Sunday, 1 January 2012

Another year...

Let me wish all my readers a happy new year. I hope 2012 brings you all you would wish for. I even hope it brings all you wish for other people. I'm guessing that's mainly good things...

Me? Well, I've been busy planning. Ask me what I should be doing on, for example, October 17th at 20:30. Go on, ask!

I'm glad you asked. I should be about 70% through writing a query letter and crafting a synopsis for a novel entitled "Innocent Error".

You see, this is the year I get rid of the backlog.

A less anal person might look at some items in their backlog and delete them. Chalk it up to experience and move on. Fragments (oh, yes, I have many fragments) might, rarely, be slated for completion. More likely, they will be ditched. That first book they wrote will garner a fond smile before being burned. It served its purpose as a training exercise. Now it can be forgotten. This sensible, efficient writer will be focused on the future. They are going to produce one novel and twelve short stories this year, all of which will be rewritten, edited, sent out to beta readers, tweaked, honed and given a final polish before being submitted. All of them. A work, once started, will be completed and sent off.

I salute this efficient, unsentimental, effective writer. I wish them well.

I'm not doing that. Oh, no. I'm going through the entire backlog: rewriting, editing, gaining critiques, honing, polishing...

All of them.

I will start 2013 with no backlog. All my works to date will be out there, fighting for attention and sales. That's five novels, four screenplays and three anthologies of short stories. I can just about finish them all, go through the entire production process, submit them to carefully chosen agents - having regard for location, genre, other clientele and general suitability - and maintain a database of submissions. I should submit the last novel on December 30th, just short of midnight. I can look at the database on 31st December 2012 with a degree of smugness.

A sceptical reader might think - oh, poor dear. He's got writer's block. No new ideas, can't face the blank page anymore.

Not at all. I have plots for two more novels, two screenplays and ideas for about 130 other works stored away. I like to say they're maturing nicely. If past experience is anything to go by (and let's face it, at my age, past experience is frequently all I have to go by) I will generate another twenty or thirty good ideas this year.

Talking of past experience, all my hard-earned knowledge of plans and schedules tells me this plan will last perhaps one week before something happens to throw everything off track. Timetables will go awry, word counts will be hopelessly lacking, I'll have to face change of job, bereavement, moving house and the complete demise of Western society as we know it. Ah well, no change there.

Which is why I've restricted my New Year's resolutions to these three:
  • I will submit two different novels to agents this year
  • I will submit two different screenplays to agents this year
  • I will self-publish one anthology of linked short stories
I like the ambiguity. About fifty percent of theoretical maximum output, and I don't specify which novels, screenplays and anthology. Because I know in one year's time, I'll be writing:
"I will start 2014 with no backlog. All my works to date will be out there..."

Until the next time - enjoy!