Looking ahead

Let’s not talk about 2014. I had a fairly good year, overall, but it wasn’t perfect – and in the larger world, 2014 was pretty shithouse for almost everyone else. Natural disasters, planes crashing, police militarization, Tony Abbott and the car-crash of Kindle Unlimited… so much unpleasantness.

So I’m gonna get in before Wednesday night’s planned NYE bacchanal – well, before cocktails and Birdman – with a look at what I already have planned for 2015. They’re not resolutions – resolutions are bullshit, he said smugly and annoyingly – but solid goals and agendas, things I know I can hit and work towards if I just stay focused.

Staying focused… well, that’s more of a resolution.

Anyway, here’s the list of what you can expect from me in the next 12 months (or indeed 6-8 if I stay on track):

Finish revising Obituarist II and publish it online: I’m about a third of the way through revising the draft, and I’m aiming to finish that by the end of January. In theory I could do it faster, but there’s a lot of work and new writing to do in the last third, so I’m giving myself more breathing room rather than rush to the finish line and do something sloppy. Once the book is finished, though, it’ll be up and on sale on Amazon the next day; the cover was done ages ago and fine-tuning the formatting won’t take long. So expect to see that within about four weeks, along with a tedious wave of self-promoting tweets to go with it.

ObituaristII-PDuffy

Finish revising Raven’s Blood and find a publisher: This one’s going to take longer, although there probably aren’t as many major issues with this 90K novel as there are with my 25K novella. Such is life. Anyway, I’m hoping to get this wrapped up by April/May, and then to pass it along to an agent (not definite yet, but we’ve talked about it) who can find it a print-publishing home. Which will be an entirely new learning experience, and one that I can hopefully keep you posted about as it progresses.

Write a new horror novella (maybe): I’ve got some ideas for a horror story based around the history of Yarra Bend Park and the 19th century insane asylum that used to be there. I used some of those for a game I ran a few months ago, but barely scratched the surface of them or used most of the research I’d done, so I’d like to go back to that well as see what else I can draw up. However, we all know how shit I am at deadlines, and there are likely to be a lot of demands on my time in the second half of the year, so I’m not 100% committing to this yet; Sickness Dreaming (provisional title, almost certain to change) might be something I start but don’t manage to finish until 2016.

Experiment with outlining: I’ve always preferred to come up with a loose narrative framework in my head and then pants my way through it, discovering where the story takes me. And that’s worked, except for the times it hasn’t, and perhaps there’s value in trying it the other way. So with the new stuff I write next year, I’m going to try writing a plot outline first – maybe a super-brief one, maybe something more detailed – and see if sticking (mostly) to it makes a difference.

Write more short fiction: I didn’t write any short fiction this year… well, okay, I wrote one piece. It’s for an anthology due to be published next year, but there’s been no announcement about it and I have to stay quiet for now. That aside, no new short stories for ages, and that’s a lack that I’d really like to make up for. Although I should probably come up with some story ideas first.

Find a more effective balance between work and writing: My day job is taking up an increasingly large amount of my attention right now, to the point where it was stressing me out for a while and making it very hard to switch gears into writing mode. The stress has lessened, but I’m still busy and still kinda drained after the end of the day. I’ll be experimenting with some ways of juggling the two demands on my time – and still have a social/personal life – so that I’m hitting my writing goals every week and not taking 9 months to write a bloody novella.

Do some RPG writing again: I used to write a tonne of RPG stuff back in the day (i.e. last decade), but left that behind ages ago. Still, a company I really like asked me to work on a property I enjoy with a number of other writers I really respect… so what the hell, let’s do it. Timeline’s not quite definite yet, but I expect I’ll be working on it around February/March (yes, the same time I’ll be revising Raven’s Blood; I’ll have to make a schedule and swap between gigs).

Be a better blogger: The program of writing two posts a week really fell apart in 2014 – partly because I had no time/energy for it, partly because I kept feeling I had nothing to say. I don’t know if I can go back to that program, or if I even want to, but I can surely manage more than one low-content post every 2-3 weeks. So look for a bit of an uptick in posting, and more posts focused on what I’m working on right now rather than more general theory.

Read more books: I read two novels in 2014. And they weren’t long ones. Instead I read a lot of graphic novels and skimmed a lot of Twitter, because that was a better fit for my reading-while-commuting habits. But that’s shameful, and I miss proper books with words in them, so it’s time to recharge the Kindle and start making my way through the backlog.

Post more photos of my dog: Because I’m out of control and I can’t stop now.

B5xevArCAAALQBE

Hope y’all have a good end-of-2014 celebration.

Catch you down the crossroads when we gather to put a stake in the old year’s heart.

One thought on “Looking ahead

  1. Happy new year, Patrick.

    Setting concrete goals is good. I’ve been procrastinating on mine, mostly because I don’t want to commit myself to writing one or more novels, even though it’s the obvious next step for me. Sigh.

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