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Month: November 2010

Goals for the coming year

Goals for the coming year

Happy New Year! To me, anyway. I track my goals from birthday/WFC to birthday/WFC, so this post is really three weeks overdue.

I met a lot of my goals last year. Not all, but that’s okay, because there were some things that I accomplished that I would never have thought to dream up as a goal, like becoming Assistant Editor at Lightspeed. That, and of course my first sale, were certainly the career high points for me.

My goals last year were pretty ambitious–I had planned two novels, twelve stories, and any number of other things. Over the years much of this blog has been focused on figuring out how I work, and last year I think I finally got it. Here’s some of what I think I’ve learned:

  • It’s not about fast word count for me anymore. I do not produce quality work quickly. It takes me a really long time–usually months–to work out the kinks in a story and make sure that the world it’s set in is internally consistent. This is okay. When I take the time to do that, I can produce professional quality work. When I don’t, I collect rejections.
  • I keep trying to write novels based on ideas instead of on characters functioning in a world where I understand the rules, and I keep failing. I need to understand the people and place before I throw them into a story.
  • I love being a part of Lightspeed. I’m having to give up a lot of commitments lately, but Lightspeed won’t be one of them.

So with all of this in mind, my goals this year are not nearly as lofty as they were last year.

  • Submit one new short story per quarter. That means producing one from start to finish over a period of about six months. I currently have two short stories in progress, one of which might be done by the end of the year, the other probably in the middle of February.
  • Complete research, world-building and character development for the next novel, tentatively titled Temperance. I have a notebook and I’m not afraid to fill it. In fact, I’m not allowing myself to start writing the novel until that notebook is full. I’m giving myself three months to do that. I’ve been brainstorming, scouting locations, taking pictures, going to the library, doing a lot of research online, and I feel like I’m off to a good start.
  • Write the first draft of Temperance.
  • Apply to Taos Toolbox. Applications open in just a couple of weeks. The shift toward noveling and John’s suggestion made me consider Taos as possibly the best move for me right now, since they focus on novels. I might be aiming too high, and we’ll get a repeat of last year where I apply and am not accepted, but I’m going to try.
  • Make a first revision pass at Temperance (with luck, I’ll have workshopped it at Taos. Tentacles crossed.)
  • Keep up with Lightspeed, and help John with a couple of other projects he has lined up

I have to leave some room to write that collaborative novel I was talking about a couple of months ago; the timing hasn’t been right for my collaborator yet, so it’s on the back burner for now. I think these other things are loose enough that I can fit it in whenever their schedule frees up.

So that’s it. Four short stories, a novel, and some assorted minioning. I think that’s pretty attainable. A year seems like a long time, but the past year has flown by so quickly I fully expect that the next one will, too.

Hopefully I’ll look up this time next year and be as satisfied with my progress as I am at this moment. (Who am I kidding, though, right? There will soon be another angst-filled mopey post about what a loser I am. Seems to come with the territory.)

How are your goals coming?

The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2011 Edition, ed Rich Horton

The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2011 Edition, ed Rich Horton

That was the subject of the email that I got from Sean Wallace last night, which I read on my phone while out to dinner with John and the kids. Huh, I thought, how’d I end up on Sean’s mailing list? So I read it, and promptly dropped my phone like it was on fire. I couldn’t speak well enough to explain to the kids what had just happened, so John handed the phone over for them so they could read it themselves.

“The Magician and the Maid and Other Stories” (which you can read here) has been selected for inclusion in Rich Horton’s Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Color me grateful, and gobsmacked. Thanks so much to those who helped me with that story, particularly Danni (best non-writer beta reader in the world), Wendy, my other fellow Inkpunks, and of course my then-editor, John.

(Holy shit.)

Yeah, so…

Yeah, so…

…it’s been a month since I posted. Again. Sorry. There’s been a lot going on. LET’S RECAP, shall we?

My friends started up a group blog aimed at early-career writers. We’re posting on Tuesdays and Fridays, (I think–I’m not the organized one in the group, that’s for damn sure) and taking it in turn. I’m lucky to be part of such a talented, energetic, and encouraging group of people.

The Way of the Wizard site launched. My story and an interview are both available to read free at the site.

World Fantasy Convention has come and gone. It was amazing, in so many ways–John wrangled my family and friends and conspired to throw me a surprise birthday dinner almost immediately after we arrived in Columbus, which was epic. Again, so very grateful to be associated with such kind, creative people. (Thanks to John Remy for taking pictures! I have no presence of mind in those situations.)

I would totally name all of the awesome people I got to see, meet, and hang out with at WFC, but I know I would miss someone hugely important and then I would feel terrible and end up updating this post a hundred times, and nobody wants that.

After a weekend of fellowship, literature, gourmet icecream and way too many of some kind of raspberry-lemon cocktail, I returned to the day job and the sense of total loserdom, having been exposed to so many brilliant and successful writers. That slump lasted most of the week. It ended (briefly, I’m sure) this morning, when I sold another story.

I KNOW. I couldn’t believe it either.

So my story “The Gift” will appear next month in Crossed Genres, which is now edited by the lovely Jaym Gates.

National Novel Writing Month is underway, and I’ve been half-heartedly trying to participate. I’m about 7000 words behind right now, but who knows–with the holiday weekend I might be able to turn it around. Tomorrow is Research Day (which will include the library, chocolate, and possibly sushi. FOR MY ART.)

So that’s the oh-so-tough life of this writer these past few weeks. Enough with the updatery–there’s work to be done.