Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Ending the year the write way

Reviewing goals, avoiding resolutions

This year I went from being a part-time writer/part-time student to being a full-time writer. My official blurb line after a publicity workshop is, ‘I am a writer. I write dead-end town fiction for teenagers.’

I updated my goals mid-year in the interests of balancing study and work, and there’s nothing like waiting until there’s no time left to do anything more to check over them. So here it goes:

Complete 10,000-word research project (5000 theory, 5000 creative)
Done! Killed it! Masters complete. Ended up with the marks to apply for a PhD. Maybe in another year.

Submit one more PB MS to publisher
Yeah, nah. Didn’t do it. Was firmly in MG/YA mode for the last six months of the year.

Submit two pieces of writing to mags, comps or other opportunities
(Pulls up trusty spreadsheet, spends 20 minutes updating it…) I submitted four different pieces to three magazines, two competitions and three fellowships/mentorships. I think that’s a tick.

Continue writing schedule
Done – up until the child finished school. I pushed my initial Christmas deadline back to New Year’s, and am unlikely to meet it. I’ve been getting up at 5am to try and steal some writing time, but the child knows. HE KNOWS. He has this uncanny ability to amuse himself until the moment I start writing, including when he’s supposedly asleep.

Plan out rest of middle grade series
I planned out the next book, and started writing it. Only five more to go.

Finish drafting first book in series
Done. I’ve even rewritten it a couple of times.

So not a bad hit rate. All up this year I’ve:

  • Completed one YA novel to a (hopefully) submittable standard.
  • Wrote about 40,000 words for the sequel to the first novel.
  • Wrote 65,000 for another YA novel during NaNoWriMo (also known as How The Hell Did I Put On That Much Weight in Four Weeks-Mo), and that draft is now up to 84,000 and nearing completion. I just have to decide how to end it.
  • Completed several drafts of a MG book: 20,000.
  • Finished my Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) with specialisations in Children’s Literature and Professional Writing: word count this year about 20,000.
  • Written three short stories, totalling about 10,000.

Total word count (excluding editing and rewriting) is about 172,000 words. Criminy.

Had two items published on the Writers Victoria website: Q&As with author Amra Pajalic and screenwriter Ben Michael.

Read 48 books out of a target of 52, but I may hit this in the next couple of days with a few short books. I’ve failed my goal of posting reviews of every book on Goodreads, but I have a few in reserve to post on this blog first.

Spent a day a fortnight volunteering with a local writers’ organisation. This has been a great way to meet other writers, learn more about the industry, and work with an amazing, dedicated group of people. And I get to write on the train.

A photograph of a pile of about 30 books.
My to-read pile.

Next year’s goals:

Set up writing room
I’m ridiculously excited about the impending move up the other end of the house away from the trail bikes hooning around next door. Also, new desk!

Read more
Self-explanatory. My to-read pile is in danger of collapsing and taking us all out with it, and there are so many new books coming out next year.

Finish current YA novel
First: finish the first draft. Second: leave it for a couple of months. Third: rewrite, rewrite…

Work on MG series
Edit/finish the first book. Write the next couple. Plan the rest.

Look into manuscript assessments
Gain some experienced feedback into one or two manuscripts. Take it from there.

Submit, submit, submit!
Manuscripts, short stories, competitions, industry opportunities. I just need to do it, dammit! Let’s say… three a month. And keep my submission spreadsheet updated.

Build on pitching/synopsis skills
This is a weak point for me and one I’m working to improve.

Do more exercise
See above. A write 2000 words, walk around the block schedule might work.

Thanks for reading in 2015. Stay safe over the holiday break, and I’ll catch you next year.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Diversity prominent in new Oz YA titles

Diversity is a hot topic in young adult book titles set for release in Australia in 2016.

the audience at the Year Ahead in Literature YA event in the State Library of Victoria's courtyard
Two hundred people received a crash course
in upcoming YA releases in Australia,
Publishers travelled from all over the country to Melbourne last night, spruiking their upcoming releases with the five-minute time limit strictly enforced by the tambourine of doom in a crazy reverse Literary Speed Dating session where the publishers were pitching to the punters.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Better planning, better result

After November, Christmas should be a breeze.

Today I’m washing clothes, catching up on paperwork, finishing Christmas shopping, and making long-overdue phone calls because NaNoWriMo is over for another year and work-life balance can be somewhat restored.

a graph of the word count for NaNoWriMo during 2015.
My stats for this year's NaNoWriMo.
I hit the 50,000-word target on November 24, and was happy dancing to end the month with 65,437 words – and even more ecstatic that for the first time in three years I stayed on one project and didn’t panic and change after a week.