Thursday, 13 September 2007

An ambitious coffee morning

Good Morning all. I hope everyone has had a good week.

I'm obsessed with schools at the moment and the start of the school year. Along with buying my son his new uniform and ironing the labels into it, making sure his book bag, P.E kit and drinks bottle are all labeled, I have also cleared out my drawers in my desk and reorganised them neatly, buying a few new pens, paperclips and a few lovely notebooks for my own 'term' ahead.

It got me thinking about what I would like to achieve this autumn term i.e from now until the Christmas holidays.

My main goal at the moment is to organise myself a routine, alongside making sure I have productive breaks in the fresh air or with friends, family and so on, so I don't become stagnant. Once I have got my routine I will be extremely happy.

My second goal is to have my editing done on my novel by the end of the year. I don't know if this is too short a time as I've never done this before. But if I had my m/s ready by the end of January it will have taken me a year since I started writing it properly. (And a year since I joined the novel racers. The two are related somewhat!)

So. Goals. Anyone want to share what they would like to achieve before the year is out?


Helen Shearer said...

Hi there. I am interested in joining the party. What exactly do I have to do to get in on all the fabulousness? A little help for the technoweenie, please. Thanks.

Leatherdykeuk said...

(1) Finish the current WIP by next Friday.
(2) Plot novel 7 to be written during November NaNo
(3) Begin rewrite of Novel 2 to take into account the revisions in novel 1
(4) Gain two more grades in Jiu-jitsu.

KeVin K. said...

Happy Friday, everyone!

Goals for the coming season?
My original (as in "first ever that's not media tie-in") mystery novel -- working title Coastal, Carolina -- is to be done (as in "in the mail") by the first Monday in November.
Of course, between now and then I'm also committed to deliver over a dozen 750-word pieces to a game project and the page proofs of To Ride the Chimera are due on my doorstep any day now, so I've already decided to be realistic about that November 5 deadline. Still, CC has less than 60,000 words to go, so it's still doable. (Not using 'realistic' as an excuse to ignore my commitment.)
After the first Monday in November?
Well, I'm still sending out pitches and proposals. Media tie-in work, which, if I get a contract or three, could mean fast work on short deadlines.
If nothing hits, I'll move on to my second original novel, this one a romance (already outlined).

On a semi-related topic: The NDA concerning a recent web project I wrote for only extends until the site goes live. So, once it's up, I'm going to post the link here. Not just to show off what it is I do (which nondisclosure agreements often preclude) but because you guys came to my rescue during the frantic week of writing with vital information about exotic Buckinghamshire.

liz fenwick said...

Gosh I feel a like a laggard posting after Raachel and Kevin. You are both amazing!

Right my goal before Christmas are to complete the first rewrite of A Cornish House and clean up August Rock for submissions in the New year. I will also be sketching out a rough outline for the novel to begin intime for next years Novel Race in January :-)

Hello heln above as opposed to Helen hosting the coffee this week. Go to my blog and email me and I will get you sorted.

Thanks for another good question this week Heln. Having put my goals here means I'll have to stick to them and not fugde them!!!!

Cathy said...

My main goal is to try to get my life back, after a traumatic 18 months!

In terms of writing, I think I am going to start my novel afresh, or at least edit and revise what is written so far before carrying on. I am still happy with my characters and plot, but I need to look again at structure and pacing.

I'm starting a short OU Start Writing Plays course at the end of October which I hope will help with writing dialogue in fiction. I am also following the Susan Hill online writing course. Once a current non-writing work assignment is completed at the end of next week I hope to be able to devote much more of my time and energy to writing...and to get back to yoga classes for some balance in my life!

Leatherdykeuk said...

Liz, you've no reason at all to feel a laggard; look at what you've achieved this year! I may write a lot, but I haven't had to fit in a move to another country!

I'm still waiting for AUC to come back from the copy editor, too. That'll be another week of revisions.

Flowerpot said...

Goals - I'm head down in the middle of a journalism course which I'm loving but takes up a lot of time, and I'm not even half way through that, but will get several more assignments done by the end of this year. Then wait for ms to come back from NWS, weep, wail and start rewriting. Carry on plotting new novel and not get too despondent, start writing that depending on news from last novel. I've organised a new writing group which should start in a few weeks time so hope that will inspire us all.
Good luck to everyone else!

Fiona said...

My goal is to try to be more organised. Apparently multi tasking (which means for me doing loads of stuff not very well), is not the way to do it.

Writing goal is to try to understand how people read. I thought I knew how I read or liked to read. I don't like descriptions of people as I like to imagine them in my head or do I? I now wonder if I read such descriptions in the same way as we read, 'she said/he said'? They can be invisible but you take them in.
The reason for this doubt is because I had my first three chapters read by the most excellent Margaret Graham of Writers Forum. Margaret pointed out that my main heroine wasn't very likeable (she based on me...oh dear) and that I don't describe people, smells, sounds etc. So I need to learn how to do this without sounding wooden. Any ideas how I can do this and how I can be a nicer person:(

Lazy Perfectionista said...

I started the first year of A level Italian on Monday, so I'm torn between two goals:

1. Get a lot better at Italian
2. Write a lot more of my WIP

I also need put in some serious hours at work, due to three killer projects coming up this autumn on which I'm the key writer, but I'm hoping these will help me on my way to promotion...

JJ said...

Happy Friday everyone.

Uuuhmmmm, goals, okay.

Keep writing my wip.
Write better.
Write more.


Rowan Coleman said...

hey eveyone - blimey, what a lot of goals!

I have a lot of work to do before the end of the year and my goal is to finish it all so I can start 2008 clear and ready to write my next novel for adults and with a good run up on my next children's book too. That means this year will be a bit frantic but there will be more breathing space next year and I will be totally zen.

(this incidenteally is why I haven't blogged in the longest time - I have too much writing, writing to do - I hope popping in here once a week is ok!)

Fiona when I wrote my first novel I didn't like putting in descriptions too much either or even 'he said, she said.' I got the comment back that I should remember I was writing a novel and not a play. Some decription is important to give the reader a sense of where they are, in the book and in their imagination. Don't worry about feeling wooden, I don't know about everyone else but I think description is the easiest part of writing, it's nailing plot, pace and characters that are the really tricky bits so if you've done that you're well ahead! Also I wouldn't worry too much about your main character apparently not being likeable (i'm sure you are lovely!) I always think a charcter that is too squeaky clean and perfect runs the risk of being boring and readers getting irritated with them. Far better, I think, to have a heroine with few flaws that we can all identify with than a shining example we all resent!

Lets have a round up at the end of the year to see how many of our goals we have achieved.

anji jane kelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CTaylor said...

My goals for the rest of the year are:

1) Finish second draft/edit of novel (and maybe do a third)
2) Send it out to at least five agents

I'd also like to write a few more short stories (as I miss writing them) and submit them.

Anonymous said...

Hope everyone's had a good week. You all sound incredibly busy. My main goal right now is to continue writing my first novel. I've been collecting research over the past, well, years actually so I think it's about time I started doing something about it. I know the plot and live with the characters! I do have other goals with include getting my house straight! New kitchen (yawn), renovating a reception room to become a second drawing room. All needs doing and somehow I need to find time to do it.

Crystal xx

CTaylor said...

Hi guys - we've got 2 new potential racer requests and I was wondering what the policy is for new joiners. Is it a first come first served affair? Are we going to cap the number of racers at any point? We've got 33 members at the moment (from the list on the left) and I'm getting a little bit concerned that if that gets greater than, say, 40 (or 50) it's going to be a struggle to read and comment on people's blog entries regularly.

After we hit 40 we could set up a 'waiting list' so people can join if members decide to leave.

What do other people think?

ChrisH said...

Oh wailey, wailey! Would like to finish my rewrite by the end of November but I'm having a severe attack of self-doubt. Thank goodness you lot are here today as would otherwise curl up in foetal postion and cry... which doesn't exactly help the word count! Okay, must now put my professional head on and do something.

Rowan - good advice.
CT - I'm also having trouble getting round to read everyone.

ChrisH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lane said...

Hi all
I'm very impressed by everyone's focus. Thanks Helen for the question.

I have one goal only and that is to finish the first draft by Christmas. That means 4,000 words a week. Anything extra like poems or a twiddle with a short story will be a bonus.

I shall probably be needing many pokes with a sharp stick.

I'd like to echo Rowan's advice to Fiona. There's a fine line between a character that you root for and a character you couldn't care less about. The best characters all have flaws that make them interesting. Maybe we could have a blog post about this...

Re. new racers? As a newish racer I am just grateful to be here and think maybe the longer serving members should decide the optimum number.

Lane x

B.E. Sanderson said...

G'Morning Everyone! (Or afternoon, whatever the case may be.)

My goals for the coming months are:

-Finish the first draft of book #5.
-Finish polishing books 3 & 4.
-Finish with final proofing of #1
-Hear one way or the other from the publisher (about book 2).
-Submit, submit, submit.

I hope to either sell something or have representation by the end of the year, but since that's outside my control, it's not really a goal.

Liz? You're so busy I'm surprised you get time to write at all. That you do blows me away. Keep up the good work.

CT brings up an interesting point. I don't really visit the other racers' sites. I come here instead. I figure if you guys have any important info, it'll be here. I don't expect any of you to wander by my blog just because it's expected, but only because you enjoy what I have to say over there.

If this is a rule for membership, I might have to bow out of the race. Which would seriously bum me out because I like being here. Like Lane, I haven't been here the longest, so I'll defer to the senior members decisions.

Graeme K Talboys said...

Achievable goals:
a - finish the draft of Charlie 1
b - continue research for Charlie 2, 3, and 4
c - start detailed outlines of Charlie 2, 3, and 4
d - draft at least one Jeniche short story
e - make more inroads into the to-be-read pile

Fantasy wish list:
a - get an agent for my fiction (which means finding one who hasn't rejected me yet; which probably means going off planet).

NoviceNovelist said...

Afternoon - I'm a bit late today! My writing goal for the autumn term is to finish editing my current draft and send it out to 4-5 agents - then get on a plane for Australia in december and go and soak up some sun, heat and family company for a whole month!!!!!!

Caroline said...

Ok goals. I have 2 and I don't think that they're very connected ...

1. To meet Simon Cowell and make him fall in love with me.
2. To find a publisher/agent for Black Boxes.

I submitted this week and am now waiting for my first rejection ... Positive thinker that I am!


liz fenwick said...

Hi all. Cally has a point about numbers. Up to now it hasn't been a huge concern but I think 40 would be the optimum number and then set up a waiting list. Of course the blog itself and it's topics would be open to all but the ability to post would be limited to the 40??????

How does this strike everyone? Shall I put up a post in a few days after people have thought it through.

Helen said...

Liz I think your suggestion is a good one. Lets have a specific post in a few days so everyone can comment.

Sarah*G* said...

Goals? I want to finish my 'book/novel' and learn how to do editing. Fills me with fear but then so do lots of things. I just want to get to Dec 31 without losing my mind!

A. Writer said...

1. To finish my first book completely and submit it to at least 3 agents.
2. To continue with another of my books (2 or 3 not sure which)
3. To try my hand at Short stories.

Cally-I like that idea about having a waiting list but how long will they have to wait? I think there's more wanting to join than to leave NRs so it could be a long wait!

A. Writer said...

This is just a suggestion but remember that Jen has the Novel Racers Domain name. If the blog gets too busy maybe a proper website is the way to go???

Andrew said...

Hey can I join this blog? My blog is at
I'm a new blogger but I've been writing a long time...this time I'm serious ;) I'd love to be a novel racer.

My goal for the rest of the year is to try to get my novel published...or at least get a bunch of helpful rejection letters. I've never had anything published since college (a long time ago) and that doesn't count.

KeVin K. said...

Okay. What a difference a dozen hours -- and the internet -- makes.

That British media-tie-in publisher I've been unsuccessfully pitching novels to? Still unsuccessful. But I have been invited into an upcoming anthology, which is very cool. And, of course, it involves the one realm of the IP with which I am completely unfamiliar, so I've got at least a week of focused reading ahead of me.

In the same batch of e-mails came an order from one of my regular markets for a 9,000 to 11,000-word story featuring characters I created for the universe as part of an anthology introducing a new phase of their game universe. Due October 1. Same date those 14 750-word articles are due.
Original novel's First Monday in November deadline pushed back to Last Monday in November.
Which means I'll be shipping it out just in time to get lost in the Christmas/end of year train wreck.
I think maybe I'll write it in a language I don't speak just to lengthen my odds a bit more....

Jen said...

Hmmm... the possibility of the year drawing to a close has crept up alarmingly quickly. I hope to have finished my novel within the next 8 weeks or so. Editing will, I guess, begin shortly after.

On a misery-inducing note, I will also have had to go back to work by December unless I manage to sell some articles or shorties. I am running out of non-working time and REALLY need to pull my finger out.

As for new members... well, I must confess that I don't manage to get to everyone's blogs all the time. Like B.E., I don't expect people to visit mine just because we're members here. If we visited 40 blogs and day and commented, then re-visited to read comments to our comments, we'd never get any writing done!

I do think a limit wise though, otherwise the Novel Racers will lose its supportive oomph and become just another anonymous writing community.

Nichola said...

We've got so big while I've been away! Nearly 40, huh? Yikes!

Goals goals goal...


Hmm, good question.

Well I want to finish this draft of DAE within the next fortnight because I have a guest staying and I want to get my 'work' out of the way before I start the 'play'. I could go back to my second draft after they've left of course, but I probably won't be in the mood. The house will feel super-empty I bet! All the more reason to knuckle down I suppose!

I also have another novel that's in a fit state for submission so I want to send that out again within the next fortnight.

So by the end of the year I want to get DAE in a fit state for submitting, and get the query letter and synopsis done, too.

I feel like it's my best work so far, but I'm scared of sending it out in case...well, in case it isn't!!

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Hello, sorry I'm late, been having a much-needed blogbreak. Main goal for this year: receive feedback on third draft (next week) and produce submission-ready fourth draft. Depending on how long that takes - I'd like to do it in 4-6 weeks, although my track record suggests that this is unlikely - I'll either submit by mid-November or in mid-January, as I've taken the excellent advice in 'From Pitch To Publication' by experienced agent Carole Blake not to submit in the run-up to Christmas. (There is also the small possibility that feedback will indicate the need for a fifth draft, but I'm trying not to think about that. And I truly think it's unlikely.)

Anonymous said...

Hello all,

This is only my second post on blogger, but I will be setting up my blog tonight. I hope I am not too late to request joining the Novel Racers; if I am I will happily sit on the waiting list and work quietly ;)

I am a 28-year-old graduate working on too many WIPs, but currently trying to finish a dark fantasy novel based on Celtic myth, and trying to finish the Chick lit novel I started for the Cosmo Miss Write competition.

Thanks, please do let me know if it's OK to join.