Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Big Plan For 2016

I'm too tired to talk about 2015. I was too tired to do half the things I wanted to do this year, including blog more. *eyes archive shamefully* When all is said and done, though, things were pretty okay, and somehow I was able to make a good amount of progress on the writing front.

I've been planning for 2016 for most of 2015, but I've spent the past few days working out a firmer timeline of what I want to do from month to month. Theoretically, this will be enough to dodge the curse of the New Year's Resolution. This is more concrete than "Gee, it sure would be great if I..." sort of pseudo-goals we often set for ourselves this time of year.

2016 is going to be year I begin the querying process. I got a little twist in my stomach when I typed that and I'm pretty sure it wasn't because of the chili I had for lunch. A couple of things need to happen before I start the agent hunt in earnest though.

Mid-January should be enough time to finish the draft I'm working on. There are only about 6 chapters left to look over, and most of them are at the polishing stage, unlike some chapters that I've had to gut/cut/rearrange. (It's been a violent process this time around.) From where I'm sitting it's hard to tell if I'm actually, finally getting this project to match what I first envisioned 4 years ago, or if I'm just getting sick of the thing and my standards are lowering. It's probably a bit of both. This might not be the magnum opus I initially dreamed of, but I won't feel like a shark charging people money for the privilege of reading it.

Then its off to betas. I will resist the urge to eat my own hands while rocking in the corner until I hear from them, and instead revise a short story I've left alone for about 2 months. Between that and getting the synopsis ready (query is good to go), that should keep me occupied until March.

Barring any glaring issues, I'll only need a month to work through beta feedback. We're entering the slow months at work, but historically February-May are the worst for my brain. Here's hoping most of my energy can go toward attacking the manuscript instead of using it all up on basic things like feeding myself and showering.

April is when I'll start sending queries. From here the timeline gets a little wobblier, but I'm anticipating a lot of waiting, followed by my first rejections. It's a real milestone in a writer's career. Maybe I'll frame them. Once again, it becomes about staying busy to stay sane, so I plan to bounce between drafting Book Two, outlining Three, and putting together at least two more short stories before the end of the year.

I'd love to have a handful of stories in various magazines before Book One is on the shelves. Long term goal is to have enough shorts plus a novelette to one day package as a collection once the rights revert back to me. All of them are set in the same world as the novel series, with an even mix of familiar characters, locations, and conflicts, plus some entirely new stuff. This is a big world with a lot going on. I can cover my eyes and point to a spot on the map, and odds are there's a story lurking there.

As exhausting as 2015 was, I feel like I've really solidified what I want to accomplish writing-wise. It's feeling more and more like an actual plan, instead of a faraway future I daydream about over tea.

Let's do this.

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