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: 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: 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.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (Rose Fractal)
...of the old year.

I'm spending this last week editing chapters of Current Novel. Tidying up, as it were. Come New Year's Day, I'll start the next new chapter.

And the next year will be a new chapter, in so many ways. I'm switching to part-time at my dayjob for the first six months. I'm switching to a pen name for Current Novel, which itself is very different from the kind of books I usually write.

At the same time, I haven't abandoned my old self. I have plans to revise my fourth River of Souls novel and send that out to publishers. And I haven't forgotten my Not-Mansfield-Park project, which is my old friend historical fantasy, this time with magic and polyamory.

That's next year. For now, I'm content to work through this transitional week in quiet tasks and spending time with my family.

#amwriting

Feb. 2nd, 2014 09:29 am
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (girl and balloon)
Since I only write on the weekends, my progress tends to be slow until I get traction on a story. So far, I have one short chapter complete, and I'm a third of the way into the second. However, in spite of my using the word chapter, I'm still not absolutely sure it's a novel. It might be a very long novella. I'll know for sure once I write more detailed plot notes.

Is this something I can sell to a publisher? I don't know. I only know I need to write this...thing. I'll worry about the publishing part later.

(But what about your Not Mansfield Park book? you ask. Good question. I still love the story, but it requires a different headspace. I also need to rethink sections of the plot, because the structure is still too close to the original book, and that leads me to lose interest. I love using books or stories as a jumping-off point, but I don't love simply rewriting the same story in a different setting.)
beth_bernobich: alice (alice)
...written 2500 words on my new novel (5600 total), wrestled three rooms into better order, and read most of one novel from my enormous TBR list. My goals for the rest of the month are: finish reading the book, wrestle one more room into order, and have an end-to-end rough draft for the first three chapters of New Novel.

Not too shabby.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (collage)
I'm in between publishing deadlines at the moment, which leaves me both relieved and a bit disoriented. But I can tell my writing brain has recovered from the push to finish THE TIME ROADS, because all kinds of story ideas and images have been popping into head. Oh, but which one? Which one to choose?

A mix of three, I think.

One is a short story I call my coda to the River of Souls trilogy, which takes place thirty-five years after ALLEGIANCE. A draft is done and currently with a couple kind and generous readers.

One is EDGE OF THE EMPIRE. I wrote this novel back in 2007 and it shows. I want to revise the whole thing thoroughly—push the characters harder, follow through on consequences, get rid of the nice.

One is my Not-Mansfield-Park novel, which I'm tentatively calling St. Brendan's Isle. My plan is to write the first three chapters and a synopsis and see where to go from there. (The synopsis exists, but it's already out of date.)

And if I end up having more time, I also want to write the first three chapters to IN THE PRESENCE OF HER ENEMIES, which is the story of what happens after Valara returns to Morennio├╣.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (blue woman)
I'm in my office writing ALLEGIANCE, which is all about how the end of one story carries the seeds for the next. Just so the old year dies, and dying, makes possible the new.

So. Last year.

Last year was not a bad year. It had its share of stress and tedium and frustration. (The mountains of snowfall last winter. The three months of hellish commute. Selling house. Moving house. One hurricane, and one freakish snow storm, both with many days of power outage.) It also had some lovely shiny moments. (M's high school graduation. M in college. Passion Play winning the RT Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Epic Fantasy.)

Things accomplished? Not nearly as much as I wanted.

Fox & Phoenix went through copyedits, galley proofs, and is now a Real Book.

A Handful of Pearls & Other Stories re-released in e-book form by me. I'm pleased with the cover design, and I learned a lot about making e-books.

Pig, Crane, Fox, the short story that comes before Fox & Phoenix, also re-released in e-form.

But what about new short stories? you ask. What about writing novels?

That's the problem. I wrote no new short stories in 2011. I did make progress on ALLEGIANCE, but not nearly as much as I wanted. (See above about hellish commute and moving house.) I also wrote notes for two new novels: a sequel to FOX & PHOENIX and a stand-alone fantasy that I'm calling Mansfield Park with polyandry and magic. And just a few days ago, I wrote notes for a short story in the world of the Seventy Kingdoms.

And there you have the seeds for my next year. I'll finish ALLEGIANCE and send that to my editor. While she's going to work with her red pen, I'll write the short story and send that to its intended market. And once ALLEGIANCE is well and truly delivered, I have seeds for more novels. I might plant them in 2012 or not, but at least I know I have them.
beth_bernobich: Beak Bird (Beak Bird)
Me: *bouncing into the office* Remember that new novel idea?

R: The one where I take up golf?

Me: ??

R: Remember how *I* said if you started writing one more novel, I'd take up golf?

Me: Oh. But no, I'm not *writing* it. I'm just jotting down ideas for later. Then I'm saving it off to a nice quiet area...

R: *snorts* There are no nice quiet areas in your brain.

Me: *dies laughing*
beth_bernobich: alice (alice)
Here is the list of novels I want to write eventually:

  • A Sister of Tamberau (Poison follow-up)
  • With the Counsel of Her Familiars (aka, Valara's story after Allegiance)
  • Morennio├╣ (follow-up to Edge of the Empire/The Pirate Novel)
  • Shadows in the Sky (Maryshka's novel, but only if the proper setup works in Allegiance)
  • King's Hunt (Ryba's novel)
  • Beautiful Monsters (Raul's prequel)
  • The Phoenix War (sequel to Fox and Phoenix)
  • New Untitled Novel (aka, the one Fred just handed me)

Raul's prequel is the iffiest one. I have notes for it, but I'm not precisely sure if they will add up to a solid novel. All the rest, except Fred's most recent contribution, have detailed notes. Some even exist in draft, from which I can lift sections of prose and structure.

But my real reaction is...meep! I better get writing!

dear fred

Mar. 25th, 2011 11:28 am
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (celestial map)
Thank you for the new novel idea involving Mansfield Park and gender bending. You realize, of course, that it will have to incubate for quite a while. The idea is little more than a glimmer of voice and image at this point, and while I like the few plot cookies you dangled in front of me, they not quite enough for me to go haring off on a new project. Besides, I need to finish the three other contracted novels.

Also, Sam[livejournal.com profile] horace_hamster will kill me unless I write that follow-up to Poison first.

Yrs,
Me
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (sepia woman)
I don't often make New Year's Resolutions. Rather, I tend to spread my resolutions through the year. And though it might sound odd, I also give myself permission to fail. It's a question of mental trickery. If I lambaste myself for failing, I get too discouraged to try again (soon, anyway). As the Grand Master told us before our black belt test, "We're human, so we're imperfect. We expect you to make mistakes. Part of the test is how you handle those mistakes."

So, instead of resolutions, some goals:
  • Finish the current draft for "In the Presence of Her Enemies" (the second novel in the series I'm writing). How soon and how fast I finish depends on what happens with the first volume (currently with a couple editors), but I would like to finish the draft no matter what.

  • Get at least half of my Poison novel finished. Rough or polished or somewhere in between -- the level of draft doesn't matter. I want to anchor this story in my mind.

  • Find a short-story workshop that's doable. Clarion and Odyssey both sound lovely, but taking six weeks out of my life is just not possible. I might be able to swing one week, or a long weekend. A correspondence course would be even better. The point is to stop making writing exercises with lovely prose, and to start making real short stories.
Yes, it's a short list, but long detailed lists don't survive the first three months, I've found -- especially when it comes to writing. However, I would like to add a few more goals, ones only tangentially related to writing:
  • Take care of myself, mind and body. That means make time for karate, for eating the right things, for getting enough sleep. I started doing that last spring, and it's made a huge difference this winter.

  • Remember drawing. I used to be an artist -- that was how I defined myself. Since I took up family and writing and other activities, I've neglected all my drawing, to the point where I fear I can't do it anymore. It's time and past time to recover that part of myself.

  • Try one new thing.

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