Writing Goals for April, Anyone?


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Carol Rose

Sep 13, 2014
Indiana, USA
I'm borrowing this post idea from our Indiana Romance Writers of America Facebook group. We post our writing goals every month to support and encourage each other.

Anyone want to try that here on Litopia? I'll start...

I'm working on two WIPs. Since the characters in both have already been put in timeouts for starting arguments more than once, I decided the only way to keep them from brawling was to work on both books at the same time. ;)

One is the fifth Tortured Love book, and since it's already outlined and I have my GMCs (Goal, Motivation, Conflict) squarely in place for hero and heroine, one would think it would be easy to write this, but it's not. No clue why. Yet. But I'll figure that out eventually. :)

The other WIP is that same book I've been tossing around for a couple of months now. It's written in first person, present tense, and I've never tried that before. I'm having a blast and love it, but I'm also having serious doubt about what to do with it once it's finished. It's a romance, in that the hero and heroine end up together, but most of the book is told in the heroine's past. It does advance - the story does move forward - but this is not the usual romance you'd find on the shelves, or in the Kindle store. So... not even sure Evernight would take it, to be honest. And, I'm also thinking it might be more women's fiction with romantic elements, than straight romance. Which means I need a different route for it. :)

My goals for April aren't to finish either book, but to get close. I hope to have them both done by mid-May. :)

Okay.... who's next? Tell us your writing goals for April!!
I have put my 'ancient China/ martial arts YA series' in the proverbial drawer for now and am working on contemporary fiction- The Red String. This was a short story I'd written a while ago but I'm extending it for a novel. Will put up some chapters in the Houses for feedback if anyone has time.

Goal for April: to finish the novel and do editing ready to start looking for agents for May.

Who is next? :) Great thread Carol!
Re-drafting a synopsis; throwing hat in the ring, deadline 5 April - novel about the young policeman who meets The Ferryman.

Working on first draft of the lonely young farmer and the something wicked which this way comes. 100 pages + is so far down on paper. Deadline...well, it won't be done in April.
Well, I had planned on finishing the first draft of my WIP, Brisket's B&B, by the end of March. Unfortunately, life (well, actually death) intervened, and I was too distracted the past two weeks to finish it.

SO... my April goal is to finish that draft, then let it sit a couple of weeks while I start in on the first draft of the second book in the Dragon Slayer series.

I'm also being nagged by a 'finished' novel that just isn't quite right. I hope to spend some time with that one in April, too, to see if I can't do something with it. It's been sitting for months now, so maybe I'll have some fresh perspective. It's not so much that the novel doesn't feel right, but its sequel is 3/4 done and not going in the right direction, and I worry I need to go right back to the beginning to fix things.

And, lest I forget marketing (ugh), I also have a couple of presentations coming up in April to help boost sales; and I'm hoping to get The Dragon Slayer's Son into a couple of local independent bookstores.

Thinking about plans, I take a quarterly approach to my planning, using a quarterly report format my Peace Corps supervisor made us use back in the early 90s. It worked well for me then, and I've used it ever since, though I no longer report to anyone but myself. It's quite organised (and anal, I admit), but it keeps me on track and lets me see what I've actually accomplished as well as what I want to accomplish. Does anyone else record/track your plans and progress? Do you use any particular tools to do so?
Hoping to finish the first draft of my WIP by the end of the month so that I can let it sit for a couple of weeks before taking with me to Croatia for a week in mid-May to make a start on knocking it into something approaching a readable novel.
Sheesh. If I actually write it down, I'll have to make it happen. What are you trying to do to me, etc. Vague aim -- to revise and submit 2 short stories to one magazine; to revise another short for another mag; to do the first draft of another short for an anthology; to resurrect / make marketable and submit 2-3 flash fiction pieces that I wrote a couple of years ago. Sounds more work than it is because I think most of them are very nearly there. Any free time will go on tweaking the plot of the novel that I am struggling with.
I am trawling the internet for literary competitions to enter, in the hope that it may raise my profile as a writer. Most contests have an entry requirement that the submission hasn't been previously published, including as an ebook. This means that I'll have to write some fresh stories and poems, which is fine with me as I've been suffering withdrawal symptoms from not doing any creative writing.

Trying to decide which competitions have the most worth in terms of prestige from winning, being placed or short or long-listed is tricky. Most of them appear to be money-making enterprises. I won't go so far as to say 'scams', for some of them do good work throughout the year which requires funding in some way.

So far, the most lucrative competition I've found is the Bridport Prize, which has £18,000 in prize money. The strangest prize is that for the Pindrop Short Story Award, which admittedly is free to enter, but the winner is honoured by having their short story 'read aloud by a special guest at the Royal Academy of Arts.' Pindrop is undoubtedly influential, though its web-site does have a rather foppish feel, so full of media and publishing luvvies that it makes me feel like a bolshy yokel!

I'm not particularly competitive, so am needing to gird my loins....Now, where did I put my girding grease?
My New Year's resolution was to submit more stories to competitions and I'm just about keeping up with it - aiming for one a week of whatever length. The Pindrop competition looks interesting - I hadn't spotted that one. Thanks!

Girding grease is available on eBay but buy soon as post-Brexit there'll be a massive import tax on it.
My New Year's resolution was to submit more stories to competitions and I'm just about keeping up with it - aiming for one a week of whatever length. The Pindrop competition looks interesting - I hadn't spotted that one. Thanks!

Girding grease is available on eBay but buy soon as post-Brexit there'll be a massive import tax on it.

In my search for competitions, I found a useful list on a slightly demented competition addict's site. Michael Shenton is nothing if not enthusiastic, and has found an alternative way of making a living through competitions.

Writing Competitions

Most of the competitions on the list offer cash prizes, and some include being published in the organiser's journal. One that intrigued me with its possibilities is the Impress Prize.
So how did we all do? Still not finished my WIP but I am on the last bend now with the finish line in sight. Hoping to now complete it either on or before 5.00pm on the 13th as that is when I fly off to (hopefully) sunny Dalmatia for a week. Reckon that I will not do any more work on it until a later date, so will swap the dark and disturbing consequences of a murder investigation in Croydon for some fun and mayhem with Zombies in Croydon instead. Plenty of killing in that one as well but its all in the best possible taste!

However, what I have done is write a least 1000 words for every day of the month. Immensely pleased with that, especially in light of also having worked a succession of 60 plus hour weeks. No violins please as nobody ever promised life would be easy but for me at least, writing every day is the key to this thing of ours.

Looking forward to Mays writing goals thread.
I'm still working on both WIPs I mentioned in the first post, but I did submit a new story to Evernight this past week, and I will have the second one in that series submitted in a couple of days. :) This is a series idea that came to me last weekend. I wrote the first book in four days, but to be fair, these are short stories. Under 20K. And, I've been off work all week. :)
All things considered, I did okay in April. My father-in-law died (on my birthday, no less), so things were incredibly stressful and hectic. But jet-lag-induced insomnia meant I had time for writing (yay...I think), and I managed to finish one novel and start editing it, start the next novel, and sell some books, too. I gave three presentations at a local Bioblitz--live insect shows that segued into book promo--and sold a respectable number of books (more than I've sold on Amazon in over a month). I also got a couple of sales out of an article in the local paper. I also won a short story contest (though I'm not allowed to announce that officially until June). All in all, a respectable showing for what was an incredibly shitty month.
I've entered several free competitions, including one of the two biggest the Daily Mail/Penguin Random House First Crime Novel Competition. This contest started last year, and they were so overwhelmed with stories in the crime genre, that they've changed it to only crime for the second year. It suits me, as I've written four novels in my Cornish Detective series, though I had to choose which one to submit—that is, which plot would be commercially appealing.

Annoyingly, the competition insists on hard copies only, the Daily Mail apparently ignorant of computers; I guess this stipulation cuts down on the no-hopers who have a go simply by pressing 'Send' in their email account. Accordingly, I plucked a feather out of a goose's arse, fashioned a quill with my penknife, and wrote out the first 5,000 words of my novel, a synopsis and covering letter, all on finest vellum. Then I summoned my coach & horses and commanded my footman to deliver the documents post-haste to the offices of the Penguin people in London. It will be June before I hear if I've been shortlisted.

I'm primarily entering competitions for their potential publicity value, though I can't deny that the cash prizes would be useful...mainly to buy a new laptop. I'm in two minds about entering the DM/PRH contest, mainly due to their appalling political stance. Having said that, I originally intended to also enter the Amazon Kindle First Novel Prize, even though I mistrust their controlling ways. That proved impossible, as one of the regulations of the Mail competition, is that an entrant hasn't published a novel in any way before, including online as an ebook. Their rules are open to interpretation, for I've previously published short stories and novellas online, none of which are of sufficient word count to be novels—but these days publishers are describing 25,000-word novellas as 'novels—so, who knows what they'll make of my online publishing history.

I've also queried a couple of ebook publishers, though I'm dubious about the wisdom of getting someone else to publicise my work, paying me a mere 25% of the profit, when I could self-publish, do my own marketing, and get 100% of any money made.

I'm optimistic (delusional!) about what I'm doing, while nervous that I'm creating potential complications. Knowing my luck, I'll be offered a contract with an e-publisher, and accept it, two days before I hear that I've been shortlisted for the DM prize....

I feel like I'm making progress, but I'm not sure that I'm headed in the right direction!
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52 Calls for Submissions in May 2017 - Paying Markets