Well, I figured it was about time to get my 2016 Goals up (you know, just a month from Spring 2016)… This year’s focus is two-fold: 1) to test a writing process I hope will be sustainable and move me towards larger writing goals, and 2) to read more. I’ve never been one of those people who think writers shouldn’t have to read, and I enjoy reading very much, but I’m starting to realize that my casual reading pace isn’t sufficient from a writing career perspective. Reading copious amounts of fiction/non-fiction is vital both for my education as a writer, and to keep up with what’s going on in the field. I’m also trying to learn how I best produce submittable work (not just rough drafts, and not just short stories), so I’m trying to divide my focus throughout the year on both writing new words/editing, and writing short stories/writing novels.

So we’ll see how that all goes! Here’s hoping for a productive, less-stressful 2016!

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2016 Goals

1. Read 5 books a month (including whole fiction issues of genre magazines as a “book” to encourage short fiction reading, but not counting January, as I didn’t made this goal until February), for a total of 55 books (with five bonus books for 60 as optional). IN ADDITION, I will try to write a short “reflection” for each finished book:

BOOKS:

1. Booklife – Jeff VanderMeer (JAN)
2. The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo – Tom Reiss (FEB)
3. Hangsaman – Shirley Jackson (FEB)
4. Strange Crimes of Little Africa – Chesya Burke (FEB)
5. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black (FEB)
6. Nightmare Magazine (Feb 2016 Issue)
7. The Language of Moths – Christopher Barzak (MAR)
8. The Pooh Perplex – Frederick Crews (MAR)
9. Annihilation – Jeff VanderMeer (MAR)
10. Tik-Tok of Oz – L. Frank Baum (APR)
11. The Accidental Creative – Todd Henry (APR)
12. How to Edit a Novel – Charlotte Nash (APR)
13. Save the Cat – Blake Snyder (APR)
14. Kitty and the Midnight Hour – Carrie Vaughn (APR)
15. Magic for Beginners – Kelly Link (APR)
16. Structuring Your Novel – K.M. Weiland (APR)
17. Outlining Your Novel – K.M. Weiland  (APR)
18. 5 Secrets of Story Structure – K.M. Weiland (APR)
19. The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman (MAY)
20. The Devil’s Making – Seán Haldane (MAY)
21. The Business of Writing for Children – Aaron Shepard (MAY)
22. Waiting for the Barbarians – J.M. Coetzee (MAY)
23. How to Suppress Womens’ Writing – Joanna Russ (MAY)
24. Trees – Warren Ellis & Jason Howard (MAY)
25. The Cat Whisperer – Mieshelle Nagelschneider (MAY)
26. Sputnik Sweetheart – Haruki Murakami (MAY)
27. His Captive Lady – Anne Gracie (JUNE)
28. The Glass Sentence – S.E. Grove (JUNE)
29. A Right To Die – Rex Stout (JUNE)
30. Life Among the Savages – Shirley Jackson (JUNE)
31. The Buried Giant – Kazuo Ishiguro (JULY)
32. If He Hollers Let Him Go – Chester Himes (JULY)
33. Writing Picture Books – Ann Whitford Paul (JULY)
34. The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury – Brandon Thomas (AUG)
35. Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami (FEB)
36. Sandman: Volume One – Neil Gaiman (AUG)
37. Exile – Peter M. Ball (AUG)
38. Why Call Them Back From Heaven? – Clifford D. Simak (SEPT)
39. The Art & Craft of Novel Writing – Oakley Hall (SEPT)
40. The Beck Diet Solution – Judith S. Beck, PhD (SEPT)
41. Chillers – Sterling Blake (SEPT)
42. Ten Count – Rihito Takarai (OCT)
43. Authority – Jeff VanderMeer (OCT)
44. I Am Providence – Nick Mamatas (OCT)
45. Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life – Ruth Franklin (OCT)
46. Albedo One (Issue #45) (OCT)
47. Cricket Magazine (October 2016) (NOV)
48. The Girls – Emma Cline (NOV)
49. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – John le Carré (NOV)
50. Osama – Lavie Tidhar (DEC)
51. Being Mortal – Atul Gawande (DEC)
52. The Soul of an Octopus – (DEC)
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JAN-JUNE 2016
(I’ve decided to split my year into two slightly smaller focus goals, as follows):

2. Edit “Lunar Lots” to complete Draft 2 — Due 6/30/16 — Yeah, this isn’t happening. I do have a second draft mapped out, but after a lot of structure studying, I’m fairly certain this story has some major structural issues, and I can’t quite see them clearly yet. May have to review this again come end of summer and see about how to move forward on this once I’ve let it rest a bit..9/15/2016 – Trying to get back on track with this one. Doing some background/contextual research right now, but should be ramping up to do a proper edit-plan in the next few months before giving it to beta readers.

3. Write 1 flash fiction story per week (totaling 21 rough drafts):

1. Cardboard Ghost- F/realism
2. Dropping a Zero – Magical Realism
3. White Dust Tower – Fabulist
4. A Tiny Heart – Dark Fantasy
5. Graveyard Mysteries – Dark SF
6. Mother Cellphone – Contemporary Fantasy
7. The Ghost Always Calls – Ghost/Dark Fantasy
8. A Manic Pixie Dream – Dark Fantasy
*And for the time being, the one short story a week goal is retired. It wasn’t proving as helpful a method as it has been in the past for generating ideas and fleshing them out. Truth be told, this year my brain has just been too frazzled to think that quickly (or clearly) on my feet, so I decided to step back from this to give my creative self some room to breathe and think at a more realistic pace. So far, it’s been quite fruitful in the long-form.

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JULY-DEC 2016

3. Edit 1 short story for submission per month, totaling 6:

SUBMITTABLE NEW STORIES:
1. Circles – Horror
2. Any Day But Today… – Superhero/Humor
3.
4.
5.
6.

4. Write a new novel rough draft. — Due 12/31/2016 — This one, shockingly, I’m making some decent progress on. I’m neck-deep in a detailed outline that is really starting to shape up into something fantastic and evolving in just the coolest ways. Provided that progress continues to be steady and I don’t find myself hung up on any one thing for too long, I’m hoping that this might actually be one of the goals I manage to meet this year! 9/15/2016 – Yeah, no, this one may not be happening. I’ve pretty much decided to focus back on Lunar Lots and try to get that to a submittable form before moving on to the next project. It’s a switch of tactics that I think will help me learn more in the long run. 

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So there it is! 2016 in a nutshell. Check back here periodically to see what progress (if any!) I’m making. :)