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.



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.

Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo

At the beginning of this month, it really hit me hard that NaNoWriMo starts soon. So in the true fashion of NaNoWriMo, (sarcasm, here), I really began stressing over plot and characters. There were a couple different stories floating around in my head, vying for the top spot. The problem was that I didn’t know the entire story yet. Of course, this isn’t a real problem, but with it being my first attempt at NaNoWriMo, I really want to have a plot summary, outline, character sketches, etc. so that I can really improve my chances of actually hitting that goal of 50,000 words and having a few sections of my story that don’t completely suck.

Anyway, one of my ideas is a historical romance, undecided if it will be more in the style of a regency romance or not. The second idea is young adult fantasy. I have to say, the romance seems like it would be easier to write, just because there are limitations and boundaries. It seems like it would be more straight forward to write. And no stressing about made up creatures and their appearance, characteristics, abilities, etc. Even so, initially the YA fantasy drew my attention. I wanted to be able to write something a bit edgy, scenes of which are already coming together in my head. The main problem? The plot. How does this happen? What happened in the past to make things the way they are now? I just haven’t had that great idea yet, or even that idea that seems “good enough” to put into a rough draft. But I’m still working on it.

In an attempt to help me decide which route to go, I put together some very vague plot summaries (and no, I don’t know a lot more information than those vague summaries myself), and let my mom and 2-3 others read them. One of my friends immediately liked the romance idea, as she is not really into reading fantasy. However, everyone else went for the fantasy idea. And so did I, until I started stressing about the plot. Then I thought that I’d go for the romance. And then the fantasy won out again. So, back and forth it goes.

I thought maybe reading a few more YA fantasy novels could give me more ideas, and put me in more of the right mood to think. That’s what I was referring to in a previous post, about “more on YA fantasy later.” I looked through my shelves last night, and didn’t see anything else that I could tackle in the spirit of “research,” so a trip to the library might be on the schedule today. But there are still those things like laundry, scrubbing the bathtub, and vacuuming, all screaming for my attention as well. But as I don’t have to go to work (my “real” job, that is) today, perhaps I can get my imagination and household chores to call a truce.

Just long enough to come up with an amazing plot. Ha.

French Women Don’t Get Fat

A few years ago, I was channel surfing and ran across an episode of Oprah. Her guest on the show that day was Mireille (pronounced meer-ray) Giuliano, author of French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure. I remember one woman in the audience stood up and told her success story. She had lost some rather large amount of weight, her diet consisting of sensuous meals, full of pleasure, and two to three glasses of wine per day. Anyway, ever since that day, this book was on my mental to-read list, and recently I decided to move it up to first place on that list.

This isn’t a diet book, and it’s not a cookbook. It’s about eating, and living, for pleasure. It’s all about enjoyment and fulfillment, definitely not about sacrifice and deprivation, a way in which so many Americans view dieting, and food in general. In the introduction, Mireille refers to the “French Paradox,” or how to enjoy food (and wine) and stay trim, healthy, and yes, even content. The rest of the book includes so much common sense, yet presented with a charming new twist.

Mireille went to America as a slim French exchange student, and came back fat. At that time, her family doctor, whom she affectionately and gratefully refers to as “Dr. Miracle,” reiterated principles of French gastronomy and reintroduced her to the secrets of local women. Mireille then shares those secrets with her readers in a mixture of anecdotes, personal success stories, and even recipes. Secrets include portion control, and cutting out the offenders, (don’t stock things like candy or don’t take the route to work that leads you next to the bakery).

While not a proponent of going to the gym, (she says the machines look like weapon systems), Mireille does support being active and fit. Walk to work, and pay attention to everything around you. Stop and smell the flowers, and then continue on your walk. You’ll burn calories and take pleasure from life at the same time. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Try keeping your legs straight when drying your toes after bathing. Little things that one can incorporate into everyday life are the secrets of French women.

Even though she holds French women as the example, Mireille is quick to point out that they are not perfect. But when one ends up gaining an extra pound or two, she doesn’t call it quits and throw in the towel. Instead, there is reevaluation and compensation, and probably even the emergency remedy of a weekend of Magical Leek Soup.

There are no real secrets in this book, just traditional wisdom. We can all have a life of wine, bread, and chocolate. Let go of guilt and deprivation and learn to get the most out of what we enjoy in life, without sacrificing our figures.