Mar 22, 2010

Plan of Attack

Every week I assess what I've accomplished and where I need to go. I make a plan with adjustments as needed to keep me going, keep me fired up and make the end goal seem attainable. Like telling myself just because I added chapters again, does not put the end any farther off. I still have to cover the same ground no matter how many chapters I put it in. Or, how few.

Last week, I got back into conentrating mostly on my WIP [novel#2]. I did all right. The final action sequence should begin tomorrow [after polishing up chapter 65, which I knocked out this morning - yaay me.] After that, I know I have a final confrontation between two characters that has to be played out to unearth another piece of drama. Whether I do a chapter tying up some minor plots in additon to a final chapter remains undecided. It will come to me as I'm writing it out what the story needs. It does not change the plan for the plot, it's just a matter of how I decide to execute it.

I sent out a couple of submissions last week. Should have the revised, "Semper Audacia" ready to start going out very shortly. I'm filtering it through a couple more critics before I do.

My critique group met on Saturday. They had some good suggestions to make the piece better and a little stronger. I input those yesterday. Some of their input resulted in me creating a new self-filter when editing. Part of a critique group's beauty is letting you hone your craft. I keep asking for feedback as a reader lately. That's what I'm needing in this equation.

I feel it's another piece of the puzzle in place now. Hard as it is sometimes, as writers we need that steady stream of honesty. My group is very talented. I learn from reading their stuff as well as their comments on my stuff. Everyone has their strengths and things they're really good at. We all write different genres and have different styles. That diversity is actually a good thing.

My biggest strength is description. Perhaps that's why I gravitated toward science fiction and speculative fiction. It requires a certian amount of description that I'd be forced to leave unwritten in other genres. You can't really create an alien world without it. I have noticed I tend to write for aliens on alien worlds a lot. Obviously, I enjoy it.

'Surreal' and '2001' were mentioned Saturday, which thrilled me. 2001 is one of my all-time favorite stories and I strive to capture some of that wonder whenever I write. So, guess I achieved that goal. Woot! Arthur C. Clarke is an idol of mine. He wrote some of my favorites that I read over and over.

The next novel is set in present-day Earth, so that will be quite a change of pace for me. I'm using the mountain the observatory is on as the setting. So, it's also a place I know pretty well. I intend to use some real history with it. Other than that, it will be purely fiction.

At any rate, my plan this week is to get my synopses done and e-mailed. My talented colleague, Paty Jager, agreed to give me feed back for synopses on novel#1 and novel#2. She is giving the workshop on April 10 for getting proposal packets together for novels. I need the help. I know my first query was a disaster. I will do much better this time with her guidance, I'm sure. So, I need to get chapters 1-3 of novel#1 in shape for that, too.

I want to try and complete novel#2 this week. At the latest, next week. That seems reasonable. There's not much left. Then I will take a small break - days or maybe a whole week - from the novels. I have a half-written short to finish up and a partially written flash fiction. Then I shall print out novel#1. Yeah, the whole thing. And, read it from beginning to end, trying to resist the urge to tweak and edit. I need the prespective of reading it from cover to cover before I start hacking at it.

I don't know how long it will take me to revise novel#1, but I estimate anywher from 1-3 months. I give the same time frame to novel#2, which I will go at after I finish polishing up the first. I hope to be done with both of them by early fall and start on the new novel. That's the plan. We'll see how it goes.

In the meantime, I need to find myself more time in the afternoons for the business end of this gig. Some days it's easier than others. I suppose I'm going to have to work with that and formulate something more organized and effective.

There's a lot to know and learn in this business. I need time to devote to that, too. More structured time than I have given it to-date. OK, so I shall try to do that.

How are your plans coming along?