Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

Writing Goals for 2012: The Assessment

December 27th, 2012

At the beginning of the year I published my writing goals for 2012. It’s time to assess how I did:

1. Re-publish my Puzzle Lands novel The Dread Hammer with a new cover, and publish the second book in the series, Hepen the Watcher, in ebook and print versions.

Done! The Dread Hammer was re-published in February, and Hepen the Watcher was published in March. My flirtation with the use of a pen name is over for now, and I’m glad to have both books out under my own name. I see these two fantasy novels as a quirky and interesting addition to my science fiction list.

2. Finish two original novels.

Technically, done! At least if “finished” refers to completed drafts. But there are caveats.

When I wrote this goal, I was 20,000 words into a new novel. Let’s call that Novel A. Things were not going well, and in March I took what I had and converted it from third person to first person point of view. Things went better after that, and by April 30 I had a first draft. I set it aside for a while, and then toward the end of May I did some edits…and after that I abandoned it.

Novel A is problematical. It reads fine, and it’s a decent story, but on reflection I think it’s just not a “Linda Nagata” story. It doesn’t have any edgy complexity to it. Ironically, I suspect for that very reason this could be my most popular work, but probably not with my usual readers. Then again, what do I know? At this point, Novel A needs a few background scenes, and then an appointment with an editor. This would be easy enough to do. What’s really holding me back is that this is not a stand-alone book. It needs a sequel — more likely two — and right now I’m not enthused about writing those. For the first time in my career I am flirting with the idea of persuading a co-writer to work with me — though I’m not at all sure that would be a good idea either.

And Novel B? Here’s how I feel about Novel B: 😀

Novel B came out of nowhere. It’s not a book I planned to write. It wasn’t anywhere in my goals for the year, but it demanded to be written. I started on it in early June, sent a draft to beta readers in October, applied their suggestions, and will be sending the nearly final draft to a professional editor in just a few days for a last look-over. Novel B will be published in March.

So, again: 😀

3. Finish four pieces of short fiction.

Fail! I finished only three short stories, though I did get to sell all three to good markets.

Update, December 31: In the comments one of my most supportive readers, Willy B, took me to task for calling this a fail, and then pointed out I had four days to write another short story … so I did. I finished a solid draft last night, and even though I still have to read it over and (I’m sure) fix it up, it IS a finished story, so I’m switching this from “Fail” to “Done.” Thanks, Willy B!

4. Consult with a professional editor on the potential and direction of my long-evolving novel The Wild, and either bring it to fruition or put it away permanently.

Done! I did consult with a professional editor early in the year on this many-times-rewritten fantasy novel, showing her the opening chapters of the last complete draft, as well as the new opening, written in a new style, that I’d done in 2011. She agreed that the new opening was better and more active…but you know what? I’ve finally moved on. I don’t want to rewrite the book again, not at this time in my life. What I’ve decided to do instead is to serialize the older version here on my blog — one chapter every Friday, beginning on January 4.

Bonus Points:
These didn’t happen. In last year’s goals I talked about possibly starting a third volume of Stories of the Puzzle Lands, as well as contemplating another book in The Nanotech Succession. On the plus side, I did make some vague notes on each, and I even started plotting a sequel to my novel Memory, but no bonus points for me this year!

How did you do this year? Did you meet your goals? Or exceed them?

Posted on: Thursday, December 27th, 2012 at 4:18 pm
Categories: Annual Writing Goals, Writing.

12 Responses to “Writing Goals for 2012: The Assessment”

  1. Willy B Says:

    I don’t believe that writing and selling only three short stories is a “Fail!” when the goal is four. 75% completion on any goal is extremely good …. losing only 75 pounds instead of 100 is a remarkable achievement! Give yourself some flexibility. Black-and-white goals are too rigid.

    Besides, you still have over four days left to finish the fourth one 🙂

    Congratulations and thank you for the new stories!

  2. Linda Says:

    “Besides, you still have over four days left to finish the fourth one”

    Hey…you’re absolutely right. AND I have a pretty complete outline done for a short story. Shoots! I might just be able to reassess that “fail” after all! 🙂

  3. Keith Johnston Says:

    What is novel B? A new nanotech book? Can you give us a hint?

  4. Keith Johnston Says:

    Oh I guess not since you mentioned that in the bonus points. Sorry. I read Naiku West and I still want more nanotech!

  5. Keith Johnston Says:

    Sorry again – Nahiku West!

  6. Linda Says:

    LOL. Novel B is near-future, set in a new story world. More on it in a couple weeks! But there is a new Zeke Choy short story on it’s way. It’ll be published in Analog. After the New Year I’ll contact the editor and see if he’s got a publication date.

  7. Toby Neal Says:

    Fantastic goalmeeting, if you ask me!

  8. Linda Says:

    LOL. Set the bar low and be successful! That’s my philosophy. 🙂

  9. Glen Says:

    LOL, I don’t think that any of us see this as “bar low”. Good job, Linda.

  10. Linda Says:

    Thanks, Glen!

  11. Jill Engledow Says:

    Linda, just reading your list boggles the imagination. I give you an A+++ for the year!

  12. Linda Says:

    Hi Jill — I think you get an A+ too for publishing your beautiful and intricate book on Haleakala. Anyone interested in Maui needs to look for Jill’s newest publication, Haleakala: A History of the Maui Mountain. Find more information on it here.