New Year’s Resolutions

Well, I suppose I better get into the spirit. It is also a handy way of putting on record my goals (notably in writing).

So here it goes:

  1. Be a more tolerant dad. My daughter has Asperger’s Syndrome and, well, anyone who knows what I and my wife goes through, knows what I mean.
  2. Be a great dad and husband.
  3. Lose weight. I have never been heavier, and so my goal for the year is to lose 20kgs. That’s a tough one.
  4. Read more. As a writer I need to read – one of the cornerstones of being good at the craft (target: 24 books)
  5. Outline Bitter Creek by December 2011 (or perhaps do much more).
  6. Revise The Scepter and the Orb by September 2011 (first Evyntyde novel).
  7. Write 3 additional short stories and finalize/publish my Evyntyde anthology, Tales from the Chronicles of Evyntyde – by June 2011.
  8. Complete first draft of my second Evyntyde novel, Crystal Peak.
  9. Write at least 12 short stories in 2011.
  10. Qualify for membership of the SFWA.
  11. Addendum – write and complete YA Dystopian novela, The Comfort of Beanbags.

Point 10: Here is my Heat Map of getting into SFWA – the easiest path is to publish 3 short stories in recognized magazines etc. When I get three green slices of the circle, I qualify. Legend: Yellow means I am currently submitted to an SFWA mag, not counting green; red means there is a slot I haven’t submitted to, unless green. Green is a success, as stated.

Point: 3: lose 20 kg:

Point 4: Current book reading count: 10 out of 24 (not quite, but close to target)

Point 9: Write 12 short stories: 9 (way ahead of schedule)

Special Time

Yes, I just finished the day job and it is Friday evening. Not going back to work until 5 January. Have some Christmas commitments, and will enjoy time with the family. And I will write, edit, outline, etc. Yes, it is a special time.

Want to finish the high level outline of Bitter Creek. It is starting to take over all my spare time of thinking, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, due to stupidity on my part, I left some of my resource material in a chest that is stored away until my house is built – we are talking July or August 2011. Oh well.

Outlining Bitter Creek

As committed in an earlier post, one of  my tasks running into next year is to outline my long-standing novel concept, whose working title is Bitter Creek. I started today. There is a bit of a history to this story, and I suppose I can reveal a little:

Firstly, it is the oldest, legitimate idea for a novel for me. While the Chronicles of Evyntyde can be traced back to about 25 years ago, when I was about 25, Bitter Creek‘s core idea came to me when I was about 15 years old. That makes it ancient.  I was traveling with my parents in their car and I was staring out of the car window – I certainly was a moody teenager at that age. I saw a bleak countryside, which Australia has a lot of in summer, and I suddenly had a vision – a set of thoughts, concepts, images – what would happen if out of that bleak landscape… and is it possible that it is happening because of…   It was a powerful sequence, perhaps running for about ten minutes, and this inspiration has never left my thoughts. It has been on my list of things to do for at least 5 years.

Now a sad story. About 5 years ago I wrote an outline (typed actually, on a spreadsheet), and despite my fastidiousness with computers, I found a few years later that I lost it. Ugh. I remember a lot, but it hurts – even now. The outline that I am creating is in effect a rework. Thank goodness this was the one and only time I lost data. I have a 3 Terabyte external hard drive to make sure that never happens again!!!

So, of the several things I promised to do over the next twelve months, I have commenced the first.

The tantalizer:

David is an Australian palaeontologist with a remarkable academic record. He is in his forties and has already pretty much done it all. He gave up his amazing position at a prestigious US College and returned home, to enjoy working the field in the Australian desert, which he so much loves. He is digging at Bitter Creek, a South Australian region where an unusual episode, eons ago, changed microbe life from one form to another. Inexplicably, although the theory is that an asteroid event caused it, he, and a former student of his, discover something different indeed, and it was about to impact the entire Earth.

in the meantime, another ex student of his, and a girl he had fallen in love with – which caused the most tumultuous and complicating episode of his life – is now working in Antarctica, and encounters something fantastic, but at the same time deadly, to all life on Earth. She doesn’t know there is a connection with what David had discovered, but she calls for his help.

They reunite and get caught in a global fight for humanity’s survival. Their skills, as esoteric and academic as they are, are called, and become indispensable in the struggle.

Sounds corny without specifics, but it is, in my estimation, unique. I look forward to outlining and writing it.

Novel update

Okay, I have got Guardian of the Sky Realms out of the way, and am very happy indeed.

(Not novels, but what the heck:) My short story anthology set in my world of Evyntyde is coming along nicely. Of my target 19 stories, I have written 16 – so it is a matter of getting inspired and writing them, refining them, and submitting them for publication. I believe that I can get this pretty much finalized by about March next year.

My first novel, the mammoth 220k The Scepter and the Orb, needs to be revised  – not madly, but the simple fact is that I am a much better writer now than when I wrote it. It is a huge investment, of time and spirit, and also represents the core of my Evyntyde mythos – it just has to be published. So… I will be working hard over the next 6 months to revise it. Target: June 2011.

My second novel, also set in Evyntyde, called Crystal Peak, is about two thirds finished. As much as I want to hit it hard I need to finish The Scepter and the Orb first. Patience grasshopper. So I suspect my target for that novel is December 2011.

Then there is this scifi/adventure/set now novel (Crichton style). It has been bubbling in my head for years. I would be happy to writer a good outline by June 2011. Project code name: Bitter Creek.

I am just sure that a sequel to Guardian fo the Sky Realms will pop out some time soon 🙂

That’s the roundup for now. Will regularly report on how it goes, and possibly throw in teasers, maps etc.