Editing posts

Looking forward: 2017

Sometimes when the tide is rising, you just gotta keep walking
(Picture: credit unknown)

A new year, a fresh start, an eager jump off the blocks. That’s the idea, right?

After the marshy struggle that was 2016, I’ve decided to approach this year’s goals in a slightly different way. Part of it is that I know that focus is going to be key; too many things have been left unfinished, and this bothers me.

So, line ’em up and knock ’em down. That’s the plan. Here’s the list!

Vampire Electric

This novel is what I’m currently working on, and that’s where my focus is going to be at first. I’m in the last section of the second draft now, typing onwards to the climax of the story, and it’s flowing well. This has taken several years to get to this point, and I’m excited that the end is in sight!
So, first goal is to get to the end of the story. Then, to complete the second draft of the novel. Sadly, these are not the same thing: there are a couple of holes I know I need to go back and fill in (hindsight is fantastic), and there is a flashback sequence that needs to be completed and then woven into the main narrative.

Once that’s all done, I’ll be passing it to a couple of alpha readers for initial impressions and feedback to help guide the third draft work.
After that, there will be decisions to make about how much work there is left to do, and what publishing option I’ll be pursuing. But sending it out for alpha reading is where my initial plans for this project stop for the foreseeable future.

Writers’ Asylum

The Asylum is due in April or May, so will probably be the next thing I work on after (or possibly during) Vampire Electric. I’ve got some ideas for this year’s challenges, but I still need to write them up and get them ready. After that, it’s a case of setting up the scheduling and running the day.

This will be the fifth Asylum (!!!), so I’d like to take a bit of time to go over the things I’ve tried, identify what works well and what works less well, and do a bit of an analysis. That will help me plan the next one, and maybe come up with something new to try, too.

Everyday Heroes

This project has languished for far too long. Writers who submitted their stories have been waiting for feedback, and because of that, I’m pushing this up my list. I’ll be looking to firstly chase up the stories on my plate to edit (they should all be with their writers for reworks), then I’ll be chasing up the rest of the edits. I may wind up taking on more of the editing myself, depending on what’s happening with the other editors on the project.

I’ll be aiming to get edits back to the writers at a steady pace. It’s a process that takes a few rounds, and is reliant on the writers being able to get reworks back to us in a reasonable time frame, so we’ll see how it goes.

Adventures of the Detachable Penis

Get Part 2 out! It’s all but ready to go. I might go on to write Part 3, you never know. It’s all planned out. I shall see if the naughty mood strikes me!

Boomflowers

Finish the last few entries, get it scheduled and up. I’d like to see this one finished off. I might look into collating it into an ebook and releasing it (self-published), but the main goal is to get it finished on Inkspired first.

NaNoWriMo

No particular plans for this year’s November adventure in novelling yet. I’ll be scheming with my co-MLs for what we might do this year, things we want to do again and anything new we want to try.

I want to look into doing a roving write-in on the trains again this year, but that’ll take a bit of research to see if it’s feasible with the current ticketing system.

At this point, I have no idea what I might write as my NaNo project. I guess it depends where I’ve got to on the list above! Who knows, it might even be Starwalker Book 5.

 

And I think that’s it! But that doesn’t seem like much, right? And where’s Starwalker in all of this? Aren’t I ever getting back to it? And what about all those other little projects?

Starwalker is still on my list, but my struggles in trying to pick it up again in 2016 showed me that I needed the break. That particular story isn’t talking to me very loudly right now, which tells me that I need to do something fresh with it. I’m pondering ideas – it is always percolating away in the background – and toying with some options. But I’ve learned that this sort of thing can’t be rushed or forced; it doesn’t go well.

Who knows, maybe I’ll get a wonderful idea and dive in sometime this year. Same goes for other languishing projects, like the VVSG. Never say never!

No promises at this point, though, just hope.

Always onwards, with hope.

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2016 Retrospective: the year of struggle

‘Nuff said.
(Picture by Nicholas Javed Photography)

2016 is in the rear-view mirror now, so it’s time to see how I lined up with the things I aimed to achieve in that year. As you may guess from the title, the tl:dr version is: not well.

Editing

Goal: edit Carnifex.
Result: done and done! It’s a great book and available to buy right now! So happy I could be a part of this project.

Goal: get Everyday Heroes moving.
Result: partial success. The editing on my plate moved on a ways, but the anthology as a whole has languished. This needs a huge kick up the arse.

Goal: finish off the new editions of the Apocalypse Blog.
Result: got through Book 2; Book 3 is still outstanding.

Writing

Goal: finish small projects. Specifically: Boomflowers and the Vampire Victim Support Group.
Result: progress made but not published. Boomflowers is coming along nicely, and only needs a few more pieces written to get to the end. I haven’t released any updates to this, as I’m waiting for it to be finished before I do that. VVSG is languishing, mostly due to a couple of troublesome pieces that I need to beat with a stick (ie: rejig until they work).

Goal: more Detachable Penis fun.
Result: I got a cover for Part 2! But managed to drag my feet in actually releasing the next book, so it’s not out yet. This is one of those things where I just need to get my head down and sort it out.

Goal: get Starwalker Book 5 moving.
Result: no movement yet. That’s hard to write, but it’s the truth.

Writing was hard for me in 2016. I tried a few different things, but the truth was, I was burnt out and needed the break. Recognising that was an important step, because sometimes you’ve got to stop pushing, start listening to yourself, and try to figure out the best way forward. Sometimes, that means taking a step back.

Clearing the mental decks was essential for me. I’ve had to assess and reassess my capabilities a few times in the past year, try to work out what’s achievable, and then push forward with some new plans. Taking that step back and taking a break was important, and so was figuring out how and when to start moving again.

The good news is that I’ve come out of that ‘break’ now. I put my NaNoWriMo time to good use (see below) and revitalised a languishing project: Vampire Electric. It’s in its second draft, up to the final stages (well past where the first draft got to), and galloping on towards the approximate 200k I think it’ll be before I get to the end of the story. I’m getting back into the habit of writing every day, and enjoying it!

So, I’m happy to report that the year ended on a positive note. Despite not getting to all the things I meant to, after some readjustment of plans, I’m finally making progress.

Writers’ Asylum

Goal: plan it, write it, do it.
Result: done, done, and done! This one was loads of fun, and I had lots of good reactions from those who took part. Some good learnings to carry forward to the next one.

NaNoWriMo

Goal: plan it, do it, achieve wordcount.
Result: done, done, and done!

I had a great NaNo this year, and it was a turning-point for me in the struggle that has been my writing life. I’ve written about how it was actually pretty easy for me to hit the big 50k this year, and the good news is that I’m still writing. Even the break I took over the Christmas/New Year period hasn’t interrupted it much: this week, I’m back writing again, and feeling enthused for the story. It’s a great feeling.

As far as the events go, I’ve written about it here on the blog, but I think we can chalk it up as a success. I had a couple of awesome co-MLs to work with, we tried some new stuff (which I hadn’t originally intended to do, but was so worth it!), learned a few things, and had a great time.

Other Stuff

Goal: streamline home stuff.
Result: same old same old. I had planned to move house, downsize, and simplify things, but that hasn’t happened yet. I won’t go into details, but some other things came up and staying where I was turned out to be the easiest and least costly option. It’s all a work in progress, I guess.

 

Overall, 2016 was a struggle for me. Most of it didn’t go how I’d hoped, I learned a few things, and managed to pull myself out of the bog of uninspiration. By the end, I managed to get myself back to writing again, so the year ended on a high note, which is something to be grateful for.

Now is the time to look forward. To tuck those learnings under my cap, adjust expectations, and try to come up with goals that are realistic but also challenging. And then: get shit done.

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Looking forward: 2016

It's time to step out into new light! (Picture from Dark Beauty Magazine: “The Journey” — Producer: Miss Aniela Photographer: Mercia Moseley Photography Stylist/Designer/Headpiece/Jewelry: Minna Attala Hair/Makeup: Grace Gray - Model Model: Carmen O. Model)

It’s time to step out into new light!
(Picture from Dark Beauty Magazine: “The Journey”)

Okay, so I’ve gone over how 2015 went. I’ve got a bunch of stuff on my plate and a whole new year spread out before me. While yearly boundaries are arbitrary, they do afford us an opportunity to reflect, to plan, to redirect, and to attack things with renewed commitment and energy.

That’s the hope anyway. Let’s lay out what I have in store this year and see where we get to. For something different, let’s attempt this in possible chronological order.

This is because I’m aiming to have more focus this year. With my health and energy levels in their current state, juggling multiple things at the same time (as I have tended to in the past) is not a great idea right now. So instead, I’m going to try lining them up and knocking them down.

My goal is for 2016 to be the year of Getting Things Finished.

Editing

I’ve got a pile of editing work on my plate, and my plan right now is to work through it before I turn my attention to anything else.

The new-look Apocalypse Blog Book 1

The new-look Apocalypse Blog Book 1

Why am I putting this ahead of my own writing, I hear you ask? Because other writers are waiting on me to do things, and that matters to me. Also, editing other people’s work is a shorter job than writing something new, so best to tackle it first.

First up is the editing for Carnifex under the Blade Editing banner. The first edit is almost complete and ready to be sent back to its author. The first edit is the heaviest; subsequent edit rounds will be much quicker to turn around.

Next is the editing for the Everyday Heroes anthology. This is a project that has languished over the holidays, and will be kicked back into action shortly. There’s still a way to go on this, but I’m hoping to get it released by the middle of the year. My first focus will be to get the ball rolling on the editing side again; after that, I’ll mix it in with other stuff.

Once that is off and running, I’ll be finishing off the new editions of The Apocalypse Blog ebooks. This isn’t a huge job: mostly requires some time and concentration (it’s hard to do piecemeal; or at least, hard to do well that way). Two books have been done (one of them the short prequel); two to go. Looking forward to launching the new covers, editions, and pricing!

I have a few other editing bits coming my way over the course of this year, and will fit them in accordingly. Looking forward to getting into the swing of this!

Writing: Small Fry

Cover by the wonderful Willsin Rowe

Cover by the wonderful Willsin Rowe

With Starwalker Book 5 stuck in what the movie industry refers to as ‘development hell’, I’m going to turn my attention to smaller projects to start with. Again: line ’em up, knock ’em down, and compulsively tick them off my list.

Once the bulk of the editing work is done (or at least significantly shoved in the right direction), I’ll be looking at some smaller projects first. I’m thinking particularly of Boomflowers and Vampire Victim Support Group. My goal is to finish the first one completely and get the entries scheduled up and posted, as it’s the shorter of the two, and to get phase 1 of VVSG completed (phase 1 is the first entry from each of the characters; I have 2-3 phases planned).

I’m also hoping to get more of the comedy erotica (The Adventures of the Detachable Penis) written and released. Part 1 is out, Part 2 is written and getting ready for release, and there are 6 parts planned in total. It’s a fun departure from my usual stuff, so makes a nice break. Plus, they’re short (5-7 thousand words each) and pretty quick to turn around.

Writing: Big Stuff

Starry

Starry: she go ‘zoom!’
(Picture: mine)

While all this is happening, Starwalker will be bubbling away in the background. I’d like to get some test-writing done for some of the new material, and pull together a coherent plan for the next book. It was outlined before NaNoWriMo 2015, but given the changes that I want to make, that’ll need to be updated.

I’m aiming to pull together the test-written stuff into an actual backlog of posts, so I can start with a buffer this time around. It should help in those times when I’m having a bad week and am struggling to put a post together, smoothing over the rough patches. (Of course, this is a nice theory; maintaining a buffer isn’t one of my best skills.)

At this stage, it’s hard to know timescales, but I’m hoping to restart Starwalker by the start of the second quarter of 2016. My intention is not to rush this, because I’d like to get it off to a good start.

It’s also entirely possible that the buffer I build up ends up being half or more of Book 5. With the desire to focus this year, writing in my usual serial fashion might not be a good idea, and this could be a chance to change how I approach my writing time. I will still post it serially, but how it’s constructed on the back end is going to be different. That might delay the start of the posting but I hope not!

However, I do have a list of Starwalker shorts that I intend to look over and attempt to revitalise. At least one of the yet-to-be-published ones has been drafted! So one/some of these might pop up in the meantime.

Writers’ Asylum

This tends to be an event that requires some attention from me in the early part of the year, because setting up a day of writing challenges for a bunch of writers can be a tricky beast. However, good news! The bulk of the work for this has already been done.

When setting up my calendar of events for the year, I sorted out a suitable weekend in April in which to host it (working around other events that tend to attract my writer peeps). And thanks to my skittering attention in NaNoWriMo 2015, the challenges for this year’s day of madness have already been drafted. The page has been updated and everything.

All that’s left is to polish the challenges, get them scheduled to go up on the blog so online people can join in, and then run it. Easy.

(I know, I know: famous last words. Shh.)

NaNoWriMo

Skipping towards the end of the year, it’s hard to predict what my project will be for NaNoWriMo this time around. It might be focussing on pushing Starwalker forward and building up that buffer. It might be returning to Vampire Electric to continue the second draft.

Right now, given that the theme of this year will be focus, I’d like to say that it would be Starwalker. I won’t make a decision now, though; I might need a break from the serial by then and take the opportunity to do something different.

As far as NaNo events and organisation goes, this year looks like it’s going to be a tricky one. My co-ML (Municipal Liaison, the fancy title they give those of us who organise the local events) is gaining a baby this year, so it’s possible that we’ll both be pretty time-poor when it comes to NaNo stuff. On the other hand, we might gain a third pair of hands to help out with the ML side of things, so you never know.

At this stage, I’m intending to keep NaNo stuff fairly simple and straightforward. No big Retreat or Overnight to organise takes a lot of the pressure off, as well as a lot of the time and stress in the lead-up to November. This year, changes and experiments are likely to be small in scope (which in itself will be a change!).

Other Stuff

As part of my push to streamline things, I’m also making some changes in my home life to ease various burdens, including financial and housekeeping effort. I’m planning to downsize my home situation, which means going through all the stuff I have in storage and ruthlessly cleaning it out, paring it back, and, ideally, shrinking the raft of stuff that I have to move to a new, smaller house.

I’m not planning to move soon. Given all those things that I’ve mentioned above, from health, to commitments, to all the things I really want to get to, plus the fact that I’m a pack-rat and keep everything, I knew that I’d need time to get something as ambitious as downsizing and packing done. So the plan is to spread it out, chip away at it regularly, and be done around the end of the year.

Honestly, just making this decision and forming a plan to make it happen has lifted a bunch of stress off me. This is mostly a preventative measure, so there’s no pressure to get it done soon, which means I can do it my way. So I shall.

 

And that’s it! That’s my set of goals and ambitions for the year.

Laid out like that, it looks like a lot. But a year is a long time and a lot will probably change in that span. There are a few factors that might pop up and spoil this, but that’s okay: we adjust and move on.

Fingers crossed, 2016 will be a better year than the last. I’m already feeling more positive about things than I have in a while. Let’s get to it!

Onwards, my friends, into the breach, heads up and hearts strong.

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A kick up my own…

Hiiiiii-YAH! Here's hoping I can carry it off more gracefully than this pair. (Picture via flickr, credit ColKorn1982)

Hiiiiii-YAH!
Here’s hoping I can carry it off more gracefully than this pair.
(Picture via flickr, credit ColKorn1982)

After being stalled and burned out recently, I’m working hard to get some momentum back with my writing. This is both writing for this blog (this is a big motivator for me) and the creative side of things, as well as other side projects.

I’m currently trying to build up a bit of a backlog for this blog. That will help take the pressure off and smooth over any dry spots while I’m focussing on something else. Right now, I’m aiming for one post a week as a minimum, with more only if I just can’t help myself. (I currently have the next couple of weeks lined up already.)

I’m also going to be varying the types of posts that go up. There’ll still be a writing focus, and I’m sure publishing will still feature fairly highly because it’s something I’m involved in pretty regularly. Joining the usual advice/info posts will be some interviews with authors (starting with some indie authors that I know personally and possibly extending from there), and reviews. I’ve done a few reviews before, mostly for movies, and my aim is to extend the reviews to books and possibly some web serials.

First review coming up soon. I’d love to know what you think of it!

Now that the first round of editing for the Everyday Heroes anthology is done and back with the writers, I have a bit of time to revive my own creative efforts. My priorities right now are: progress the next part of an experiment I have been working on (more on this soon!); finish up any one-shots I have on my list; and get my Inkspired serials back up and posting.

My serials on Inkspired (VVSG and Boomflowers) stalled a few weeks ago when I started to get burned out. Now that there are some new features to play with on the portal (more on this soon!), my plan is to build up a backlog and get them all scheduled  up, so that they can post away happily while I work on something else.

Skipping focus didn’t seem to work, so maybe this will be better! Boomflowers was only intended to be fairly short anyway (~10,000 words or thereabouts), so I’m hoping to finish that off completely before it starts posting again.

That lot will probably take me up to the start of this year’s NaNoWriMo, at which point my goal is to switch to writing Starwalker Book 5. It won’t start posting until after NaNo finishes (and I’ve had some editing/tidying time), so don’t start looking for it too soon. My aim here is to build up a backlog and some momentum, and carry that through into the new year.

Now that I’ve laid it all out in text, it sounds somewhat ambitious. I think it’s doable, though. First step: get back into the habit of writing every day. It’s time to get tough with myself again.

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A question of editing

One of the most consistent pieces of advice you’ll see about how to create a good (e)book is: make sure you get it properly edited. I have to agree (and I say that as an author who is currently in the process of re-releasing her ebooks because they needed to be re-edited). I also say that as a reader who is intensely irritated by mistakes in published works, however the book is published.

I’ve come across many professionally-published (including traditionally-published) books that have errors in them. Spelling mistakes, grammar errors, missing or incorrect punctuation, clumsy wording… all these things make me want to take a red pen to my pristine paper book and post it back to the publishing house. Once in a book I can forgive; I understand that the book was created by fallible humans, but even that is disappointing. More than once? Come now. I expect more for my hard-earned money.

I’ve read books where there’s an error in pretty much every chapter. Recently, I had to put a book down because it was so clumsily edited that the story was ruined for me (and it’s a rare thing for me to abandon a book once I start it). The poor editing was tripping me up so often that I kept losing track of the story; it constantly threw me out of the flow of the narrative and I wasn’t engaged with or enjoying it at all, so there was no point in progressing with it.

This is the face a kitten makes when writers allow a mistake to be published. (Picture source: it's a meme, it's not mine, thank you interwebs)

This is the face a kitten makes when writers allow a mistake to be published.
(Picture source: it’s a meme, it’s not mine, thank you interwebs)

The quality of the editing is a sign of care. If a writer cares so little about the presentation of their work that they’ll release it with multiple errors, should I care deeply about it as a reader? If they have been careless on this front, how much can they be trusted to take care of other aspects of writing? Will my tiny trust be betrayed?

Writing should be invisible: this is what I believe writers should aim for. The mechanical aspects of writing are things that writers care about; readers care about story and character and getting caught up in this wonderful thing you’ve laid out before them. The more I notice the writing, the less I’m involved in the story. (Note: literary fiction can be an exception to this, but I’m talking about the mechanics of writing – spelling, grammar, ‘the basics’ – rather than technique, like metaphors. Even in literary fiction, the mechanics of spelling things correctly and using the right punctuation is important.)

I’m the sort of person who notices these things, and they grate. They spoil stories for me, though the extent varies widely depending on how many mistakes there are. I know I’m not the only one; most, if not all, of my writer friends say the same thing. As a professional (technical) writer and editor, I weed these things out as part of my daily work and with a measure of professional pride. Mistakes reflect on my abilities and skill in my job, and they reflect badly on the company I work for if they should reach our customers, so it’s important to me to make sure my work is as clean and correct as possible.

It’s a fact that it’s harder to edit your own work than it is to edit someone else’s. You’re too close to your own work to pick up the errors; your mind fills in gaps and smoothes off rough edges too eagerly. It takes distance and discipline to edit your own work well!

With the web serial, it’s not always possible to catch everything before I publish a post. This is part of the price I pay for writing it on the fly and editing it entirely myself (with no gap between writing and editing). I have accepted that there will be the occasional error and I fix them up whenever I (or my readers) spot them (and I’m glad to say that they are only occasional!). I also plan to edit the stories thoroughly before they’re published as ebooks, so I’m not overly concerned if there are minor typos at the moment.

However, I can’t tell you how mortified I was to realise that there were errors in one of my ebooks. I’m currently having an independent editor go over all of my books so that I can release fresh, more correct editions (which should be free for those who have already bought the ebooks). I wish now that I’d taken more care before releasing the ebooks, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

This is why I’ve had an independent editor go over the Apocalypse Blog ebooks. This is also why I’m looking at starting up an editing service, to edit others’ work and offer them the professional look and feel that readers expect from published works. I believe I have a lot to offer in this area.

I love stories. I love making them shine as brightly as they can, and getting the mechanics of the writing correct is just one way to help that along. So just as soon as I get all my stuff together, I’ll put myself out there as an editor for hire, and see if I can’t improve the quality of ebooks everywhere, one corrected typo at a time.

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Picking up and moving on

A beautiful picture that reflects how I feel right now.  (uncredited)

A beautiful picture that reflects how I feel right now.
(uncredited)

So, I’ve been sick a lot lately. I’m sure you’re all tired of hearing of it, and honestly, I’m tired of saying it.

I’m not well. I’m never well. Stupid chronic conditions. It has been worse over the past couple of months, and complicated by a nasty virus over the past couple of weeks, and it makes me want to whine and kick things (inanimate things, not living things – at least, that’s true when my frustration levels are low).

I’ve been putting things off. I’ve compromised just about everything in my life, taking time to try to get well. I’ve delayed Starwalker posts, taken time off my day job, postponed plans for other projects. Now, don’t get me wrong: I think this was the right thing to do, because health is important and without it I can’t do any of those things anyway. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not sick of it (ha ha, see what I did there?).

It’s time to get back into the swing of things. I’m only willing to put my life on hold for so long. I’m not fully over this virus yet, but if my work colleagues are anything to go by, the dregs of it are going to hang around for a couple of weeks yet. However, I’m well enough to start to do stuff again.

I’m back at work again, full time. I’m pushing myself to write the way I should be: every day on my morning and evening commutes. I managed to write this morning on the way to work, so I feel like I’m getting back on the horse.

Over the weekend, I cleaned my house. Tidied stuff up, got the bleach and the cleaning appliances out, and went nuts. It’s a testament to how off-the-ball I am that I had to split it over two days just to get it all done. (And this wasn’t doing everything on my own, either; I had family helping.) But it’s done. House is clean.

I also spent a few hours amid all that editing a 60-page business document, full of torturous legal-speak and obfuscating language that only marketing and business people with an incestuous relationship with a thesaurus can achieve. It also involved wrestling with Word’s styles, which is always an onerous task but one that I’m getting to be a dab hand at.

I got around to putting together the exercise bike I bought a couple of weeks ago while I was sicky, too. This is going to be my next attempt at putting some physical activity into my regular life, to try to drive the CFS back and generate some energy (I know, it sounds counter-intuitive, but it can work!).

I feel like I’m shaking off this fugue I’ve been in lately. Things are moving again.

I have been talking with my artist friend who did the Starwalker graphics for me about the Apocalypse Blog ebook covers, and I’m really enthused about the ideas she came back with. Can’t wait to get that going. The ebooks are currently being edited, and hopefully I’ll be able to release new and improved editions of the content over the next few weeks. Add the covers, and then all I need to do is revamp the blurbs, and see if that helps the books sales at all.

I got started with planning for this year’s NaNoWriMo, and the amount of stuff waiting for us to do there means that my mental list is filling up. But unlike those times lately when it’s all been too much, the long to-do list is making me feel enthused about getting stuff done.

It’s a lot of little things, all swirling around at once. But that’s okay: I tend to operate better when I’m multi-tasking, and having many balls to juggle in the air at once never daunts me.

I can do this. I’m still snuffling and coughing, still trying to shake off this virus, and still struggling for energy. It’s going to be a slow ramp-up to my usual levels of operation. But it has started now. This is me, determined to stop whining and get on with things.

There might be some stumbles along the way, however, I think I’m heading in the right direction. Wish me luck!

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2013: plans and dreams

I’ve done the retrospective for 2012; now it’s time to look to the future. Now is the time for possibilities and ambition.

I usually like to aim high at a time like this. I know I probably won’t do everything I put on this list, but if it’s not here I’ll never do it. I’ll most likely get to most of it and that’s all good.

Let’s get the boring, necessary stuff out of the way first.

Work

This is settling down for me at the moment. I’m hoping to stay with my current team for a stretch and make a bit of a home for myself, and the management have assured me that this is likely (as far as their current plans say, but, well, you never know with these things). Some stability would be nice.

The stress is a lot less than it was and I’ll be aiming to keep it that way.

Financial Issues

Now that our house move is complete and we’ve reduced some of our overheads, I’m hoping that this will plateau as well. We’ve got a bit of work to do on this front but, with luck, our situation should be sustainable for the next few months at least.

I’m working to worry less about this stuff.

Health

The CFS isn’t going away anytime soon, and as long as it doesn’t get any worse, it’s manageable. I’m used to dealing with it (I was diagnosed over 7 years ago), so not a big worry there.

I’ve got some testing coming up in a couple of months to investigate some other issues I’m having. I’m nervous about the tests (mostly because they’ll put me out and anaesthetic doesn’t get along well with me), but I’m glad at the possibility for answers and, hopefully, treatment. I won’t say ‘cure’ because I don’t believe in unicorns and there’s no way I’m that lucky. Progress is good, though, and it’s moving in the right direction.

Writing

Ah-ha, here’s the important part! Here’s the section of my life where I get to have fun, where I aim for the stars and am quite happy with landing on the moon. So, what’s on my list for 2013?

Starwalker: Web Serialising

First up, I will finish Starwalker. I keep saying that there’s still a lot to come, and while I don’t want to put a date on its conclusion, it will definitely finish this year, probably in the first quarter.

When I say ‘finish’, I mean that I’ll get to the end of Book 3, which is the end of the original story arc I planned when I set out on this journey. Will that mean the end of the web serial completely?

Honestly, I’m not sure. I don’t believe in stringing stories out for the sake of it (which is why I haven’t gone back to the Apocalypse Blog in so long: I haven’t felt like I’ve got more story to tell there). However, I’m pretty sure my readers will have something to say if I kill it completely and I’ve come to love my readers a lot.

I do have a follow-up story in mind. There has been a notecard with the name of the story-arc on it pinned to my planning pinboard for a couple of years now. I don’t think it’ll be a full novel-length story – it’s a novella at best at this stage – but maybe it’ll make a good interim story for me to tell while I ponder the future of the Starwalker and her crew.

Starwalker: Ebooks

This is something I’ve had my eye on for a while now. I’d really love to package the Starwalker saga up into ebooks and release it.

However, that’s not a quick process. Firstly, they have to be edited. I already know of some rewriting I want to do (nothing major, but it’s work that needs to be done), and I’m sure there will be more honing and polishing that I’ll do as I go through. This all takes time, and how much I continue the web serial will impact on how quickly this happens.

Next up, I need covers. That will probably cost money, which I’ll talk about later. I have some base graphics already but I want something really slick and professional for the book covers. Which means no home jobs by me (I freely admit that I suck at graphics).

The formatting and releasing parts are easy once all the above is done. I’d like to get at least one book out this year.

Starwalker: Shorts

I made a start on this in 2012 and I mean to continue it. I have stories planned for almost all of the crew (the shorts are character-focussed stories) and I’d like to get through all of them eventually.

It’s hard to have a fixed goal with this, because so much depends on other commitments. Shall we say one a month? That’s probably a bit ambitious; one every two months is more realistic.

My end goal with this is to compile them into an ebook – a Starwalker ‘get to know the crew’ anthology – and release it. Possibly for free. (Having a freebie available really helps draw people into paying for the series: this is what the Apocalypse Blog ebooks have taught me!)

Alternatively, I could release them individually, but that depends on being able to get the covers for them. On the plus side, I would be able to release them sooner if I didn’t have to wait for the anthology to be complete. Also, individual character covers would be awesome.

Vampire Electric

My goal for this year is somewhat simpler here: finish the first draft. I already have a pile of notes for the second draft, including a bit of a restructure, but I really need to get the first run-through finished. I’d love to find out how this story will end! (Yes, yes, I have something in mind, but as always with me, it’s a general, blurry picture that I won’t truly figure out until I get there.)

Tales from the Screw Loose

This is, potentially, the next web serial on my list to pick up. It’s set in the Starwalker universe and is the first spin-off that I have in mind to tackle (I have a whole list of spin-off ideas for the Starwalker universe!). You may have heard me refer to it as the ‘robot brothel story’: Tales from the Screw Loose is its proper name.

I’m not sure if I’ll get to this over the next year. A lot depends on whether or not I keep Starwalker going (as a web serial), because I have a strict rule of one web serial active at a time. I know my own limits well enough to know that both stories would suffer if I tried to keep two going in tandem.

Regardless, I still have some work to do before I can get started on this story. I have made a start on the worldbuilding (it’s set on one of the colony planets) but I need to work out the cast and some of the plot elements before I start putting fingers to keyboard.

I also need to sort out the website and I’m pondering some custom graphics/design for it. This may cost money, so is dependent on a number of factors. On the plus side, I’ve already got the domain: screwloosetales.com (yes, it’s a bit early, but I’m determined like that and I didn’t want to lose the domain while I sorted the rest of it out).

For this year, I think I’d like to have the prep all done and the story ready to go. Actual words on the page will be a bonus!

Apocalypse Blog

The ebooks are going pretty well. I’d like to capitalise on some of the good reviews and see about marketing it, but I’m pretty bad at self-promotion, so I won’t make any firm plans about this.

I would like to do paper book editions of it, however. Most likely through Amazon’s CreateSpace, which will link nicely up to the ebooks on Amazon (and it seems like a better and cheaper system than Lulu).

I’ve had a look at the work required to do this and it’s not as easy as the ebooks were. It’ll take some time to get the formatting done for printing, and I’ll also need to get the covers redone.

I’d also like to get the books re-edited, and will most likely refresh the ebook editions when I do that.

I’ve been tossing around the idea of doing an omnibus edition, at least of the ebooks, so I’ll look into this, too.

There have been many calls for another (fourth) book in the series, and a part of me really wants to satisfy this desire. However, I’m not sure what that fourth book would entail. I’m letting it rest in the back of my brain for now; if inspiration strikes, I’ll be sure to let you all know. Never say never!

NaNoWriMo

Ah, my annual nuttiness. I don’t have a huge amount planned yet, but we’re all pretty sure that there will be another Writer’s Retreat. This time, up a mountain! I’ll be heading on a roadtrip soon with my lovely co-MLs (I might have two this time!) to check out the options. I’m sure that it won’t be long before that ball is off and rolling.

The rest of the NaNo stuff will be worked out over the months leading up to November. No other firm plans yet, but there will no doubt be plenty of write-ins at our favourite Coffee Club, drinkies, and possibly a write-out or two.

Crowdfunding

This is an option that I’ve been looking at lately. I know other writers have had success with platforms like Kickstarter and have raised money to allow them to develop a new story, pay for covers and printing costs, and that sort of thing.

As mentioned above, some of what I want to do requires paying for services. I’ve had donations through the links on my websites and I am endlessly grateful to the donors for their generosity: they helped to pay for the Starwalker graphics I had done in 2012. But what I have in mind is going to take rather more.

Due to being based outside the US and UK, I can’t run a Kickstarter campaign. However, there are other options available: most notably, Pozible and iPledg look promising, but I haven’t gone through all the crowdfunding platforms available to me yet.

A campaign seems like a lot of work but I think I want to give it a go. I am terrible at asking for money (see previous comments about self-promotion), but I have always been astounded by the generosity and support of the online community. I approve of the notion of the rewards you can offer to supporters, too. And at the end of the day, what’s the worst that could happen?

It’s good to know that I have this option when I’m looking at commissioning covers for Starwalker, or a website for Screw Loose. All those things that require money for me to achieve could actually be possible!

Now all I need to figure out is what to ask for and what I can realistically offer as rewards. And then the time to do it all.

Other Stuff?

Wow, I’m not sure. What else might 2013 hold for me? No doubt I’m forgetting about something. These are the things that are buzzing around in my head right now. This is what I’m taking with me into 2013.

Now excuse me, I think I’m going to go away and write something.

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