Writing Goals for 2016

This year I’m expecting something to happen which will lessen my job work and give me more free time to do things like write. The problem is while I’m pretty sure this thing is going to happen in 2016, I have no idea when. So for now – and I know I say this every year I set my writing goals – I’m going to keep it short and sweet for goals with hopes of completing them all.

  1. Olague: My novel Olague is going to be my main writing focus for the year. I’d like to throw out something like “get half the book written” or even a third, but I know this is neither likely nor feasible with my current work and life schedule (of course, if the above thing happens that was hinted at that will change things a little). So I’m just going to say: get more writing done with Olague. Even if it’s just another chapter, at least something; though I hope it’ll be a lot more than one additional chapter.
  2. Stories: I’ve got two short story ideas kicking around in the noggin that I jotted down a few notes for in case they disappear entirely from my head. I’d like to get those two stories written in some form this year.
  3. Submit Stories: Continue submitting stories for publication each month, including editing and getting the long story that was written in 2015 submitted to at least one publication by the end of the year.
  4. Ostium: This is my podcast series I’m working on with a friend. The first episode script is written and ready and now it’s just a case of getting it recorded. For 2016, I’d like to get the first episode recorded and ready, and the scripts for the second and third episodes written.
  5. BONUS: So here’s a bonus goal, should I need something extra to work on. My novel White Horse is completed in first draft and has been waiting for some editing for a few years now, but I’ve never quite found the time to get around to it. I think the reason for this is because I felt it wasn’t quite right as the novel that it is. It’s taken me a while to figure out what this means and I think I finally have. I originally started the book as a novella, but then it grew into a novel. Now thinking on it for the last few years, while it was fun and interesting writing the whole book, I believe it still wants to be a novella, and needs to get edited down to that. So that can be the extra credit project for the year.

“The White Horse” Progress Report 26: THE END!






It is done!  I just wrote “The End” on The White Horse and almost 98,000 words and 449 pages later the book is now done.  It was a great wild ride and I’m very happy to reach the end.  This is the third book I’ve ever finished and the feeling is great!  And now it’s time to put this book to sleep and give it a nice long rest.  It’ll probably be a good three months, February or March, before I take a look at this baby again, so that it can mature and age like a good wine or cheese.  And then when I go to look at it again, it’ll seem like a different story that I didn’t write and will feel fresh and new, and then operation editing will begin!

But for now, this side of The White Horse feels pretty great!


“White Horse” Progress Report 25



REASON FOR STOPPING:  End of chapter eighteen.

Everything is going along swimmingly — as they say, not really sure why they say that though — and just finished up another long chapter with seventeen and a great writing session of almost four thousand words.  If I stick to my outline, there’s just two more chapters to go, and probably about another ten thousand or so words left of the manuscript to write.  How exciting!  Unfortunately I’m about to embark on “Operation Moving” so I’ll stop writing for the weekend on White Horse and return to it next week.  I want to try and get it all done in as few sessions as possible now that I’m down to the final chapters.  Hope to get working on it next Tuesday, and who knows, maybe I’ll finish it by the end of next week!


White Horse Progress Report 24



REASON FOR STOPPING:  End of chapter seventeen.

Started and finished up chapter seventeen today with some good furthering of the story.  Things are definitely starting to heat up now, as the climax approaches.  If I stick with my outline, which I fully plan to, there are only three chapters to go!

I’d originally extended this “novella” to a 75,000 word novel, and today I past that word count . . .


. . . and obviously the book is not done, so I need to re-estimate my word count goal for the novel, and I believe I can comfortable say it’s going to get good and done and finished within the 90,000 to 100,000 word range, so I’m resetting the goal at 100,000 . . . but this of course could change for all I know, but I have a pretty certain feeling it’ll be done by around 92-94,000.  We shall see!


“White Horse” Progress Report 23



REASON FOR STOPPING: Reached a good stopping point for the week.

WORDS FOR THE WEEK: 14,181 words

This was easily the most productive week writing-wise I’ve ever had in my life.  Who knew the key was to not have a job keeping you busy each day.  It was kind of fun to feel like a full time writer for the week.  And here were the word goals I hit each day:

  • Monday – 5274
  • Tuesday – 4419
  • Wednesday – 2161
  • Thursday – 2327

Completed all of chapter fifteen and made some good headway with chapter sixteen.  The novel is moving along with great speed now that I’ve completely outlined the rest of the plot.  I think 75k is still a good final word count goal for the manuscript, though there is a chance it may go over, but this is definitely the right ballpark for it.  The other goal I hit at the end of this week was I reached PAGE 300!

“White Horse” Progress Report 22



REASON FOR STOPPING: Hit word goal for the week; finished chapter thirteen and fourteen; hit 50,000 words

WORDS FOR THE WEEK: 5,083 words

This week has been a good and productive one for the writing of White Horse, as I’ve been sticking with my 500 words or so a day, or making up for it when I didn’t quite hit it, and today after a long session with The Unwritten writing group, I got a lot of words down on the page, finished the long chapter I’d been working on, and managed to start and finish another one.  Ended up writing almost four and half thousand words today at 4,4,85, but I kept pushing myself with three different writing sessions during the day, with the goal of hitting the 50,000 word mark, which I did reach and then passed, ending the day and word count for the week at 50,398.  Which is good, because tomorrow I’ll be able to work on other projects after getting so much done with White Horse today.

Now, technically here’s what the word counter meter currently reads with today’s writing:

Yay, I reached that 50k mark, but alas, it is not the end of the book; but I knew a while ago that I would likely be surpassing the 50k mark when this story, which was originally conceived as a novella, continued to grow and grow and become a full-length novel.  I’m now adjusting the word count goal to 75k and I believe this to be a good estimate for how much more I need to finish the book.  Of course, that’s not set in stone, and who knows how much longer the characters may want to hang around, telling their stories.  Anyway, here’s the current word count meter:


And now for some work in progress:

I gingerly got to my feet, almost losing my balance for a moment, and took a few steps away from the dog I obliterated.  For the first time, I saw the torn flesh and fur of the animal, matted with an immense amount of blood.  There were puddles of red growing on the ground.  Then I looked down at myself and saw I was completely soaked with the animal’s blood.  I then felt the cold wetness of it, touching my bare flesh, the weight of it pulling my clothes down.  I gagged, but swallowed, forcing myself not to vomit.

“White Horse” Progress Report 21



REASON FOR STOPPING: Hit goal for the week


It’s been about a month since the last White Horse update, and it’s been at least two or three weeks since I added any writing to it.  I’d reached a good stopping point last time, at the end of the chapter, and knew where I was going to go next with the start of the next chapter, but there was something within me saying there was a piece missing; something needed to be added that would be its own individual chapter; something that had been set up a number of times earlier in the manuscript with hints and references with how the characters were behaving.  That’s why it took a couple of weeks, for my brain to figure out “oh, that’s what the next chapter needs to be, and then the planned successive chapter can happen in the right spot.”

At times this book feels a little like I’m charging along at certain points across the terrain that I know is there, and then everyone once in a while I’ll have to cross a bridge and will have to tiptoe carefully, as each successive plank of that bridge appears in front of me, guiding me along.  I suppose that can be said for just about any long project I’ve worked on.  But at the moment I’m near the end of that bridge and then it should be smooth sailing again on that familiar terrain until the next one.


P. S. This sucker’s definitely going over the 50k word mark!

“White Horse” Progress Report 20



REASON FOR STOPPING: End of part, but not quite end of chapter


Got another good portion of story done this week and I thought I was going to be able to finish up the chapter, but near the end realized there’s another bit of it to go and then it’ll be done.  Nevertheless, finished up a good strong part today.  Also hit and passed the 40,000 word mark and closing in on the 200-page mark.  I’m pretty certain at this point I’m going to shoot on by the 50,000 word goal and probably hit 60,000, possibly even 70,000 depending on how things go.  For now, I’ll keep the word count tracker to the current goal and then up date it when I reach it.


“White Horse” Progress Report 19



REASON FOR STOPPING: Ran out of time!

WORDS FOR THE WEEK: 5214 (including writing for Wyrd)

Before I get into specifics on White Horse, for the week as a whole including the writing I did for Wyrd at the beginning of the week, got a total of 5214 words written for the week, which is a pretty amazing feat in itself.  Wrapped up work on my other manuscript Wyrd for a while (you can find out why here), and now it’s full steam ahead with White Horse.

Moved the story along another significant part this week and cracked the 39,000 word mark, as well as the 180-page mark.  I find the book growing and growing as I get into different characters and into different ways of life in this post-apocalyptic world and then I get to a point where I have to mention an important topic like food, government or religion, and then have to have an aside of some sort to explain how this particular topic works in my world at the moment.  It’s sure fun to then come up with a way to make it work, that may get changed in future re-writes once the first draft is done, but at least works for the story for now.


“White Horse” Progress Report 18: 3387



REASON FOR STOPPING: Beat weekly word count, but chapter not quite done


I began this week with the chapter planned in my mind and a notation of “the meeting,” to remind me of what the chapter is going to consist of.  But when I sat down to start it, I realized I needed to explain how the people involved in this meeting got to be there, which required another what I thought to be short chapter.  This “short” chapter has now passed three thousand words, and while there isn’t too much left to say in it, it’s not done yet.  Once this chapter’s done, it’ll finally be on to that meeting.

Funny how a story will do that to you: when the characters cry out and say “how did we get here? Please tell us.”

Also, 70% of the way there!

Now for some words in progress . . .

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.  Meaning a team is only as strong as its weakest person.  No matter how many ideal candidates you have, that one who fails in some way will be our undoing.  It is with my complete support that I present to you nine members of the governing board that I believe are essential to our survival.”