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State of the Union

This last week of the year is a time for me to clear my desk, organize my files, and decide what I want to do next year.  It’s also a time to look back over the year and try to make adjustments. 

I’d hoped to have Return to Shanhasson out by year end, but that isn’t likely.  I’ll keep you posted on the progress, but things have been delayed due to my publisher’s health.  Hugs to Deena and healing prayers and thoughts!  We’re also working on the print release of The Road to Shanhasson, but again, I’m not sure of the timing.

Vicki’s book is done, finally, and I have one more Connagher book in mind.  Some fans have asked for more about Mama Connagher, so that’s a maybe.  I have a few more revisions to make to Vicki pending beta reads, but I plan to submit her in Jan. after writing the dreaded synopsis.

Lady Doctor Wyre kicks off a new series, so early in 2011 will be preparation and planning the order of upcoming projects.  Some involve Lady Wyre (e.g. Lord Regret’s Price) but others will be completely standalone (set in the same world).  Some are novella length – others full.  Plus I have a free read prequel I’ll be writing early 2011 to share in March.  I expect lots of work in this series next year.

I’m not sure that I’ll be doing a Bloodgate book for awhile.  I’m working on getting some other work submitted to Carina instead.  The downside to writing in this series is the suffocating amount of research and planning that goes into one of these books  (easily months).  I’ve got one plotted but I’m not sure that it’s the best followup book.  I have a better (?) idea that I really like, but haven’t plotted it.  So this series is temporarily on the backburner until I come up with a plan of attack.

Oh, and of course, the new ideas never stop.  I had a new one take over my brain today.  I have at least two other new ideas not connected to anything else currently contracted in progress, both with a tentative due date in 2011.  They may filter up or down depending on contracts and progress in other series.

I’m not going to write up a huge list of resolutions, because I end up changing my plans at least every month, depending on how projects are going, what my editors would like to see, what’s selling the best for me right now, etc.  However, there is something I want to work on in 2011, and that’s defining my process to a point where I can turn an “idea” into a “novella/novel” much quicker.  I love to brainstorm, research, worldbuild, etc. but it can take me months — or in Vicki’s case, the entire year! — to finish the book.  That’s just not acceptable.  I want to turn an idea to book much quicker.

One thing I’m working on this week is a new worksheet designed specifically for shorter works.  I’m targeting several novella-length projects next year, and the method of writing a shorter book is much different.  Sometimes I can’t get my mind wrapped around how long something will actually end up, especially when I hold so much of the plot in my head.  I need a quicker way to get the plot down, out of the abyss of my mind, freeing me up to making words.  If this worksheet helps, I’ll share it.  It’s similar to the ones I shared several years ago when I was working on the first Bloodgate book but much simplier — intended for smaller scope and fewer characters.  I’m tentatively trying it out on the new project (working title Faced) and Phantom, the one I had hoped to be drafting this month.  (But ended up revising Vicki early instead)

Probably the best technique I’ve started using lately:  I’ve always used calendars to help me plan, but jotting a timeline of due dates doesn’t always work.  e.g. I swap Vicki up to work on early in Dec and now my 3-month plan is basically in the trash can.  However, I used sticky notes this time, so I can easily yank that note off the Jan. calendar and move it to Dec. with a nice big check mark, instead of reprinting my calendar.

What about you – any end of the year preparations you’re working on?

4 thoughts on “State of the Union

  1. I really, really, REALLY, want to get the FINAL outline (that I will probably end up not following completely anyway) for Dirge done by Jan 3rd at the latest. Not only because I’m participating in Kait’s writing challenge but because I need to prove to myself that YES, ACTUALLY, I CAN finish an outline. Even if I end up changing my mind half way through the story…I think it helps knowing where I intend to go and how.

    Hope the new worksheet works out! I can’t wrap my head around writing something shorter than a novel, although I would like to attempt a novella someday. :mrgreen:

  2. Shan, you know I’m dying for you to finish Dirge, right? :mrgreen:

    I used to think the same thing. First draft of Rose was over 120K. Shorter works are definitely an entirely different animal. In some ways quicker, but harder, too. Less is more.

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  4. End of the year stuff? Well, there’s the aforementioned Vicki beta… 😉

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