Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A New Year's Hopes

Well, here we are. A week into 2016. So far, I think I've done fairly well at not writing the year as 2015 when I date things, but then again, I haven't had to write the date much.

2015 was definitely a very eventful year. In the space of 12 months, I:
  • Completed two of the three WIPs I had at the beginning of the year.
  • Took the SAT for the first and last time.
  • Found out I was moving.
  • Participated in Camp NaNoWriMo.
  • Participated in another Camp NaNoWriMo.
  • Spent two weeks on WSS Support Staff.
  • Packed up my life and moved to New York state.
  • Took an online dual-enrollment course through Cedarville University.
  • Edited and submitted Once Upon a Dream for the Rooglewood Press Five Magic Spindles contest.
  • Participated in NaNoWriMo.
  • Read 116 books.
I hope this year will be less difficult than last year was. And it might be. But I know there's changes still coming- one in particular. You can all probably guess what it is . . . but it's half a year away, and so I'm trying not to stress about it too much. And maybe I'll be fortunate; maybe that'll be the only really big change I face this year. Maybe, with the exception of that one thing, 2016 will be an easy year. Maybe.

(I probably just made my chances of this year being easy a whole lot slimmer . . .)

But however hard or easy 2016 proves to be, there are some things I want to accomplish, both in the creative realm and the life-in-general realm.
  • I want to finish Monster in the Castle. This is looking fairly likely. I know pretty well where I'm going with the rest of the story, and as long as I stay motivated and write a solid amount every day, I should be able to get it done. I'm feeling pretty excited about the story right now, so that's a huge improvement from where I was most of last year.
  • I want to write more short stories. For the last two years, I've been focused pretty exclusively on novels and the occasional shorter project. And I love novels; there's so much room for plotting and character development and just having fun. However, they're also time-consuming and require a great deal of editing before I can show them to anyone. So while I'll probably still write novels for at least one of the NaNo events, I do want to focus more on novellas and short stories.
  • I want to do both Camp NaNoWriMos. I don't know yet if I'll do the full NaNo in November, mostly because of that big change I mentioned earlier. I want to. But I also want to not go crazy from stress. I figure that I can decide in September or October. But because of that uncertainty, I do want to make sure I get in both Camp NaNos, even if I have to take a smaller goal than the full 50K.
  • I want to do more editing and maybe, just maybe, have something ready to submit to publishers by the end of the year. I have two different novels that I think are unique enough to make good potential debuts: Between Two Worlds and The Way of the Pen. Both still need a good bit of polishing and rewriting, but if I'm focusing more on writing short stories than novels, it should be doable. (For the record, I do plan to pursue traditional publishing over self-publishing. I may or may not make a post about it sometime, if anyone wants to know my reasons.)
  • I want to do WSS Support Staff again. The two weeks I spent on Support Staff were two of the best weeks of my entire 2015. I don't know if the second time will be as powerful- I'm hoping it will; I'm hoping that I won't fall into the trap of expecting it to be just like the first and get disappointed when it isn't- but I want to go.
  • I want to survive the major change I keep mentioning with minimal emotional turmoil. I . . . do not know how that will go. There are a lot of people involved. And a lot of being a long way from home with no chance of going back anytime soon. And a lot of a very different environment than I'm used to. But I will, hopefully, be with at least one of my friends from VA, and whatever happens, I am never alone. (I also want to figure out how to pay for this change . . . something which I'm working on now. I have no idea if it's going well or not. I'm trying not to get stressed out about it, and actually doing a fairly good job.)
  • I want to do more photography . . . which I say every year and rarely do very successfully. I managed for about half of last year . . . but then moving happened. So I have an excuse there. Hopefully I'll manage better this year, but it's hard to say- New York may be pretty, but so far, January seems too cold to go out and take pictures. (Hmm . . . maybe I can try to scrounge up items for my own personal macro workshop or something . . .)
  • I want to reread more. I've read a lot of new books over the last two years. And I have reread a fair bit, but not as much as I would've liked. Which is sad, because there's some series I really want to revisit, but I don't because there's always something new and exciting and ooh, shiny. But, honestly, as long as I am indeed reading, I'm not complaining.
  • I want to try tabletop-style RPGs. I've heard a lot about these, and they sound really fun- I mean, it's basically like online roleplaying, right? Except with fancy combat systems and dice and actual talking to people instead of typing on the computer. And online roleplaying is basically my favorite thing to do on the internet. So it should be really fun. The problem is finding someone to do it with.
I have no idea how many of these goals I'll succeed in- or if I'll succeed in any. But whatever happens, I know my Author has a plan, and it'll be better than anything I come up with. I just have to remember that.

What are your hopes for 2016? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
 -Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)  


  1. Sounds like you had a good year! I hope this one goes well for you also, and that you make some good connections in your new place. Table top RPGs sound fun- though I'm not sure if my brain could keep all the details straight! I've read a few novels based on the more famous ones, like Dungeons and Dragons. Quite interesting, though I understand that not all of the material is exactly appropriate...

    1. Thanks! And yes, some elements might not be exactly appropriate, but I think it's just a matter of who you play with- do it with the right people and you sort of just ignore those less-than-good bits.

  2. Eeep I *might* want to submit to agents/publishers by the end of the year so. o.o It's scary, but it would be awesomeee.

    1. I knowwww! Thinking about submitting is terrifying. But I really want to do it.

  3. Woah, 2015 was a year of writing indeed. I tip my hat to you!
    I hope you can start publishing this year. After all, that's when the thing takes wing!
    (says the person who can't even send in essays without deep internal struggle.)

  4. Whoa. You've got a plan. I can barely think ahead to the end of the month. Kudos to you. :D
    I do have one plan that will stretch through this year: finish a novel. TIB is my first serious endeavor , and I have to do that in spurts (I usually get about halfway through a plot then get new ideas and move on, or hit a wall). :P

    I'd like to know why you're choosing traditional publishing over self-publishing. :D
    Who are you planning on submitting it to?

    "But whatever happens, I know my Author has a plan, and it'll be better than anything I come up with. I just have to remember that."
    Thanks; I needed that. :)

    1. I have goals. Goals and a plan are not the same, not in my mind- a goal is something I want to do but might not actually accomplish; a plan is how I'm going accomplish a goal. Though I suppose a lot of goals make up a plan, so in that sense . . . yeah. I have a plan.
      (Please forgive the goal-plan ramble. It happens.)
      Sounds like a good plan; hope it works out! Do you know why you end up getting distracted/hitting walls so much?

      There's a longer answer, but one big thing is that I want to have the resources that traditional publishing provides. Self-publishing also means self-designing, self-promoting, self-editing (ok, not that one so much, because I will find betas, but you know). And I haven't fully figured that out yet (I need to start looking up publishing houses . . .) but Enclave Publishing is one that I'm fairly certain I'll try.

      You're welcome. Glad I could encourage you. :)

    2. That makes sense. Still, it's more than I've got. ;)

      I don't think so...
      Other than, "Shiny new idea" and "My brain hurts trying to figure this out/untie this pretzel I've gotten myself into." :P

      Enclave? That's pretty big. O_O
      I was, for a brief time, entertaining the idea of submitting something to Bluewater Publications ( I might end up submitting something later, when I have a fantasy story that won't leave me in a twist.

    3. :)

      I can definitely understand the latter . . . if you ever need help untying pretzels, I'd be happy to assist. :)

      Yeah, but they have a submissions form on their website, and it's worth a try, right?
      Bluewater Publications looks interesting, though they seem to focus more on historical books than other genres . . .

  5. 'Whatever happens, I know my Author has a plan, and it'll be better than anything I come up with.' Love that :). Definitely something I need to remember!

    Wow, you have quite a list of goals! Sounds like this year will be busy :). It's so cool that you're going to pursue publication! Do you happen to have a synopsis for 'Between Two Worlds' or 'The Way of the Pen' that you're willing to share, or is it under wraps?

    I'm not nearly ready to start sending query letters to agents or anything like that yet, but Enclave Publishing was one I was thinking about trying whenever the time was right :D. Can't wait to see how this goes for you!

    1. Glad I could encourage you. :)

      I do indeed have synopsises (synopsi?) for both of them! (I did them as NaNo novels, so . . .)
      Between Two Worlds:
      Katelyn's story is over.

      That's what she thinks, anyway. That's the way it's always worked. Once you go home, you stay there. You're done. So whether or not she likes it, it's time for her to get used to normality again. It's time for her to let go of the friends she's made and shut away the memories, both good and bad.

      She never expected a friend she never thought she'd see again to show up one day. She didn't expect him to tell her that she wasn't done after all, or that everything she was using normality as an escape from is about to smack her in the face. She didn't expect that the two worlds she's caught between could ever collide, but now her adventures have followed her home, and she must make the choice to fight to save everything and everyone she loves.

      Her first adventure was just the prologue. Now chapter one begins.
      And The Way of the Pen:
      Tuira is a land without an Author. It has been for two hundred years, though the bards and bardesses insist that the land's stories will be written once more. Now, however, the waiting has come to an end. A new Author has been appointed- but she's not like anything the people of Tuira ever expected.

      No one was more surprised than Rinna when the new Author appeared to her, of all people- especially not since Rinna has been denied entrance to the Order of the Pen multiple times. However, that didn't even begin to cover Rinna's shock when that same Author informs Rinna of a threat to Tuira and to her position as Author. Before long, Rinna finds herself on an adventure that will not only decide Tuira's fate, but challenge everything she ever believed.

      Both of them were really fun to write, as you can hopefully guess. :)

      Thank you!

    2. I can definitely tell they were fun to write, they both sound so good! You did a great job coming up with a plot idea, I always have such a hard time coming up with plots that aren't ... bland :D. But you did awesome, I'm excited to see how your querying goes!

  6. My goodness, how much you accomplished in 2015---you undoubtedly should be very proud! It's also lovely that you have goals laid out for this year, and I wish you the best of luck in all of your endeavors as well as a very happy and productive 2016!
    Also: I remember saying to you once that if/when you publish a book, I want to be one of the first people to buy it. My sentiments have not changed. :)

    1. Wut. Hai, Katerina! I haven't seen you in ages!
      Thank you very much! I am quite proud- though I'd've been happier if I'd finished MitC too.
      And thank you again. :)


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