Coming Into the Home Stretch

Coming Into the Home Stretch

The year has been passing by fast.  Now that we are in October, we are crashing towards Christmas.  Of course, the shutdown doesn’t help.  With fewer places to go, one week seems pretty much like the others.  There are fewer time markers, like, “In March we went to SLO, in April we went to BABSCon, in July we went to Comic-Con.

But with fewer places to go, it has given me more time to write and to do other writer’s stuff – like this blog.  And with the end of the third quarter, it’s time to check in on my goals for the year.

2021 Goals

  1. Finish my second steampunk screenplay. This includes making changes based on the feedback from my critique group.  This will still be a vomit draft in the range of 200 pages.  I won’t make any big rewrites until after I finish the first draft.  I set this aside for several months as I concentrated on the novelization of my first steampunk screenplay.  I have started working on it again.  I hope to finish it by the end of October.
  2. Edit my first steampunk novel. Again, I’m making some changes as my critique group reads through it, but the really big changes won’t come until they finish it and can give me feedback on it as a whole.  My critique group had gone through my entire novel before the end of the second quarter.  One of the pieces of advice I kept hearing in GLAWS was to read your work out loud, or have someone else read it out loud.  As the writer, your eye will tend to skim over sentences you understand, but when you read it out loud, it gets processed through a different part of your brain and you catch wrong words, misspellings and sentences that are awkwardly written.  My wife has been reading it out loud as I follow along and take notes.  After reading it, rereading it, my wife reading it and putting it through Spell Check and Grammarly, it’s amazing how many errors we still find.
  3. Get a ProCritique on both in February. This will lead to even more rewrites on both.  This will probably overlap with #1 and #2.    And changes made based on those critiques.
  4. Once I’ve done everything I can with my novel, it’s time to hire a professional editor. I’m hoping sometime between March and June.  Here I’m behind schedule.   I hope to contact an editor in November or December.  I also have to save up the money for this.
  5. Pitch my first novel to agents at the August Writer’s Conference. I hope to be ready by then.  If I do get an agent, then everything could change depending on how much he needs me to work with him, work on my novel from his suggestions, and how much I have to do to promote my novel before publication.  The work doesn’t stop once you get an agent.  I’m now looking at the February writers conference.
  6. Write my second steampunk novel. I’m shooting for approximately 100,000 words.  At 3,000 words a week, that should take me about 34 weeks.  So if I start in May, I should finish by the end of the year.  One thing I discovered with my first steampunk novel is that I write screenplays long, but the novels come out shorter than I expected.  Screenplays should be about 120 pages long.  The page-per-minute rule.  Mine is 143 pages long.  I thought that would make a 100,000 word novel.  Turns out it’s about 72,000 words – still withing the range of a first novel, but shorter than I expected.
  7. I should add keeping up with my two critique groups, which means reading and critiquing everyone else’s work. All caught up.
  8. Read a book a month. I’m really behind in my reading.  And one of the best ways to become a good writer is to read good books.  Also, there are books you read for education, in my case, learning about Victorian England.  As I said before:  Forget about it.  I can write, or I can read.  I just don’t have time to do both.  I’ve read a graphic novel or two and barely kept up on my comic books – and I don’t collect that many.
  9. I also want to keep up on my comic books. I don’t even collect that many.  See above.  But, hey, Transformers in the Ponyverse and now ponies in the Transformer universe.  How could I not stop to read that?!?  If you’re asking, Huh?  Why?  How does that even make sense?  Because both properties are owned by Hasbro.
  10. And finally, on a personal note, I’d like to try at least one new recipe a month. Cooking is a hobby of mine, and I’ve been doing pretty good so far since the lockdown.  In the first quarter I made Rustic Bread, Chicken Rice Soup, Garlic Bread Cheese Sticks and Granny’s Classic Meatloaf.  In the second quarter, I made Philly Cheesesteak Pasta, Easy Pizza Casserole, Loaded Carne Asada Sheet Pan Nachos and Easy Macaroni Salad.  And in the third quarter I made:

Crock Pot French Dip
Easy Pizza Casserole
Granny’s Classic Meatloaf (I love collecting meatloaf recipes)
Easy Honey Garlic Pork Chops
Slow Cooker Crack Chicken (We also switched out the ranch dressing mix for taco seasoning)

  1. I am up to pints 5 towards my 13th gallon. I am delaying my next donation so I can give at my own blood drive at Loscon.

Overall, I think I’m doing okay.  There are several things I’m late on, but I think I can still finish them by the end of the year.  And this whole thing will help me set more realistic goals for next year.

Dennis Amador Cherry

81st blog completed.

First Steampunk novel:  72,197 words.

First Steampunk screenplay:  Need to update with notes from the novelization.

Second Steampunk screenplay:  119 pages

Second Steampunk novel: 0 words.

Third Steampunk screenplay:  38 pages.

And my habaneros are doing great even after their separation and transplant.  It wasn’t a goal of mine to do any gardening, but I do love habaneros.  So I planted some seeds from two I bought at Ralph’s.

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