beth_bernobich: red mushroom (Rose Fractal)
Last year, I set only three writing goals for myself. One the one hand, I only accomplished two of them. On the other hand, I really like what I did accomplish:

  • There's the new version of the pirate novel, which I had to rewrite from the ground up. Several chapters proved to be very thorny (I'm looking at you, chapter 10), several new chapters showed up, and the entire second half needed rethinking.

  • Then there's Not!Sherlock, which went out on submission in February, got a revise and resubmit from an amazing publisher in May, and is now awaiting final word from that same publisher.

There was more, but those are the highlights. There were also two fabulous vacations, one medical curveball, my first tattoo, and a promotion at the dayjob.

Here is where I usually list my goals for the New Year. And usually life hands me a plot twist that upends those goals. This year? Even more uncertain than ever. Everthing depends on whether Not!Sherlock sells. Or the pirate novel. (Or both!) But if I had to pick a few goals, I'd choose:

  • Write at least one chapter of Not!Mansfield Park

  • Write one novella in my River of Souls world

  • Release new editions of Passion Play and Fox & Phoenix, print and e-book, with new covers and lower prices for the e-books

Low key goals, but goals that are important to me. Let's see how it goes...
beth_bernobich: obsessing (obsessing)
I'm working through several health issues these days. There's the stress fracture in my foot, which is healing, thanks to a wonderful podiatrist. I should be in good shape for our vacation in a couple weeks. There's also the matter of a biopsy next week for possible breast cancer. I'll know by Thursday what the results are, and I'll deal with things as necessary.

Work is going quite well. We launched a new version of our financial tracking system. (Which involved tossing the old and horrible version and redesigning/rewriting from scratch.) I'm now overhauling our staffing planning application based on feedback from the department admins and the finance director.

And the novel in progress... There is progress, even though I still have four chapters left to write. The middle chapters, however, just went through another editing pass, with lots of words added, and lots more replaced. (Chapter 10, in particular, has been especially thorny.) I plan to making a polishing pass through this middle section before I tackle the final section.

And in two weeks, Rome. *bliss*
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (mad scribe)
Alas, I didn't finish the draft by the end of July, and alas, I won't finish by the end of August. One reason is that I worked several weeks of overtime at the dayjob, which left me mentally exhausted. The other reason was the troublesome middle section. Four chapters turned into three, but those three still didn't work. So I rewrote them a *second* time, along with a new chapter and...well, you see why I'm not done yet.

Four chapters left. Followed by an editing/polishing pass for the second half. New deadline is...I don't know. I would love to get a finished draft to my agent before October, which is when we go to Rome for our vacation, but we'll see. New deadlines at the dayjob are looming.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (goat)
...or rather brick walls.

I returned to the pirate novel last month, and for a while I was making good progress. But with each chapter, I found myself getting more and more dissatisfied. (Productivity, meet brick wall.) So I took a step back—several, in fact— and spent a few weeks poking and prodding and reworking the plot for the second half of the book. Mind you, I'm still quite happy where the book ends, and the key milestones for the plot still work, but the details of how my characters get from Point A to Point B needed to change.

So I might not finish this draft by the end of July, but what I do finish will be stronger. And that's what really matters.
beth_bernobich: alice (alice)
...the more they change. When it comes to writing and revisions, that is.

Not long after my last post, my agent sent me feedback from an editor for Not!Sherlock. The kind of feedback that makes you go,"Oh, of course!" Which led to three weeks of reading and marking up a ms., identifying which chapters needed what kind of surgery, then making those changes, then reviewing them again. The major edits are done. I'm now in the final pass for the final section. The goal is to have this new version to my agent by next week.

After that? It's back to the pirate novel. (And trying to remember exactly where I was with that.)
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (tea cup)
Chapters 10 and 11 have been spliced and edited into what is now chapter 9. Whew! I am pretty sure I replaced nearly every word. But I am sooooo much happier with this version.

This week, the old chapter 12 is on the revision block. This one is another slash and cut and rewrite exercise. After that, I need to mark up the next five chapters to evaluate how much they work they need. (My impression was "not much," but so much has changed with this draft, I'm no longer sure.)

In between my lovely writing sessions and the dayjob, I have an extra wonderful treat. I'm reading an ARC of Stephanie Burgis's historical fantasy Congress of Secrets. And what a treat this is. I feel as though I am drinking a cup of gourmet hot chocolate, frothy and sweet and delicious, but with an edge of dark.

You can read more about Steph's wonderful book here. Check it out!
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (doggie)
This past month has been extra busy, between novel revisions and the dayjob. In early April, I asked my manager if I could temporarily shift my workday to come in two hours later. I'd say this means my workday ends two hours later, but in reality, I was already leaving later, so what this really does is ensure I'm not working overtime.

There's also the matter of those two hours of writing every morning. What a lovely, lovely treat for me. So far, I've polished the first six chapters of the pirate novel into a submission-ready state, I've ripped apart the next three chapters and rewritten them into two, and I've made a dent in rewriting the two chapters after that. I won't have the new draft done by the end of May, but I will have the major surgery completed.

I'm tempted to ask my manager to extend my shifted hours another month, but I'll wait until the end of May to take stock of my progress.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (Painter Flower)
Not!Sherlock is out on submission. *makes excited noises*

I'm back to editing the pirate novel, with its themes of agency and friendship and sexual healing. (Also, goats.) I sent a synopsis, proposal, and three chapters to my agent for her opinion, while I continue to revise the rest.

After that? It depends on what or whether these projects sell. If not, I will fall back to writing my NotMansfieldPark novel.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (Fractal Star)
This last year set a record for changes, most of them good ones, several daunting, and all of them necessary.

For the first half of 2015, I switched to part-time status at the dayjob so I could finish my Not!Sherlock novel. We had to juggle the budget a bit, but the result was definitely worth it. Those two extra days each week gave me the space and quiet to finish this novel, with characters I love to pieces, and with time left over for my family.

The first half of the year, I also ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for Nocturnall, the coda story to my River of Souls books. My goal was to raise enough money to create a professional publication, including custom artwork, a professionally designed cover and interior, and a special print edition for my supporters. I am deeply satisfied with the results, especially that readers can now see Ilse and Raul as they were meant to be.

There were some major changes, as well. I quit my job at the contract firm and started a new one at the University of Connecticut. I'm still a web developer, but now I have minions. (Plus real benefits!) I also parted ways with my agent. She's done many wonderful things for me over the years, but as time passed, we no longer meshed in several key ways.

All those changes—the new job with new responsibilities, the various self-publishing experiments—took up much of my writing time, but I still managed to accomplish a few things:

  • My Not!Sherlock novel complete and ready for the world (plus notes for two sequels)

  • My coda story, Nocturnall, released into the world as an e-book in December

  • My LGBTQA geek girl story, The Ghost Dragon's Daughter, expanded by several thousand words and released as an e-book in October with its own custom cover

  • Seven chapters of The Edge of the Empire ripped to pieces and put back together with one new character and a strong voice for my main character
So what about 2016?

I've learned not to overplan, but I have two goals I want to accomplish. The first is to finish revising The Edge of the Empire. I'm on target to accomplish that by late March/early April. The second is to write a first draft of my Not-Mansfield-Park novel, the one with magic and polyamory. After that? It all depends on the wild and wooly world of publishing.
beth_bernobich: alice (alice)
...big projects. Now that I've survived the maelstrom that was my October schedule, I need to slow down, catch up on some long neglected tasks around the house, tie up a few loose ends with the Kickstarter, and give myself a chance to breathe.

This is not to say I am not writing. In fact, I will probably do more writing this month than last. First off is Current Novel, which I need to revise with the lessons I learned in the Writing the Other class. After that, I really do need to settle down and finish revising my pirate novel.

But then, oh then, I want to write something entirely new.
beth_bernobich: alice (alice)
...so I can send two copies to work, assign chores and errands to a third, and have at least one copy to handle the administrative overhead and general flailing that comes along with publishing. The real me would get to have fun. (That includes the writing itself, of course.)

I don't have a cloning device, alas, but I do the best I can. So, things accomplished since I last posted. The latest editing pass for The Ghost Dragon's Daughter. The acknowledgments, cover design, and interior design for Nocturnall. I'm also talking to an artist for cover art for The Ghost Dragon's Daughter.

And at long last, I have resumed edits for The Edge of the Empire. One chapter reworked, and a few pages of the next. Twenty more to go.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (cat on a wire)
Nocturnall Kickstarter: Things are going very well with this project. The cover artist and I worked through a couple rounds with rough sketches until we had the right look for both the story and the series. She then sent me a detailed drawing that had me dizzy with delight. We've now moved on to the color sketches. I've picked a color scheme from the three she sent me. The next step is the final version.

Current Novel: Out on submission. *fingers crossed*

Geek Girl Story: I've read and marked up the document for the next round of edits. The story grew quite a bit in the last round, and I suspect it will grow a bit more.

Edge of the Empire: Once I finish the GG story, I want to dive back into revisions for this novel. With the change in my dayjob, I no longer have any writing time in the morning, but I do have more time after work, so I want to experiment with short sessions in the evening.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (collage)
Not!Sherlock: Agent is reading the manuscript and we shall talk next week about submission strategies. We both continue to be super-excited by this book.

Nocturnall: I've made two polishing passes through the story, and have handed it off to my copyeditor. And today (after a few glitches) the money from Kickstarter arrived in my bank account. This means I can set the artwork in motion.

Edge of the Empire: I tried to dive into edits this weekend, but there were too many other things that needed attention. I also need to give myself plenty of time to tackle this rewrite. Oddly enough, when I eliminate the urgency, I get more done.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (book fin)
...and off to my agent.

I still have two more months of part-time, and so much I want to accomplish. First, there's the follow-up work for my Nocturnall Kickstarter. Then there's a novelette I want to expand to novella length. And the pirate novel, written but in need of an overhaul.

But first I need to pet the cats. And maybe do a spot of gardening.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (mad scribe)
...I have edited through chapter 11 of Current Novel, using both my own notes and the feedback from my kind and generous readers. Sleep and other issues have cooperated to give me lovely long writing sessions and the energy to take advantage of them. At this rate, I can get the ms. to my agent by mid-May.

Good thing, because by then I should get the funds from my Kickstarter, which means I can give the go-ahead to my cover artist. First steps will be me sending her character descriptions, then her sending me sample sketches. (*excited!!!!*)

Oh, and that also means I can start editing my pirate novel.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (blue woman)
Every year, I update my website journal with a new page for the new year. It's a time for taking stock, for looking back at the old year, and forward into the new.

So. 2014. It wasn't an awful year for me, personally. But wow, it did have its challenges. (Newbie. Unsales. Bronchitis.) It also had some splendid moments. (London!! RT Nomination for The Time Roads!!!)

The unsales are disappointing, but I can do something about them. One item, a short story, is already back out on submission. The other item needs a thorough rewrite before it goes out into the world again.

What truly discourages me is how little I wrote last year. I added up all the new work and came up with barely 50K of new work. And nothing new finished. Not only am I someone who *needs* to finish things, I also realized that unless I did finish at least one novel in 2015, my career would lose momentum. Again.

So. What did I accomplish in 2014?

A couple rough chapters for Not-Mansfield-Park
Fourteen edited chapters for Current Novel
Copyedits for The Time Roads (which almost counts as revision)
A thorough rewrite of Nocturnall, the coda story for River of Souls
A rewrite of The Ghost Dragon's Daughter, a short story set in the same world as Fox & Phoenix
A rewrite of chapter one for The Edge of the Empire, a River of Souls novel

See what I mean? I've written more in six months in previous years than I did in 2014. Or even three months. But beating myself up is pointless. Better to cast the old year aside and do better in the new.

To that end, I've made a few specific writing goals for 2015, and some sketchy plans that depends on how those first few goals pan out. They all can be summarized by "Finish things. But don't burn myself out. Take joy in the writing."

Speaking of which, I have a couple edits to finish up, and a new chapter to start.

So...

Nov. 17th, 2014 08:30 am
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (sparkle kitties)
...a couple weeks ago, I was utterly miserable. Bronchitis had sucked away all my energy and brain power. The dayjob was a cesspit of chaos. And whenever I got the least traction with any of my writing projects, new obstacles and obligations popped up in my way.

So this past week, I sat down and wrote a business proposal. Goal: to a submission-ready draft of Current Novel ready by May 2015, and a revised version of my pirate novel by end of summer. I worked out a tentative schedule for accomplishing that, together with how much extra time that would require, and how much that time would cost in terms of lost income from the dayjob.

I gave the proposal to my husband, who said, Go for it.*

I talked to my manager, who said, Go for it.**

And I will. I'm taking off the first two weeks of January. After that, I switch to part-time status through the end of June, working three days a week. Doing that doubles the time I have for writing. It also gives me a cushion so I can 1) avoid burnout, and 2) spend more time with my family.

Between now and January, I've set a few small writing goals. Finish chapter 11. Write chapter 12. Work out the general plot points for the rest of the book.

Wish me luck!

----------------
* My husband is awesome. Have I mentioned that recently?
** Though he did looked a bit stressed when I told him.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (Rose Fractal)
...to Book Day for The Time Roads.

I am very excited by this, though at the moment, I'm too tired to show it. :)

Work has been extra chaotic, eating up brain space** and writing time. On the one hand, this is frustrating. On the other, I tell myself that I have no deadlines, so I can take my time and savor the process of taking a good story and making it better.

** As I typed these words, Fred gifted me with an image of Aidrean Ó Deághaidh's daughter coming to Éire for the first time and doing the Queen a vital service. Wicked Fred.
beth_bernobich: petal twigs (petal twigs)
the coda story has a home. it won't appear until early 2016, but it will be easily available. my editor is still working out the details. more news when i have it.

i rewrote the first chapter of my pirate book and i am much happier with the results. only twenty-one more to go. i meant to tackle the second chapter this weekend, but the dayjob has been especially demanding this week, so i'll be writing code today (sunday) instead of writing prose.

here's a snippet from the pirate book...

snippet )

(and yes, that is ilse in a previous lifetime.)

update

Aug. 31st, 2014 09:04 am
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (blue woman)
allegiance... latest news says the paperback version will appear next october.

coda story.... might appear in that same paperback. or not. but there are possibilities under discussion. one concern i have about adding it to the paperback is that it then won't be freely available to those who already bought the e-book or hardcover.

geek girl story.... alas, the very shiny anthology that bought this story got shelved. sooooo, story is currently in a slushpile, awaiting its turn.

edge of the empire... revising because i need to. i first wrote this novel seven years ago. it sold four years ago. i'm a better writer now and i think i can bring the story up a notch or three.

the time roads... six weeks to book day! i have guest blogs posts scheduled for the magical words blog. tynga's reviews will interview me during their paranorm'all hallows eve celebration, plus hold a giveaway for the time roads.

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