Saturday, December 10, 2011

Plan of Attack

A few days ago I posted my goals for the coming year. Then the group sponsoring the Write 1, Sub 1 Novel Challenge suggested doing a blog chain discussing our plan of attack for the coming year.

Making goals and figuring out how to meet them are two different animals. Making goals is easy. Two years ago I wanted to write 500k in a year. Saying that was easy. Doing it? Not so easy. (In fact, I failed to meet that goal.)

I have my list of goals for the year, now I have to figure out how I'll meet them.

Let's start with the basics. When it comes to meeting writing goals the biggest step forward is to write. Every day. That's one reason why I made goal number four: Write 15k each month. Because when words are going down on paper, that's always a good thing. Setting a specific amount helps me. (I've tried the whole "chapters" or "pages" goals and they don't work as well. I wind up with short chapters and pages of dialogue. Well, that happens anyway but it gets worse if I'm trying to write five chapters a week instead of 3.5k words.)

The next challenge is producing words that are all in order. By that I mean, working toward the end of a single project. That's where goals two and three come into play (Write and submit a longer length project and Polish and submit the unfinished/unedited shorter work from this year). I suffered from a ten year stretch of Shiny-New-Idea-itis, jumping from one project to the next without finishing much and not even attempting to sell the few things I did complete.

If I were simply writing for fun that wouldn't matter. But I'm not. I want to get paid. That means writing. Every day. Then revising and editing. Then hitting up every editor with the finished story until they cry mercy and publish my story.

That just leaves goal number one: Finish and submit the novel-in-progress. This is a huge deal. I've finished drafts of novels before. I've finished four drafts of this particular novel already and they were not up to par. Not for the publishers I want to query. But polishing a 70k manuscript is a big task. (Again, see goal number four.) And once the novel's done, I still have to write the other submission material - query letter, synopsis, etc.

These are all brand new territory for me. And I'm terrified. But I still have a plan. I will write. Every day. Then revise and edit as necessary (this includes the query letter, etc). Then send that sucker out to every publisher (in order since most don't allow sim-sub) until they cry mercy and publish my novel.

If there's one thing I've learned this past year, writing short stories and submitting them over and over again 'til they find a home, it's to never take "no" for an answer. There is a home for my work. There's a home for your work. All you have to do is find it.

In the meantime, write. Every day. Then revise and edit until your story is as good as you can make it. Finally, submit it to any editor who publishes your genre/content and don't stop until they cry mercy and publish your story.


If you want to read more about planning an attack on the publishing world check out Alex Shvartsman's blog post HERE. Up next is Michael Haynes with his own take on making a plan of attack.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Well, it isn't the official beginning of the new year. But I started the Write 1, Sub 1 Novel Challenge in November and thought now was as good a time as any to assess my goals for the coming year.

I've set a number of different writing goals over the past few years: writing a certain number of novels, writing a certain number of words in a year, (and this last year) writing and submitting at least one story per month. Some of these goals I've met, others I've failed miserably.

That is the thing about goals - they need to be something you may not be able to reach, otherwise why set a goal in the first place. So this year, I'm setting writing goals that reflect a number of personal commitments.

Goal Number One: To finish and submit Gaslyte - the novel-in-progress I've been working on since 2008 - by the end of the year.

Goal Number Two: To finish and submit at least one longer length project - 15k or more - by the end of the year.

Goal Number Three: To polish and submit the handful of stories I wrote this year but have languished in my pile of "to edit" projects.

Goal Number Four: To write a minimum of 15k per month.

Even with a limited schedule for writing these are all completely doable, but challenging. They will require me to stay focused on the work at hand - writing.

As you head towards the beginning of another year of writing, what are you planning to accomplish?