Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Year Ahead

Ah, 2013 - a new year and a fresh start.  In reality, it's simply another day among a slew of them, but the psychological effect of a new year can be profound.  I have lots to do this year, and I thought I'd list my resolutions for the next 12 months.
(A new day dawns!)
1.  Complete Schism by the end of May.
Okay, this first one is rather ambitious.  Schism will be the next novel I'll write, and it's going to be intense.  It's about a second civil war in the United States, this one along red/blue lines.  Much like the continent of Europe in 1914, I think our country is primed for something dreadful - all it'll take will be the right spark.  Our politicians do everything to hold onto power rather than govern, aided by increasingly fringe interest groups.  Our people yell at each other rather than converse, and a stray political comment can cost you friends you've had for most of your life.  Each side has become more and more entrenched and unwilling to give ground, and each side believes the other doesn't have the stomach to stick it out.  I hope to write a political action/thriller that will demonstrate a realistic way in which our nation could plunge itself into the dark days we experienced 150 years ago.

I have a great deal of personal stuff going on early this summer, and I'm not sure how much time I'll have to write.  Therefore, I plan to spend most of my free time writing now.  I have the first 40 or so pages outlined, and although I have no idea how it's going to end, I'm excited to find out.  In fact, I haven't been this excited about writing a novel since I began Salvation Day.

Speaking of Salvation Day...

2.  Write the next novel in the Salvation Day Series by the end of the year.
The world of Mike Faulkner is one I know well, and I was extremely satisfied with how the first book turned out.  Unfortunately, this goal may be even more ambitious than my first since I have no idea which direction the next novel will take.

I've intentionally not thought much about it since too many ideas in my head at once tend to distract me.  However, I know how the book begins, and I'm hoping to use that as a jumping off point to finish it before next December 31st.

At the same time, I won't lie and say I feel no pressure when contemplating that story.  Not to be immodest, but Salvation Day is far and away my best novel, and the emotional punch it packs is intense.  I will have fun figuring out the next part, but I feel a little bit of trepidation in trying to recapture that magic.  The hardest part will be in not psyching myself out.  I'm certain that the basis exists to create a great tale, so I need to focus on how to develop it and stop worrying it won't measure up.

3.  Enter at least five short story contests.
My next post will be on writing short stories, and those are obviously a different animal than full length novels.  However, I've had a little bit of success in getting attention with shorter pieces, and it's an exercise I enjoy.  Besides helping me get better by forcing me to focus, I plan for the 10th book I release to be a collection of short stories(somewhere between 25-30), so I need something to go off of.  The ones I've currently written - around ten - will be in there, but I'll need more to justify selling it to people.

And they don't take very long to write, either.  I can usually do an outline and write a decent one in a day or two, although longer ones have taken as many as four days.  Doing something different allows me to take a break from grinding out a novel...a proverbial leg stretch, so to speak.  If I can do five, possibly winning or placing in two or three, I'll consider that success.

4.  Score more author interviews.
I love interviewing other writers.  Getting perspective from those who've had some success with what they've written always teaches me something about both the business and the craft of writing.  There are several I intend to contact this year, and hopefully not all of them will blow me off.

5.  Fix up my site.
My last post talked about website design, and this year I need to get off my ass and make it happen.  I want to add that bio page, as well as pages devoted specifically to each novel I've written.  This is going to require me to learn some of the technical aspects of this thing called a blog, and my lack of knowledge about how to do so can no longer be an excuse.  I don't know exactly when this year it'll happen, but I promise to make changes that will enhance the site for those who stop by.

6.  Edit two novels.
In the past year, I've finished the first draft of two novels.  However, neither of them is anywhere close to being ready for release.  To start with, Wrongful Death needs a new title, and although several have gone through my head(Accidental Haunting, Accidental Death, Misplaced Anger, etc.), none of them has really caught my fancy.  Then, I need to go through and correct for spelling and grammatical mistakes before finally altering any content that requires it.  I've found this to be an exhausting process that requires focus, meaning I can't be writing anything else during that period.  I expect, based on length, that it'll take me at least a month to do it right for this one.

Canidae is a little different.  I'm still not convinced that's the right title, and I know several parts will require not just spell checking, but revision.  There are awkward parts where I don't feel I captured exactly what I was looking for, so I need to dive back in and bring it around.  However, it's length, twice that of Wrongful Death, will at least double the editing time, and likely require even more.  I love Akeldama and want to get the breathlessness of that story into the new one, so I'll need to re-do parts of it to get there.

This is what I intend for the New Year.  What are your resolutions?


  1. Hi, RD! I can give you instructions on how to put up pages on your site. It's quite simple, but unless you know how to go about it, there's no way to know.

    If you want help, get in touch: loreleibell4@gmail.com

    1. Thanks! I'll probably email you in a day or so. I have to go to Europe on a business trip in a few days, so my Internet access may be spotty next week, but I would definitely appreciate your help.