2012 Writing Goals

I went to a writer’s group meeting this weekend, and the assignment was to bring a list of writing goals for 2012. I thought I’d also post them here and maybe have a little more accountability.

1. Really learn how to use Scrivener, the writing software I got a few months ago, including all its features, etc.

2. Finish editing Elmsgate, a short story, and submit to a publisher by March 31.

3. Revise and edit Queens of Winter, a young adult fantasy novel, and then explore options with publication.

4. Participate in NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNoWriMo, (whichever month looks more doable).

5. Write another 2-3 short stories and enter competitions or submit to publishers.

6. Write out an outline of a novel, beginning to end, and begin writing it, either to use as a NaNo novel or something different.

So there you have it. My 2012 goals. There are also a few personal goals that would help me succeed in life, and in turn, writing. Those would be:

1. Work part-time instead of full-time. This would give me more time and increase chances that I’d stay sane.

2. In order to work part-time, I need to pay off all of my students loans and/or have a baby. I’ve been working on both of these goals diligently for about four years. The end is in sight for the loans, but not for the baby.

3. If I’m going to be able to stay home and write more, I don’t want to be stressed out to be in my house. This means that I either hire a housekeeper, or that I don’t work outside the home and I can clean and keep things the way I want them to be. Again, this goes back to goal number 2. And if the housekeeper is an option, the house needs to be finished. (My husband is constantly working on something. He is very talented as a handyman, but the progress is slow due to many factors.)

So, in summary, if I really want to focus on writing, it looks like I need to move towards the life I’ve always wanted, which is getting out of the pharmacy full-time, living in a completed, well-run home, with children, and no student loans. I don’t think this is too much to ask or to hope for, but the road still stretches far in front of me, with no end yet in sight.

 

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Short Story Submission

A few weeks ago, I discovered a short story contest. I wrote a story, but then I chickened out and decided not to submit it. Well, the deadline was extended, until today.

I revised it and finally gave it a title and hit that submit button before I could talk myself out of it. The worst thing that could happen is that I’m down $20 bucks for the submission fee.

Results will be announced within three months, so we’ll see.

Day 14

I took my writing elsewhere today. In a region near me, according to the NaNoWriMo website, is a wonderful little coffee shop that serves amazing scones, among other things. The owner (and barista) is a published author, and participates in NaNoWriMo. There are a couple of events scheduled there this month, (not sure if I’ll be attending or not), so I thought I’d check out the place.

Just after a short 45-50 minute drive from my house, I arrived at said coffee shop and discovered that the reputation of the scones was definitely deserved. So, with snack and coffee in hand, I got to work. I probably wrote for about an hour and a half, totaling about 1,700 words during that short time. Looks like the “butt in chair” writing method works!

After I got home, I browsed through my email and found a writing newsletter sent out today. There is a short story competition that ends tomorrow, the submission deadline being at midnight. The only requirement is that the story is limited to 1,500 words. And suddenly, as I was reading this email, a story came to me out of nowhere. All I had to do was write it down. It clocked in at 1,496 words. I haven’t decided if I want to submit it or not. I need to edit and polish it, and as I have to work tomorrow, I won’t have too much time. Besides the $20 entry fee, I really have nothing to lose, though.

Words added: 1,914

Total Word Count: 23,827

These totals don’t include the short story I wrote. I wish I could have moved further ahead in my novel, but I’m pleased with what I was able to complete today.

And So It Begins…

I’ve really been a slacker this year when it comes to NaNoWriMo. Not that I wanted to be, but I just couldn’t get one idea to mesh together into a cohesive plot. I’m still having some issues with that one. However, I have a very basic, one page, outline now, and I really hope that will be enough. We’ll see.

I still don’t have a title. I’m terrible with titles! I still hate the title I’m using for last year’s NaNo novel. But maybe that will come to me as November progresses. I did post this short synopsis on the NaNoWriMo website:

Monica Gray is an artist who is still trying to make it on the art scene. She has a show opening at a gallery and a mysterious stranger with an Irish accent purchases nearly all of her pieces. Shortly after shipping this large order overseas, she receives a letter inviting her to Donovan Manor, in County Clare, Ireland, with an offer for a commission she can’t refuse. She packs herself and her cat Sebastian across the Atlantic to this great estate house, which is a functioning farm and idyllic B&B.

Monica quickly befriends the house staff and a few of the guests, including an American who is a European history professor, and two quirky elderly sisters, Mary and Maud. She has yet to meet her employer, the mysterious Mr. Donovan, but she has had a few glimpses of his grandson, Aidan. This isn’t quite the peaceful holiday Monica had in mind. Her dreams are plagued with visions and frightening events. She begins to lose track of where her dreams end and reality begins. Sometimes she even sees the shadow of a man, but she has yet to determine if he is the man of her dreams….or her nightmares.

This is a bit more adult than last year’s project, which I definitely consider YA. I don’t think this is a bad idea, I just hope I can do it justice. That being said, I’ve also done other things to prepare for the month of November. I’ve stocked up on chocolate and tea. And I’ve got a vacation from work coming up, too. So that should definitely give me a bit more time to write. Hopefully, I can continue my “winning” streak and reach at least 50,000 words.

Short Story

A few weeks ago, I found out about a local writer’s group in my town. They meet once a month for a couple of hours, on the third Saturday of the month. I didn’t have anything to lose, so I decided to go to the September meeting. The current assignment, or challenge, was to write a short story around 4,000 to 6,000 words. So I began tossing a few ideas around, and over the past couple of weeks I wrote my first short story, weighing in right at the upper limit of 6,000 words.

And so I took it with me to the meeting today. Like last month, it was a small group, but after reading it, one person did compliment me, saying that I wrote really well. The assignment for the November meeting is to research possible publishers and bring information about 3-6 publishing companies or magazines that are possibilities. Again, I don’t have anything to lose, and there’s the (small) chance that my story might actually be accepted and published! Then I could truly call myself a published author!!

The title of my short story is “Elmsgate.”

In the town of Elmsgate, all sixteen-year-olds must undergo testing, and possibly treatment, in order to be considered an adult and join society. There is no place for creativity or diversity. Any differences are deemed abnormal and are considered illnesses that must be cured. Sam dreams of being an artist, creating his pieces with smuggled paints. His girlfriend, Lily, writes music, both melodies and lyrics. Sam tries to convince Lily to escape, but she can’t bear to leave her little sister, and Sam can’t bear to leave without her. The only option is to get through the testing and probable treatment so they can be together. But treatment can change people, or even be fatal.

There’s still a bit of polishing left to do on my story, but it’s got a great start. And it really didn’t take me that long to write it–just a couple of weeks. The hardest part was coming up with an idea that I deemed “good enough.” That seems to be the problem I’m having right now preparing for NaNoWriMo, but that’s another topic for another day.

Finally Finished!

I’ve finally finished the rough draft of my novel. (Actually I finished it over a week ago, but due to work, etc., I’ve been a bit too busy to write this post.) It began as a NaNoWriMo project last year, and I made the 50,000 word goal to be considered a winner. However, November 30th was the last day I looked at it….until about three weeks ago. All I had to do was add a few closing chapters to tie up the ends. The rough draft is complete, coming in at about 57,000 words. All it took me was six weeks! Over a stretch of about 10 months….

But I’m quite thrilled with this small accomplishment. Yes, I know the book is pretty much crap, but that’s why it’s called a rough draft! But it is complete in that it has character development and a plot. It needs more work, of course. But as the only person who has read most of it so far has said, “It’s better than some of the crap that’s published.” And I guess that maybe that’s true. It still doesn’t mean I’m sending out query letters though. Just yet. Maybe eventually? Or maybe when I write something better? After all, this is my first novel. I could consider it practice.

Anyway…. The working title is Queens of Winter. I’m not thrilled with this title, but until something better comes along, I’m going to stick with it. As you can probably guess, it’s a young adult fantasy novel. More specifically, a faery novel.

Reagan is looking forward to the summer before her senior year. As a talented dancer, she has been accepted into a summer arts program, along with her best friend Gabe, who is a talented pianist. Finally, she feels as if she is where she belongs. But when she meets one of her dance instructors, Kai, she is immediately attracted to his ethereal grace and captivating dark good looks. All is not as it seems, though. Reagan is really a half-human, half-fey. She is a true faery princess. Her relationship with Kai progresses, but can she trust him? Especially when she discovers that his motive in getting close to her has all been an assignment? Her feelings for him cause her to be led into the dangerous Unseelie Court, where she must discover who she really is if she wants to save herself, and Kai as well.

Outline for NaNoWriMo

Yesterday I completed the outline for my novel. Completed, as in, there is a beginning, middle, and end, and the plot seems to actually work! This is more of an accomplishment than I thought possible a few months, or even weeks, ago. I was really having a hard time figuring everything out.

My outline is about 6 pages long, handwritten. Today my plan is to type it out, revising and adding scenes and ideas as I go. I’ve already got 2-3 Beta-readers in mind, just to make sure my outline makes sense and to get feedback and suggestions. I know that NaNoWriMo will be much easier if I have a clear path already laid out, instead of trying to bush whack my way through as I go.

I’m home from church, I’ve got my hot tea and a bagel, and I’ve got a warm fuzzy purring feline, Minerva, snuggled against me. I think that means I’m ready to go!

Correction, in the few seconds it took me to write that last sentence, Albus has climbed into my lap, somewhat obstructing one of my arms, making it a bit difficult to type. So, now I have two felines basically in my lap. That’s ok. It’s good to be loved!

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