Hello Friends and welcome back.
I hope that you are staying as safe and healthy as possible. Today I wanted to share my goals for the first quarter of 2021. I have completed drafting a side project that I started on a whim – it’s a young adult novel that’s a modern-day retelling of Cinderella. I’m interested to reread it in a few weeks to see if it’s something that I would be willing to spend about a year of my life revising and reworking for publication or if maybe it was a fun project that tided me over during a really rough season of life but would need to be shelved.
My focus for the first quarter is on writing more words and reading lots of books. Roughly, the plan is as follows:
Goal # 1 – Complete Drafting the Serial News Duology
Some of you who have stuck around for a while know that last July, I began drafting my serial killer novel that I have tentatively titled Serial News. As I was drafting, I was already able to envision the prequel. That particular story might have finished, but there was so much flashback that seemed to warrant a whole novel of its own rather than leaving the current novel bloated. I kept feeling the pull to tell the whole story before, and not just in snippets.
It became clear about a quarter of the way through the initial drafting in July that it would work better as two novels rather than having to end up cutting a ton of material. I don’t know if after revision if I’ll have a different opinion, but for now I am drafting this as a duology (with the potential for my detective to maybe come back for more stories later – we’ll see!).
With that decision, I ended up taking a break to reoutline the stories in order to make sure that I had enough material to cover two novels of roughly 90,000 words each. I ended up reworking some huge plot points and then I let the outline sit while I drafted the young adult novel in November (a decision made on a whim – I originally wasn’t going to participate in Nano in 2020 but apparently I can’t resist the pull!). I am treating this as one big project rather than two separate projects at this point, because they do go together.
I’m hoping to write the last 40,000ish words by the middle of February and be able to mark that first draft completed.
Goal # 2 – Reoutline Autumn Sunrise using the Save the Cat Beat Sheets
Those of you who have been reading for a while know that I spent the first half of last year going through a pretty extensive and exhaustive revision of my thriller, Autumn Sunrise. While I am really proud of the work that I did, I have been giving a lot of thought to the book and I am not fully satisfied with were it is at. While I had hoped to have it in beta readers’ hands by now, the draft is sitting for now.
I am passionate about this book. I have spent countless hours working and refining the project. I am still fired up about one day seeing it in print. And for that reason, I want to go through and essentially re-plot the novel out from scratch using the Save the Cat beat sheets. I’m hoping that I find that my story fits the structure it should, however, I am anticipating that there may need to be a few changes.
This project is continuing to move forward – I don’t feel as if I am starting over as most of what I have is very workable. However, I do anticipate that there will be a few huge sweeping changes that need to be made. I want to present the best book I can (without tweaking it forever and ever – I do intend to publish it!). As the months have passed and I have worked on other projects, it became clear to me that it would benefit me to re-outline the novel before the next revision.
Goal # 3 – Publish 12 Blog Posts
This goal is pretty understandable and clear. I want to publish at least one blog post every week. I really enjoy sharing my life and my writing with you. I enjoy connecting with other writers and everyone who reads this little blog.
It’s easy to fall off the routine of blogging – last year I got caught up in all the drafting and revising that I let this blog sit. I know I have several series that were in progress that I need to finish up (novel revision, story planning, etc.). I am so excited to get those finished up as well as share some exciting other reading and writing-related content.
Goal # 4 – Read Twenty Books, Five Non-Fiction Minimum
This year is going to be very heavy on the reading, though maybe not the first quarter. My goal for January-March is to read at least twenty books, five of those non-fiction. I’m already off to a great start on this goal – I have completed four books so far in 2020, two of which are non-fiction.
However, I do know that this first quarter is going to be pretty writing-heavy with completing the Serial News draft(s) and then re-plotting Autumn Sunrise. I also am finishing up my Master’s program so that will seriously take up some of my time as well.
Goal # 5 – Write at Least 200,000 New Words
My goal for the first quarter of the year is to write at least 200,000 new words. With finishing up the drafts of serial news, writing a blog post a week, and anticipating writing new words in the replotted outline for Autumn Sunrise (and possibly draft depending on how quickly I move through the plotting work), I feel that this is a very doable goal for me. It’s a little ambitious, considering that it works out to about 15,555 words a week but it’s a challenge that I feel comfortable taking on.
That’s it for my quarter one goals. Let me know what you’ll be working on this first quarter, I’d love to know!