Writing, dayjob, more writing, and radiation treatments.
If all goes well, I will finish this latest version of my pirate novel by the end of the year. The final third still needs a thorough editing/polishing pass, but the ground-up rewrite, with new characters, new plot elements, and all new prose will be complete. Whew!
More writing, more dayjob, more medical issues. I'm so glad we had our trip to Rome and Venice before the medical issues landed. So many delicious meals, so many amazing sights. We spent nearly a week in Rome, renting an apartment in the old Jewish Quarter. After that, we had three nights in Venice, which is so very different from Rome, but with its own delicious meals and equally amazing sights.
The week after we returned, I had surgery for breast cancer. (Three cheers for early detection.) I'll be home for the next week, recovering. Once I can make it through a day without napping, I might be able to squeeze in a writing session or two...
Writing, dayjob, medical issues, and planning a splendid trip to Rome and Venice for our 25th anniversary.
New application at the dayjob launched. Five chapters rewritten from scratch. Four more to go.
I've been taking Fridays off for the past month, which has given me the space and time to rethink this final section. My original goal was to finish the new draft by Labor Day weekend, with the extra goal of having them edited and polished before we head to Rome in October. Alas, that won't happen. I want to make this ending as strong as the rest of the book, and if that takes me a few weeks or months extra, so be it. (Because, as much as I want to put my dayjob on hold, that's not possible.)
Over the past month, I've finally wrestled the middle chapters of this novel into shape, and I've nailed down plot details for two new chapters that suddenly announced themselves. (And which helped solve a major plot problem in the previous version.) At the same time, I've been working extra hours at the dayjob so we can launch a new version of an application that our department uses to track finance data. As you can imagine, this has left me a bit frazzled. Once the application launches, I plan to take a few Fridays off so I can focus on these new chapters.
Editing, editing, editing...
One novel revised and on its way to an editor. A second one back under construction as I rewrite the second half. The end point remains, but the details for how our characters get from point A to that end point are changing.
Plans are funny things. No sooner do I make them, when Life turns them upside down.
My original plan was to rewrite and polish two more chapters for the pirate novel. And I did make splendid progress on that goal, right up to the day when my agent sent me detailed feedback on a different novel, the kind that makes you go, "Oh, of course!"
So for the past three weeks,I've been reading and marking up pages, identifying which chapters needed to change, reworking this plot line, and tightening that one. One more pass to check for inconsistencies and typos, then I send off the new version to my agent. After that, my plan is to dive back into the pirate novel and get that done by summer's end.
Let's hope this plan sticks.
April was such a wonderful month. I've temporarily shifted my workday to start two hours later, which not only gives me two whole hours for writing every morning, but also ensures I don't work two or three hours of overtime. So far, I've wrestled chapters the first six into a submission ready state, and I've completely rewritten two more chapters. My goal for May is to rewrite and polish two more chapters. And maybe, just maybe, I'll ask for another month on this new schedule.
Meanwhile, April also saw our fabulous road trip from Omaha to New Orleans. We had a few bumps along the way, but overall the vacation was exactly what I needed and wanted—a thousand miles of driving, visting parts of the country I've never visited before, and at the end, New Orleans, blues, and the best food ever.
Writing, writing, writing...
The pirate novel, that is. I've reached the middle section of the draft, which needs the most work. Here is where chapters merge, or split, and nearly all the existing prose gets rewritten. The bones of the plot are good, however, and I continue to love these characters and their story.
Not!Sherlock is out on submission! Luckily I'm so busy with the dayjob, I almost don't have time to fret.
But...I do have breathing space on the weekends. So here are my plans. First is playing catchup with chores around the house. Second is to play catchup with various publishing-related tasks, including sorting through my papers to see what might be appropriated for archiving. I also want to brainstorm one last plot point with my pirate novel before I dive back into edits.
I am very pleased to report that I have signed with Amanda Rutter at the Red Sofa Literary Agency. We are now brainstorming submission strategies for Not!Sherlock, plus discussing possible sequels and other projects.
Meanwhile, I hit a roadblcok with editing Empire. The overall story works, but the middle section needs to be overhauled. Part of that involves laying out exactly what happened off-stage, and how that intersects with the on-stage plot. I'm not rushing through this task. Everything needs to connect, and everything needs to drive the story to its climax. I still hope to have a submission-ready version before the end of summer.
This last year was a year of many changes. I switched to part-time for the first half of the year. I dove into the world of crowdfunding with a Kickstarter campaign. Then I changed jobs, going from the corporate world to a university job. I also parted ways with my agent. Whew!
All those changes meant I didn't meet my goals for the year. I did finish a submission-ready version of my Not!Sherlock novel, but between the Kickstarter campaign, another self-publishing project, and the new job, I only managed to revise the first third of The Edge of the Empire. Even so, I'm happy with my progress for the year:
Not too bad, considering. But this next year, I want to do better. So let's talk about goals for 2016:
Only three goals, and the last one is fairly minor, but as I've said before, life has a habit of throwing curve balls into my plans. And three is better than two. :)