Posts Tagged ‘plans’

Plugging Along

Well, squiders–Lord, is that more yellow? auuughhh–there’s been nothing past the initial contact on the journal class. How long do you think before I ping them? Tomorrow? Or do I need to wait until next week?

(I did check out the other teacher’s class, but it’s $100 and I’m especially not spending $100 on something I have already paid for.)

(Also, it’s my turn to make playdough for the smaller, mobile one’s class, and Goddess, there is nothing I hate more in life than making playdough. We picked yellow, which was a mistake.)

(Also, how am I allowed to make playdough but I am no longer allowed to make cute snacks? Is it because we can pretend the kids aren’t eating the playdough?)

I mean, it’s probably no skin off their backs if they ghost me. It’s not like I can call my credit card and ask them to take off some charge from two years ago. Also, I think I paid with Paypal.

So cross your fingers for me, squiders, that I hear from them soon and that it is good news.

I’ve also collated the posts for the first three books (story ideas, common writing mistakes, and outlining) and put together a list of other things to do:

  • Cover design
  • Find reviewers
  • Create freebie for email list (if you want on my author-specific list, it’s here)
  • Check picture permissions and make sure to attribute them
  • Add thank you pages to the backs of the books
  • Research categories and pricing

I’ve been so busy thinking about writing/revision I forgot about the publishing aspect. Ahahahaha. Ha. Ha. Except now I’ve done that, hooray.

I mean, I still need to do the writing/revision but now I have the big picture in mind.

(If you’ve made workbooks/journals previously, squiders, what software did you use? And did you use normal binding, or a coiled binding, and if you did a coil one, where did you publish it?)

(Stupid missing class.)

Also, it’s the end of February and so I find myself needing to think what I want to spend the next month on. The nonfiction books, yes. They will get done come hell or high water. Four years is more than enough time to spend on a project. But then there’s so many other options–the landsquid picture books (going okay, just procrastinating, which is silly, because it is silly to procrastinate things that are your own ideas that you want to do), maybe a new adult project. I should do some editing on other books, but I’m not feeling motivated. And I’d like to get more feedback before I do anything drastic.

Things to ponder.

Spring looms, squiders. Any plans?

Advertisements

Picture Books and Progress

Happy Friday, squiders! I hope you’re doing well. It keeps snowing on my plans over here in these parts.

I think I’ve told you guys about my plan to try out writing some picture books. I tried once before (waaaaay back in 2012, before I had small, mobile ones of my own) and it was hard, but now that I’ve read a ton in recent years, I feel like I have a better handle on the whole thing.

(hahahaha we’ll see, won’t we?)

In an attempt to have this go better than the last time, I’ve been doing some research. One of the things I’ve been looking at is how many pages you get to tell your story, since, unlike a novel, a picture book needs to fit in a set, industry-standard range, and it seemed important to understand what that was before I wrote the book and potentially ended up with too many or too few pages.

My research tells me the story tends to make up somewhere between 26 and 30 pages (with 28 being most common) with their being four pages of administrative stuff (such as title pages, dedications, copyright, etc.).

I’ve also been taking classes various places, studying illustration and narrative art and comics, all of which are very interesting. But I kind of feel like I’ve reached the point where I’m still poking around because I’m nervous about actually doing the work, if you know what I mean.

The last time I tried this (seven years ago! Good Lord!) went poorly. It is scary trying a new format. But I know what I need to know, and I just need to do the dang thing.

What else have I been up to so far this year?

  • I wrote the second-to-last section of my serial. The last part will be done next month.
  • I edited my anthology story. Just one more rounds of edits before publication. I’ve also spent some time making mock covers and poking titles.
  • I joined the genre stretch challenge over at WriYe (this month is dystopian + Gilded Age romance) and am about 1.5K into my story.
  • I also joined the prompt challenge, picked universes to work in (decided on Shards and the Trilogy), and chose prompt lists
  • Siri and I are actively working on CoHaR II now that we’ve survived the holidays (and Disney World)
  • One of my writing groups is doing their winter critique marathon, so I’ve got my space dinosaur story in there. So far, so good.

For the rest of the month, I’m going to work on the genre stretch story, CoHaR II, and the picture book. For February, I’m pondering a few different things.

  • Now that the nonfiction books are drafted, I should go back through them, compile them, add new sections, and get them ready for publication.
  • I’d also like to start a new draft of something. I’m pondering going back and doing Holly Lisle’s How to Think Sideways class with something, which I’ve never gotten all the way through. But now could be a good time to do so.

How’s your January going? Thoughts on February? Things to note about picture books?

WriYe and 2019

So, in December, I got an email letting me know that the WriYe boards were being refreshed for 2019, and it was a weird blast from the past. Do they send these emails out every year and I’ve just ignored them? Did they do something different this year? Who knows!

WriYe (at some point it was NaNoWriYe) stands for Writing Year, and it is a year-long writing challenge where you pick a total word count for the year. Each month has a number of individual challenges (new moon and full moon challenges where you try to get a certain word count on those days, genre stretches were you write stories outside your comfort zone, etc.) to help you stay focused.

Back in 2006 I joined a ton of writing communities/challenges, one of which was WriYe. (This was because I graduated from college in Dec 2005 and then moved to a new state in Jan 2006 with my then-boyfriend–now husband, so it wasn’t a totally bad idea–where I had no job and knew no one and was generally going completely stir-crazy. So I decided to focus on writing more than I had been in an attempt to save my own mental health.)

I did well that year–I won, and I became a mod-of-sorts closer to the end of the year. I think I was in charge of making up challenges. But I haven’t really done it much since then. The last time I tried was 2013, and I didn’t check in past August.

But, for whatever reason, WriYe sounded like a good idea this year, so I signed back up and here we are.

They’ve got a blog circle, so you may see periodic posts relating to WriYe throughout the year. This is the prompt for January’s:

What’s your WriYe Word Count goal for 2019? Why did you chose it? 
What are your plans for the year? What do you want to accomplish with your writing?

I picked a 75,000 word count goal for 2019. This is one of the lowest tiers (there’s 50K and 60K underneath it) which I feel comfortable with because I haven’t been terribly prolific recently (see: small, mobile ones) and so it should be doable.

(Also, I believe I can change it later if things are going really well.)

My plans are a bit up in the air. We did discuss things that I wanted to work on at the beginning of the month, but aside from the anthology and the sequel to City of Hope and Ruin everything is more or less an option. But I would like to do something new this year. And get some things done. So many things are in revision limbo and I’ve got to get them either polished and ready to go or give up on them.

Bonus: What are you most looking forward to in 2019?

I love the possibility that comes with a new year. Of course, this is completely arbitrary, since one can start a new thing at any old time, but there’s so much possibility right now.

But I am going to write something new this year, and gosh darn it, I am going to enjoy the hell out of it.

Also, they’ve got a complicated prompt system over at WriYe, and it’s been forever since I’ve done prompts, but they actually make sense with some of the things on my list this year, so I’m going to go for it. As soon as I figure out how it works.

Got any year-long goals this year, squiders? Tips on helping me focus? I’m in that weird state where there’s so much possibility it’s hard to pick something and settle down with it.

November Plans and Learning Options

(First of all, I’m going to move our discussion of Red Mars until next Thursday, Nov 8. I don’t know if you guys are reading this along with me, but I’m having a hard time getting into it. And I keep getting distracted by mysteries.)

(Speaking of which, I HIGHLY recommend The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, which is a mystery with a scifi bent. EXCELLENT BOOK.)

(In other news, if I get my act together, this post may be accompanied by a landsquid later. But I suspect the landsquid will have to wait until Friday, because it’s Halloween, and I have small, mobile ones who have school parties that I have to deal with.)

(Happy Halloween!)

Now that the parentheticals are out of the way, let’s talk about November. (It’s also Nano Eve! Happy Nano Eve to everyone doing Nano. The kickoff party for my region is at a coffee shop less than 10 minutes from my house, so I’m tempted to make up a fake novel and go mingle and enjoy the mad burst of creativity that happens at midnight. But I also have to get up at 6:30 tomorrow, so, you know…)

My programming class is over. It was good for me, but it was also intense, so I’m not going to look at doing another one until probably mid-January. My workout challenge is also over. So aside from my major editing job, my time is mine again! BWHAHAHAHAHA. I have celebrated by writing an entire short story this morning. (Admittedly, it was due tomorrow and needed to be done, but hey, it IS done.)

There’s still some other things that need to be done. Our ballot is MASSIVE and I am mostly done with it (I’ve got a couple of mill levies and some of the smaller position elections still to be, but have done the 12 amendments and propositions–what the heck–plus important elections like congresspeople and governor) but that needs to be finished up, and we’re planning a super-secret vacation to Disney World. Which, Lord, takes more planning than expected. We’ve got airfare and hotel done, but you’ve got to do reservations at the restaurants or you’re out of luck. And apparently for character appearances, though we’re too early for that. My husband super wants to eat at Cinderella’s Castle, but so apparently does everyone else, so he’s hoarding reservations at bad times and is checking daily to see if better ones open up.

But I should have writing time back! Hooray!

I’m still pondering Nano. I mean, I WANT to, but I am completely unprepared to start a novel project, and I don’t have any other novel projects that need enough words to Zokutou clause it. I wonder if I can do a time-based goal instead, because I have a ton of things that are ALMOST done that could stand some work, including:

  • Space dinosaur novel (~5K left)
  • Anthology story (~4K left, due Nov 10)
  • Serial story (~5K or less left, been working on for nine years)
  • CoHaR (at ~17K, so needs more, though also depends on how fast Siri’s working)

And there’s a lot of other stories that need to be poked:

  • A couple of shorts that keep getting personalized rejections with feedback that might need a bit of tweaking to finally sell
  • I’ve gotten quite a bit of feedback lately on the YA paranormal I’ve been querying, so that could probably use some tweaking as well (probably not a minor undertaking, though)
  • I need to look at what I have for the nonfiction series and what I still need, and make a plan for moving forward

Or, I have a ton of new stuff I’d really like to get going on (though none are outlined/ready to go for tonight/tomorrow):

  • I have a couple of ideas for chapter book series (Space Cat and one based off a series of short stories I wrote in middle/high school) that could be partially illustrated and probably would be super fun. The average chapter book is about 10K, so in theory I could write a whole series for Nano. >_>
  • I’ve been slowly plotting out a paranormal mystery series with a modern day witch as the main character. By plotting I mean “hoarding resources to read at some point and occasionally jotting down random thoughts like evil shadows.”

And, I mean, a ton more, but those are top of the list.

I’m considering taking on a non-programming class. Skillshare has a ton of classes (you pay a flat fee per month) and I’d like to learn how to color/shade, which I am terrible at (which is why you get line art here on the blog). I’m still learning, but hopefully it won’t be as intense as the programming class, and it’ll be useful if/when I do get to the illustrated chapter books ideas.

What are your plans for November, squiders?

October!

It’s that time of year again.

fear them

October! Best month of the year! You guys are probably sick of me saying that every year, but it continues to be true.

The temperature is finally dropping enough to wear, you know, pants. And other fun things like boots and sweaters. The leaves are changing. People don’t look at me as weird for drinking tea all the time. The world turns a little bit goth, just for fun.

Here’s what October looks like on my end:

  • Rehearsal starts tomorrow for the Christmas review show. They gave me a solo. They weren’t supposed to ever actually do that. But aside from never having sung by myself in front of more than about three people at a time (aside from auditions), I’m pretty excited. Some of the songs are the same as last year, so less work for me. <_<
  • I’ve got a major client edit. It’s my fourth book for this client, and his books are just massive. So that will probably carry me through til the end of the year.
  • Also I have a beta that I’m about 60% done with that I need to finish up and get back to the author.
  • Red Mars needs to be read by Nov 1 and I have yet to start it. (Not too worried; I read pretty fast. Got distracted by a book talking about the relations between haunted places, our psyches, storytelling, and ghosts. Seasonally appropriate.)
  • I’m two-thirds of the way through my Python class. Did I tell you I was taking a Python course? I am. Programming seems like a good thing to be generally proficient in. Said class takes between six and twelve hours a week, so it’s more of a time commitment than I was expecting going in.
  • I’m halfway through my fitness challenge.
  • On the writing front, it’s all Fractured World, all the time. All the plans I had for September got eaten and it may be December before I get back to most of them. Priority is working on the sequel to City of Hope and Ruin as well as a related anthology (which I am super excited about–really looking forward to writing my story, as well as seeing the other ones).
  • My birthday is next week! I keep trying to direct people to my Amazon wishlist but no one ever listens. (Also, on a related note, can you make Etsy wishlists?)

I’m not a pumpkin spice person myself, but I always hail the return of pumpkin spice season, because it means peppermint everything season shall be here shortly.

October, squiders! Do you love it? Grand plans for the month? People doing Nano? Should I talk about Nano?

Hooray for July!

Oh man, squiders, you have no idea how happy I was when Monday rolled around. All the craziness of May and June are finally behind me and I feel like I can breathe again.

It is lovely.

Now that all the sundries are taken care of, summer can finally begin.

(The relaxing part. It’s already ungodly hot. Booooooo.)

Here’s how July looks from a writing standpoint:

  • Still working on the space dinosaur story. Now that the madness is done, I hope to actually get some decent wordage going on it. I am having a bit of an issue where my Google Drive isn’t syncing on one computer, which is frustrating. Oh well. Old fashioned way it is until I have time to figure that madness out.
  • In theory, it should be my turn on the sequel to CoHaR’s draft next week. The sequel is gooooing slowly but the good news is that the publication schedule has moved out by a few months, so we should still be okay.
  • My scifi serial continues. I thought I was almost to The End but then there was a rogue plot twist.
  • I have the itch to write a short, but I don’t actually have any ideas floating about. I wrote that one back in April/May and then promptly forgot to do anything about it, so I should probably edit it and find it a home.
  • We have a Fractured World-related anthology coming out at the end of the year, and I suspect I need an outline if not a partially written story by the end of the month. So that’s pretty high on the to-do list. I have characters, premise, and setting, but am sadly lacking in plot. I will have to poke it fairly actively to get something percolating.

That ought to keep me extra busy. It’s probably too ambitious, especially since the small, mobile ones are home and bored, but hey, one can dream.

Any fun plans for July, squiders? Aside from writing, we’ve got a couple festivals planned (uuugh, nothing like wandering around outside when it’s 100 degrees) and are apparently climbing the second-tallest mountain in the continental United States next Friday.

A Look Back at 2017 and Thoughts on 2018

While I am not particularly one for resolutions, Squiders, I do find it helps to take a look at what one accomplished in the previous year and make vague plans moving forward.

Here’s what I did, writing-wise, in 2017:

  • I wrote 75K on the rewrite of Book 1.
  • I had four short stories published (here, here, here, and here).
  • I sold two more than have not yet been published.
  • I redid all the back matter in my published books and redid the book description for Hidden Worlds.
  • I published a short story collection.
  • I finalized my query/synopsis and started querying agents for my YA paranormal novel.
  • I used the blog here to work on my nonfiction book series.
  • I continued writing my monthly scifi serial (which is almost done now!).

I mean, it’s not nothing. But I did intend to get a lot more writing done last year, which was mostly waylaid by the Book 1 rewrite going slowly (we’ve talked about that elsewhere) and also life generally getting in the way.

For 2018, I’d like to get more writing done. The marketing stuff is all well and good and unfortunately necessary, but I feel like I’ve gotten hung up on it to some extent and am not producing as much as I’d like to/could be.

Projects for 2018:

  • Finish the rewrite for Book 1 and get it critiqued/betaed. It’s at 76K right now. The last draft was 103K but I have a sneaking suspicion we’re going to end up more in the 110-120K range this time through due to where I am in the plot.
  • Write the sequel to City of Hope and Ruin. Siri and I are currently brainstorming everything and starting to put the plot together, but I believe we need to have the book written and in mostly publishable condition by December, so we’d better get on it a little faster. We also need to put together a series bible so that other authors can start working in the universe. (If you recall, CoHaR was supposed to be the first of a shared universe.) Along those lines, I believe a Fractured World anthology will be released in December, so I’ll need to write a story for that as well.
  • I’d like to finish up my serial. It’s been going since 2009 or 2011 or some ridiculous time ago, and I’m so close. Not sure what to do with it when it’s done. Edit it and try to publish it? Shove it in a drawer? I’m kind of leaning towards shoving it in a drawer. With so many things I want to write, is it worth it to spend a lot of time on something that kind of feels like it’s run its course?
  • I’d like to get the nonfiction book series out this year as well. Blogging the books has been hugely helpful toward this and I believe I’ve only got one or two more after we finish with common writing mistakes.
  • Continue querying my YA paranormal.
  • Continue writing and submitting short stories to various markets.

To be honest, between Book 1 and the CoHaR sequel (which Siri and I have dubbed “Sekrit Project 2” although we’ve already got a real title), I may not get a lot of other writing done. But I would like to, and here’s what I’d like to work on:

  • I’d like to finish my scifi space dinosaur adventure story. It’s about 2/3rd of the way done and has been since the end of Nano 2014. I hate leaving drafts undone for so long.
  • I’d like to write a companion story for Shards. I have two partially planned out (and, if you remember, I wrote a bit on one this past year to give myself a break from the Book 1 rewrite slog) and at least one is novella-length, so wouldn’t be too much of a time commitment.
  • I’ve also started developing two separate series that I wouldn’t mind getting started on. One’s a steampunk mystery/adventure series and the other is a paranormal cozy mystery series. Both require some research before I can get started, and I should also probably do some practice mysteries. I love mysteries but writing one seems really hard, though the first Nano I ever did, back in 2003, was a murder mystery (that story is so far in the drawer it’s never coming out again).

So! That’s me. How did 2017 go for you, Squiders? Big plans for 2018?