29th December 2011
It doesn’t feel like so long since I last sat down to write one of these, but it has in fact been almost a year. And what a year! Before I move on to list my goals for 2012, I should take a moment to reflect on 2011’s successes and failures.
It has been a good year for me as a writer. I got my 2010 NaNo novel, Chasing the Taillights, revised and polished in time for the 2011 Text Prize deadline and entered it. I didn’t win, or even final, but having that deadline really kicked my butt to get finished. Since then I’ve queried it and entered contests with it, and have gotten some wonderful feedback even if I haven’t snagged a publishing deal or an agent. The general gist has been that the writing is good, the characters are relatable and the story is emotionally engaging, but it’s too quiet for the current YA market.
I’m just finishing my 3rd or 5th draft of my new novel, The Boyfriend Plague, and feel that it probably has more commercial appeal, even if I don’t love it quite as much as Taillights.
My resolutions begin with that book. I’m closing in on the end of this draft, and hope to have it all done by the time I go to the beach on January 14th. I will wait for feedback from my critique partners and polish, rewrite and edit as needed. Then it will be time to start querying, hopefully by March.
I did finish the draft and I did query widely. I got a lot of requests for fulls and partials, but remain agentless. Unlike querying Taillights, there was no single reason why this one didn't snag the attention. Every rejection I got gave different reasons and they were often in opposition to each other. Which is a little puzzling.... I suspect the book has a number of flaws and different people are picking up on different ones. Anyway, I'm considering this book trunked for now. I just don't love it enough to keep pushing.
If Taillights hasn’t found a home by January 23rd, I will enter it in ABNA. I have entered the past two years, making it to the semi-finals (with Assignment 9) in 2010, but only through the first round in 2011. Taillights is a much better book, so I have to hope I’ll make it further in 2012.
I did enter ABNA, and only made it through the first round again. C'est la vie.... Since I don't have time to polish a pitch for a new book this year, I may re-enter Taillights because I still believe very strongly in that book and think I gave up on it far too easily. I only sent about 20 queries for it before stopping and moving on to my next book, and I don't think that's really enough. I've sent over 60 for The Boyfriend Plague.
I have ideas for two new books that I hope to write in 2012, both of which I’m excited about. Trying to decide which to go with may be a challenge, but I’m pretty certain that by this time next year, both will have been written, if not revised and polished to a high shine.
To be honest, I have no idea what the two ideas I had for books when I wrote this were. I have written and polished one book in 2012 (The Sidewalk's Regrets). My NaNo project remains 3/4 finished and I'm about half-way through another book which I will finish the first draft of soon. I hope to be ready to query Sidewalks early in the new year. I just need to make the query better first.
I intend to remain active and involved with my critique groups. Some of us have come so far in 2011, I’m certain 2012 will be the year many of us break into the big time. As they say, a successful writer is one who didn’t give up. And I’m not giving up. I’ve racked up hundreds of rejections now, if you count the ones for short fiction as well as for novels, but I’m not lying down to die yet. Every project teaches me more about the craft and my own process and I’m eager to continue learning.
I have tried hard to stay active with my groups. I've been a horrible reviewer the past couple of months because the writing has to come first, and with deadlines looming, I've had to write instead of review. I will get back into my reviewing rhythm once I've finished this draft of Ozzy. I've done some beta reading for other writers in 2012, and really enjoyed some of it. While I like the chapter by chapter reviews we do with my crit groups, being able to read the entire book in one or two sittings is great for seeing the shape of a novel.
As always, I’ll resolve to lose weight this year, and as always, I won’t. But I will continue my four-day-a-week gym schedule, mixing up the classes I take so I get a varied program of cardio and weights.
As I expected, I didn't lose weight. But I have been pretty good about going to the gym four times a week and mixing up the classes. So while I don't have the much desired flat belly, I'm certainly fit and toned. So, I guess I have to be happy with that.
And there you have it. Some goals and ambitions for 2012. How about we re-visit mid-year and see how we’re getting along? And then again around this time?
Happy New Year!
How did you get on with your goals in 2012?