Archives: goals

My Future Publishing Path

With so much discussion in the blogosphere about self-publishing versus traditional publishing, I’ve been doing a lot of reading just to keep up. My conclusion is that a hybrid model is the path with the greatest reward for the fiction author. It also requires a great deal of work. What do I mean by hybrid? I’m glad you asked…

Types of Publishing

Self-publishing” here refers to creating an ebook, which you will then publish to various retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords. You may also use CreateSpace or LightningSource to publish print-on-demand paper books, but that’s an entirely different topic.
The book by Dave Heuts | Flickr

What I mean by “traditional” publishing is really more of a spectrum, ranging from small publishing houses to the larger well-known publishers. Most of my notes below apply more to the large publishers than the small ones, however.
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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!
A Quandary

A Quandary

The last time I mentioned my goals, I said I hoped to avoid rewriting my near-future science fiction novel The Century. Unfortunately, over the past few weeks, it’s become clear that’s exactly what it needs.

I first began the concept of The Century in 2003. (See my timeline on Facebook.) In 2009, I revisited it, rewrote parts, edited, and otherwise muddled with the story. But I didn’t revise the basic idea.

The Future: Are We There Yet?

Now it’s 2012. Science and technology have come a long way since 2003. Check out a few of my original notes about the setting of The Century, in “the future”:

  • Advanced computers have 3D interfaces … depending upon which way your hands move through
    the air (on controls you seem to feel though they aren’t there), the computer
    responds.
    • Now we have stuff like Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Kinect.
  • Phones: no longer separated from computers. 
    • The BlackBerry was already around in 2003, but what I intended was the integration of at-home computers with phones. I certainly didn’t foresee how quickly smartphones would take off. 
  • Food: getting more synthetic all the time. Some people draw the line at cloned food. others draw the line at any genetic manipulation at all. The fad is natural foods, but this is expensive.
    • Organic food is all the rage and genetically modified food is much more prevalent. 
  • People refuse to give up their so-called freedom and privacy. So,
    although roads still exist in rural areas, in cities they are actually “tracks”
    that cars cannot drive off of. The cars auto-drive, needing only human
    supervision in regards to destination and choice of speeds—slow, regular, fast.
    Only police cars and other emergency vehicles can surpass the fast level…. Getting off the tracks is
    possible when the cars are manually overridden, but they refuse to hit any
    walls or people….
So basically, while I was hanging out, going to college, writing other stories, and slacking off for a few years, the future caught up to me. We’re living in the future already! Which means The Century needs to skip ahead some more. 

Fast-Forward to the Future

Over the past few weeks (see my writing record), I’ve been researching the future. This may seem like a crazy idea at first — how do you research the future? My source list is a mile long, but mainly I looked for predictions about “If technology X continues advancing at this pace, in Year YYYY, we’ll have Z.” 
Predictions vary of course, which is good, because that gives me a wider window of realism for the story. It’s also interesting to think about how different technologies might intersect, depending on how advanced each has become. Not to mention how technology shapes nations and cultures. We live among plenty of people who are in future-shock already. 
At this point, most of my research about Earth is ready, which leaves me to ponder about Salvation. No viewpoint characters go to colonize Salvation in Book One, but since I’ll need to make references to the planet in this book, I’m going to need to know more about it. 
All of these changes to the story’s universe will have major implications for the book and the way the characters relate to one another. For instance, in the first round of The Century, the fact that the characters age half as quickly as other people is a big deal. But far enough in the future, we may reduce the rate of aging, or even stop aging entirely, with something like nanotechnology. In which case, appearing to be 25 years old while actually being 50 won’t be much of a surprise to anyone. 

What Now?

My original plans were to finish writing The Ageless, then let it rest while I edited The Century, which I guessed might take four months or so. But now… Rewriting from scratch will probably take me about ten months, by which time The Ageless will have grown old and moldy. 
On the other hand, now that it’s been about a month since I finished writing The Ageless, I could start editing it now, get it all polished, and send it off to beta readers. Then work on rewriting The Century. 
Yesterday while pondering this quandary, I stumbled across a great article on The Fictorian Era called “Starting Over: A Most Exquisite Agony.” And that’s when I realized I should start rewriting The Century now. 
In the years between graduating college and getting serious about writing again, I wrote maybe 37,000 words, or just over 9,000 words a year. Pathetic. So by writing (a.k.a. practicing) more now, and then editing The Ageless later, I’ll be in a better position to judge The Ageless on its merits. 

Timeline

So the new goals go something like this:
  • August 2012: Begin rewriting The Century
  • June 2013: Set The Century aside; begin first round of revisions on The Ageless
  • September 2013: Commence insanity: getting married in October, so I can’t commit to anything, but I’ll probably send The Ageless out to betas around here
  • November 2013: Begin first round of revisions on The Century 
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