2013 Year End

Hello friends,

Hope the New Year is starting off well for you. I’ve avoided posting my year-end stats for a bit because I didn’t make any of my goals, but this blog does help keep me accountable, so here goes:

-My word count goal was to write over 200,000 words. According to my records, I wrote 104,314. More than last year, but still far below my goal. Ouch. Part of this was probably because of the extensive revisions to my novel, which I don’t figure into word count. In 2014, I’m going to try for 150,000, which should include writing at least one new novel and several short stories.

-My submissions goal was 60 submissions. According to my records, I made 44. Better than last year, but still quite below target. Of these, three were accepted: Every Day Fiction, Kazka Press, and the BSFS Amateur Writing Contest. I got a lot of rejections.

-Although I didn’t meet my goal of halting the time-sucking powers of the internet, I think that this is where I was most successful, mainly because of North Korea. Yes, my next book will have a (fantasy) government loosely based on North Korea, which I find extremely fascinating and have devoted many hours of research time. My husband and I are thinking about a trip to South Korea in April, and I’m really excited to visit the DMZ (he managed to talk me out of visiting Pyongyang, probably a good thing).

In other news, we have (after seven months of active looking) found a house! We’ll be moving to Columbia, Maryland, at the end of February, so long as everything goes okay at closing. So glad to finally have a home we can call our own and get settled down. In many ways, this past year and a half feels like we’ve been caught in a holding pattern: we never put up all our pictures on the walls, never unpacked all of our boxes, and never made a real attempt to find new friends, since we knew we could move at any point. And we managed to stay within budget, which is quite a relief after looking at too many super expensive, super old houses around Bethesda. Whew.

Until next time!

Novel finished (mostly)

Hello friends,

It has been a long time, hope you are well! I’ll post again next week with my 2013 year-in-review, but for now I thought I should give an update on the novel progress: it’s finished. Mostly. And it has a name: “The Color Plagues”.

My readers, especially the talented Kristin Hooper, did a really excellent job of identifying problems that seem obvious in retrospect. I owe them many thanks, and the novel is much stronger for their input.

A few things that I learned during the process of writing my first novel:

1.) I need to plan better in advance. I am not a seat-of-the-pants writer. Despite the fact that I wrote a full second draft of this novel, there were still many problems that could’ve been solved by thinking about it more beforehand. For my next novel, I’m planning on trying out the Snowflake Method to keep me more organized. Will report back on how that goes.

2.) If I’m bored while writing a chapter, the reader will also be bored. Yes, it seems obvious, but I honestly didn’t realize it until I started getting reader reactions. From now on, I’m going to make a conscious effort to recognize when I’m bored with what I’m writing, and throw away anything I’m not excited about. No phoning it in!

3.) Writing a novel takes a lot more effort than I had thought. I finished the first draft in under two months, but it took me a lot longer to finish the second draft. Now I know I can write words really fast if I try, but they may not be good words. For this reason, I don’t see NaNoWriMo in my future.

While I have a completed second draft I’m fairly happy about, my writing group (which meets about once a month) is still going through it, so I’ll be making small changes for awhile. I did get the novel into the Strange Chemistry open submissions period (crossing my fingers), but I’ll have to learn how to write a query letter before I can send it to agents and some other publishers. Not looking forward to the query frenzy, I’d rather spend my time writing.

To report back on the yoga studio I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been practicing regularly for a couple months now, and I absolutely love it: Yoga Fusion, if you’re ever in Bethesda. I feel better, I’m sleeping better, and my head is clearer for writing.

That’s all for now, I’ll post again soon with the 2013 year-in-review. Until then!