Monday, January 05, 2004

While wandering through weblogs for the last few days, I have seen that some people have listed both their achievements for 2003 and their goals for 2004. Well, why not? Why not take an honest look at what I've done and what I want to do.

A look back at 2003:

Last year was a good writing year, obviously, but my sales were down. Part of that was due to a run of incredibly bad months, starting with my niece's death and ending (more or less) several months later with me in the hospital. During that time, several other things went wrong, from the deaths of friends to medical problems. As always, I kept writing... but quite often anything outside of losing myself in a new story was impossible. That meant serious editing was out. I managed to put out my two submissions a month, but I'm not surprised I made so few sales from them.

But still... I wrote eight new novels (my first drafts are often quite short but they all reached more than the SFWA guidelines for novel), two novellas, six novelettes and fourteen short stories. I also wrote eight outlines of at least 3000 words, and a couple of them quite longer. Seven of the outlines correspond to the books I wrote in 2003, but one is for the book that I am working on now. I wrote over one million words in 2003, so I have nothing to complain about there.

I sold seven pieces, placed two in non-paying markets, had thirteen rejects, and an additional four pieces that were dropped because the publishers closed. I still have six pieces out (and a couple of those I had better check on).

The novels I wrote were:

Gathering (Book 7, Dark Staff) (fantasy)
Hope in Hell (Book 8, Dark Staff) (fantasy)
Glory (Near future post apocalyptic fantasy)
Ruins (Contemporary mystery/adventure)
Badlands (SF)
Ada Nish Pura 2 (SF)
Mirrors (Urban fantasy)
Journey to Winter (Fantasy)

You know, now that I've listed them out and can see the titles, I realize that isn't a bad set of novels at all. The first two are already sold. When I finished Ada Nish Pura 2, I decided that rather than work at making it considerably longer, I would meld it into Ada Nish Pura 1 and make one novel. I read through it a few months ago and was very pleased. Mirrors and Journey to Winter are the novels I wrote for NaNoWriMo in 2003, and I like both of them.

All of these works are in the rewrite/edit queue now, and I can't say when I'll get to any of them, except that I hope to do the work on Glory early in 2004.

The shorter material I wrote in 2003 ranged all over the place as well. I had hoped to write one short story a week last year, but that possibility disappeared when everything went to hell. I would like to try it this year... but I just have way too much other stuff going on.

Looking at the list of novels, I'm very pleased. There's not one of them that I would consign to the files and never look at again. In fact, that has given me more hope for edit/rewrite and submission this year than I had before I looked at the list.

A look ahead at 2004:

This is a year of change for me. With the work at Forward Motion, and the other non-writing projects that I have, I realized that I needed to cut back on my word count. This year I plan on doing about 500,000 words. I'm not entirely certain how that will work out in the number of items I produce, though. I had hoped to write more short stories this year, but I know that I will also write several novels -- at least three or four that are already scheduled...

I am already working on my first novel of the year -- Farstep Station -- and my first short story -- At the Edge. I have already posted a Vision Issue for this year, and I have started the novel writing program.

I've also started editing my mystery novel, Muse. I wrote it a couple years ago, and I think I'm finally getting a handle on the problems that need to be addressed.

I intend to do more editing this year than I have in the past, as well as submitting of novels. I've already edited one short story, and I'm looking for a place to send it off. I am working slowly through Muse, but once I get into the swing of things, I think it's going to go faster.

Really, none of this looks overwhelming. I'm going to enjoy this year. But then... as far as writing goes, I always do. (grin)

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