction one
Using group feedback, edit Mermaid In A Jar so its ready to submit to publishers: Edited and submitted, just waiting to hear back
Write one of the new short stories rolling around in my head, ‘Bards vs Beasts’ or ‘Alone Time’: Nope. Failed to do anything more than just roll the idea around in my head while driving a few times. I have decided however it’ll most likely be ‘Alone Time’ that I’ll work on. Perhaps it’s because Mudgerwokee will be coming out soon, but I’m in a horror/dark fantasy mood ATM
Is anyone else sick and tired of being sick and tired? Apart from two flus(one of which is currently still with me, bleh), during the holidays Harley’s sleep pattern got a hiccup. The sort of hiccup which means I’m not even getting five straight hours a night anymore. Often not even five hours total between the two kids patterns sometimes. I don’t think that’s helping my poor immune system fight these viruses.
On the plus side, nearly all of the holidays were sunny and we took the kids to a lot of fun places. I also received another Honorable Mention from the Writers of the Future contest (this time on Foxworth)(though I swear, one of these days I’m going to win the damn thing), and got my first ‘if you do these rewrites, please resubmit’ rejection. I’ve only had ‘yes’, feedback rejection, and form letter rejections before. I have now collected at least one of every kind of rejection except the ‘please forget about our magazine, never submit here again’ kind, and TBH I’m quite fine to never get one of those ;p
I also got an email from the Kickstarter campaign I backed which had the bonus of giving me a story critique and I’m doing one last polish on Not Human, Not Alien before sending it in for critique. I love working with new editors 😀 (even though it’s a ‘critique’, not an edit, I’m still getting an editor’s feedback, and that always helps me grow)
For October my goals are:
Finish Nothing Charming first draft
Complete beta reading the near future sci-fi novel I’ve been given
Work on those re-submission rewrites I was given(might take a while, I have to figure out how to integrate the changes without changing the story from what I want it to be)
Use any feedback on Not Human, Not Alien to polish the story and start submitting it(if the feedback comes back this month, editors are busy people and I’m not a demanding person ;p )
Write ‘Alone Time’ first draft
And stretch goal:
Continue editing Written By TheStars
Now to go take a bunch of flu meds and see how well I can self-edit when dosed up ;p
Hope you guys are all staying a lot healthier than me <3
I did fairly well in August, particularly for someone who lost their voice twice! I finished edits of Dressed For Success and submitted it. I’m quite fond of it. It’s very strong work IMO. Even if they reject it, I’m confident the story will find another home fast. I’m so proud of it I actually used it in my SAF grant application(which I also successfully sent off).
In further news relating to completing goals, I finished edits on Mermaid In A Jar, submitted it to my writers group, and will get my feedback tomorrow.
I’m 7,600 words into the Nothing Charming draft(that’s a new 6,400 written this month), but still have a good 25,000 words to go if my projection is accurate
I’ve edited a few more chapters of Written By The Stars, including one which, with additions/revisions is now 20,000 words long, so needs breaking up ;p It’s been a long slog, mainly because the draft was written back in 2012. I’ve done five years of growing as a writer since then. Soooo much is wrong with it. It’s not an impossible job, but not an easy one either. Also, back then I clearly felt like I needed to club readers over the head with my theme and sometimes its so bad I just can’t look at it ;p My theme be all ‘notice me, senpai!’.
I chaired two panels at the Brisbane Writers Group Convention and took a seminar on a new(to me) method for non-verbal communication with Xander.
As far as learning my craft more goes, I listened to seasons 3, 4, and 5 of Writing Excuses (if you missed it, last month I started binge listening to their back catalogue. I originally started in season 9 a few years back and didn’t bother with the back catalogue because it seemed like too much). I also read James Scott Bells’ Plot and Structure, and went to the aforementioned Brisbane Writers Group Convention.
And the biggest miracle of all, I have thought of a possible proper title for ‘Skeleton Romance’: Lovely/Lonely. Not a perfect fit, but pretty solid and quite evocative, I even have a funky little logo imagined up for it ;p
September’s goals are:
Focus on editing Written By The Stars
Finish Nothing Charming first draft
Complete feedback for the non-fiction book and the near-future sci-fi book I’ve been asked to beta read
Using group feedback edit Mermaid In A Jar so its ready to submit to publishers
Write either the new short story rolling around in my head currently titled ‘Bards vs Beasts’ or the horror story ‘Alone Time’
If the cover comes back in time, get the proof and – if time – maybe even do the print run of Darkest Depths print version.
Stretch goal(because miracles can happen, even if they didn’t last month):
Commence edits on Lovely/Lonely (aka ‘Skeleton Romance’).
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.
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