Happy 2017! New blogging system plus my writer bucket list

books05

Welcome back and happy 2017! A couple news items:

Firstly, I’ve started going by my middle name, Noel. (As in, the Christmasy pronunciation of Noel. NOT the one that rhymes with *roll* which is what my eyes do whenever someone says it like that, hehe.) My full name will still be listed on my blog and Twitter, as that is what I’ll be published as, but amongst friends and such I’d like to be called Noel. 🙂

Secondly, I’m adopting a new system for how I’ll be blogging each week of the month:

  • The 1st Tuesday of the month will be a personal update on how the writing, querying, and/or (fingers crossed!) publishing is going. Maybe also what books I’ve read and other sundries.
  • The 2nd Tuesday will be about craft, or a topic within the publishing world.
  • The 3rd Tuesday will be creative writing, whether that be a story, a poem, or something silly. (You know me.) With how consuming it was to edit my novel, I let short stories fall to the wayside, so I want to get back into the rhythm of penning new stuff, even if they’re small or just practice.
  • The 4th Tuesday will be about a nonfiction read, since many of you enjoyed last year’s “Let’s DEWEY This!” series. I decided to keep that up, only I won’t be going in Dewey Decimal order anymore, just picking books that intrigue me.
  • For those wily months that sneak an extra Tuesday in, I’ll post something random and fun, such as surveys, pictures, quotes, etc.

For this month’s first post, I’d like to announce that I FINALLY AND OFFICIALLY completed revisions on my novel and will soon be querying agents! Woooo! On that note, I’d like to talk about what comes after finishing a novel, and my goals for the future. Yes, Mr. Stricty McTechnicalPants, I know today is not the first Tuesday of the month. But I was on break last week so we’re starting now. Hmph!

school-bus

Sending a novel into the world is a lot like (I imagine) sending a child off to school. You dress up your book in its crisply ironed uniform, with its little unicorn lunchbox and little rocket ship backpack, and wave tearfully goodbye as it steps onto the bus heading towards an agent’s slush pile.

Okay, the analogy isn’t perfect, because a parent doesn’t traipse home from the bus stop on the first day of school and think, “Welp, time to make another kid!” But you get the idea. Once you send your book out into the world, you start thinking about what to write next. (Unless of course you’re a multi-tasker with two or three or fifteen WIPs at once.)

My current novel has become that little lunchbox-toting schoolkid, and ideas for future books are rolling in. I haven’t settled on anything, but I have inklings for what I’d like to include or experiment with, if not for my next book then at some point in the future. I call it my “writer bucket list” and it goes as follows:

  • Write a more intensely flawed, unlikable character. Explore the darker edges of humanity.
  • Be more daring with ethical ambiguity. Place characters in situations where solutions are muddy and either side could be right.
  • Make mental health the central subject matter of a story.
  • Write a contemporary story blended with a touch of the otherworldly or surreal, like Aimee Bender did in “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.”
  • Try my hand at a psychological thriller.
  • Write an original fairy tale.

I have more, but those are the biggies. I’ve got a few plots floating around in my mind, but I haven’t decided on one yet. One thing is for certain: I’m not jumping into another novel immediately! My current book put me through the wringer, so I need a break. In the meantime, I’ll be querying up a storm, writing short stories, and maybe reworking my first novel, which didn’t do so well with agents.

Tell me, what are some of your writing goals or things you might like to try someday?

~ Noel

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17 thoughts on “Happy 2017! New blogging system plus my writer bucket list

  1. Love your blogging plan for 2017 – I sense once I get over my current regime of beating myself up for not spending enough time on “proper writing” I’ll settle into a similar sort of weekly pattern 🙂 Your writer bucket list is intriguing – I’m going to have to make my own list as I’m often guilty of not considering what the hell it is that actually matters to me in terms of writing. I’m sure you’ll achieve great things this year and I’m looking forward to reading all about them 🙂

    …oh and apologies in advance for when I screw up and call you the old S word. Noel’s what you want…Noel is what you should get (and it’s a lovely sounding name too!) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • No worries about any name slip ups – I’ve slipped up myself and it’s my own name, hehe.

      I really like schedules. It gives a comforting sense of focus and theme to what I’m doing, and it helps ensure I accomplish what I want to accomplish, like making sure I stick with my writing even as I query.

      If you end up making a writer bucket list, I’d love to read it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So you and me have sending our novels out in to the world in common now! Though it’s your second and my first. You’ll have to forgive me if I forget to call you Noel instead of Shannon for a few weeks but I’ll get used to it. Good luck with everything you hope to achieve this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. No, you’re right in thinking that your writing is like a child. You built it, agonized over it, made sure EVERYTHING you did, you did to benefit it, and prepare it for the world to behold. So, Noel, your writing is exactly like a child and the fears and apprehensions you feel are the same a parent feels when they send their child off for the first time. Will they like your child? Will they treat your child nicely? Will they be mean to your child? Will they find all the quirks that make your child special as ugly or a wonderful and you, yourself , see this wonderful creation. Whether it’s the written word, or a human, we love our creation, and hope the world will too.
    So Welcome to Parenthood!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think it’s a great analogy too, and I know I will definitely have ’empty nest syndrome’ when my youngest starts at school in September (boo hoo, feel sad just thinking about it!) What will I do without my little buddy to keep me company on my days off work each week? And I may even start thinking about new projects to fill that time, (although not more children I’m sure). I’m hoping that will be when I start to get so much more writing done!
    Good luck to your novel out in the big scary world!
    I like the plan for the weekly blogging too, I’m going to enjoy reading your posts I’m sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Congrats on finishing the novel and best of luck in finding a publisher! Love your list of goals. Mine are rather undefined, as in, just hang loose and go where the words take me. They have steered me to a lot of interesting places so far. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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