Writing Goals for 2020

Each year in January, I sit down with a pen and a pad of notebook paper and write out all of the pieces that I’m working on. That includes any works in progress, stories looking for a home, plot bunnies, and trunk babies. It really helps me to wrap my head around where I do (and don’t) need to focus.

These are just writing goals. It doesn’t really focus on the final edits and checks that are still to come in for Broken and The Seeking. Nor does it include all the marketing work that will also be going on behind the scenes throughout the year. This list only focuses on writing.

The first thing I noticed, especially comparing this list with my 2016 and 2019 writing goals is that I have a bunch more novels on the list this time! Yes, most of them are admittedly plot bunnies, but I’ve already sketched out character concepts and plotlines for some of these. I’ve also begun writing on a couple of them!

I really enjoy writing series especially in YA Fantasy, and my Two Sorceresses (title TBD) book is going to be the beginning of that. I’ve been turning the plot for that book over and over in my mind to figure out how I want to pace it, who the characters are, and how the plot will ultimately go. It’s going to be dark, magical, beautiful, and sincere.

The Smiling Man (title TBD) is a YA Horror book that came directly from a nightmare. Some of the scenes in this book will be so creepy and unsettling, that I almost decided it was too frightening to put down onto pages. But then again, I decided if it scared me, it should scare others too.

Chosen is my current work in progress. It’s book 3 of the Stolen series and I am both excited and overwhelmed by the prospect of finishing my first original series. There is so much I want to say still and only a single book to pack it all into. My next project, once the Stolen series is done, will be The Blood of Kanta, the sequel to The She-Wolf of Kanta. This will be a full-length book, unlike the novella that is already published. I’ve planned out the basics already, now it’s just a matter of finding the time to write it.

I’ve also listed all of my short stories that are currently either out on submission, to be published, or looking for a home. Some of these I think I could tweak a little and get them out in the world, but generally I try to prioritize my books over short stories.

You’ll notice a few of those short stories are already available to read, such as The Mysterious Disappearance of Charlene Kerringer, Against Our Better Judgment, and The Blade Filled with Stars. That last one is automatically available when you sign up for my mailing list!

I’m so excited for this year, but I’m also anxious about the number of releases I have. I sure do hope my books live up to expectations, but I guess that’s a fairly normal fear for an author, right? Especially one who has only been doing this for a couple of years and is still figuring this all out? It would probably be my boggart.

What are your writing plans for 2020? If you post your plans as well, please tag me so I can see them! Let’s all cheer each other on to becoming better writers this year!

Writing Goals for 2019

Every year I write out a list of the stories I’m currently working on, or stories that I’m planning to work on. It’s kind of become my New Year’s tradition to post up what I call my WIP To-Do list.

So here we go!

2019 WIP To-Do List!

Look at all those novels!

Wait, where are the short stories?

So you might notice a change from the lists I made in Jan 2016 and Jan 2017. I don’t have a section for short stories on this list. That’s because I really am just no longer focusing on them as much as I used to. I’m still writing them on occasion and granting access to my Moonlight Wanderers Facebook Group members, or to my mailing list subscribers, but I’ve really pulled back on how many short stories I work on these days. I may submit to a few anthologies on occasion (I have one pending right now actually), but I’m just not going to put a bunch of my time into that.

There are a few reasons for this. First of all, I’m really trying to get my novels off the ground. I want my stories to be front and center more often. Usually in anthologies, my work is appreciated, but doesn’t go far enough out there to get a mention in reviews, which can be tough. In my longer pieces though, readers get more engaged and I get far more comments on my work (both good and bad haha) which I appreciate.

Second of all, I just don’t have the time anymore. I used to browse prompts on Duotrope to see what could spark my interest and get the creativity flowing, but these days I have so many ideas that I’m usually juggling multiple books at once in various stages of publication. Novels and novellas take time to write, to plan, to flesh out. The world-building is far more intense than what is typically seen in a short story, so my energy is stretched pretty thin.

Finally, there’s the payment. It’s a dream goal to one day have a story picked up by a professional short story market, but in my now nine years of writing professionally, it just hasn’t happened. I’m shifting my focus to books because I feel like I can reach an equal level of happiness through that instead of writing a new story regularly to try and grab the interest of flooded professional short story markets.

I see my books as building a structure. I’m not making much right now with it, but eventually I want to. I want my books to be loved, my characters to be cared about, and for readers to fall into my worlds. I just don’t have that kind of flexibility with short stories. So now I’m focusing all my energy on novels.

Are those new books I see?

You’ll see all three books of the Stolen series up there: Stolen (coming out Jan 22!), Broken (my current WIP), and Chosen (my next WIP lol).

One Way Down (book 1 of the Colton Fen series) is probably the oldest manuscript on this list and will soon be getting quite a facelift. Smoke and Witchcraft, the sequel, will also likely be getting a huge edit either this year or next.

The Seeking is finished, I’m just waiting for some time to breathe before I submit it around lol.

Then we start getting down into my planned books, and I don’t think I’ve posted about these before. Please note that these titles are just placeholders. It takes me ages to figure out a good title haha.

Here’s a quick run-down:

  • The Two Sorceresses – A Snow White retelling that I’m keeping pretty close to the chest. Once I’m done with the Stolen series and the Colton Fen series, this is what I’m planning to tackle next.
  • Cruise Ship – A YA Horror on a cruise ship? Oh yes. And it’s the slipstream kind, so you know it’ll be fun.
  • Southern Gothic – An homage to one of my favorite comic books with a nice horror twist. This one will have many types of monsters too.
  • Mercy’s Revenge – The much asked for sequel to The She-Wolf of Kanta! I’ve had so many people want this book that I’ve lost track. I don’t know if I’ll get to this novella this year, but if not it’s definitely planned for next year.

So there you have it – my WIP to-do list for 2019! Yes, there is a lot to do, but I feel really good about this year. I’m also thrilled to share my WIP plans too, though if you follow me on Twitter you kind of got a peek at these back in December.

Happy 2019, everybody! And please let me know if you also do WIP To-Do lists! I find they’re really motivating to do each year and really help me to plan out my beats throughout the year during the writing/editing/publishing process. Cause you know it’s easy to forget about the road when you’re on the path.

Looking back and charging forward

Every January I make a To-Do list of all my major works in progress and figure out which ones I want to prioritize. Here’s the 2017 edition.

Looking back over last year, I’m super proud of all the work I’ve done. So many short stories got finished up, published, and I’m hoping that more get picked up soon. Here’s a quick rundown of everything I published this year.

  • January 2016 – A Slippery Customer
    • Hit top 10 on Amazon’s Horror anthology list multiple times
  • February 2016 – Tiny Necks
    • Almost entirely 5-star reviews and more keep rolling in
  • May 2016 – Curse of Beauty
    • Received several excellent reviews!  ❤
  • October 2016 – Dead Man’s Hill
    • A Halloween tale with a dash of dark humor

However I did notice that I hadn’t made much progress on my novels. Outside of Beyond the Treehouse, I didn’t do that much work on the WIP novels I had. There’s a good reason for that actually.

At the beginning of the year I got a publication offer from a small publishing company, one that I had worked with before. Their communications were a little sporadic, but I was excited to get my book published. However the contract they sent me gave me major concerns. It took me a bit to find some legal advice, but once I did I felt like I had a grounded ability to negotiate and listed out my requests. Unfortunately a big request on my list was not available to negotiate, and I had to reject the offer. A few months later I found out that the publisher was closing shop after being in the business since 2012.

I was upset to hear what had happened to them, and to the amazing authors who worked with them. It was also hard for me to get back into working on my books after that. Short stories I could dive into easily, but books were harder. Books take a lot of commitment, and after having plans fall through like that, it’s been hard to get motivated again.

I’m hoping to change that in 2017. This year I’m planning on focusing a lot more on my novels, and hopefully knock out book 2 for one of my series on the list. I also have a standalone horror novel that I’ve been itching to start too. Here’s my list of WIP novels and short stories for 2017. Look at how complete that short story listing is too!  ❤

If you want to see my 2016 WIP to-do list, check out my post:

Hooray for To-Do Lists!

Hooray for To-Do Lists!

In January 2015, I felt stretched thin with all of the writing projects I was working on. So I pulled out some paper and made a list of all of them, including a to-do list for each one. It really helped to keep me focused throughout the year, and it felt so good to be able to check them off as I got them published. So I decided to make another list for this year.

Many of the novels have been works-in-progress for several years. The series I refer to as [Suzie] for example was actually the first novel I wrote back in 2010. It’s seen a great deal of improvement since then, but still has a long way to go. Others, like Beyond the Treehouse, are currently out on submission and I’m waiting to hear back on.

Traditional publishing can be very slow, I’m talking months to over a year to hear back from submitted manuscripts. Even short stories can take over a year to hear back on. I learned early that it’s a good idea to not wait around. Your best bet is to push on to your next book, your next short, or your next series. I’m putting in this disclaimer cause I don’t want people to think I’ve written all of these in a single year. These titles, of course, could change as well.

Anyway, here is my 2016 Writing To-Do list in no particular order.

With a clean list of projects, I feel like I can actually figure out what to work on next. Otherwise I flounder around trying to make a decision, and nothing gets done!