January 5, 2014

New Year Resolutions for Writing

Each year, I set a writing goal.

Actually, the suggestion comes from my friend Rayne Hall, who also keeps me on target! Last year, my goal, which I achieved, was to write 300,000 words and edit 300,000 words. I did so, squeaking by in December. Since it was a challenging but achievable goal, I’ve made that my overarching goal again this year. I am adding one thing only, which is to count my research, world-building and outlining as a separate category, and add that I want to so 100,000 words of outlining as well. So:

1. 100,000 words outlining/world-building

2. 300,000 writing (draft or full)

3. 300,000 editing or revision

Are New Year’s Resolutions of any value? Do they help or hinder? There’s a TED talk that claims sometimes telling people your goals has the same impact as actually achieving them, so be wary of publicizing goals. If you do set resolutions, and make them public on a blog, make sure it’s to help keep yourself accountable, not to prematurely pat yourself on the back. So, please note, I’m not auto-back-patting here, I’m not trying to plume myself, but to prep myself, and to prod myself, with these goals.

There’s another problem as well. What happens when the goals aren’t met? One of my goals for the past 3 years has been to finish The Unfinished Song series — all 12 books. Since I had a rough draft of the entire story, it didn’t seem unreasonable to expect I could do one book a month. Not only did grad school and babies come along, but what I wanted for the series also changed. Instead of 12 very short novels, all less than 50,000 words, I wanted to make each installment in the series a full novel. (You’ll notice that after Initiate, which is short, all the other books are 80,000 to 120,000 words. QUITE a bit longer.) More importantly, the extra length wasn’t just padding but represented additional storylines and characters, which, in my opinion, deepened and strengthened the story. My primary goal was to write an excellent story, one that would stand the test of time, and if that meant taking the time to rework and rework the story until it was perfect… I was willing and am willing to do that.

That said, it’s still one of my goals this year to finish the series. Trying to be more realistic than I have been in the past (apologies, dear readers!), I am committing to publishing at least the next trilogy in the Unfinished Song: Mask, Mirror and Maze. If I can bring you more than that, be assured I will. Just keep in mind, I want the final trilogy to be a “stunning conclusion” to the whole series, not a let-down, and I won’t compromise on that. So I will work on it as long as it takes to make sure these books are as good as I can write them. I’ll write as fast as I can… but not faster.

One of the ways to keep the Unfinished Song fresh and strong in my mind is to step away from it from time to time and work on other things. That’s to avoid creative burn-out. So I don’t promise I will work ONLY on the Unfinished Song this year. In fact, I have a few projects I would like to get started or continue this year. You’ve not seen most of these yet, and they might not be published this year at all. Right now, most are still in the world-building, research and outlining stage.

Here are the series I anticipate actively working on (in various stages):

Series in Progress:

1. Unfinished Song
2. Roxy Hood (a new Urban Fantasy series about a descendent of Little Red Riding Hood)
3. Tarot Temptations (a Paranormal Romance series in the planning stages)
4. Avatars of the Archons (a High Fantasy series)

The break-down of sub-goals — which, I should note, are  more fluid, and may change with circumstance, are:

• Detailed outline of the next Unfinished Song trilogy (Mask, Mirror, Maze)
• Trunk drafts of Mask, Mirror, Maze (the trunk draft of Mask is done but not the others)
• Revise, edit, polish, and publish – Mask, Mirror, Maze

• Detailed outline of the final Unfinished Song trilogy
• Trunk drafts of the final trilogy

• Detailed outline of at least three Roxy Hood novels
• Trunk draft of at least one Roxy Hood novel

• Coordinate with possible co-author about writing some Tarot Temptations novels

• Detailed outline of STRAT: COIN

• Rough outline of Avatars of the Archons 5-book series

As you can see, the main writing-in-full will still be on The Unfinished Song, but in between, I’ll be doing research and outlining for future works.

If you read  carefully (for whatever deranged reason anyone would be reading this post carefully… I realize it might be completely dull to anyone but me…) you’ll notice that if I do the Tarot Temptations, it might be with a co-author, specifically another writer friend who has more experience with romance and erotica than I do. This series would be Paranormal Romance, with hot and sexy scenes, but not full-on erotica.

I’ve never worked with a co-author before. Totally new territory! Working with a co-author could make the whole thing go faster, enabling us both to publish those books sooner (maybe even later this year), or it could be a complete train-wreck, full of drama, heart-ache, and mutual voodoo curses that raise the dead on a global scale. Fun!

If that project develops further, whether fantastically or demonically, I’ll be sure and keep you updated.


Tara Maya

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