A Look Back at 2013

This has been just an incredible year, and I’ve had so many amazing firsts that it’s hard to figure out where to begin. So I’ll just take the lazy way out and make a list.

2013 Firsts:

  • Attended Medieval Times.
  • Our Florida vacation got rained out (can you believe that was a first?)
  • Was a bridesmaid.
  • My little sister got married, and even though it was a small turnout, we bridesmaids made it our goal to bring fun to the dance floor whenever possible.
  • They’re both expecting now, so I’ll soon be an aunt.
  • Went out of the country.
  • Went on a cruise.
  • Visited the Bahamas.

On top of all that, I still worked my butt off to keep on top of my writing. Even though I don’t have any new publications to show for it, I think I’ve really grown as a writer since last year even. My older sister and I started doing weekly visits to Starbucks this year to force ourselves to work on our writing, and it’s been very successful. Sometimes for her it is the only time she gets to write at all, and when you have a pile of 100+ papers to grade, that can make a big difference.

I also took part in several NaNo (NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNoWriMo) events this year which really helped to boost my annual word count. One thing that’s kind of become a tradition for me is to go back and examine all the writing projects I’ve worked on. It helps me put into perspective what I have done and where I need to go. Let’s make another list, shall we?

2013 Writing in Review

  • Madam Cloom’s Garden
    YA Fantasy novel.
    Camp Nano – April 2013.
    Needs some major plot revisions. I’ve got some ideas on how the antagonist should be threaded into Shaleigh’s world and I’ve thought more about his relationship to Teagan, Shaleigh’s confidante. Need to take a better look at the start of this piece to make sure it makes sense. Beginnings are always the tough part, aren’t they? I need to make sure Shaleigh stays consistent and that her change is gradual throughout the piece. Also I’ve mentally retconned the ending for this and I plan on taking it into a very different direction. I blame reading The Hobbit and The Magician’s Nephew this year for giving me such devious plans.
    Total Word Count: 57,501
  • Painful Memories
    YGO Fanfiction
    Camp Nano – July 2013
    I honestly had to do a double-take when I saw how much I had written on this piece. I had thought it was closer to 80k, but apparently I was off just a bit. I haven’t read over this piece since I put the pen down, and I already feel bad for my beta reader who will be tackling this raw, unrevised version. Of course, we’ll be trading pieces, so we will both be struggling through it.
    Total Word Count: 92,281
  • Ghosts of Pikes Peak – Edit
    Supernatural Action
    Nanowrimo – November 2013
    I was a nano rebel this year and put in 50 hours of editing work instead of writing another new novel from scratch. I literally just finished editing this piece last week, and I’m pretty pleased with how it’s turned out. I’m putting it on the shelf for a month or so, then I’ll do a final read through before handing it off to my beta reader to look over. After that I plan to start sending it around.
    Total Added Word Count: 26,857
  • Untitled Werewolf Short Story
    Dystopian Steampunk Horror
    I’m hesitant to call this a short story because when I read over it recently, it felt far too rushed to be squeezed into that format. I really felt like I could slow it down and drag out the details far more for a rather intense novel. The main thing holding me back from jumping into this kind of rewriting is that I already have some other finished pieces on the table, plus the tone requires a certain bleak mindset. It is a dystopia after all. Yet another novel that wants to be written. It appears I’m making a collection
    Total Word Count: 11,915
  • Untitled Thief Novel
    Fantasy Action
    I’ve had this idea stewing in the back of my mind for quite a while, since April I believe, and I think it’ll be the next writing I take on. I need to sit down and flesh out the details of course and get a better handle on the characters, but the concept makes me excited just thinking about it. I think I’ll prioritize this over the Werewolf story above just because it’s been waiting so very patiently in the corner and I don’t want it to get bored and walk off.

Overall Word Count for 2013:

Manuscript Action Plans for 2014

  • Finish up Ghosts of Pikes Peak and start querying.
  • Do some major edits on Madam Cloom’s Garden. Get it ready to query.
  • Write the Untitled Thief Novel.
  • Rewrite the Untitled Werewolf story.
  • Light edits and post my YGO fanfic.

What does your writing to-do list look like? How many manuscripts do you have sitting on the table waiting for you to tackle? Please tell me I’m not alone in having multiple pieces I’m juggling at one time.

2012 Wrap Up!

Happy New Year!

Another year has come and gone, and I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on some of the good and bad of last year. At least as far as writing is concerned. I got quite a word count for 2012 (for me at least!), but as you’ll see plenty of other areas got neglected along the way. So let’s start on a high note. How about that word count for the year?

Not too shabby, right? Though I have to admit that most of that count is from the June Camp Nanowrimo and November Nanowrimo I won. The less glamorous fact is that neither of those novels is finished. Secrets of Leekston is over 100k at the moment and even though I’m in the final few chapters, it’s tough to bring down. Plenty of characters with numerous motivations makes for tons of decisions to make. Smoke and Witchcraft is nearly finished too, though the trouble I ran into with that tale is the diverting storyline. Characters split up into multiple directions, and the antagonists of the story are particularly difficult to write since I try to give them real motivation.

I definitely was more productive with writing last year, but not so much in the reading department. In fact, Goodreads let me know that I was quite a few books shy of my goal last year. I had hoped to read 20 books last year and only read 6. Yes, I’m notoriously slow when it comes to reading. I’ve considered purchasing more audiobooks for my daily commutes, but they’re just so expensive.

In other news, I’ve signed up to Scribophile and have really enjoyed how this community works! I’ve gotten some very helpful feedback on Ghosts of Pikes Peak and I feel like I’ll be ready to start submitting it to agents soon. It’s amazing how having other folks look over your work helps to work out the bugs. I did quite a bit of research on the site before finally trying out a free account for a few weeks. I ended up finding it so helpful that I got an annual account as well. Once Ghosts is up to speed, I’ll probably do a round of edits on Suzie’s Nightmare one last time. That will give me two completed manuscripts to ship around with two nearly completed sequels. Not too shabby for the new year!

In the publications department, “The Mysterious Disappearance of Charlene Kerringer” got picked up for The Zharmae Publishing Press’s RealLies anthology which is due out February 1st. I’ll be giving more attention to that amazing collection in a later post, but it’s definitely one of the things I’m most proud of from last year. That story would always get excellent feedback from publishers, but would be considered too long (at 9,900 words, it’s understandable) or that it wouldn’t quite fit. Very pleased to have it picked up. The story had quite a bit of competition, and although it was in the top 15 to begin with, it ended up getting pushed to a lower ranking. My guess it was simply too long and it had to get put in the second anthology instead.

Overall it’s been a great year. This year I’m hoping to start querying agents for my two novels and to finish up their straggling sequels. Not an impossible task, but it does seem pretty daunting at the moment.

What are your writing/editing/publishing goals for 2013?