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Archive for January 3rd, 2008

My Janus impersonation

It’s Evaluation Day here at Chez Rotundo.  Time to assess my 2007 goals, and set new ones for 2008.

The Year That Was
Output

New fiction:  91,300 words.  That’s Petra, plus one short story.

Blog entries:  25,200 words. 

Total new verbiage:  116,500 words.

Rewrites:  96,300 words.*  (Rewrites of Petra and a novelette from last year.)

Submissions

65, including novel queries.  10 are still pending.

Rejections

65.  Funny coincidence, given that this number includes some submissions from 2006.

Sales

Just 2–a reprint of “Black Boxes” to Prime Codex, which appeared in May, and “The Frankenstein Diaries” to IGMS, due out later this year.  Paltry compared to many, but I’m quite tickled with both of them.  The Prime Codex sale was my first reprint, and IGMS is my third qualifying SFWA pro sale.

Contests

Two quarterfinalist finishes in WotF, and a third place finish in the Codex Halloween Contest. 

* It’s worth noting that using word counts to track rewrite progress is a tricky proposition, at best.  That’s why I’ve excluded this number from the total word tally.

Assessment

My #1 goal for 2007 was to write a first draft of Petra.  I’m very pleased to have completed two drafts.  By comparison, the first two drafts of my first two novels took three years each.

My other goals were to get my second novel, The Watermasters, back into circulation, continue marketing my short work, continue with weekly progress reports, maintain better focus at the keyboard, and improve my record-keeping.  I managed to hit most of these, though I continue to struggle with focus.  After going great guns through May, much of my summer was somewhat less than stellar.  With better focus, I could have easily broken 100K in new fiction last year.

Nonetheless, 2007 was a big improvement over 2006 in just about every category.  I’ve proved to myself that I can be a real writer.  Experimentations with process, documented at length in my progress reports, taught me that I can produce at a much faster clip than I ever had.  I also learned that I can write a novel (albeit a short one) with minimal outlining and no clear ending.  And finally, I think I can safely say I’ve internalized enough of the craft that I can now focus on the macro rather than the micro–in the first draft, anyway.  These are all important developments.

I turned 40 last year, and as we old-timers are wont to do, I’ve spent some time considering where I am.  I’m certainly not where I thought I would be.  I had hoped to have amassed a substantial body of work by now, and to be well ensconced in a writing career.  This would be cause for despair but for the progress I made in 2007.  Hey, if I can write a novel a year from here on out, I can leave behind some 30 or 40 when I finally shuffle off this mortal coil–assuming the actuaries are right, and I don’t get hit by a bus.  Not too shabby.

That said, it’s time to look ahead.

Goals for 2008

1.  Write 100,000 words of new fiction.  Ideally, the bulk of this will come from a new novel, the follow-up to Petra.  As soon as I figure out what that novel’s going to be about.  I have one or two short stories nagging at me, too.

2.  Get Petra into submission shape and put it on the market, out there with The Watermasters.

3.  Continue marketing my short work.

4.  Continue with weekly progress reports.

5.  Focus!

6.  Improve my self-promotion efforts.  This entails getting on program at cons, getting my website up and running, and generally raising my visibility in the field.  (I’m pleased to report that I’m already on program for a new local con, OSFest, coming in July.)

7.  Critique more.  I did precious little critiquing last year.  This must improve.  Writing crits keeps my editor brain sharp.  And I can’t very well expect people to crit my work without some reciprocity, can I?

OK.  Looks like my work’s cut out for me.  Better get cracking!