Writing Goals for 2013: The Assessment

December 27th, 2013

At the beginning of the year I published my writing goals for 2013. Now it’s time to assess how I did:

The Red: First Light1. In March, publish my first adult science fiction novel in TEN YEARS.

Done! This of course was The Red: First Light. Have you read it? Did you like it? Lots of people, men and women both, who don’t ordinarily read military fiction have enjoyed it. If you haven’t read it, I hope you’ll give it a try.

2. Write the sequel to the novel referenced above. Bonus points: publish it before the end of the year.

Hmm…I was about to say that I failed this one, but you know what? I DID finish the first draft at the end of November and I’m presently doing the first revision. So I’m going to pass myself on this one. Definitely no bonus points, though.

3. Write and finish one additional Zeke Choy short story. Bonus points: finish two more stories.

The first Zeke Choy story was “Nahiku West” which was the second-place finisher for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. The second Zeke Choy story, “Out In The Dark,” was published in Analog’s June 2013 issue. Did I write the next story? Er…no. I have notes though! And some pretty serious ambitions for the finalé of the series, but I haven’t started yet, in part because I was invited to write for some anthologies and that used up my short story time. Next year though…

4. Write and finish three other short stories.

Wait, let me count… Win! In fact, I wrote four stories. They will appear during 2014 in the anthologies War Stories, Reach For Infinity, and an untitled anthology edited by John Joseph Adams, with the fourth story due in April in the monthly magazine, Lightspeed.

5. Write and finish a completed draft of a third Puzzle Lands book…

Nope. As it turns out, I never seriously considered starting on this — though I’m already flirting with the idea for 2014. To be bluntly honest, these books sell very few copies — and I don’t know why. When people actually read them, they seem to really like them — but my science fiction is much more in demand, which is frustrating because I want to do both!

So in summary…
Only one novel and four short stories were written this year, but given how hard that novel proved to be, I’m satisfied.

How did you do with your writing goals in 2013? Let me know. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted on: Friday, December 27th, 2013 at 7:00 am
Categories: Annual Writing Goals.

7 Responses to “Writing Goals for 2013: The Assessment”

  1. Bill (Ho`okoa) Martin Says:

    “5. Write and finish a completed draft of a third Puzzle Lands book…

    Nope. As it turns out, I never seriously considered starting on this — though I’m already flirting with the idea for 2014. To be bluntly honest, these books sell very few copies — and I don’t know why. When people actually read them, they seem to really like them — but my science fiction is much more in demand, which is frustrating because I want to do both!”

    Combine the two under one cover!!!

  2. Linda Says:

    Do you mean make an omnibus of the Puzzle Lands books? Sell them together as two novels in one? I’ve flirted with the idea, but I’m not sure how much of an advantage it would be. I appreciate the suggestion though, and it may well happen.

  3. allynh Says:

    5. Write and finish a completed draft of a third Puzzle Lands book…

    Nope. As it turns out, I never seriously considered starting on this — though I’m already flirting with the idea for 2014. To be bluntly honest, these books sell very few copies — and I don’t know why. When people actually read them, they seem to really like them — but my science fiction is much more in demand, which is frustrating because I want to do both!

    An odd thing. If you actually go ahead and write at least one puzzle book a year people will actually start buying them, down the road. Right now people only see two books. They don’t want to invest their time in only two books. If they saw five or ten they would say, “Ooh, a new world to play in.” HA!

    I just bought everything by Mickey Zucker Reichert. I’d read her first _I, Robot_ and looked at her wiki page and saw different series that she has done. I liked the way her prose was in _I, Robot_ and simply bought everything that was available by her. I have them in a box to be read. I’ve done the same with many writers that I’ve stumbled across. I somehow missed their books over the years, or bought one book, read it, then forgot that I liked their stuff, then found them again once I saw many books by them, decades later.

    A common complaint on Amazon is the one book trilogy. They see the first book in a series and don’t buy it because they have been burned in the past when they invested time in the first book of a series and no other books appeared. Or the next book in a series appears a year or more later, long after they forgot they even read the first book.

    Write what you love, but don’t expect people to love them until there is more of the same world to love. HA!

  4. allynh Says:

    Another example is the Preston & Child books.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Preston

    I bought _Relic_ when the movie came out in 1997, then promptly forgot about Preston & Child. I just finished buying all of their books this year when I rediscovered them again.

    I literally read the _Helen Trilogy_ first, bought all of the books, then started at the beginning.

    If you look at the wiki page you can see that they started in 1995 with _Relic_, wrote some books with the same characters, scattered here and there, then realized that Pendergast was the main character people wanted to follow.

    What is interesting, is that I read the last three books first then read _Relic_ after over a decade. The difference between the fully established characters at the end of the series and _Relic_ are profound. The characters in _Relic_ were not as deeply interesting as they later became.

    It wasn’t until they played in Pendergast’s world with the other characters could they do _The Cabinet of Curiosities_ and then do _Still Life with Crows_ before the series could really open up.

    Now they are starting a new character _Gideon Crew_. The main complaint people have is that he is not Pendergast. That the characters are not fully developed. HA!

    Once the _Gideon Crew_ series has more than five books people will be just as passionate about that series.

  5. Linda Says:

    Hi Allyn,

    The problem with just writing another (or another every year) is that I could be using the same time and creative energy to write something that might make a lot more money. And money does make life easier. The “the one book trilogy” exists because the first book doesn’t find a market. Continuing to write in an unsucessful series is the same as throwing good money/time after bad. Sometimes it will pay off in the long run, but continuing to write a series on the mere hope that it will turn around is…not good business?

  6. allynh Says:

    The “the one book trilogy” exists because the first book doesn’t find a market.

    It’s catch 22. HA!

    People are waiting for the rest of the trilogy before they buy the first book, and it never comes because somebody killed the trilogy simply because the first book “didn’t sell”. People wait to buy the first book in a trilogy because they have been burned so many times with “one book trilogies” in the past.

    Always remember, if you are going to “commit trilogy”, you have to actually write all three books. HA!

    The point is, if you are having fun in a world, people will want to play in that world as well. The more books you have in that world, the more people will buy them, and want even more.

    People are waiting for you to write the books, while you are waiting for people to buy the books. If you write the books, we will buy the books. The other way doesn’t work. HA!

  7. Linda Says:

    …which is why I don’t write trilogies. For the most part I write independent novels that share the same story world. The Nanotech Succession for instance only became a “series” when I re-published it. Even at the beginning of my career, I understood enough about publishing to know that each book needed to be a stand-alone for any chance of success, because odds were good the earlier ones would quickly go out of print.

    Here’s an excellent post on the dynamics of readers, writers, and trilogies.Buy, Read, Talk: How to Help a Writer’s Career