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)

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.

My Novels – Completed & Planned

Hmm, can’t give too much away, but I would like to talk about my writing efforts, particularly in the medium that I enjoy the most.

The core of my writing at the moment, and certainly over the last few years, has been The Chronicles of Evyntyde. Stories set in the world where that island kingdom exists. It is so unique and expansive, and there has been so much work put into it, that it just oozes plot lines and characters. I suspect I will be writing Evyntyde short stories and novels until the day I die.  Having said this, I am not limited to this series, and I have just made a strategic decision where I am placing all of my major writing effort into a YA novel (see below).

The Sceptre and the Orb

This novel (200k) is my first, and it is done and dusted, in terms of readiness to be picked up by an agent and/or publisher. It has been polished so much I can see my face reflected in it, and I figure any further changes would be as a result of professional editing assistance. I will post another log on this work, as it deserves its own discussion.

Crystal Peak

Before I finished the final polish of The Sceptre and the Orb, I planned and then began drafting Crystal Peak. This work is about two-thirds complete (120k written, and it will probably resolve to about 160k). This is a fun story to write, although my day job has caused a major slow-down in production. I enjoy having characters from my first novel play roles in this story, but also introducing new ones, and in particular a female astrologer who is one of the main characters. All good.

Guardians of the Sky Realms

This novel has an interesting history. I wrote a short story, inspired by a painting (via a writers’ challenge), called The painting. It is one of my best stories and I wrote it deliberately for the younger set – to be specific, females aged 13 to 18 (although not inclusive). As soon as I wrote it I knew it had immense possibilities, and about a month later I plotted out an outline for a YA (or perhaps slightly younger age group) novel, and I also wrote the next chapter. I deliberately left it in hibernation, as I really wanted to progress Crystal Peak, and so it was left uncooked for quite some time.

Two things caused me to rearrange my priorities.  Firstly, Text Publishing (a small Press here in Melbourne) announced the winner of it’s second annual YA novel award – the prize was getting the novel published the next year and $10,000 advance on royalties – which seemed a really good target for my YA effort for next year’s awards – so I have until about July next year to get it written. The second reason why Guardians could be given higher priority was the simple fact that I have come to the conclusion that it is simply a more marketable work while I am still unpublished and have zero street cred. So, I have decided to swap the priorities between Crystal Peak and Guardians of the Sky Realms, and make a BIG push to getting the YA novel completed as soon as possible.

This is a wonderful baby for me – it just reeks of being a publishable, marketable work, and possibly even more. My decision to emphasize my YA novel is the right one.

Other Works

It is always dangerous to forecast far into the future, and to describe things that are, by their nature, subject to change. So dear reader, take this with a grain of salt, and forgive me for being deliberately general, as I don’t want to give away trade secrets ;-).

I have a third Evyntyde Book in mind, whose working title is The Crimson Pirate. Evyntyde is a seafaring nation and an enjoyable part of Crystal Peak is the sea based chapters (of which there are many). I thought it would be very enjoyable indeed to have a novel largely devoted to the topic.

Ah, my secret project. When I was in my late teens I was a passenger on a long country drive in inland New South Wales, Australia, and I saw a bleak landscape and an idea sprung in my mind. A pretty much complete storyline entered my head in the space of about ten minutes. Periodically, I thought about the story, and then forgot it (hibernation again), and about two years ago it made it’s timely return, and I started to put pen to paper. I genuinely believe it is a very good story, and I consider it a jewel that I need to work on in the next few years. What makes it interesting for me, aside from it’s conception, is that it isn’t a fantasy, YA, or even conventional Scifi. My best description would be to say it is a Michael Crichton style novel, set primarily in Australia and Antarctica. It’s working title is Bitter Springs.  This is likely to be the final title.

I have other ideas, but they are not worthy of mention at this stage. I am a contented soul when it comes to creativity, as I have about a couple of years’ worth of work lined up, if I was a full time writer.

As an aside, I am putting together an Evyntyde Short Story Anthology, which, I suppose, can be considered a large piece of work, rather than short stories, per se.