Always quirky, sometimes sweet speculative fiction

Tag: progress on goals (Page 3 of 3)

October Goals Round-Up

October has been a pretty good month for me, seeing not just my first story published but two of them!

I finally unearthed my problem with Written By The Stars and am going back to try and punch the plot in the gut and fix that(well, you know, after I’ve hit all my NaNo targets).

I finished off the first draft of The Glass Witch, which now totals at 14,000 words (I only wrote the last 6,500 this month though). I started a new flash fiction, but it died in the water when I realised it had no ending, it was just a great start.

I did a lot of NaNo prep, creating a detailed plot outline for the book (and looser ones for the two sequel books) as well as fleshing out the characters and creating a blurb and a one sentence summary. I’ve had a good start on it so far, but that’s to be covered in my November round-up ;p .

I did a lot of submissions this month, sending out reprint requests, putting in applications for awards and novelist retreats as well as the usual anthology and magazine submissions, but as is common with the submission process it will be a little while before I hear back from some of them.

It’s funny, sometimes I feel like I didn’t do much, because I didn’t write a lot new this month, but I did do a lot of final proofing, last checks before sending submissions, critiquing of other peoples work so really I was working quite hard toward my writing career as a whole. It makes me wonder if the ‘write every day’ rule for authors shouldn’t be tweaked slightly to be ‘make steps toward your writing goals every day’, because there’s so much more than just putting new words down on the page.

Now, lets see if I can survive my second NaNoWriMo. Also, here’s my jack-o-lantern in the dark!

A tip for other Aussies carving pumpkins: do it the night before Halloween, because the heat kills them within a few days, but Saturday evening mine was sagging and filled with mold!

A tip for other Aussies carving pumpkins: do it the night before Halloween, because the heat kills them within a few days, by Saturday evening mine was sagging and filled with mold!

September Goals Round-Up

The goals again in case you were curious or can’t remember.

I spent most of September trying to edit Written By the Stars (goal 2 in my list) but essentially I’m just tinkering with sentences and getting mad. There’s something wrong with it and I can’t figure out what. I intend to ask a few people I respect from my critique group if they’d be willing to read it for me in the hopes I can find out what’s wrong or learn that I’m just being a typical picky writer.

I’ve been working some more on outlining and world building for my new first draft (goal 4) but haven’t started writing – I intend it to be my NaNoWriMo project. It’s really a fun and for once not set in an ancient world but an off-shoot of our current world – in Brisbane in fact.

Goal 5, entering and submitting more and creating short stories for such endeavours has been a bit lacking this month. I only created Kina’s Climb and I published that here on my site so can’t really submit it (but you can totally go read it 😀 ). I’d be disappointed with myself if I hadn’t already created 13 new stories so far this year and had 2 successes in submitting. Also I’m getting a lot of my submissions to the final stages, which is a sign of improvement as well.

I didn’t touch 1, or 3 or 6 again. For shame me… I really need to kick into gear on 1 and 6.

As for the added goal of learning, one has only to read my review of the Brisbane Writers’ Festival to know I showed that goal who was boss.

Etrian_Odyssey_IVNot a bad month, but not a glimmering paragon of writerly magnificence. I can do better, but I could have done worse. Particularly with Etrian Odyssey IV sitting in my 3DS calling to me(and I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t give in to its call several nights).

August Goals Round-Up

I’ve been busy with a double dose of critiquing – seven stories for my critique group on Sunday and then another twelve for a workshop I did today – so I haven’t kept up-to-date with my round-up sorry.

This last month I wrote another 8,000 words in Keys, Clocks, Quests, wrote a new flash fiction piece, and a new short story ‘The Eighteenth Soldier'(4000 words) and started a first draft for a sequel to Charming – The Glass Witch(8,000 words so far) – so plenty of creation!

Also did some more editing, working over a few different short stories (and one is finally good enough that I’ve started submitting it!) as well as some novel editing.

So I’ve made a little progress on some of the goals I realised I was lacking work on last month, but probably need to get a little less distracted by shiny new ideas and really hammer out some work on editing as that is a big thing in the goals I’ve slacked on.

On the learning side I attended a fiction masterclass with MJ Hyland at the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival which was smashing. I loved the way she interrogated some writers to help them get to the core of their story. It might at first seem brutal to be hammered with the questions, but their look of joy when the realisation dawned negated any fear from the question barrage.

I’m pretty happy with my August results and though most of my September thus far has been critiquing I’m looking forward to getting to work on edits.

July Goals Round-Up

I barely escaped the time consuming grasp of this game

I barely escaped the time consuming grasp of this game

My July round-up won’t be looking too shabby. You want to know how I know? Well if I stopped playing Animal Crossing 3DS because there was no time around all this work (and didn’t feel dreadfully tempted to jump back in) then it must have been uber busy! (Oh man, my town is going to be so full of weeds)

This month I created two new short stories (‘Glass Bones’ and ‘Nightfall’ the second of which I’ve polished and am awaiting critique group feedback on (I should get that today)) and also wrote a little over 3,000 new words in Keys, Clocks, Quests finally getting the book to the big twist/game changer (it might seem like an average high fantasy quest to this point and then BAM! I love it, in case my enthusiasm wasn’t a hint). Also, after long talks with my fabulous husband decided to begin early works on a YA trilogy. It’s in the early days of hammering out a decent plot from the loose ideas I sketched a while back, but I figure if it’s interesting to TJ it must be pretty good(the benefits of having a blunt husband). I’ve also kept up strong with submissions and added another finally good enough story to my submittable list.

In learning I critiqued a lot this month in preparation for both my critique group and the MJ Hyland fiction master class (which technically I attended in August so I won’t discuss here) and I attended the ‘Getting Published’ workshop run by Annette Barlow from Allen & Unwin’s Faber Academy(you can learn a little more about that by reading my previous post on Byron Bay Writers’ Festival workshops). If you want to know what all that critiquing taught me you can check my post here.

So it was a good month, but since I’m now past the halfway mark of the year, I’m looking at the actual goals I set myself last year and I’m frowning. I have barely touched #4, only briefly dabbled with #1, every time I try #2 I throw my hands up in the air in frustration (something is wrong but I can’t seem to pinpoint it, the very definition of frustration), work on #3 has come in dribs and drabs since I seem to be blessed with a killer new idea every few thousand words I write – and the idea usually is for a different story – and #6 I really shouldn’t be struggling so much with, but I keep thinking what’s the point of a newsletter when I have so little to report right now?

I need to buckle down on some of those other goals before the time slips right through my fingers. Hopefully, next month I’ll have some good news on a few of them.

I hope your month was just as full of productivity.

June Goals Round-Up

While the temptation of games still loomed (and with a particularly deadly sting thanks to Animal Crossing 3DS) I was slightly more productive this month than last. I also experienced a fantastic success for the first time.

My success came in the form of winning my first competition. I am one of the shortlisted writers for the 2013 Redlitzer writing competition. Quite exciting, and some great prizes(including but not limited to the confidence of having won).

I have been working hard on The Troll’s Toll. After getting feedback on the first part from my writer’s group I rewrote entire chunks and changed the personality of a character (apparently I should give up trying to write demure girls, I just can’t do it without making them dish rags – probably because I’m as far from demure in real life as possible without having large amounts of testosterone coursing through my system).

I purchased a couple of exciting courses to take part in during the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival which will bring me excitingly close to where I grew up as well as improving my writing.

I’ve also been doing some reviewing on Storybook Perfect as a final check before submitting it to a manuscript development competition.

Mostly I’ve been editing, not creating much new, but editing often involves a lot more writing than you might at first expect.

Looking back on the first half of 2013, I’ve made a lot of progress as a writer, but there’s still a few of my goals I’ve barely even touched, so I better kick it up a notch in the second half.

I’m looking forward to July now and the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival and one of the parts of my Redlitzer prize: working with Marianne de Pierres, Rowena Cory Daniells, Louise Cusack and Angela Slatter on my shortlisted piece.

May Goals Round-Up

And STILL from a duct-taped together laptop.

I blame YOU sir, for this.

I blame YOU sir, for this.

You know how the last few months my goal round-up posts have been all ‘woe is me, I did nothing’ but then I look at the list and think, you know, actually I did a fair amount really.

This wasn’t one of those months.

I can make excuses like my terror of my laptop simply never switching on again (I am scared every time I close the lid) or the fact that instead of only working a couple of days a week I was working almost full time filling in for my boss while she jetted off to her honeymoon in Bora Bora (geeze, some people, right? ;p ), but really, I know I could have beaten the time out of somewhere because I managed to find some time to play video games.

And don't think you're off the hook, missy, you're partly to blame also.

And don’t think you’re off the hook, missy, you’re partly to blame also.

At least I didn’t do nothing. I took another Holly Lisle course, this time her ‘How To Write Flash Fiction That Doesn’t Suck’ course which reminded me of something I’ve been forgetting to do in my fiction a bit of late. If you’re ever looking for good writing courses I strongly recommend Holly Lisle’s courses, they are comprehensive and brilliant.

I also picked back up an old project I’ve been toying with for almost two years now, a book written in blog form which I still have no idea if I’ll ever get to publishing (it would be free to read online if I ever commit properly to it). I re-read the old work, wrote some more and tinkered with the outline.

Now, to learn from my mistakes and make June a more productive month.

April Goals Round-Up From A Duct-Taped Laptop

all that's keeping my poor baby together :(

all that’s keeping my poor baby together 🙁

You may have noticed a rather long radio silence from me. Normally I have back-up posts so I don’t go more than a week without posting, however, when a wild toddler throws your computer on the ground and it falls to pieces that tends to render any computer based actions impossible without either repair or replacement.

Since there’s no money for replacement, behold, my duct tape repaired laptop.

(yeah, yeah, there’s a desktop in another room, but it’s at the far end of the house closeted away from the family so I can’t keep an eye on Xander while I’m on it. That and it’s a desktop… ewwww)

We also went to Supanova Gold Coast and here's Xander dressed at the eleventh Doctor in front of the Hire a Tardis

We also went to Supanova Gold Coast and here’s Xander dressed at the eleventh Doctor in front of the Hire a Tardis

Anyway, on with my progress report on my goals. This month was definitely my worst so far, but that probably has something to do with the fact that my other months all kicked ass. Plus, one poor month does not a year destroy – I just have to make sure I get back on my game, and by game I mean put down my 3DS and the inserted copy of Fire Emblem which has consumed all my spare time for the later half of the month (damn you awesome video games – you get me every time). I can’t entirely blame Fire Emblem and the sheer awesomeness of that game, manga is to blame too. I re-read three series this month(High School Debut, Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden and Butterflies, Flowers for anyone curious).

So, I did manage to complete my novelette The Troll’s Toll and a sweet little follow-up short Petrified Lips. I also wrote a follow up for Charming which follows Hannah, it has no title yet and is still a little rough – not to mention the fact the computer kept not saving my ending. It is soooooo frustrating to write the same ending five times and always be wondering if one of the other lost ones was perhaps that tiny bit better than this one.

I also did some more tinkering in Storybook Perfect book 2 as I continue trying to wrangle the chopped in half remnants of the old second half into a book two. The start is very stilted, I need to add a good starting chapter and then figure out a smooth order for the following few chapters. There seem to be more rewrites involved than I had at first anticipated. At least the first book is looking good and is out waiting on an agent’s reply right now. So I’m making headway on goal #1 at least.

On goal 5 I haven’t submitted a lot this month because most of it is already out and waiting for responses or still needs work, but I have been told one of my stories is on the shortlist for a very cool magazine – so not a guaranteed in, but definitely a vote of confidence in the quality of that story, particularly since I thought I might have been aiming a little high by submitting it ;p

Also did some research for the Redlitzer (a local writing competition) by buying the anthology of previous winners and reading it. I’ve figured out what the judges seem to like, but I’m just not getting any inspiration. Sadly that’s about all the ‘learning’ I did.

I was still creating plenty, but didn’t do much else. Except for reading manga and playing video games. Oh, and I suppose I still did all that mothery, housewifey stuff too ;p how did you all go?

March Goals Round Up

Once again, reporting in on my progress on my yearly goals.

I returned to work on the 1st of the month to Key, Clocks and Quests, intending to get enough of a draft hammered out that I would be able to come up with a working title that didn’t suck the big one. Fell a bit short, but did manage to pound out an extra 7,500 words, so I’m making progress on goal #3.

I also wrote 14,800 words the novelette ‘The Troll’s Toll’ and am down to the very final scene now. The Troll’s Toll was supposed to be a short story, but at 15,000+ words I’m afraid there’s nothing ‘short’ about it. I’m still counting it as work towards goal #5 (write and submit more short stories).

In fact, The Troll’s Toll is the story in which I have had my most productive recorded day ever, typing 8140 words in one day. I know, mammoth! I may perhaps have had a few better days back when I was bedridden with my vertigo disorder, but I wasn’t recording my word counts back then.

I also wrote a flash fiction piece ‘Stolen Hearts’ which I’m intending to submit to Fireside Magazine.

The biggest achievement for me this month was receiving my first acceptance for a short story. I’m eagerly awaiting the edits to come through and looking forward to giving you all more details when they’re available.

As for goal # 7, learning, this month I’ve mostly been reading short stories on my Kindle to see what published shorts are like. I’ve read all the old Fireside magazines, several Aurealis releases, Subversion: Science fiction and fantasy tales of Challenging the Norm from Crossed Genres, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show(awards anthology), Dieselpunk ePulp Showcase, and Phoenix by Chuck Palahniuk (the writer of Fight Club).

I beta read Talitha Kalago’s Lifesphere Inc (very awesome young adult series) and of course have been devouring the critiques for my writers’ group as well, so am working a fair amount with other writers also. This wasn’t really a goal, but it’s something I quite enjoy.

How are you tracking with your goals this month?

February Goals Round-Up

February was not quite the raging success that January was, but it was not a total wash either (if you need a reminder, you can see my original goals here and how awesome January was here).

In the newly added learning goal I have read two books on improving my craft, ‘The Elements of Style’ and ‘Self-Editing for Fiction Writers’. I also attended two webinars and went to my writer’s group and got some amazing feedback (you can read about my reaction in this post). Finally – in the last minutes (OK, not minutes, hours more like) of the month – I joined Holly Lisle’s 7 Day Crash-Revision Workshop. I would have loved to have had the money for her full How To Revise Your Novel course, but alas and alack not this month. (Side note: Holly’s courses are great, I’ve done one of her big ones (How To Think Sideways, now available as e-books) and several of her smaller ones and recommend her to anyone looking at courses on writing. No, I’m not an affiliate, just a happy student.)

In actual creation I made a flash fiction, ‘Eyes on The Sky’, but birthed nothing else new. It isn’t my greatest work to date, and I definitely need to go over it again, but I don’t want to pull it down either.

I started converting the Kindle edit of ‘Written by The Stars’ into the Scrivener file, also did editing and rewrites for my short story ‘The Beauty of the Dance’ and ‘The Wyvern’s Sting’ based on awesome feedback from beta-readers.

I submitted a horror/supernatural piece called ‘Brown Paper Packages’ to my writer’s group for critique after tiding it up, but it was an older piece I went back and cleaned, not a new creation.

I could have done a lot more, even though there was severe back pain, broken down cars which needed parts from France (I know, France? Seriously!?) and relatives moving into our house (and taking up our junk room so aaaaaall that junk needing to be relocated and organised), but also there were things I did instead of writing that weren’t so justified, like playing Ni No Kuni and finishing my 1,000 piece puzzle. So this month I am determined to put in more effort.

At least until Atelier Ayesha comes out ;p

January Goals Round-Up

OK, so as I have set myself so many goals for this year I thought I would re-cap where I’m at with each of my goals at the end of each month. Accountability, oh yeah! If you need a refresher on my goals you can read the original post here.


Goal 5 has been fruitful for me since I entered two stories into the Black Apples Anthology (Belladonna Publishing) and another one for the Oomph: A Little Bit of Super Goes A Long Way (Crossed Genres).

I’ve also written quite a bit this year, finishing some short story drafts I started in December (Charming, The Wyvern’s Sting, Short Circuit), editing based on beta readers/critique group feedback (Groundskeeper & The Wyvern’s Sting) and writing from scratch (The Beauty of The Dance, Emily’s Typewriter). You can read blurbs for and see where I’m at on all of these stories on my Current Projects page.

I’ve done no work on any of the novels yet (writing wise, editing I am doing), but it is still only January so I can’t get too worked up about that.

In relation to number six I’ve started work on the story I believe will be the incentive to subscribe (The Beauty of The Dance) and have put some effort and thought into which mail service I will use (do I go free or not?).

I’ve also commenced editing ‘Written By The Stars’ (if you want to know more about the story check it out in my Current Projects page) by converting it to .mobi format and reading it on my kindle. I feel so tech savvy doing it that way ;p I’ve done all the edits and just need to action them in the Scrivener file. So I’ve started number 2, but not completed.

Also I’ve kept myself running smoothly with the Australian speculative fiction authors Challenge (you can read more here about my progress).

Not to mention (even though it isn’t a goal) I made my first beta-reading of a novel report to the author.

So I think January has not been a shabby month from a writing career perspective.

Bye bye productivity, maybe we can hang out again in March.

Bye bye productivity, maybe we can hang out again in March.

February however, is going to be a true challenge. Why you ask? Because I just brought home my collector’s edition of Ni No Kuni. I’m going to have to be very strong to not get carried away gaming.

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