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Posts Tagged ‘Goals’

2019 Writing Goals

First Goal: Complete the rewrite of MAGE STORM and publish it.

Mage Storm

In this case, I’m going to state a backup goal, in case I continue to have trouble just moving this along. Write the first draft of MEADOWSWEET.

Second Goal: Begin work on the second book, tentatively titled ROGUE MAGE. (But see above backup goal.)

Third Goal: Housekeeping-type things:

  • Do some work on this website and on my Facebook Author Page to make them more appealing and more professional.
  • Establish some kind of regular promotions.

Fourth Goal: Continue learning and improving:

  • Continue reading and learning about other aspects of the craft, chiefly marketing/promotion and better launch strategies for new books.

And, finally, the back-burner list. Things I am not, at this moment, ready to write, but need that final inspiration or two that pulls them out of the pile and makes them irresistible.

  • One or more sequels to DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING. ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The main characters have completed their character arcs, but more needs to be done–probably by other characters–to save their corner of the world.
  • Fairy tale retellings, including Meadowsweet.
  • My much-neglected weird Oz story.
  • Prequels to the DUAL MAGICS series, Dual Magics 1-3 Boxed Settelling how the world got into that state: how the Fasallon came to be rulers in Caere and all along the coast and why they try so hard to maintain that position, why the Dardani have such a fear of magic, how the Fasallon and Valson came to be separated, and more.
  • The final book in the CHIMERIA series.ChimeriaBox
  • And that Arthurian-legend, secret-history idea I’ve been playing with off and on.
  • I’m sure others will raise their heads as I go along. In my experience, there’s nothing like writing one idea to cause others to spring up along my path like bunny rabbits.

Happy New Year

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2018 Goals Results

Well, technically, it’s still 2018. But it’s that time of the year to look back and see how I did against the goals I set up for this year.

First Goal: Publish BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

BecomeCover2

Achieved.

Second Goal: Finish and publish BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

StormCover2

Even though this technically releases on January 2nd, that was a choice I made based on other factors. It could just as easily have been published this week and it is available for pre-order. Therefore, I’m counting this one as achieved, too.

Third Goal: Start the rewrite of MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm

Since the goal was only to start, I get to count this one as achieved, too.

Fourth Goal: All the annoying housekeeping-type things:

  • Complete the migration off of Pronoun and either back to Kindle Select (the four or five books mentioned in my last post) or onto Draft 2 Digital for wide distribution. Achieved.
  • Finish setting up the x-ray option for selected books. Not Achieved.
  • Some semi-regular promotions. Achieved, but still needs improvement.
  • And whatever else comes up of this general type. Too vague to rate.

Fifth Goal: Keep on Learning

  • Figure out how to do a better job of marketing. Including how to market audiobooks.
  • Keep growing as a writer. Try things that scare me or are difficult (like BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.)

Achieved, but this will always be an ongoing process. It’s a journey, not a destination.

Back-burner: The things I wasn’t likely to get to this year, but still needed to remember that they’re out there, waiting their turn:

  • A secret-history-type story based, in part, on the Arthurian legend.
  • There are several others that are, so far, just a line or two–the beginnings of an idea, but not there yet.

Not surprisingly, all of those are still on the back-burner. However, one of the fairytale retellings, working title MEADOWSWEET, did take major steps towards being ready to actually write. It came so close, it nearly knocked MAGE STORM back a rung on the list. It’s still going to hang there as a fall back in case I get stuck on MAGE STORM. (Sometimes, it’s good to be able to make progress on something.

All in all, I’d call it a successful year. Next yea’s goals in my next post.

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Posting a little late today. All I can say is I’ve been on vacation for the last week and a half. I’m still at the stage where days don’t feel very different from each other. That’ll change as I hit my summer rhythm.

Last post, I had started chapter 36 of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

StormCover2

Yesterday, I finished chapter 37, and 72,000 words, so things are maybe just a little ahead of schedule–which is a good thing. I don’t discount the possibility of snags ahead that might slow me down at some point.

I’ve now got my characters to the point where they have sufficient clues to understand what it is that they have to do. I’ve got most of them in a position to do it. But, some of them have their own reasons for wanting to find another way and that’s likely to slow them down a little.

And the opposition is going to be putting out all their efforts to stop them as soon as they figure out where they are. So, things should be pretty interesting for a while.

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I’ve already posted that my goal is to finish the first draft of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM by the end of the first week in September.

StormCover2

That’s fine. But, you know, when you set a goal like that it’s really easy to think you have plenty of time and then suddenly discover that you . . . don’t. At least not anymore. At least, it often works that way for me.

So, it’s useful to break that big goal down into smaller ones that are more easily tracked.

As of last week at this time, I had eleven weeks to meet that goal, give or take a day or two. And I was on chapter 33. The first book in this series, BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNINGhad 51 chapters.

BecomeCover2

So, at a guess, say that there are roughly 20 more chapters to go in this one. That means I have to complete two chapters a week. (Actually 1.8 chapters, but that’s awkward to measure.)

It’s early days yet, of course. But by that measure I should be finishing Chapter 35–which I actually did last night. And I’ve got a decent start on Chapter 36. So, at least for now, everything looks to be on track.

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Goals

A post I more normally make in January, I suppose. But in this case I’m thinking in terms of very specific goals–just down to this one manuscript.

I’m at or near the half-way point in Become: To Ride the Storm.

StormCover2

 

And I wrote most of that in the space of about two and a half months–the first part during the month I let the first draft of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING cool before starting revisions and the rest during the six week or so that that book was in the hands of beta readers.

BecomeCover2

 

At the end of this month, the summer break starts–two and a half months. Now, there are plenty of other things I also need to work on during that time. Things around the house and yard, mostly. But my time will be my own to schedule.

So, my goal is to finish this first draft by the first week in September. It’s perhaps a stretch goal, but I’m going to do my best. Then, again, it will have to cool a month, go through a couple of rounds of revision, go out to beta readers, another round of revisions and a polishing edit. But the first step is to get the first draft done.

Mage Storm (or new title to be determined), the start of a brand new series, is already on deck for that cooling period and the time when BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM is in the hands of my critique partners.

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I still hope to finish this chapter of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM soon.

StormCover

Probably not today, but hopefully tomorrow so I can move on to the read-through and revisions on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

BecomeCover

But I’ve had some of those other authorly things to take care of this week, too. When I started, last spring, to publish my books more widely than just to Amazon, I used Pronoun as the distributor for the DUAL MAGICS series.

Dual Magics 1-3 Boxed Set

And Pronoun closed down on January 15th. The plan was to start up a newsletter, which I’ve procrastinated on for years, but I really, really need especially to assist in marketing the audiobook version of THE SHAMAN’S CURSE. And then add the subscription link to the back matter of the books before I redistribute them through Draft2Digital.

But, I keep running into things I need to take care of first before I can finish setting up the newsletter. So, two things:

  • I’m going ahead with the publication through Draft2Digital. I’ll just have to upload a new file when I get everything together–eventually. It’s not that big a deal. I’ve been doing one book a day. By Saturday, I’ll have the series, including the short story “Modgud Gold” republished through Draft2Digital.
  • I also need to prep a short story to use as a subscriber incentive. The problem there is that I haven’t written very many short stories–I’m just more comfortable writing at novel length. And most of the ones I have written have been published. However, I do have one–“Infected With Magic”, which I haven’t published mainly because it’s the germ that started MAGE STORM (which will be my next epic fantasy after I finish the BECOME series). And it’s probably my best short story. It was good enough to earn an Honorable Mention from Writers of the Future in 2011. But, of course, that means that I need a cover for it, and at least read it through again, and formatting. And all of that before I can try to finish up the setup for the newsletter. Which is partly why I decided to just go ahead and the get the books out wide again.

And, of course, all of that takes time away from the writing.

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Last Year’s Goals

Well, it’s time to assess how last year went, at least as far as my writing goals are concerned.

First Goal: Publish BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.becomeblue This means:

  • Finish the first draft.
  • Figure out how many books there actually are in this series and where the break points are.
  • Let it rest for about a month.
  • Run through a couple of revisions.
  • Get it critiqued.
  • Another round of revisions.
  • Polishing edit.
  • Format for publication.

Well, I did finish the first draft. And I think there are two books in the series, plus the prequel novella. But now I’m concerned about the length of the second book. And that’s as far as I’ve gotten on that goal. My best guess right now is that I’ll have BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING ready for publication in May 2018.

This story fought me. Overall, long-term, that’s a good thing. I will have learned things from this one that will make me a better writer. Short-term it’s . . . not so good.

Second Goal: Get restarted on the rewrite of MAGE STORM. (No cover, yet, though I have a couple of ideas.)

Eh, I’ve done a little, some of which will have to be redone. But basically this story has languished in 2017.

Third Goal: This one was about all the other stories that I want to get to eventually.

  • MAGIC AND POWER: Another story in the same world as DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING, but centering on another set of protagonists. (MAGIC AND POWER might end up being the series title.)
  • A couple of fairy-tale retellings buzzing around the back of my mind. One of them might end up in the MAGIC AND POWER world.
  • My weird Oz story is always out there. I actually wrote about ten chapters of it some time ago, but it wasn’t working. Partly because I’d left my protagonist completely alone for too long. I need to figure out how to give her an unhelpful, but talkative sidekick that will fit in this more dangerous version of Oz.
  • The prequels to the DUAL MAGICS series, though I don’t think I’m quite ready to go back to that world yet.
  • Someday, I’m going to have to go back and write the third book in the Chimeria series. That is a fun world to play in.

The only thing that’s happened on any of these has been me occasionally opening the ideas file and jotting down a few notes on new ideas.

Fourth Goal: Get better at marketing. The only way that’s going to happen is if I make a plan and devote some attention to it at least every month, not just around book launches. It’s just not nearly as much fun as writing. But it has to be done.

Yeah. Don’t make me laugh.

A couple of  things that weren’t on my list of goals last year, but that did get done (at least partly):

  • Taking my books from Amazon Select (and Amazon exclusivity) and distribute them wide. I accomplished this, but some of it is going to have to be redone in the new year because Pronoun (the distributor I used for most of my books) is closing in mid-January.
  • Amazon’s x-ray feature, which, theoretically allows you to highlight a word or phrase in the book and get a definition. Cool idea for fantasy. But it means I have to actually enter all those definitions. I’ve enabled it for the individual books in the Dual Magics series, but I haven’t gotten any farther.

Here’s to a better–and more productive–2018.

I have already written the first chapter or so of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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