2018 is here (in case you hadn't noticed)

So I went a bit quiet once November hit last year, after promising lots of content. That's because my workload shot through the roof. Beyond my "day job" getting extra busy at the back end of the year, I had a New Year's Eve deadline to work to on the fiction front. I hit that deadline with several hours to spare, crashing through a couple of drafts of the work-in-progress. These drafts were bloody hard work due mainly to the way I pantsed the first draft for NaNoWriMo 2016. A lack of foresight, plotting, planning, and outlining meant the second and third drafts required a lot of finessing of the story, not helped by having an epiphany that necessitated changing from past tense to present tense for most of the book. Hard hard work. So I think my main New Year's resolution is to outline the next novel to the Nth degree. Which doesn't help me when I return to my other pantsed 1st draft that needs attending to...

All's well though, because I submitted it to the Angry Robot open book submission – they opened their doors to un-agented authors which was the perfect incentive for this old Sparge. Working to a deadline really helps spur the productivity. And I've just discovered another open submission that I may look into, so I think this month's plan is to do another draft of the book, but this time more sedately. It'll just be focussing on adding some world- and character-building fluff really, making it read better. Most story elements are now final, so it's just a case of improving the verbage and style. Any excited Alpha Readers will have to wait for this next draft, I'm afraid. Probably ready by the end of the month. Probably.

Otherwise, the plan for the year is... well, not sure. Now that I don't have to work so frantically against time, I can choose my next project with a bit more freedom. I have plenty of short stories that need writing, a novel that needs a second draft (which, like the recent affair, will be a LOT of work) and plenty of other novels to plan. So, after this next draft, I'm going to write some short ones and see what next large project takes my fancy. There's plenty in the bank. And I learnt an excellent lesson about how I work in the frenetic ending to 2017, when I had to just stop tapping at my keyboard, close my laptop, and turn to the whiteboard and notebook. I hadn't touched either in a long time, but splurging out onto the whiteboard to get my thoughts in a free-fire zone before translating them into a more detailed and ordered format in the notebook saved the novel from being an incoherent mess. I will take this new work pattern into the next novel, whether it's doing an outline for a new book or the second draft of the old. I knew I got that whiteboard for a reason.

Oh, and just today I heard back about a story I submitted to Page and Spine last year, so I've started 2018 off with a bang. Another New Year's resolution then: get more stories published! (Easier said than done...)

As always, the promise for providing more website content, which should be achievable now. I have a book review to go up in the next couple of days – which I started writing in November before faecal matter hit the extractor – and I have plenty of new Cookman lessons gearing up for an appearance, perhaps partly inspired by Christmas, but I couldn't possibly comment. A final New Year's resolution: regular updated content for the website.

And losing a whole bunch of weight, and running a marathon each week, and running for office and other unattainable goals as well!