Shoot for the Moon 2015 Challenge – January Roundup


Last year, egged on by fellow writer and partner in crime, Mhairi Simpson, I set some crazy writing-related goals, which I revisited every month to see how I was doing. It worked so well, that this year I decided to continue with yet another set of over-ambitious targets. So what are these goals?

• Publish the Sunblinded trilogy

Running Out of Space and Dying for Space had already been written, when last year I decided this would be my firstmoon foray into self publishing my work. So I needed to complete Jezell’s story arc in the last book, Breathing Space. I’d initially hoped to complete the manuscript by the end of 2014, but it kept running off and generally behaving badly. One of the reasons prompting me to publish this series is that I’ve wanted to write a science fiction crime series featuring a female PI – and using Jezell as that character is an obvious choice. I know all her gnarly secrets, and how she got them; and given that I’ve also written two other books in the same world, I’m also on more than nodding terms with how it works. So now comes the stupidly ambitious part – I intend to publish the Sunblinded trilogy in time for Fantasycon in the autumn, so with a following wind and the gods of editing being very obliging, the three books will probably appear during mid-August. My marvellous writing group have agreed to beta-read and nitpick the manuscripts for me – though if anyone else is interested in doing so, I’d – of course – be delighted to hear from you.
Managed to complete the first draft of Breathing Space in the last week of January. Just as well – I was considering battering my head against a brick wall to see if I could shake the dratted story free, as it took 25,500 words – and less than half of that wordcount made the manuscript…

• Write Miranda’s Tempest

I started this last year and got nearly three-quarters of the way through before hitting a wall. I knew I’d gone badly wrong, but was too close to figure out what it was. So plonked the manuscript into the Pending box, and sure enough, I now know where and how it went off the rails… As a fair amount of what I originally wrote can be recycled, it shouldn’t take too long, once I get going.
Just to see if I could – I sat down and rewrote the first chapter in present tense, first person pov and it was so much punchier, while still keeping the slightly formal feel I wanted. But won’t be tackling this in earnest until the Sunblinded trilogy is done and dusted…

• Complete Chaos in New Cluster

This is the novel my writing pal, Michael Griffiths, and I started last year, writing alternating chapters between us. It has been pushed onto the back burner rather a lot, but is in the closing stages, so it would be great to get the first draft done and dusted. And start on the editing runs…
Haven’t had a chance to get to grips with this one, yet.

• Write at least 100 reviews for my blog

I pulled this number out of thin air last year – and nailed it. In fact, I wrote 126 reviews last year, as I increasingly find writing about books I enjoy helps complete the reading experience for me. I did debate whether to extend the challenge to make it more… challenging. But just because last year I happened to hit this target doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be able to do so with such ease this year – and as I find it really useful and fun to do, I don’t see the need to spoil it by placing undue pressure on a process that seems to work anyway.
I wrote 10 reviews during January, which came to just over 6,700 words. Half the books I completed in were by authors I hadn’t previously read – a promising beginning for my target to include more writers new to me in my reading pile.

• Propose and plan Creative Writing courses for the academic year 2015/16

I have already been thinking about next year’s courses. I really would like to have the course notes and plans written by the end of the summer holidays, but given I will be probably working flatout on getting three manuscripts ready to go at that stage, I’ll settle for having the Autumn term course good to go in plenty of time.

• Submit Mantivore Eyes and Netted

I attended a wonderful talk last year at Bristolcon by Jacey Bedford, who was very generous in telling us about her efforts to obtain an agent. She took us step by step through her approach and totally inspired me. As I want to be a hybrid author, with a traditional publishing deal in addition to my self publishing career, I’d like an agent. Up to now I’ve been rubbish at submitting my work – but this year, I’ve determined I will NAIL this target!
Nope. But then I spent January grappling with Breathing Space – and in order for a submission to be any good, I have to pay attention. I’m liable to make stupid mistakes, otherwise… Watch this space, though!

Overall last month, I wrote just over 37,400 words.

6 responses »

  1. Yay for finishing Breathing Space! Congratulations, Sarah. 😀

    What would the timeframe be for the beta-readers? I’d be glad to help out, but I want to make sure I have the time before I commit.

    How would you describe Miranda’s Tempest? Is it sci-fi like Jezell’s stories, or a different genre?

  2. Thank you so much for your kind encouragement over the last rather fraught few weeks – it has been MUCH appreciated, Sara:))).

    My timeframe for the beta-readers will be from mid-March through to July – which seems elongated, but there are three books. I’d be delighted if you were able to help and it goes without saying that I would reciprocate… But obviously your own commitments have to come first!

    Miranda’s Tempest is fantasy – the sequel to Shakespeare’s The Tempest from the viewpoint of Prospero’s young daughter just after they leave the island. She is betrothed to Prince Ferdinand, but isn’t going to end well, is it? She’s spent her days running around an island gathering flowers, assisting her father and frolicking with sprites – which isn’t great preparation for being a 16th century princess…

    • I think that’s doable. I plan to take about a month off from my own book after I finish the first draft (planning to start Draft #2 revisions / rewrites the weekend after Easter). So if you’re ready by sometime in March, I should have time to get a head start. 🙂 Let me what arrangements we need to make.

      You know, before I responded, I had an inkling that Miranda’s Tempest was related to the Shakespeare story, but then I wasn’t sure. That’s a neat idea! And yes, I can already imagine how that won’t go well for Miranda if she isn’t so prepared to be a princess…

      • That is so kind of you – thank you, Sara! And – of course – if you would like another pair of eyes to go over your manuscript, I’ve professionally edited m/s, though haven’t done all that much recently as my teaching and grannying commitments are reasonably demanding.

        I’m glad you like my idea regarding Miranda’s Tempest – I know the play very well and it always struck me that Miranda’s character left plenty of potential to flesh her out…

      • I would like that very much when the time comes! 😀 It won’t be until late this year at the earliest, but I’ll keep you posted for sure. 😉 Thank you!

        Let me know when you’re getting closer to having beta-readers review your MS’s. And yes, I really like the Miranda’s Tempest idea. You should definitely see where it goes.

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