Over the easter holiday, I escaped the darkened halls of the cardiac ultrasound lab and made for the misty heights of Gatlinburg, TN on my yearly jaunt to the Smoky Writers Retreat. To the uninitiated, Smoky Writers is a retreat where 20 authors and two chefs descend upon a cabin in the SMoky Mountains and live by the mantra: words, food, booze. As you can imagine, a lot gets written and eaten and drunk. We do, in fact. We get drunk. Authors do that. Ask anyone.
Though school prevented me from attending the full retreat this year, I was able to go for the last four days, and it served the purpose it always does for me: a creative reset. Now, coming up on the last few months of a grueling school program, I desperately needed that chance to re-center myself as a writer and start figuring out what I wanted to do once school is over (besides find a job, obviously).
Actually, the question was put to me by my friend Philippa Ballantine one night after dinner. She asked, "So what about you? What's your writing plan?"
I could have sworn I had something coherent before she asked me. Maybe she mesmerized me with her Kiwi accent. It's possible. Either way, I babbled out some half-baked nonsense about querying longer work to trad publishers and self publishing short work--doing the hybrid thing--which is cool except for one crucial detail: I hadn't exactly worked out how.
So, this week, I got to that.
One little tidbit I gleaned from Starla Huchton (S.A. Huchton) and Piper J. Drake (P.J. Schneider) was that Amazon has this tricksy little logarithm that rewards authors based on a 90/60/30 day publishing time frame. That is, the more often you publish, the more visible the logarithm makes you. You see, I've self-published a few things, which is fine, except there was over a year between them, which did absolutely nothing for my numbers. If I'd waited until I had the whole series done and published them over a couple of months, it would have been tremendously better for visibility.
Bearing that in mind, I looked at the rest of my year.
I can't do a lot of heavy writing until August, when my program officially finishes, so my plans run heavy toward the latter half of the year. I'm already querying HELLHOUND, and I'll be finishing the third draft on SONG OF THE HERETIC by graduation and hopefully querying that as well.
That will leave me with a clean slate starting in August.
FIRST, I will knock out the final Millroad Academy Exorcists novella, SWING BENEATH MAGNOLIAS. That will probably take up most of my writing time in August, and then will go off to beta readers.
September through November, I'll be continuing the book I started at Smoky Writers. It's a new property that's been a lot of fun to worldbuild and research. The series is titled Witchblood, and though I have titles for later books, the first one shall simply be referred to as Witchblood I until I have something that suits.
NaNoWriMo is usually a great way for me to pound out the last part of a book, and since this will (hopefully) be shorter than my usual imp-crusher, I might even get done on time. Hahahaaaa. *cries*
Somewhere in there, I'll release both SWING BENEATH MAGNOLIAS and an Omnibus version of The Millroad Academy Exorcists.
THAT LEAVES DECEMBER. I waffled for a bit, partly wanting to take the month off, partly knowing that I'll be working a new job by that point and probably trying to earn all the kudos by working over the holidays. With my life already thus destroyed, why not complete the hermitude with a little bit of writing? Decision made. Recklessly. Eight months before the fact.
Whatever, I'm excitable and--more importantly--flexible. If at any point someone gives me a book deal, all this could go happily off the rails to its doom.
I've been wanting to write a set of interwoven novellas/short stories about soulmates finding each other by swapping bodies randomly. I tested out the first few paragraphs of this on Katie Bryski and Rosemary Tizledoun at Smoky Writers, and it seemed to go over well.
But see, here's the part that makes me cackle: I was always planning to write the novella and short stories separately, then weave them into one book. BUT THEN I REALIZED I COULD RELEASE EACH STORY SEPARATELY. THEN ALL TOGETHER AS INTENDED.
WOOOHOOO! 2016 Writing Plan!
Of course, since it's me, I planned out the writing until next April. But I like planning things. I like calendars and check lists and stickers. It makes me feel responsible and organized and basically keeps me from running around with my head on fire all the time.
Seeing the projects I get to write coming up, I'm really excited about this year. Just have to finish school.
SO, friends. If you've made it this far, tell me what your writer's plan is! Are you a planner, or do you like to write what comes to you next?