After weeks of thinking, planning, and scribbling (along with necessary reality checks), I’ve settled on several writing-related goals for the coming year.
Major goal: Book one in my dark fantasy series, The Last Bonekeeper, is ready for an editor’s eyes. The draft of book two, after sitting for several months, is waiting for the first round of self-editing. I’m also five chapters into the draft of the final installment in the trilogy. The plan is to indie publish the first book in December, with the others to follow in 2020.
Lesser goal #1: Finish a light-hearted space opera novella I’m currently sharing in a critique group. Rewriting/revising is taking longer than I expected because it’s one of my first completed projects (so it needs a ton of work), but the story and characters are such fun to write I just can’t give up on it. The plan is to indie publish in 2020.
Lesser goal #2: Take the draft of another fun-to-write book through editing and critiquing stages (think: an order of ninja nuns fights an evil brotherhood). The storyline is strong enough to carry a series. The plan is to seek a small traditional publisher in 2020.
As part of my goals for 2019, I’ll continue monthly interviews (starting again in February) and posts on writing terms and internet treasure. Revisiting 2018 goals, I’ll also add a comic strip with the help of my 14-year-old granddaughter. And last, sharing my writing will actually happen this year on the blog, alternating between fantasy and sci-fi short stories. Here are the titles and opening paragraphs for a few of them:
“After the Rats”
13…Love and Luck. What better way to acquire both than invite a witch to supper? Wrank snickered as he swiped a rag across the tavern’s polished bar.
13…The last of the day’s light pierced the front window and hit him square in the eyes. He cursed the sun and its reminder of his lack of coin. The tavern and the inn had no canopies to shade its windows, few candles and little lantern oil to burn once he closed the shutters. Canopies, candles, and oil cost coin. Did he have a single copper for any of it? No, but he had a witch coming to sup.
“Eyes of Daze”
13…Lenz slouched in his gelatinous, free-floating pilot’s chair. The journey had been a long one to the third planet in this nondescript solar system. More than half the day had passed, but it would still take several hours to complete his errand once he landed on the surface below.
13…“It’s too bad you can’t remember,” Rolin said from the co-pilot’s seat, his words trailing off as he failed to fight off a yawn. “It would make things a lot easier if you could.” He stretched his tri-clustered arms and legs and dangled them over the armrests.
13…Lenz raised a brow at his friend. He had surmised years ago that Rolin was the result of his mother’s belief that strength and sturdiness were more important than the superficiality of looks, especially on the family’s rock farm. He could think of no other reason for giving Rolin one head, a single huge torso, and three of almost everything else, except brains — unfortunately, he only had one of those.
13…A song pressed through the hollow stump from far below the workroom floor. Not truly a song but Tumbledown’s idea of one. The ancient fae creature couldn’t carry a tune any more than a tax collector could keep honest books.
13…Rawly closed his eyes for a moment, took a deep breath, and pushed aside Tumbledown’s croaking in favor of the task at hand.
13…Everything Rawly needed to fix the vicar’s clock lay within reach on the workbench. Gears, weights, and springs glinted in the lantern light from their place in the bottom of a divided tray. A handful of screws, some with heads the size of a jelly-gnat, waited on a cloth nearby. Too many screws to use for one clock, but a few always chose to play on the hard-packed floor after a long day waiting on the bench. Rawly had learned it wasn’t wise to rush the screws or the clocks. Hurrying led to mistakes, and it was never a good thing to make a mistake with time.
13…Yesterday never existed and tomorrow was uncertain, but at least today Saul had a name. He clung to that knowledge the way he held on to the truth the doctor had told him, “Your brain is now partitioned into three sections. One brain, three minds. Yours is the third mind, Saul, the interface. Be patient. It will take time for the other two to find their way to the surface through you. And don’t forget you’re in charge of the doors that open from the other minds. Understand?”
13…Saul understood. Better outside in the fresh air than trapped in a grey-walled room. Better to walk upright with every sense intact than to thrash about in a dark and hollow emptiness.
13…Better than death, a voice whispered from a doorway. Saul nodded and waited, and prepared to shut the door if the voices grew too loud. But this time only silence lingered in response from the other side.
For me, reading is an important part of reaching an ongoing writing goal of improving my craft. I’ll be reading two to three books a month (maybe more)—one or two in the fantasy/sci-fi genres and one thriller/suspense or historical fiction. I haven’t kept track of my reading in the past, but my guess is I normally finish at least 24 books a year. I’ll also track the number I start but don’t complete. To reach my reading goals I’ll have to snuggle up with a book an hour or two earlier each night, which means saying goodnight to Netflix earlier as well.
What writing or reading goals have you set for yourself this year? What do you need to give up to make sure you meet your goals?
Your goals are impressive! I’m smiling because I just taught one of my creative writing classes today – and I focused on speculative fiction. It’s interesting how daunting (and intimidating) it is for writers to work with fantasy or sci fi. I hope to finish my book in progress (romantic suspense), my next children’s book (illustrator has my text) and to read 3-4 books a month. TV is never as interesting as a good book! Best of luck to you with your goals.
I love that your goals include two different genres (plus teaching creative writing). I find writing to be daunting no matter the genre, but writing for children is complex, with its specifics of word choice, sentence structure, distilling a story, etc. And then add in illustrations and the need to get those just right as well… Challenging but it must be rewarding, too. Good luck with your goals!