Return to Normality and Setting Goals for 2010

Originally posted on another site on 8 January 2010. The comments made in reply to this post have not been transferred.

As my holiday period will come to an end in a couple of days, I find myself thinking toward what 2010 could mean for me. Of course, I could leave it to fate to find out, but I’m not always satisfied (rarely, in fact) with what is offered (or forced) onto me so I think I’ll try to set my own path. It might be more satisfying.

I’ve already declared that 2010 is the Year of Doing. This means that instead of talking about doing things, I’m going to do them. No excuses!

I have always put myself out there and made public goals. I find it’s the best way for me to actually try to keep them. It’s a written commitment, which means I can’t pretend I never set the goal in the first place. Ah, the things I do to myself. Anyway, the goals I’m going to set will be kept simple as there’s no point attempting to reach goals that are too high as I’ll only be disappointed at the end of the year.

So what’s on my list for this year?

1. Complete the planning for Whispering Caves by the end of summer (end of February).
2. Write the first draft by the end of the year.
3. Compile a list of publishers for Cat’s Eyes and submit, submit, submit.
4. Write a proposal for the children’s non-fiction and, again, submit, submit, submit.

That’s it. It’s not a lot, but it will be a good Year of Doing if I achieve these four goals. If I manage to do anything else along the way, that will be an added bonus.

That’s my year planned, in a few short sentences. What’s yours?

30 Days of WorldBuilding

With my recent decision to scrap a couple of projects I’ve been working on, one in particular, I’ve been thinking about what projects I’m going to concentrate on now.

Not being one for working on too many projects at a time, I’ve decided to go with two manuscripts.  One is a much loved project that has been finished, but needs replanning and rewriting – The Marlinor Trilogy.  The other is new and different to what I’ve worked on in the past – the non-fiction children’s picture book.

At opposite ends of the scale, I think that will work in my favour.  There certainly could not be any confusion between the two as they are different in every sense of the word.

The non-fiction picture book is in the first draft.  I’ve been considering ways to make it entertaining for the intended audience and will put those thoughts into action once I’ve finished the book I’m reading.  I also need to complete my research on writing proposals in order to submit the project when it has been completed.

The trilogy is a different story.  It’s complex and, although I know the characters, world and plot of book 1, I need to plot out the other two books.  I plan to start again and rebuild the characters and the world, which brings me to the reason for this post…

The author of the following quote and subsequent link claims that if you put 15 minutes aside each day for 30 days, you can build a complete world worthy of your story.  She has written a post for each day in the form of an exercise where she gives an explanation of what you’ll be doing and why and then she’ll set you a task to do.  I haven’t checked the whole 30 days, but I believe this could be helpful in putting all writers on the right track.

And if you want to build a magical world, there’s a link to some extra information at the bottom of the sidebar.

A lot of times, people want to write a novel and think “I want to write fantasy, but there’s so much world-building I would have to do– I haven’t done any of it!” As everyone signing up for NaNoWriMo or any writing challenge quickly learns, this is really the self-editor speaking; it’s another way of saying “I can’t.”

So, give yourself 7 and a half hours this month– 15 minutes a day– to build a world. It’s not going to be Perfect or Set. Why would it be? You haven’t actually written the story yet, you haven’t tested its limits. But it’ll give you something to start with, something to feel comfortable about when you start.

via 30 Days of WorldBuilding by Stephanie Cottrell Bryant

October 2009: General Update

There hasn’t been much of interest for me to post about lately. Life is moving forward quickly and before I know it the end of the year will be here. In a few weeks, we intend to go away for a couple of days, inland, which I’m looking forward to for various reasons.

The books in the trilogy I’m reading are thick – over 700 pages each (except the first one, which was a little over 500 pages) – so they are naturally taking me longer to read than usual. I’m enjoying them immensely and this set has gained a place on my favourites list. Not many books make it on to that list.

My new family tree is growing steadily. Each weekend I spend at least a couple of hours transferring information from the old tree and, this time, I’m sourcing everything that is entered into the tree. I have a lot of regrets with that old tree, but at least I learned from those mistakes. With the help of DaF Genealogy (see the link in the sidebar), I’ve even managed to climb over a brick wall that had been holding me back for some years.

On the writing front, I am pleased to announce that I’ve completed the first draft of a non-fiction children’s picture book. The facts are there and now I have to make them entertaining for the intended audience (and the person reading the words to the child). I feel I have that under control. Then I’ll have to work on the proposal, which I think is going to be very difficult to write. I’ve already started doing the research and have printed out some examples. From what I’ve read, for non-fiction it is customary to send the proposal prior to writing the manuscript. However, I decided to write one of the manuscripts as an example to include in the proposal. If it helps or not, I cannot know, but that’s how I’m going to approach my submissions in this genre.