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Posts Tagged ‘Goals’

Time to see how I did against the goals I set for myself last year. (Results are in bold italics.)

  1. WAR OF MAGIC: Complete first draft, revisions, get critiques, revise again, polish, and publish. Done.warmagicprintcover
  2. Revise the already-published “Becoming Lioness” and publish the new edition. Pull together the tie-in short stories, “Hunter and Huntress” and “The Seeker”. Put them through the same revision process. Nope. Becoming Lioness Cover 2
  3. Publish a boxed set of the DUAL MAGICS series. Done, though I only included the first three books and one short story, “Modgud Gold”.Dual Magics 1-3 Boxed Set
  4. MAGE STORM: Rewrite this as an epic fantasy. Same revision process as above. Try to publish in 2016 or early 2017. MAGE STORM ended up being pushed back in favor of BECOME.
  5. BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING: Get a first draft done. Still working on the first draft.becomeblue
  6. Planning, world-building, etc. for some of the other stories on my back burner: Some planning, but no other progress.
    1. Another story in the same world as DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING.
    2. A set of fairy-tale retellings I’ve been playing with.
    3. The prequels to the DUAL MAGICS series that explain how the world got that way.
    4. The sequels to MAGE STORM.
    5. My Weird Oz story.
    6. The last novel in the Chimeria series.
  7. I would dearly love to be able to get to a writers’ conference somewhere in there, but that will depend on both time and finances. Nope.

In summary, the most important goal was met. But it took longer than I’d hoped and basically pushed all the other goals back a bit. Still progress. I’ll take it.

 

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I’ve said this a couple of times before, but I’m going to go out on a limb one more time and say that my goal is to finish the first draft of WAR OF MAGIC by the end of the month.

WarMagicNew

Now, I’d better get back to work on it.

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Here are my 2016 Writing Goals:

  1. WAR OF MAGIC: Complete first draft, revisions, get critiques, revise again, polish, and publishWarOfMagic5
  2. Revise the already-published “Becoming Lioness” and publish the new edition. Pull together the tie-in short stories, “Hunter and Huntress” and “The Seeker”. Put them through the same revision process.Becoming Lioness Cover 2
  3. Publish a boxed set of the DUAL MAGICS series.
  4. MAGE STORM: Rewrite this as an epic fantasy. Same revision process as above. Try to publish in 2016 or early 2017.
  5. BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING: Get a first draft done.
  6. Planning, world-building, etc. for some of the other stories on my back burner:
    1. Another story in the same world as DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING.
    2. A set of fairy-tale retellings I’ve been playing with.
    3. The prequels to the DUAL MAGICS series that explain how the world got that way.
    4. The sequels to MAGE STORM.
    5. My Weird Oz story.
    6. The last novel in the Chimeria series.
  7. I would dearly love to be able to get to a writers’ conference somewhere in there, but that will depend on both time and finances.

I think that should keep me busy.

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Well, that what happens after school gets out for the summer, disrupting my routine. I completely lost track and forgot to blog yesterday. Catching up today.

So, I’m now in the mode of switching from starting the first draft of DUAL MAGICS BOOK 4 (title to be determined) to making the final revisions on BEYOND THE PROPHECY (Book 3).

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I’m currently making revision notes, chapter by chapter, based on the three critiques I’ve received from my beta readers. (One critique is still out, but she told me in the beginning that she’d need extra time.) But, if I’m going to have this ready to publish in September, I’ve got to get started.

A lot of the revisions will be relatively small. A little more context or background in a few places. Some things may get shifted around.

And not throwing out so many names all at once. That’s a big one right at the beginning. Starting sequels is hard partly because I already have all these characters. They’ve all been introduced in the earlier books. But that doesn’t mean I can name eight of them right at the beginning without expecting to confuse the reader. Yet, I have to identify them before the action starts, which is in Chapter 1. Well, I’ll work that out, too.

There are a few larger issues I’ll have to work on throughout the manuscript, too. Like doing a better job of centering the story on the main conflict.

Then there’s the blurb. That’s really been fighting me this time around. I’ll get it eventually.

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I have a new cover for “Becoming Lioness” now. It looks more like it belongs with the series and might even give a reader the idea that it’s a fantasy story.

Becoming Lioness Cover 2For reference, the old cover looked like this:
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“Modgud Gold” has proven to be more difficult. But, thanks to some helpful internet friends, I think I finally have a direction to go.

Meanwhile, progress on the still-untitled Book 4 of the DUAL MAGICS series continues. Though, by next week I expect I’ll be ready to set it aside for a short time while I take care of revisions and polishing edits on BEYOND THE PROPHECY so I can publish that in September.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????And, I’ve started writing out a concept for another story. Like I don’t already have several in the pipeline. But you’ve got to write down the ideas when they come to you or risk losing them. And nobody wants that.

 

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And no, none of this is an April Fool’s joke.

First Item:

I am now officially a member of SFWA, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Knock one item off the bucket list.

Second Item:

Daughter of the Disgraced King is now available for pre-order. It releases May 18th. I’m waiting for the print proof.

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Keep your head down. Don’t draw attention. Above all, don’t make yourself a target. Those are the rules seventeen-year-old Ailsa lives by. It’s just part of being the daughter of the disgraced ex-king and living too close to his more-than-slightly paranoid successor.

Ailsa isn’t the only one affected by the new king’s insecurities. The mages backed her father. Now the new king’s repressive policies drive the mages out of the kingdom–and with them the magic that her desert country desperately needs to survive. Ailsa sets out to study magic so she can help keep Far Terra green.

Her plans are nearly upset when her oldest friend, Crown Prince Savyon, proposes. Marrying him would mean giving up her magic. Her family history proves that the barons will never accept a mage as queen. A year of training won’t make her a mage—unless she has insanely powerful magic. And there’s been no sign of that. But at least she’ll know what she’d be giving up before she makes a decision.

A magic-tinted kiss from Jathan, her cheerfully annoying study partner, makes her question what she really feels for Savyon. She and Jathan could do great things together–except that he never wants to go near the desert.

Are magic and love forever mutually exclusive for Ailsa?

The ebook is only $0.99 during the pre-order.

Third Item:

I’m making good progress on “Modgud Gold”, the tie-in short story for the Dual Magics series. I’ve added a scene to the beginning and will add another to the ending to pull it together better. Right now, I’m tightening up the middle. Streamlining a bit. I expect to have it up in a week or two. Of course, I’ll have to redo the cover to match the new fonts on the Dual Magics covers.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Probably should change the cover for “Becoming Lioness” while I’m at it. Make them all look like they belong together.

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“Becoming Lioness” is free just about everywhere.

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Well, it’s that time of year. Time to look back and see how well–or poorly–I did in meeting my goals this year and look ahead to what I want to accomplish next year.

My 2014 goals were:

  1. Publish THE BARD’S GIFT.TheBardsGiftCoverSmallDone.
  2. Query my middle grade novel, MAGE STORM. Well, I did. This one will turn up again on my 2015 goals.
  3. Complete and publish THE SHAMAN’S CURSE and THE IGNORED PROPHECY (since retitled THE VOICE OF PROPHECY). Oh, yes.?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
  4. Complete what was then called MAGIC AND POWER–now DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING and query that. Yes. This one will also turn up again on my 2015 goals.
  5. Write something new. Well, I’ve started BEYOND THE PROPHECY. I really think I meant something in an entirely different world, though. Maybe next year.
  6. Continue to learn and improve. Always.

All in all, I think I did quite well on last year’s goals. Wednesday, I’ll lay out my goals for next year.

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First, let me say that the release of THE VOICE OF PROPHECY is still scheduled for December 15th.

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Second, I know I said that I was targeting November 17th for the pre-order. That may not happen for a couple of reasons.

  1. I’m still assessing what information I can gather about Amazon’s pre-order system. I notice that people who generally know a lot more about how these things work than I do have chosen shorter pre-order periods. There’s a reason for this. (Maybe more than one.) It has to do with the way Amazon helps with the discoverability of some books. This was a huge factor for me with THE SHAMAN’S CURSE, and I don’t want to screw it up with this one.????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The thing is, Amazon has several lists. One of them–the Hot New Releases–is only available for thirty days. As far as I can tell, that could expire before the book is ever released if I start the pre-order to early. I’m not sure about that, though. I may have to contact Amazon for a final answer. It wasn’t in their FAQs.
  2. The second reason is more practical. Before I can expect anyone to order it, I need to have a good blurb. And, like everything to do with a sequel, that’s harder than it was for the first book. Trying to balance enough information, potentially for people who didn’t read THE SHAMAN’S CURSE, with an enticing peek at this story. Well, let’s just say I may not have that by the 17th. I’m leaning toward this:

When the two kinds of magic combine, unexpected things happen.

Vatar overcame his tribe’s superstitions to accept his own magic. That doesn’t mean he’s prepared to tell them about it. He’d rather keep that secret forever. Especially when unprecedented things start to happen that even the experts in magic can’t explain.

Even more when a mysterious voice only he can hear starts volunteering information Vatar can’t possible know.

After enduring an Ordeal to prove he wasn’t possessed by an Evil Spirit, Vatar now thinks he may be after all. Or losing his mind. Or cursed. It’s enough to make him want to give up on magic altogether.

But he’s going to need all his wits—and all the magic he can muster—to defeat those who want to use him and his magic for their own ends.

But that’s not right yet. For one thing, the word “magic” is used five times in as many paragraphs. For another, it lacks enough specifics to grab a new reader. And third, some of hte references are probably confusing for someone who hasn’t read the first book.

Oh, and I also have to whip a couple of chapters from the first draft of Book 3 (probably to be titled BEYOND THE PROPHECY) into shape to include as an excerpt.

Yeah, nobody said this part was going to be easy.

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Revisions on THE VOICE OF PROPHECY are proceeding well.

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The first thing I did when I started this round of revisions was make a plan. It started with going through the various critiques I’d received (three and a half–one person didn’t finish) in detail. I marked up each comment in my master manuscript. (Well, except for the ones I addressed immediately, like the few typos.) I also put some thought into the more extensive comments made at the end of those critiques (partly in response to some questions I’d posed, partly volunteered) and marked those up either at specific places in the document or at the top. I asked one of my critique partners some clarifying questions.

Now, as I proceed through the revisions, I have three main goals.

  1. Clarifying. This is especially the case for those critique partners who had not read the first book, THE SHAMAN’S CURSE. This involves mostly minor revisions, often just a sentence or two, to provide a little background to those readers who didn’t read THE SHAMAN’S CURSE first, or who might have forgotten certain aspects. This will mostly be in the first quarter or so of the book. One or two scenes that I’d deleted earlier may make it back into the book. ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
  2. Tightening. Especially in the first part of the book, I may need to just cut a bit more, move the plot along a little more briskly. In fact, I’ve just gotten to one chapter in particular that I need to look at seriously for this. This goal, of course, is slightly at odds with the one above. That’s the way it sometimes goes.
  3. Upping the Central Conflict. The first two will likely be completed in one pass. This one is more likely to require two passes. The heart of this book is essentially a mystery concerning the magic. Something (actually some things) happen that either aren’t supposed to be possible or are very disturbing to the main character. This is, in fact, where the issue of the Dual Magics comes out into the open. There are probably at least two things I’ll need to do to fix this. In some places, I’ll need to just make everything scarier. Others I’ll need to drag out for longer. (I allowed part of the mystery to be resolved too quickly. Need to fix that.)

That issue with the conflict is also the reason for the title change. I think some readers just had the wrong idea about what kind of conflict they’d be getting in this book. Of course, there are quite a few supporting conflicts that demand the use of magic–and sometimes spears–too.

When I feel like I’ve got a good handle on these revisions (possibly after I finish the first pass), I’ll put THE VOICE OF PROPHECY up for pre-order. This will be my first experiment with pre-order on Amazon, so I’ll be interested to see how that goes.

So, that’s what I’ll be doing for the next month or so. I also need to do the same thing for the related short story “Modgud Gold”, which needs some work before I can publish it.

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I haven’t done much–well, any–advertizing up ’til now. My first-ever ad runs tomorrow on Fussy Librarian. It’ll be for THE SHAMAN’S CURSE.

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In honor of that ad, I’ll be dropping the price to $0.99 for the day.

So, we shall see. I hope it’ll give the sales a bump that lasts more than a day. They’re certainly not bad now, but they could be just a bit better. My goal is to try to keep sales of the first book in the series up as I prepare the second book, THE IGNORED PROPHECY, for publication in December.

That’s out to beta readers now for feedback on things like plot and pacing. Meanwhile, I’m trying to get the third book, possibly to be titled Beyond the Prophecy, started. Slow going at the beginning, but that’s fairly normal. Even though I know the characters thoroughly by this time, and have dozen or so paragraphs of an outline, I still have to find my way into this story. (That’s a pretty long outline for me. I’m a discovery writer at heart.)

Oh, and work starts again tomorrow.

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