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2014 Writing and Publishing Plans

2014 Writing and Publishing Plans

Time for another update!

2013 Review

Coming Soon! by Paul Downey | Flickr

Due to a certain wedding and honeymoon, I got a little behind on The Ageless, my post-apocalyptic novel with fantasy elements. But my writing is back on track now.

I’d planned to jump back to 4 sessions a week after the wedding, but I’ve actually been fitting in 5 writing sessions a week!

As for 2013 word counts, since most of the year was review and revisions, I only wrote about 50,000 words. That doesn’t count a lot of in-line revisions, but it does count entire scene rewrites (e.g. if switching POV).

You can follow along with my progress on my writing calendar.

I finished my review of The Ageless, and am deep into rewrites. I had hoped to finish them by February, but now it looks like it’ll be closer to the end of February or mid to late March.

I also clarified how I plan to publish The Ageless, The Century, and my unknown future projects.

In December 2013, I completed a business plan for Worldbinding, based on an episode of the Rocking Self-Publishing podcast. I think it’ll help make my goals clearer in times of uncertainty.

Now, let’s talk about 2014.

2014 Writing and Publishing Goals

In order to better predict when I’ll be ready to publish The Ageless and The Century, I started used a Gantt chart in Google Drive. It’s really helped illuminate how unrealistically optimistic I was being about my publishing dates.

For instance, I thought that I’d be able to publish The Ageless in late 2014. But finding a cover designer, developmental editor, copy editor, proofreader, and formatter will take time, working with them will take time, and putting it all together will take time. Which I’d not fully considered. With a Gantt chart, you can really see how dependent upon one another all these tasks are.

I’m now focusing on the following goals:

  • Complete Pass 1 and Pass 2 revisions to The Ageless and hand it off to beta readers by late February to late March
  • Finish incorporating feedback from alpha and beta readers and submit to my future developmental editor by mid June
  • Finish incorporating feedback from my editor and submit to my future copy editor by mid August
  • Finish incorporating copy edits and submit to my future proofreader by mid September 
  • Submit concept ideas to my future cover designer by mid September
  • Review proofreader’s changes and submit to my future interior formatter by mid October 
  • Receive first draft and send feedback of cover by mid October
  • Compare and choose final cover by early November
  • Give cover designer final page count for spine width, give formatter digital cover for ebook, other administrative stuff, upload to Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, CreateSpace, etc. 
  • Release around the first of the year, 2015. 
And while The Ageless is away with other people (beta readers, editors, etc.), I can be working on Pass 1 revisions to The Century. 

Non-Writing Goals

I intend to attend either AnachroCon in Atlanta or MystiCon in Virginia in February, ConCarolinas in June, and Dragon*Con in August. I’m hoping to attend 2015 WorldCon, but we’ll see how finances look later this year. 
You can see in my last post that I plan to read 18 books by female authors in 2014. 
I also hope to be more active on Google+, Goodreads, and other fan sites in 2014. 

Let’s Talk

Are you planning to publish a book in 2014? If you have any suggestions for good SFF editors or cover designers, please let me know.

If you’re interested in beta reading any of my novels, contact me by sending me a private post on Google+ at +Traci Loudin.

If you sign up for my new releases newsletter, you’ll be the first to know when I publish The Ageless.

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2013 Writing Goals

2013 Writing Goals

I’ve been a steady writer for over a year now, and I’m a little over halfway done with writing my futuristic science fiction novel, The Century. See my goals for 2013 and my thoughts about my progress so far after the jump.

2013 Goals

  • Write four times a week (on track)
    • Except around certain holidays and vacations (honeymoon!)
    • Try to keep weekly wordcount closer to 5,000 (on track)
  • Finish the first draft of The Century by March (on track)
    • This may include a read-through soon (done)
  • Leave myself revision notes for the Century
    • Max. two weeks in March, then let it rest
  • Reread The Ageless
    • Max. four weeks
  • Revise The Ageless
    • Not really sure how long this will take
  • Find beta readers for The Ageless (mostly done)
  • Make a decision about how to publish The Ageless (done)
    • Currently leaning toward self-publishing this one as digital-only at first (yes)
  • Make a decision about how to publish The Century (probably done)
    • Currently leaning toward putting this one through the query machine (probably self-pub)
  • Become more involved on Goodreads or other online reading communities
  • Find moderator(s) to help me with the Speculative Fiction Writers (done)
    • I started this Google+ community one month ago — it’s reached 600 members, which means I’ll soon need help (true, done)
  • Read 20 books in the genre, and a few outside it (falling behind)
    • I need to set up my Goodreads list (falling behind)
  • Actually talk to people at conventions (on track)
  • Determine which cons to attend in 2014…
  • Figure out what to do with that short story set in the universe of The Ageless (on track)
  • Hiatus for at least half of October as I make wedding and honeymoon preparations

The past week or so I’ve been wavering on whether I’ll write Part 3 of the Century before beginning revisions on The Ageless. Some of these goals may be flipped if I decide I need more time to let Part 3 marinate.

Brief History of Conventions

The first conventions I ever went to were JACON and Necronomicon when I was in college. I went with groups of friends, then didn’t really attend any cons again until last year, when I went to ConCarolinas (see my 2012 recap), ConTemporal, and MACE.

However, I didn’t have any real conversations with anyone at those except for a brief chat with James Tuck and a longer conversation with Bill Hatfield. This year I want to try to get out of my shell a little and really talk to other writers, even if they are published authors and therefore intimidating.

Looking Back

Last year I was one month late (see six-month checkup) finishing up the The Ageless on July 10. I’m hoping to keep on track with The Century this time around, especially since I now devote an additional day a week to writing compared to most of last year.
It took me about a month and a half to finish the main research and extrapolation I needed to get the ideas for The Century lined up. Actual writing on The Century didn’t begin until September. Since then, I’ve written an average of 3,669 words a week. I’d like to get that a little closer to 5,000.
In December I began hosting the Speculative Fiction Writers community on Google+, which has been great in helping me get out of my shell and talk with other writers in the genre. I hope to really connect with more people in 2013. And I’d really like to get more involved on Goodreads.

I’ve mostly abandoned chasing Facebook and Twitter, though I will continue to post stuff there on occasion.

Word Counts

In November, I decided to try to start writing four times a week as an ante-up instead of NaNoWriMo. As expected, everything fell apart around Thanksgiving. But it should also be noted there were other times I wasn’t able to write as much, such as when the day job interfered (sending me to a conference in October) or when I was simply stressed around the holidays.
If making a distinction between writing nights and research nights… In terms of actual writing, I wrote four nights per week once. There have been several weeks in which I worked on The Century four nights a week, doing research and whatnot. I’ve tended to average about three nights of actual writing per week since The Century got underway in September.
So, unlike some writers, I do count research, outlining, blocking out scenes, and so on as “work time.” Maybe if I didn’t have a day job, I could afford to only count actual writing days toward my four-times-a-week goals, but that’s a luxury I don’t have. I’d probably scare myself off researching and then the work would be worse for it.
My average words written per week (not counting the weeks in which no writing was done) was 3,669. Total word count since I began writing The Century is about 58,700. With those kinds of numbers, it would take me six months to write a novel, if I already had everything outlined and ready to go. Too bad it never quite works out that way!

Writing Is a Marathon

In past years, when I’d miss a few days writing, I’d beat myself up and give into a self-defeating attitude, which ultimately resulted in not writing for months. But now that I’m treating my writing more seriously and holding myself accountable, I’ve decided not to let life’s little stumbles get in my way. This has kept me going even when I had an abysmal week here and there.

You can see my writing calendar (where I record my progress) on the Current Projects page. I also put the dates of published blog posts along with conventions and writing groups I attended on the calendar to chart my growth as a writer.

If you’ve checked out my Projects and found them interesting, you can sign up for my newsletter, which will only be mailed out when I have an announcement about an upcoming book or story. That might be a while, and I promise to only email you once a month anyway.

Circle me on Google+, and if you’re a fellow writer of science fiction or fantasy, come join the Speculative Fiction Writers community. I’m also on Goodreads.

Hope to see you around in 2013!
Six-Month Checkup

Six-Month Checkup

So here we are, midway through 2012, and it’s time to look back and see how those 2012 writing goals are coming along. (Expect much back-pattery in this post.)

Progress on The Ageless

My intention was to write three times a week, every week, until my post-apocalyptic science fiction novel The Ageless was done. So the first question: Is The Ageless finished? As of July 7, I’ve finished the final scene of the book, but still have yet to write the epilogue. (Edit: As of July 10, the novel is complete, including the epilogue! I’m not completely satisfied with it, but that’s what the second draft is for.)

At some point between here and January, I got a feel for how many words I could produce in a week, so I revised that promise to myself to write three times a week OR 3,000 words. I’ve met that revised goal 17 out of 27 weeks.

I also wanted to finish The Ageless by June, and I almost had! You can see on my writing calendar that I was writing the climax of the Ageless during the last week of May. But the trouble actually started at the beginning of May, when I realized the ending as outlined was no longer valid. So I reoutlined, and then started writing toward that new ending.

Processing scifi story problems

Processing something or other…. by Nar8iv / Scott W | Flickr

Something still bothered me, though. There was just this little tickle in the back of my mind that something wasn’t quite right. I decided to continue writing until done, then try to sort out the problem. I knew that might mean discarding a lot of writing, but it was the only thing I knew would work, being unable put my finger on the problem.

Then I went to the scifi convention ConCarolinas (see two posts back for my recap) and attended several writing panels. During the Killing Friends and Enemies panel, I finally realized recognized the problems. Of course, I can’t tell you what they were, because that would ruin the ending, but it involves the characters’ roles in the final battle (and yes, who lives and who dies).

I also wrote a short story set after The Ageless (the novel would probably be done already if I hadn’t written the short story, but it came to me almost fully formed, so I put it down as fast as my fingers could type). Now I’m just trying to decide whether to release it into the wild yet or not. If I do, you’ll see it appear here and on the science fiction story area of Wattpad.

Word Counts

When I set my 2012 writing goals, they weren’t based on word count because I didn’t know what a realistic word count was. I eventually realized 3,000 a week was very achievable, and later began pushing myself to go beyond 4,000 (which I achieved for 10 out of 27 weeks, 5 of which were the last 5 weeks straight).

Writing Accomplishments

The Crossing – Accomplishments 2011 – Challenge #16 by Bob Long Jr | Flickr

From November (when I got serious) until now, I’ve averaged 3,378 words a week, even when you factor in the weeks where I was hunting down problems instead of writing (see February and the beginning of May on the calendar). If you just count the beginning of March (when I was about two-thirds of the way through) until now, the average was 3,988 words a week.

So for my next novel, I’ll might try for something closer to 5,000 words a week and boost that average (unless I’m also working on getting an MBA, in which case I’ll probably stick with 3 to 4k).

Since November, I’ve written 114,840ish words, which means I actually can write a novel in nine months, even with a few troublesome patches slowing me down. Of course, that doesn’t include revisions.

If you’ve been keeping up with me, you know that The Ageless was already partway done before November. That doesn’t mean the novel is super long though, because I ended up discarding about six scenes (almost 20,000 words) when I rewrote the climax.

The Ageless stands at 129,770 words (approx 360 paperback pages). But I’m sure the second draft will change all that.

Other 2012 Writing Goals

Besides finishing up my current post-apocalyptic novel, my other main goal for the second half of the year was to complete two drafts of my finished science fiction novel, The Century, before year’s end. Since I’ve never revised on a time table, I have no idea if that’s still feasible, but I’m going to find out!

I’ve been bookmarking agents who like futuristic science fiction, so I’d count that goal as “eh” sort of complete. I don’t want to get set on a couple agents, only to see they’re closed to submissions by the time I’m done with The Century. But as the year draws to a close, I’ll start looking more.

I did print some awesome business cards for conventions, but really only handed out a couple (mutually). The font is smaller than I’d like, but there’s always room for another draft of those as well.

As of today, I plan to attend MystiCon, ConCarolinas, ConTemporal, and DragonCon in 2013 (as well as DragonCon this year, I hope). I’d like to go to WorldCon next year, but getting married takes top of the priority list in the budget for 2013! Hoping WorldCon 2014 is also in the United States.

My entire collection of books is on Goodreads, so that goal is complete. Come be my friend! I also started a Facebook page, which wasn’t officially on my list of goals. I still need to get the icon up top of this page, though.

As for my last goal, yes, I’ve become “more” involved in online writing and scifi / fantasy discussions. I don’t really see the value of forums (yet?), but social media is engaging. I like seeing what everyone is discovering on Google+ and Twitter especially. Much less interested in Facebook and Pinterest, but I now have a presence on both. And I’m in the process of figuring out LibraryThing.

What’s Next

The Century is a science fiction story with fantasy elements, set in the not-too-distant future. Born with a strange disease that causes her to age half as quickly as normal people, Psyche Collins has spent her life pretending to be younger than she actually is. When she meets others who share the same problem, they learn it may not be a disease, but proof they’re members of a race of supernatural humans called the Century. The more of her kind Psyche meets, the more frequently she’s attacked by a mysterious Order — a group of equally supernatural humans who seem determined to prevent the Century from learning more, even if they have to exterminate them.

The story is only about 60,000 words and probably needs a great deal of work, because a lot has changed in the almost ten years since gathering ideas for it. In 2009, I reviewed the story without editing it, I think. I need to do more research into certain areas of probable technological growth to be sure the future shown in The Century still seems realistic. I’m going to try to avoid a complete rewrite, which is what I did with The Ageless, but I’ll find out in a few weeks.

But before beginning work on The Century, I want to leave myself some editing notes on The Ageless while it’s still fresh in my mind. I’ll also want to study up on editing techniques from scifi authors. My guess is that I’ll end up writing some new scenes for The Century, rewriting some others, and then I can start rereading, focusing on different aspects (character, pacing) for each read-through.

If you read all of this, congratulations. If TLDR: I met some goals, sort of met others, and failed on a few. The Century is next on my to-do list!

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