I felt a bit alone this New Years, which is funny, since I think this year I was surrounded by more people on that occasion than usual. (Admittedly, I spent at least an hour and a half of it attempting - and failing - to keep an elderly Jewish woman from completely losing her shit, but hey...)
I felt alone because I was the only one mourning the passing of 2011.
2011 was the best year of my life, bar none.
I remember, way back in 5th grade, when the most interesting thing about me was that my name was longer than I was, I was introduced to a strange concept; People write books. Actual, real people. Someone I could talk to had written books. And other people read them. Hey, I was a kid. I suppose if you'd asked me before that, I would have acknowledged that people wrote books, but I hadn't really glommed onto the concept... that year, my teacher had us write short stories. Each student wrote a short story, mine was called Alona and the Blue Ribbon. After we wrote - and then revised - the story, we made bound copies by writing the words carefully on paper, sewing the pages together, and pasting them inside cloth-bound cardboard covers.
I still have mine. (It was bad. Terrible in fact. Fire drakes and fantasy, weirdly not-nice fairy godmothers... those fairies, always creep me out just a little bit... adventures and learning to deal with magic.)
From that day forward, I've wanted to be a writer.
And to some degree, more or less, I've been one. Or, at least, in the strictest sense. I was a writer in that I wrote. Along the way, I had one short story picked up by a Young Authors magazine (I was supposed to get 2 contributor copies, the magazine went out of business shortly after my acceptance, and if they ever printed my story, I never got a copy, and never saw it in print.) and one play picked up by an underground lesbian indie magazine. (I didn't submit that one, my professor did in college, and I suppose I should be grateful that she submitted it under my name instead of her own, since there's no way in hell I would have ever known about it otherwise. I don't count that, really, because that's not a piece of work I would have wanted to publish on my own.)
I don't actually have the "stack of rejection letters" that a lot of writers talk about having. Oh, I've received a few of them. About 10 years ago, I sent out a string of inquiry letters to agents, trying to sell my co-authored book, Circle in the Sand. I got back 3 "no thank yous" and never heard on the rest of them. Really, if I send out a SASE, is it that much trouble to say no thank you? I never kept any of them; or at least, I don't think I did. If I have any, I have no idea where they are, and that's about the same thing, right?
2011, things changed.
I finally found my groove for writing; and honestly, if I'd been paying attention, I'd have found it a lot earlier. I took Creative Writing in college twice which meant I wrote four short stories for critiques over the course of two semesters. I wrote two horror stories, one sci-fi and a modern-day romance about a woman who runs into her ex-husband while at a bar in the Bahamas. The one story that got any approval AT ALL from my classmates (now, don't mind me, but I will still say that 95% of my classmates were a bunch of snotty, stream of consciousness, look how stylistically I'm writing mom! assholes who were more interested in how obscure they could be rather than in learning how to tell a good STORY) was the one romance I wrote.
For decades now, I've been writing romance stories and trying to market them under a different genre. I've written horror romance, fantasy romance, and sci-fi romance. And when I was done writing, I'd go back and edit out all the sex, most of the romance, and end up with a bare-bones plot that just wasn't that interesting. What I'm most interested in is romance. My favorite sci-fi stories are the Liaden Universe novels, written by Steve Miller and Sharon Lee. (Start here and move forward.) I like Anne McCaffrey's Crystal Singer stuff best of all her work; if you look at them, they're very, very romantic. I read and re-read, obsessively, Clan of the Cave Bear, which was one of the first novels I was introduced to that had graphically described sex. I'm a huge Jane Austen fan (I even have a Jane Austen action figure that is pinned to the wall near my monitor).
So... eight short stories written and submitted in 2011. Three accepted.
34,356 words written that have been submitted (slightly more if the fact that I had to submit On the Fly twice!)
One novel written. 50,059 words.
And one semi-completed short story that will be done within the next 2 weeks, for a total of 91,415 words written this year. (That's not including the 20,000 words I've edited OUT of Marked Man... or blog posts. Or flash fiction, of which I have written a TON....)
2011 has been the best year of my life. Bar none.
Except that I want to raise the bar.
Yes, yes, eventually I'm getting to the point, hold onto your butts.
2012 (it's the end of the world as we know it....)
I would like to write over 150,000 words.
I would like to submit one short story per month (with the average word count of 4,000 words submitted, so if I submit a longer story, say 10,000 words, that counts as 2 stories...)
I would like to finish editing Marked Man and get it out the door.
I would like to plot out and begin re-writes for Circle in the Sand
I would like to finish Blood Sight and begin edits for that
I would like to start writing Hunter Moon (perhaps as my NaNoWriMo project)
I would like to start writing The Wormwood Trade
So... that's my broad plan for 2012...
More detailed plans:
Finish writing Blister Effect (a 10-15k short story) by Jan 15th, get to betas and get submitted by Jan 31st
Plot out and write Roll, a 3-5k short story and submit by Feb 29th
Plot out and write Alive and Kicking, a 3-5k short story and submit by March 15th
Plot out and write a tentacle sex story, 20 - 25k, due for submission March 25th
Plot out and write Picking up the Pieces, a 15 - 20k short story, due for submission March 31st
Plot out and start writing Nocturnal Equations, a 10k short story, due April 30th
(I'm not committing myself to both of the March longer stories; I'm mulling them over and trying to decide which one I want to do more...)