Plans for 2021 #writing #writingcommunity

Happy First Thursday of 2021! Thanks for joining me today. I’m diving in and focusing on returning to blogging after a two month lapse. November was consumed by NaNoWriMo, and December by a business move I coordinated. With all of that behind me, It’s great to be back. I’m geared up for the New Year with an abundance of energy, and a plethora of plans. Plans are good, right? So are goals and ideas.

Word 2021 Goals on torn brown grunge paper background

After an embarrassingly long time, I have finally finished my WIP, a straight mystery with a tinge of folklore. While working, I used the title Hornwood for reference, but the tentative title is The Keeping Place. I’m not exactly enamored, but it fits with the story. End result: the title is subject to change. The manuscript is the WIP I wrapped during NaNoWriMo with some carry over into December.

I’m currently editing Hornwood and sharing chapters with my critique partners. After that, I plan to shop the manuscript to literary agents—though I dread the thought of the process involved. Research on where/how to submit, and most of all, writing query letters. Still—I need to push forward, taking the next step in my evolution as a writer. If I strike out, I will probably seek out a small online press and submit there.

While all  this is going on, I will be working on a novel for indie publication. That book doesn’t have a title either, but (most of) the story has been with me in one form or another for decades. The characters simply refuse to leave me alone, demanding I tell their tale. The story is twisted and tragic—at least part of it is—combining my love for past and present. Part horror, part supernatural suspense, it falls into the same vein as my Hode’s Hill series. Right now, I’m planning it as a standalone, but time will tell.

Finally, I have been sitting on a number of short stories for two years. I’m still undecided what to do with them. My original plan was to cobble them together in a collection and indie pub them, but I’m considering seeking out magazines for publication. The only thing holding me back is the time I need to devote to researching markets. There is a chance a few of those stories might show up in anthologies.

Which gives me three projects to focus on for the coming year—one to market to agents, one to indie pub, and a collection of shorts that is still up in the air. Of course, I plan to continue Book Review Tuesdays and Guest Author Thursdays with other random posts here and there. I’d like to chat more about my writing and my characters. Hopefully, that will keep my energy level in high gear. In any event, I’m off and running with my plans!

Would you like to share some of yours?

70 thoughts on “Plans for 2021 #writing #writingcommunity

  1. So glad to see you back in the blogosphere! And writing again. I love all your plans and I know they’ll all come to fruition. I see great success in your future. (Not that I have any soothsaying abilities; I just recognize talent and expect it to be rewarded.)

    As for my year? Just thinking about my to-do list makes me want to sob. And speaking of… I need to get back to work.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aww, thanks for the comment about talent. I hope everything works out, but if it doesn’t, I always have backup plans 🙂

      Thinking about YOUR to-do list makes ME want to sob. I know you have your work cut out for you (far more than I could ever manage), but I also know you always succeed. You’re going to do great things in 2021!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m happy to see you back, Mae, and can wait to learn more about your WIP. Wishing you all the best – I know you will succeed.

    My plans include publishing a short story and at least one novel. I’m also toying with the idea of a collection of short stories.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Congratulations on your writing accomplishments, Mae, and all the best with your projects. You’ve got quite a year ahead of you, but I know you will achieve all your goals. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Gwen. I’m hoping I can make my goals happen. 2020 caught me by surprise in many ways (as it did most everyone), and I hope to make up for that lack of progress in the new year!

      Like

    • Writing more and better than last year is my plan too, Priscilla. And yeah—decades on the unnamed book. It’s actually had many names and many forms, but I’ve been unsatisfied with all of them. Which means I need to breath new life into it because the characters are insistent! Once I decide on which ones stay and which ones go, LOL!

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  4. You’ve got some exciting plans in the works! As far as researching agents, have you heard of Manuscript Wishlist? It’s a site where agents list the genres they represent and what they’re looking for – makes research sooo much easier. https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/ And that story that won’t leave you alone? I can tell I’d love it alread just by the description, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh, Teri, thanks so much for that link! I hadn’t heard of Manuscript Wishlist before. I will most definitely check it out!
      And I’m glad to know you think the story that haunts me would be something you’d enjoy. I’m actually looking forward to tackling it again—once I get the WIP submitted 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds like a great year. Mine is still on the seven day a week blog and the sequel to Eternal Road. Having had experience in the small press, I would recommend that if you don’t score an agent (By the way it may take a year) you keep your books for indie publishing. The small presses pretty much want you to sign away all decision rights. Pricing, promotion, cover, format, are all in their wheelhouse. You can recommend activities but in the end, they do as they see fit. They do little promotion and still rely on you to drive sales. I have found their editors are not all that good either. so you would still have to do that job. Something to consider.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the advice, John. I’m really torn, because I did well with Kensington. They, however, were able to spend advertising dollars on my books, and I’m not sure that would hold true with a smaller press. I did have to give up pricing control but they worked well with my input on cover design. There are only two small presses I’d consider submitting to at this point. Unless that changed, I would indie pub. It’s the promotion part that really does me in, especially while still working a day job.

      You do wonders with your blogging schedule, and always keep everything so interesting. And I am so glad to know the sequel to Eternal Road is still progressing along. I’m cheering you on and looking forward to it when it’s done!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jacqui. When I sat back and thought about it, I really liked the idea of shopping The Keeping Place around, while working on an indie release. The short stories are still up in the air, but I’m looking forward to tackling everything!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey, there! Welcome back! Sounds like you have quite a full plate ahead for 2021. Good luck with everything – I’ll be keeping an “eyeball” on your posts! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Sue! Thanks for the welcome back. I’m slowly resurfacing. Hopefully, I can accomplish what I have planned for 2021 (fingers crossed). Looking forward to “eyeballing” your posts in the coming year as well 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Glad you’re looking for an agent for your straight mystery. Fingers crossed you’ll find the perfect one. Every once in a while on Twitter, agents look for new authors by looking at pitch wars. https://twitter.com/PitchWars I don’t know how often they do it, but you might want to give it a look.
    Your self-published book sounds exactly like what you do so well, weaving past and present and supernatural together. Good luck with your goals!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Judi. Thanks for the PitchWars link. I got my first publishing contract with Lyrical through a Twitter pitch. I might have to consider doing something like that again.

      I’m excited about both the mystery and the indie I have planned. They’re different but I’ve really enjoyed the mystery and I just HAVE to get the other one out of my system, LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, I’m so excited about the prospect of a new Mae Clair book soon!! I love both titles, “Hornwood” and “The Keeping Place.” Either will grab attention. The idea of shopping for an agent is harrowing to say the least, but you have such a great catalog under your belt, they would be smart to take you on. Crossing my fingers for success. Whatever you do with the short stories will be great. I’ve submitted book two in the White Rune Series to Wild Rose and waiting. In the meantime, I’ve started book three and imagine it will take most of the year to write. I’m only on chapter six and have had to stop everything for the extensive blog tour for “Ghostly Interference.” But that tour ends next week and my full attention can go back to book three. I also plan to launch a series on studying runes as they tie into my series. I will do it much as I did with Tarot Tuesdays. In between, I will promote others. That is what I enjoy. I keep hoping that the music world might make a comeback in 2021, but it’s iffy. Congrats on all your goals, Mae!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow, Jan, you sound super busy, too! I remember the blog tour I did for Cusp of Night. It was 21 stops, and I was toast afterward, LOL. You’ve really been making a splash with your tour for Ghostly Interference.

      Thanks for the kind words regarding my writing—and for the crossed fingers! 🙂
      Wishing you all the best with your plans, too. That’s great you’re already working on book 3 of your series. Happy writing and happy blogging!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Aww, thanks, Mark. I’m thrilled to have finally finished Hornwood, and I look foraged to shopping it around. I’m also really excited about whipping my old trunk novel into shape. With any luck, I can publish it this year. Thanks for your wonderful comment and your support!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I’m a little envious of your long break, focus on writing, and results! Good for you, Mae, and I’ll get in line for the new book. I like “The Keeping Place.” I’m working on a standalone too… it seems like a needed break from multiple series. Good luck with the other projects too and with your publishing plans. Keep us up to date!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Diana. That break did wonders for me. It really re-energized me as far as writing is concerned. I’m delighted to hear you like the title for The Keeping Place. Hornwood is the name of the town, but The Keeping Place is a better fit for the story.
      Exciting to learn you’re working on a standalone. I look forward to hearing more about it as you progress!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I think I like the working title (Hornwood) better than The Keeping Place. My working titles aren’t usually so cool (eg, STORY ABOUT DEMONS).
    Out of curiosity why do you look for agents / publishers for some books, and indie pub others? Are there advantages/disadvantages? I ask, only because once I finish my current WIP series, I may look at seeking trad pubbing for my next series, but I’ve heard some horror stories about the trad pubbing game.
    PS: I love the sound of your decade long WIP that’s been plaguing you…sometimes those are the best kinds of stories because they’ve been percolating in your brain for such a length of time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Jess. I love the name Hornwood (it’s the title of the town) but it doesn’t really work for the genre, and The Keeping Place is a perfect fit for what goes on in the story, so that will probably win out in the end.

      I would love to traditional publish everything I write in the future, but the odds are, well…the odds. I want to give it a shot with The Keeping Place because I think it’s a good example of mainstream fiction. The story that’s been hanging around in my head is not the kind of book a traditional publisher would pick up. I doubt a small press would even entertain it (possibly). I could shop it to a small press, but I think I’d rather just have control of it with indie pubbing.

      Hopefully, all of that makes sense, LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ahhh, I’d never even considered the whole mainstream story thing. See, that’s why I went straight for indie with GoP. I knew I’d have zip chance of getting a horror/western/supernatural trad pubbed. And considering I don’t really write mainstream fiction, I guess there’s never a chance of getting Trad Pubbed. Anyway, my fingers are crossed for you, and you know I’m going to read it whichever way it comes out!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Good for you, Mae! Diversifying is a solid strategy, I hope it goes well for you.
    I’ve decided to devote my time to writing a couple of new books for my Wounded Hearts series. There are 6.5 stories so far (with a short novella I wrote a couple of years ago), and it’s still my strongest sellers, so I’d like to build on the set.
    I’ve already committed to a couple of box sets, and other than that, I might work on a Christmas novella- we’ll see 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jacquie, you have some great things planned for the coming year. Good for you! I don’t know how you find all the box sets you contribute too, but you definitely have a good thing going with them. And adding to your Wounded Heart series, and writing a Christmas novella sounds great too. I should really plan something for a holiday release. I do enjoy novellas at that time of year! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  12. You have great plans for the coming year both books sound intriguing. I’ve considered a literary agent and start to research and never quite get there. Sending you lots of luck with that. I have a collection of short stories I need to work on, a poetry book, and two NaNo stories I started. Right now I’m finishing a children’s collection and will take a break from that genre. Although, starting something new calls to me too. Hopefully, I will get a book out this year:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Denise, I dread the research involved in finding a literary agent, but I’m going to give it a go. I think I’ll be patient with it and (hopefully) stay the course because I have the other book that I’m pretty certain I can turn around and release as an indie this year.
      It sounds like you have a lot of plans for the coming year, all of them good. I love the diversity of your work. It’s wonderful that you can write in so many different genres and styles!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I felt the same way when I was with Kensington, Robbie. I had no motivation to look because I was content. Now that I’m no longer with them, it forces me to take a hard look at what I want to do in the future.
      Thanks for the good wishes. 🙂 I’m excited that NaNoWriMo turned out so well for me. I think it had a lot to do with working on a WIP vs. a brand new project.

      BTW, love your new photo!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Sounds like achievable goals, Mae. I just RT’d a great list of literary magazines the other day. I’ll tag you in the thread.

    Ugh. Query letters. Sadly, they’re a necessary evil. Good luck with the agent search!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sue,for the tag. Most of my shorts fall into the magical realism genre, with few oddballs branching elsewhere.

      I DREAD the thought of an agent search and writing queries. But like you said–a necessary evil 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I could feel your energy after the break, Mae. Your plan for 2021 sounds vigorous and exciting. You’d have no problem landing on an agent for your book. The research on magazines for your short stories would take time, but it should work if you have a flexible timeline. Congratulations on all your progress and great plans ahead! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Miriam. Thanks so much for the positive thoughts. I definitely came off the break re-energized for writing. I do hope I can find an agent for representation, but if it doesn’t work out it’s good to know I have a backup plan. Between that and the magazines, I have my work cut out for me!

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      • It’s good to have a backup plan, Mae. I’m sure you have a list of agents/publishers for sending out the query letters. Some take longer than the others to respond.
        You’ll have a productive year ahead of you!! ☺️

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Yes, everything points to a busy year for you; I really envy your ability to plan, which has always been beyond me, I’m afraid: I just scrabble around amidst the heaps of files and hope something comes out at the end. My wife informs me that the house is falling down around my ears (my ears are rather prominent, it’s true) so I am compelled to invest some time in plastering, painting, hammering, etc.. I hope your year goes even better than you expect, Mae. Roll on summer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Fred! Well, all that planning doesn’t always play out as intended, but I’m going to give it a go and hope I can stick with the plan. However you scrabble around, you always produce good fiction so I expect there will be more for you this year amid the plastering, painting, hammering, LOL! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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