Category Archives: News
If you’ve been around these parts for any time at all, you know I LOVE goal-setting. I wrote a whole post on goal-journaling just recently (read it here). So why in the world would I choose to set no goals at all? I’ll tell you, just as soon as I review my goals from 2012 and see how I did. Or you can, you know, scrolllll down, but then you’d miss all my pretty check-marks.
2012 Author Goals:
- Finish draft 12 of Molten √
- Proofread-via-Kindle Molten √
- Query Molten √
- Edit DEMOLITION √
- Proofread-via-Kindle DEMOLITION √
- Write query & synopsis for DEMOLITION √
- Submit/query DEMOLITION √
- Send at least 3 queries/mo (total of 33+) √
- Write, edit, and submit for publication at least one short story √
- Draft a new project √
- And, of course, continue to build author-related relationships via social networking & blog √
- Reading goal: Read 50 books (having never before counted my reads, this may turn out to be an insane goal for me; we’ll see). X (I finished 32 books + read a sizeable portion of 14 more.)
See? Lots of pretty check marks. *pats self on back* Did you meet your goals? *pats you on the back, as well* *pats you on the back if you even set goals and tried to meet them*
I had one last goal for 2012: At the beginning of Dec 2012, to meet #10 above, I aimed to write 40,619 words. I did not in fact get all 40,619, but I did write 34,017 for a total of 113,397 and what felt like a finished zero-draft. Yay!
So, obviously goal-setting works for me. Why, then, am I not setting any for 2013?
Because I feel like 2012 holds Things–yes, “things” is a vague word–I can’t even envision yet. Because of my relationship to my word, if I set goals I’ll feel compelled to meet them, even if the task at hand is different. So. I’m gonna wing it. Maybe I’ll set goals later in the year, as I start to get a better sense of my unfolding author’s journey. For now, I will say this: I would love for this to be the year where writing deadlines replace writing goals.
What are your goals (writing or otherwise) for 2013? Did you accomplish something in 2012? (Tell me so I can *CHEER*)
Hello! Lots has happened since you heard from me last. One really cool thing: Molten was a semi-finalist in the 2011 Young Adult Novel Discovery Contest hosted by Gotham Writer’s Workshop. The entry consisted of the first 250 words (i.e. the first page) of the manuscript, plus title. That’s it. Being a semi-finalist meant top 23 out of nearly 1000 entries. Pretty cool, no? I think so.
On February 14 I finished draft 15 of Molten. Valentine’s Day FTW! (Finishing on that day turned out to be auspicious and awesome on a personal level as well, but I’m not going to tell that story here. Yet. ) I’ve started querying Molten. You know the drill–I won’t report much on the process until I sign with an agent. (As always, the word “until” is meant as an affirmation, not arrogance.)
As I was finishing up Draft 15, I got a new (better!) idea for how Molten would work without vamps. & I have edited the first 100 pages (about 40% of the ms) accordingly, in case there’s interest. I love the new idea, but my heart is still with the way I originally wrote it (raise your hand if you have an undying–undead?–love of vampires). *raises hand*
My new short story, “Rattlesnake Eyes,” is complete and out for beta-feedback right now.
I’ve begun edits on DEMOLITION, the YA dystopian with heavy romantic elements that I started drafting during 2011 NaNoWriMo. (March turned out to not be official NaNoReVisMo–not sure why I thought it was–so I ended up splitting the month between a variety of projects, rather than just this one.)
& I have a new writing partner with whom I am working on my very first feature-length screenplay! April is Script Frenzy, yo.
I feel very abundant and blessed, both writing- and personal-life-wise. & I am, as always, grateful to have people who care and follow along with my updates.
How are everyone else’s writing and other goals coming along?
Hello, and welcome to 2012. It’s going to be a great year! Do you have your writing (or other) goals/intentions articulated, yet? Here are mine.
FOCUS–2012 is going to be all about nurturing my creativity. My focus can be summed up thus: Don’t try; just be yourself. & don’t give up. Trust the characters, the story, and your creative process. (Stay tuned for related Molten update, at the end of this post.) Without further ado…
Author Goals 2012:
- Finish draft 12 of Molten
- Proofread-via-Kindle Molten
- Query Molten—at least 3/mo (total of 33 in 2012), or until I sign with literary agent
- Edit YA dystopian WIP
- Send draft 3 (or 4) of dystopian to betas
- Edit dystopian post-beta-feedback (no more than 3 additional drafts)
- Proofread-via-Kindle dystopian
- Book proposal for dystopian
- Submit/query dystopian
- Write, edit, and submit for publication at least one short story
- Draft a new novel
- And, of course, continue to build author-related relationships via social networking & blog
- Reading goal: Read 50 books (having never before counted my reads, this may turn out to be an insane goal for me; we’ll see)
1st Quarter Author Goals:
- Finish draft 13 of Molten
- Proofread-via-Kindle Molten
- 5-10 personalized queries for Molten
- (Optional) Draft creepy short story
- Send first round Molten queries
- (Optional) Synop for Molten
- Read straight through dystopian SNP
- Synop of dystopian (for me)
- Draft 2 of dystopian—structural + (optional) fill in blank spaces
- Draft 3 of dystopian—edit text all the way through (Beta-review draft)
- Send second round Molten queries
Peeking ahead to the 2nd quarter: While dystopian is with betas, write pitch & synop. Submit/pitch/query dystopian by end of May, at latest.
I planned to tell a long story about how I came to the realization I’m about to share, but I’ve been journaling all day and I’m tired, so I’ll just share the essence. On Jan 31–in other words, last year, but also just yesterday–I had a conversation with the hero of Molten. And he says he’s a vampire. The de-vamped experiment is thus over. I got three things out of the experiment: 1. I wished I’d written in present tense; I no longer do. I like the past-tense version. 2. I wasn’t sure I’d gotten up all the metaphorical bones of the story. After reviewing the novel, I’ve filled in the holes I found, but for the most part those were small. It hangs together as a whole. So well, in fact, that I havn’t been able to make the de-vamped plot work. 3. I’d come to doubt my choice to write a vampire book at this time. I no longer do. This is the story that came to me, and the story I want to write. I knew that when I started, and it’s good to be reminded. Molten is, in essence, a about a guy who will not give up on that which he loves. How can I do any less for him and his story?
This decision is reflected in the goals above. I ache a little about it–for the character possibilities I saw that will now never live, at least not in this book–but I think the ache is just part of the process.I remain, as always, willing to be wrong about this. If an epiphany to the contrary strikes, I’ll get back to you .
[Update, March 28, 2012: You know how I said I was willing to be wrong? Well Shortly after writing this, I began to dream about the de-vamped version, and I realized I had missed something obvious. There is an alternate vamp-free plot hiding in there, it just isn't exactly what I tried before. The best part is that since the changes come out of the Molten universe, they are fairly straightforward. For the bulk of the book, the words can stay the same, especially since I'm sticking with past tense. I did some more editing and now have the first 100 pages of this version available as well.]
p.s. Oh! I just realized I forgot to share a token person goal. Want to know what I’ll be up to in 2012? Well, I’d like to go on at least one in-person date. Wish me luck!
Hi, all. Ready to wish adieu to 2011? I am. Starting with a review of the goals I set 365 days ago. (Original goal in black, notes in orange.)
1. Revise Book 1 and have it proofread. √ <– by which I mean, “check,” not “square root”
2. Query at least 3 agents/month until I gain representation. This goal is still in the works, so I’ll just sum it up by giving myself a √. Agent feedback prompted me to return to the manuscript to a) edit again for a stronger (quicker) opening, & b) see if the book can be re-written without the vampires.
Write Book 2. I wrote about 40K on this book, 20K of which I figured was usable, and which I also edited. Then I put it aside to attend to the above edits, especially since if I end up going with the de-vamped version, this sequel is unlikely to work.
Make money in writerly and writing-friendly ways. (Still clarifying the shape(s) this will take. In addition to novels, possibilities include coaching and copywriting.) Attempted. Got a job for a resume writing company. Hated it–felt it took mental energy from my novels. Decided to revaluate my budget to avoid need of this extra job.
5. Upgrade my website. √ Tried two new versions, actually. I <3 this one. Pretty, no?
6. Continue social networking. √
(Optional) Edit Book 2.
(Optional) Write, edit, and submit “experiment project.” This beginning of this project is in the metaphorical drawer. Maybe it’ll come out some day, maybe not.
In my mid-year goal review, I replaced this goal with “Draft YA dystopian Shiny New Project.” For this I get a √. Thanks to NaNoWriMo for getting me started. Thanks to me for finishing. *patting self on back*
9. Read good novels. √
My favorite reads of 2011: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead (yes, I know I’m a bit late in reading this,) the Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong, & The Willows: Havenby Hope Collier.
On Goodreads? Compare favorite books with me at Goodreads.com/layla_messner.
Lastly, the two personal goalsI mentioned: “deep-self-listening practice” & “wear perfume.” √√ Two resounding successes.
Stay tuned tomorrow for 2012 Writing Goals and, in the meantime *sets off fireworks* enjoy the party.
p.s. My writing highlight of 2011: meeting 2500 wds/weekday goals from Nov 1 through Dec 20. What about you?
Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it. *rubs hands together* Where to start?
1. NaNoWriMo: I wrote 57K words this November. Rah!!
Aprox 10K of those were for Molten (vamped and de-vamped), the balance were my SNP (shiny new project)–the YA dystopian idea that came to my on my camping trip this past summer.
2. 2500 words/day. Since Nov 1, I’ve written at least that many words each weekday, with only two exceptions (the day I moved rooms, and the day I wrote extra words the day before.) *proudness*
3. I’ve been running 5 days/week, and doing quick AM Pilates 6 days/week for three weeks. *more proudness*
4. (This isn’t really an accomplishment, but) I ready The Now Habit: A strategic program for overcoming procrastination and enjoying guilt-free play, by Neil Fiore
It’s awesome, and I completely recommend it. *big thumbs up*
Molten vamped/de-vamped update:
Remember how I’m playing around with de-vamping (taking the vampires out of) my first novel, Molten? I originally thought I’d use the first 20-30K of the vamped version and basically write the rest of the book from scratch. I planned to use NaNo to draft all those extra words, and I started November with that intention. Well, after a week of re-writing the same few scenes, it became obvious that I don’t have that many new words for this projet. If the re-write is going to work it’s got to be a pretty much direct replacement (vamps out, other plot point in) using the words I already have. I look forward to seeing what happens.
In the meantime, while continuing to draft the dystopian project, I’m chipping away at the last few edits on the vamped version with a tighter beginning. Soon that will be ready to go back out on query. Yay!
Writing Goals & Self-imposed Deadlines:
Dec 21: 80K on Dystopian. Or finish draft 1, whichever comes first. (I’d love to finish, just to say I wrote* a book this year. But in the greater scheme of things more words is better, because I cut a LOT when I edit. Of course, if I write a bunch more just to boost the word count, I’ll just end up cutting it. So I’ll write until I run out of plot.)
* Where “wrote” = drafted.
**optional** Dec 21: Complete final edits on vamped version of Molten.
Dec 22-Jan 1: VACATION!
Jan 13: First draft of Dystopian finished. (This leaves aprox. 6 weeks of “sitting” time before NaNoRevisMo.)
Jan 31: Vamped Molten proofread + one round (5-10) highly personalized queries ready.
**optional** Jan 31: 1st 50 pages polished of De-vamped version.
Feb: Work on De-vamped re-write Draft 1
March: NaNoRevisMo – Dystopian
Well, there you have it. What is everyone else up to? Belated congrats to all the NaNo winners!