I have no goals for 2014. How can that be? The new year rings in, and yet – not a one.
Oh, I could put down the obvious to eat better, lose that extra five (maybe 10) pounds I’ve gained post-40, be a bit more patient with my daughters! Writing-wise, I’d like to complete my two contracted stories- one a full-length novel, and a standalone short story – on time.
But what else?
Learn a foreign language? It’s hard enough to remember the day-to-day items these days. (Seriously, on our mini vacation, I nagged my daughters to remember their new iPad chargers, and forgot my own phone charger and fancy shoes). One year I vowed to learn to play guitar. After cutting my nails down super-super short and growing calluses, I decided maybe I didn’t like it so much after all.
One goal I really want to make is finishing the OCC/RWA Book in a Year challenge. I didn’t in 2013. I know, I know. I probably have about 40K written in the YA, with an estimated 50K needed for the first draft. I should be able to get it done. Since it’s my second year going for it, and the umpteenth year I’ve worked on it, you know I want it finished.
There’s also the matter of that publisher who has rejected two of my manuscripts. I need to decide if the third time’s a charm, or accept that maybe my voice is not what they’re looking for. (Plus, I need to submit those other two stories elsewhere. I know they’re good, and they deserve a home.)
As for our particular group of writers, how about a chapter goal? For the past few years, we’ve been flirting with just under 200 members. We’ve done well pulling in some new members, and I love seeing the growing camaraderie. Since I’m a bit of a numbers freak, I’d like to push past that marker.
So what about you? What are your goals for 2014? No matter what, let’s make it a fantastic year!
Start your New Year with some new creativity. Here’s a sampling of recent calls for submissions.
How perfect is this new call from Loose Id? Sometimes, such a teaser causes the perfect stimulation, and my brain’s been tingling with this one.
Every year, millions of people make resolutions for the new year. Most of them fall by the wayside within a few weeks, but what about the ones that don’t? Resolutions is an open collection focusing on what happens in the wake of someone’s New Year’s resolution.
Did they resolve to be more adventurous and meet the hunk of their dreams finally going on that skydiving trip they promised themselves? Did they resolve to compliment at least one stranger a day, and pick the just right day to compliment a down-in-the-dumps billionaire? Did they resolve to buy at least one dress that isn’t black, or a pair of pants that isn’t leather? To try out for The Voice, or the local production of Grease? Did they take their artwork into a gallery? Put their profile on a dating site?
Resolutions features the commitment and the sexily ever after that somehow grows out of it. Anywhere and anyway that the tradition of making resolutions exists, even if it’s a place that only exists in your imagination, a Resolution story could take place. A Resolutions protagonist can be anyone. The sky’s the limit.
Specifics: stories must be at least 30K and preferably not longer than 80K; all genres you can work a New Year’s resolution into will be considered. To be considered for publication as a Resolutions title by the end of 2014, we must have your submission by no later than August 15th, but they can be submitted at any time before that for earlier publication dates. Follow the guidelines below for submitting a proposal, and include “Resolutions” in your email’s subject line.
We’re seeking imaginative, idea-filled science fiction and fantasy short stories. Stories should be accessible, with strong plots and compelling characters, written with a good knowledge of the science fiction or fantasy canon.
We pay for selected stories starting at $0.05 per word or a mix of an advance and a royalty. Stories should be at least 7,000 words. Stories will be published under a new electronic imprint from East of the Web, one of the world’s leading publishers of short stories.
We encourage the submission of previously published as well as new stories. If you’re looking for a way to make some money from your back catalog or to get those stories in front of new readers, we would like to hear from you.
Scandalous Submission call for stories from the 1950s
As you probably know, our regular submission guidelines stop at 1949. We thought it might be fun to see what you creative types could do with some pomade, pencil skirts, and rock-n-roll music, so we invite you to submit a story that takes place anytime from 1950-1959.
I hit submit. On the last weekend of November, when so many members in our chapter were finishing up their NaNo works, I completed my latest novel.
And let me tell you, it feels good.
First, major congratulations go to those members who â€œwonâ€ National Novel Writing Month, which means completing a 50K novel in one month.
Rebekah R. Ganiere
Rose de Guzman
Those same people also finished their Book in a Year! (If thatâ€™s what they were counting as their book.)
For those who signed up, but didnâ€™t finish â€“ think of all those new â€œwordsâ€ you got that you didnâ€™t have at the beginning of the month! If I missed someone, it wasnâ€™t intentional, send me a note and plan to be recognized at the December meeting.
For me, this book was the first time I was late on a deadline, and not by just a few days. I communicated with my publisher, and everything was all right on that end, but personally: Ugh! That backlog seemed to clog up all the other writing I was supposed to do, and it became a mental chant of â€œonce I finish.â€
Funny enough, I liked this book, too. Itâ€™s not that the writing process was particularly difficult this time around, it was the time to do it in. The challenges of the past year, family members and friends lost, and my work schedule, finally caught up. Honestly, it felt like it would never get done. So howâ€™d I eventually push through? Basically knowing that I hadto complete it, bundled with Thanksgiving weekend and a few 2 a.m. nights.
The key is getting that butt-in-the-chair, as they say. Many people talk about writing being an isolated experience. For the most part, it is. The wonderful thing about organizations such as our chapter, and RWA, is that common unity and support.
Thank you to everyone who made 2013 such a great year, and Iâ€™m looking forward to seeing whatâ€™s in store in 2014. Hmmm, and maybe how many of those finished projects will get published!
Many congratulations to writers who finished the OCC/RWA’s very first Book in a Year. Beth Yarnall put together some amazing-looking certificates and pins. So, who’s going to sign up this go-round?
If you want a kick-start, November kicks off National Writing Month, AKA NaNoWriMo. While I’ve participated for at least the last five years, this year I’m forgoing.
The pressure has been pretty high. I’m even getting emails from “Your Novel” with the subject heading, “Please write me this November.”
Every year, I dutifully register, donate funds, go to write-ins and I get a lot done. But I never “win.” Most often, I tend to write short. A full-length novel comes in at 50K. I’ve turned in 52K and had a copy editor suggest cuts in order to get it down to the required length. While writing, I usually “finish” at 45K and then edit, smoothing out transitions, flushing out descriptions and adding in those last 5K.
I’ve met some local (non-RWA) writers through the process and had a blast hanging out with Kara Lennox, Rob Preece, and Tari Lynn Jewett at IHOP and a local grocery store with our laptops. There’s nothing like 10 writers, clustered together working, without talking, garnering attention. Can you imagine? People stared.
Why not this year? I fully support writers signing up, and working hard to complete their novel. I’m taking a realistic approach, and know I have three projects I’d like to finish in the next month:
The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf: A Wolfe in the City – The manuscript is about 47K right now, and it needs to be completed.
Second For Men for Ellora’s Cave: The Quickie is more than halfway done, and could be finished up within a week.
R&R for Decadent Publishing: Need to polish a few areas, and get it back in. It’s been on the burner for when the other two items were finished.
Plus, I have another 1Night Stand rattling around in my brain. With the recent release of A Dance with Death, this character is clamoring for a HEA.
So officially-no NaNo for me. I’ll be cheering on my chapter-mates, friends, and you can send me some good thoughts for wrapping up my projects! What do you have on slate to finish your goals before the end of the year?