Friday, May 25, 2012

The Long View Project

A moment of revelation in chat the other day has created a wonderful, long term (the next five years) project for me.

I started my first original science fiction trilogy (Sooma), when I was 13. I had been writing other original material with my friend, Linda, but this was the first set of stories totally my own and not fanfiction. No, you will never see the books. But oh, how I remember the giddy feeling of creating everything out of my head. I haven't stopped writing since.

That was 45 years ago.

Yes, you can do the math. Shocks me, too. But we are really the age in our heads, not our bodies, you know. I'm still in my 20's or 30's. I haven't lost that 'oh this is fun!' feeling. I don't intend to, or the feeling that things will get better.

But that's not the point.

I have been writing for 45 years. In five years I'll have been writing for 50 years. For about 30 of those years I still believed the teacher who told me I would never publish unless I had a college education, so I wrote for myself and my friends. Things changed finally with the help of my husband and Holly Lisle, and I began selling quite well for awhile, at least to small press and electronic markets.

Then I spent time concentrating on going 'big' only to finally realize I was not writing for the big market. I wasn't interested in most of the books on the shelves so how was I going to fit into there? I kept getting 'well-written, interesting story, not what we're publishing now' rejections.

Time to go Indie. And for the last two years, I've been having a great time. Right now I have 16 novels published -- 7 through ACOA (Indie), 8 through Double Dragon and 1 through Writer's Exchange. If I add in the nonfiction there are at least two more, but for the moment I'm going to concentrate on fiction. That's 16 novels.

Okay, so here we are. 45 years. 16 novels published (actually a couple more, but they're either no longer available or going to be republished soon). I have written somewhere around 100 novels in at least first draft form and many of them well past that but not in the final, ready-to-publish draft. I've had a problem there, it seems. It's not the 'oh shiny!' and leap to a new project problem. It's pretty much the opposite 'I'm not ready to let it go' problem.

Time to push myself a bit harder. Time to focus on final edits and publishing.

I plan to have 50 novels in print by the end of 2018, which will mark my 50th year of writing.

Yes, that's going to be a lot of work. This means finishing the editing on about 8 books a year.

I have a preliminary list of 29 books (bringing the total up to 45) of possibles:

A Plague of Rats (Fantasy)

Badlands (Science Fiction)

Circe's Gifts (Fantasy)

Devlin 1 (Science Fiction)

Devlin 2 (Science Fiction)

Devlin 3 (Science Fiction)

Devlin 4 (Science Fiction)

Glory (Urban Fantasy)

In the Service of the Queen (Fantasy)

Journey to Winter (Fantasy)

Living in Caine's Hold (Science Fiction)

Mirrors (Urban Fantasy)

Mirrors 2 (Urban Fantasy)

Muse (Mystery)

News from the Front (Science Fiction)

Paid in Gold and Blood (Fantasy)

Rat Pirates (Science Fiction)

Resurrection 1: Chance and Change (Science Fiction)*

Ruins (Mystery)

Serendipity Blues (Mystery)

Singer & St. Jude: Lost Cause (Science Fiction)

Summerfield: Autumn Winds (Urban Fantasy)

Summerfield: Winter Warning (Urban Fantasy)*

Vita's Vengeance (Science Fiction)

Waiting for the Last Dance (YA Mystery)

Water/Stone/Light 1 (Fantasy)

Water/Stone/Light 2 (Fantasy)*

Written in the Sand (Fantasy)

Xenation: Draw the Line (Science Fiction)

This is not a set-in-stone list. For instance, the three marked with asterisks have not been written yet, though I plan to have them done this year. (Camp NaNo and November NaNo!) Of all the rest, only two of them (Serendipity Blues, Water/Stone/Light 1) are in first draft format. The rest have all gone through at least one, and sometimes several, rewrites. Yes, really -- I have that 'letting go' problem.

Can I do this? I don't know. I'm not going to rush anything out and edits take more time than writing the original work for me. Devlin 1 is almost ready to go, though. I just got some final information I've been looking for to complete the edits on Waiting for the Last Dance as well. Muse and Ruins were both previously published at Holly's store and I just want to clean them up. The Singer & St. Jude novel is still available from Double Dragon, but we agreed I would take that one back and I plan to do a rewrite and fit it into the IWC (my science fiction universe) time line a bit better. As you can tell from the number, there are other books in this series, but I am not sure I'll get to any of them in the next five years. We'll see.

Yes, this is a crazy project. But I've done well with crazy projects in the past. I'm the person who finishes every story and does so within a year. I write over a million words a year and have for a decade now I think. Time to turn that attention from new to final edits, though.

Time to get serious about publishing the way I am serious about writing. This is the nudge -- okay, shove -- that I think I need.

Will I make it? We have until December 31, 2018 to find out!


J.A. Marlow said...

Yay for pursuing crazy goals! I hope you can make it.

Zette said...

I figure I'll be writing and editing anyway. And I do well with goals . . . even insane ones.

Mr. Grey said...

I thought you were just utterly mad when I heard about your desire to do this goal in the chat-room, but after reading this, I actually feel really proud that you're buckling up and taking on this adversity to publishing.

I wish you all the best! We'll all be there for you should you need us. :)

Zette said...

I am utterly mad. Insane. I'm working out my editing schedule which, if I edit the way I write every day, will not be nearly as bad as I first imagined.

Yeah. Insane.

Catana/Sylvie Mac said...

Sounds perfectly doable. Big goals are important. A life without challenge isn't worth living, especially as you get older. I'm at the opposite end from you, having just started writing fiction a couple of years ago. In five years, I'll be 80, if I'm still around, so my goals are scaled down to my energy levels, and the time available. The important thing is to keep at it.