I had the pleasure last year of being included in this wonderful anthology of Authors and editors who have been published by Fiction River and who do not live inside the borders of the USA. Some of us are American citizens living abroad and others like me have nationality outside the US (I’m Canadian) but write professionally in American publications as well as Canadian ones. Before I go on to say what’s next for me this year I feel obliged to say where I went in 2017 as this bears a lot on 2018.
2017 has been the most successful year for me publication-wise. I had nine pieces of short fiction professionally published and many thanks to the editors of Fiction River for including my work in four of these. I completed a 120,000 word Mythic Fantasy novel called Daughter of Stones, Father of Stars.
I was involved in three story bundles and am currently at work on stories for two more of these. One of these bundles is dear to my heart as the money this bundle earns will go entirely to charity. Stars in the Darkness: Stories of Wisdom, Justice and Love.
Also in 2017, I traveled extensively, several times to the US for conferences, to France (where I broke my wrist in Carcassonne–trust me don’t fight with a castle, it will win every time) to England and to the Riviera Maya. All excellent places to gain experience for story, though some experience was a little over the top. (see snapped radius), though even this has been a learning experience in working with my non-dominant hand.
I had some serious issues with this website, and was unable to blog for a number of months, just long enough to let my wrist heal and get some much needed writing done, but now I am ready to blog again and will start out the year with a tremendous series of interviews with cover artist and writer Alexandra Brandt.
I came to understand also in 2017 that if I hope to up my production, I need to have a better manner of planning forward, thus I spent a deal of time looking at good ways of outlining. Two books were exceptionally helpful: Save the Cat’ by Blake Snyder and the amusing ‘How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method’ by Randy Ingermanson.
Both books showed me that outlining does not have to be tedious and can help a novelist develop a process of structure that can avoid a lot of backtracking and redrafting during the revision process. As a short fiction writer now working her way into the long fiction market, I am excited by the possibilities this opens for me this year.
So what’s next? According to my calendar, a whole bunch of short fiction and at least three manuscripts this year. So how do I plan to write three manuscripts this year. Answer is one word at a time, but also by getting out of my own way (blog post on that to come).
My plans are to finish my final revisions on my fantasy novel Daughter of Stones, Father of Stars by the end of this month and get it sent to the editors who have requested a read. I have defined my work process on a calendar so I know what and where my deadlines are (subject of course to unavoidable disruptions–see broken wrist.) Some of what I put on my calendar are personal writing deadlines. Some are deadlines structured by editors and others are defined by travel and family time. Making deadlines is an amazing way to see on a board how much potential there is in a year to complete work.
Here’s an example: I knew I was going to write at least four short stories during the month of January for a specific challenge I had been set and accepted. One story per week for 4 weeks. Therefore, I could mark out on my calendar what that might look like per week and figure out how much time I could spend each day on story writing. (take my word for it. sitting on my hiney for hours at a time is not the way to go. It’s hard on the back and gets you hangry so I try to do my writing in the morning and by using any method I can to get out of my own way and write fast.)
In the last week for instance I was able to do my short story on the morning of three days and that gave me four whole days to work on outlining for my next long manuscript. Having a structure allowed for things like dentist appointments and trips with family to be added in. The structure was there so I could see what had to be done and how to do it. All I had to do was open my toolbox of ideas and get busy (How to do this will be the subject of a future blog post.)
So, how are you planning out your coming writing year and do you feel you had success in 2017? I would be interested in hearing of some of the things that are working for you in your what’s next.