Trip around the sun


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Waves from the other side of the year.

And very cautiously approaches goals.  Everyone does them for the New Year, and I saw something in the news the other day that said they last until about January 10!

I remember several years back, I set an aggressive writing goal of write 10 books in a year—and managed do finish none that year.  It was very discouraging.  It was like announcing the goal immediately doomed it. 

But I’m going to try again.

2020 Goals

These goals are with a cautious note.  Every time I’ve set an aggressive goal, I end up in December having accomplished none of it.

  1. I’m going to shoot for a book release once a month (see my word count section for more on this). 
  2. Write more short stories (also see my word count goal on this).

Successes

Three major wins for me this year:

  • Tidying Magic accepted for X Marks the Spot.  It’s pirates + tidying magic + ghosts
  • Alien Pizza for Monsters, Movies, and Mayhem.  This is my first pro sale.  Yipee!  It’s aliens + pizza + movies + movie monsters.
  • Published Digitial Minimalism – this one has turned in my “best selling” book.

Word Count, Word Count, Word Count

Sometimes you can really get the wrong goal and lose sight of what you actually intended.  I had one of those in 2019.

My goal was to learn how to write a book that hit 50K.  I’ve always had problems getting stories to even this length, much less what the publishers wanted.  When I was still thinking about traditional publishing, getting to 90K seemed like an impossible goal.  I actually still don’t know how other writers can write so far over they have to cut 20K or more.

But this year, I wanted to put a novel exclusively on Amazon and having a longer book is a requirement for those readers. 

Instead, I wound up derailing myself because I got too focused on hitting that word count and lost track of the story. 

I also swore off short stories until I learned how to write longer because, in the past, when I let word count mess with me, I would procrastinate by writing short stories.

Goals

  • I’m going to mightily ignore the story’s word count.  It is entirely possible I might simply write books that are in the novella range only.  It’s also possible that the books will eventually get longer with more practice.  Which I’m not getting by focusing on length.
  • But, cautiously, she said, I’ll track general word count numbers and try for 1,500 a day.
  • I’m also going to tack back to short stories, but nothing like having a once-a-week goal or so many a month.  It’s just going to be when there’s an anthology call that I can write for.  So there might be more than one in a month or none, depending on what’s available. A lot of them have not paid well, or been on political titles (really?  I get too much of that now!), or a category I don’t fit into. 
  • Also need to continue the cover refreshes.  Might need to update the bio in all of them (good reason, but still, a lot of work).

New Releases & Upcoming

Last Stand

Man in spacesuit against backdrop of space with planet and ships.

The fourth GALCOM book is first on tap.  That’ll be out in January.  Big space battles, aliens, lots of explosions.  Adventures are so much better happening to fictional characters. 🙂

Golden Lies

Woman in 1940s red dress standing at window.

First book in the Al Travers Series.  He’s a private detective in 1940s Hollywood.  That’s right at the tail end of the studio system.  Studios used “fixers” to keep star misbehavior out of the headlines.  Perfect place for deception and crime!

Giant Robots

Giant robot stands over city.

Another GALCOM book about—you guessed—Giant robots!

15 Productivity Secrets for Employees

This one’s going to be a non-fiction list book. It’s inspired because there’s a gap in productivity books. Every book assumes you’re a manager or a CEO, not an employee. For me, this is a topic I know really well and no one is talking about it.

Broken Notes

From my Writing in Public several years ago that fell off because work turned into utter chaos.  So I’m going to dust it off and have a look.

Amateur Sleuth Mystery

Untitled at the moment, but set in the same time frame as Al Travers, but in Morro Bay, California (Balboa Bay in the story so I can make stuff up about the location).  Main character is a war widow who solves mysteries.  I’m thinking along the lines of Nancy Drew, rather than Cozy.

Learning

I’m reassessing this area of my writing.  For a while I was grabbing classes that I really did need, to address skill gaps I had.  I also tried to identify one thing to learn for everything I wrote.

In 2019, I only took one class this year (and wished I hadn’t spent the money), plus Superstars Writing Seminar (and very glad I did this).  I also found it frustrating and stressful trying to identify something to learn for every story.  My Golden Retriever Muse kept putting her feet down like a dog who didn’t want to go to the vet.  Nope, nope, nope.

So 2019 marked the point where I just threw everything to the wind.  I’ve done that before.  This time around, I unfollowed a lot of writing blogs to cut the information flow.  It wasn’t helping me to read a lot of the same topics over and over and I wasn’t finding anything that got at gaps I still have.  All those gaps are things no one talks about!

I did subscribe to The Compleat Writer (their spelling, not my typo) as a monthly subscription.  I figure I can wander in and pick out topics that catch my interest.  I like what I’ve been seeing from Dave Farland—he’s had a lot of those little things:

  • Have your characters argue.
  • Include light in every scene
  • Include temporal motion (which is like looking at the house you grew up in and remembering what it looked like when you were little)

Wish List for Learning

These are all the things I wish someone would talk about and don’t:

  • Pacing – typically, writers talk about the length of sentences, paragraphs, scenes.  All fine, but it’s only one aspect of pacing.  There are at least two more that I’ve run into.
  • Time – This has been a surprisingly hard topic for me to work with.  Things like identifying the time of day with the light or thinking

What are your goals?  Anything that you have on a wishlist for learning? 

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