I have five writing-related goals for 2011.
1) Finalize Meredith Mountain Miracle (my MG novel) and start submitting
I've been working on that book for over a year now, with the help of my online critique group. I've learned a lot in the past year and did several major revisions. My book started at 7,000 words and doubled in size since then, to about 14,000 words now. I still have to add more to it and bring it to a publishable standard.
My goal is to have a 20,000-word book ready for submission by summer, then spend the other half of the year querying. This involves writing a query and a synopsis, researching agents, and submitting.
My plan of action:
- Finish revising based on all the reviews I've received so far (3 more chapters to go!)
- Work on bringing each chapter to a decent word count (about 2,000 words each)
- Go through a final revision, using new reviews received
- Write a query and a synopsis, get feedback and revise until they're both perfect
- Research possible agents and start submitting
2) Review two chapters per week for my online critique group
The group I'm part of requires us to do one review per week to remain on the boards. I'm planning to do two reviews per week this year, because there are so many great books I want to read, so many wonderful aspiring writers I want to help. I learn a lot by reviewing other people's work, and ultimately it helps me improve my book. And best of all, I get to read future bestsellers before the rest of the world does.
My critique group has all kinds of books, but mainly MG and YA. I'm planning to focus on MG books first, since that's what I'm writing. One exception: Ralene's book is Christian fiction, but I reviewed a few chapters already and I just have to find out what happens next!
Some of the books I'm planning to review:
- Unknown Reality, by Kurt Chambers
- The Silver Strand, by Louisa Clark
- Dividing Spirit, by Ralene Burke
- Jack, Sally and Mr. Goode, by Christopher Roy Denton
- Morning Magic, by Laura
3) Post in my blog once a week
I've been very inconsistent in posting this year. I'm planning to keep a more regular schedule and post once a week. Writing and reviewing are always a priority over blogging, and I don't want to drive myself crazy trying to find something to post if I don't have anything to say, but I'll do my best.
I also need to limit my time to one hour per post, rather than spending a whole evening tweaking before publishing it. That might help.
Topics I want to cover in 2011:
- MG book reviews (see Goal # 5)
- Writing tips and procedures
- Writer interviews
- Personal life
- Useful resources: highlighting other blogs, websites, and tools for writers
I've already raved about WriteOnCon in previous posts, so I won't repeat myself. Let's just say that I loved my experience and gained so much out of it that I definitely want to sign up for the next one. It's online, it's free, and it's accessible to everyone throughout the world. What could be better than that? Hopefully, by then, I'll have a query ready to enter in the contests this time around.
5) Read 20 MG books
I made a list of recommendations in a previous post, and I've already read seven of them. Couldn't wait for 2011!
Part of being a writer is knowing what's out there, analyzing books that have already been published and learning from them. I've been reading on and off all year, but this time, I want to also post a review on my blog as I finish each book.
Writing a review forces me to look into each book more in depth to determine what I liked or didn't like, what worked for me and what might have needed improvement. I'm also looking at the number of pages, number of chapters, and genre, to figure out where my book would fit in.
Some series I've already started reading and planning to continue:
- 39 Clues, by multiple authors (first one by Rick Riordan)
- A Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney
- Toad Rage, by Morris Glertzman
Making new goals is exciting! Even if I don't accomplish all that, the fact that I have written goals helps me focus and accomplish more than if I only have a vague idea in my mind of what I want to do.
What are your goals for this coming year?