I just finished putting the black-eyed pea chili on in the crock pot and cleaning up from last night’s little party. I’ve already made a To Do list for the rest of the week that would probably make a lot of folks tremble in their boots (I’m motivated, yo). Now that the caffeine from my tea has kicked in, I guess it’s time to set some goals for the year.
I didn’t set many last year, and those that I set, I achieved. Which is a nice thing. So here we go:
- Read at least 2 fiction books by men. I know, this seems kind of a low number, but considering I just DON’T READ male writers, as a rule for reasons I’ve talked about before, it’s a start. Heading up that list is Chuck Wendig, whom I respect the hell out of and whose blog I love.
- Read at least 4 fiction books outside the romance genre. Again, this is something I just don’t tend to do, but it’s important to expand one’s horizons. Quite possibly these books will fill the bill of reading male authors.
- Repeat my WIP500 goal of 182.5k words of PROSE. I’ve enjoyed keeping track of my plotting (as I write a lot of words in that department, as it happens), but I’d like to stick with this level of prose production. That might break down in a lot of different ways, over a lot of different projects, but it’s a good, generally doable number.
- Finish and release 2 novel length projects. Last year I did a short novel, a novella, and a short story. Which was great, and a nice thing to be able to put out after a long time of nothing. But long work often sells better, so I’d definitely like to get some out there. No promises on what those will be, but that’s the goal.
- Read at least one craft book. It’d be great if I read more, but that just so often doesn’t happen. Last year I knocked out The Art of War for Writers, which I LOVED.
- Make an earnest effort at daily meditation, even if it’s only five minutes. So much of what I’ve read talks about the importance of mindfulness on so many levels. I’m so bad at it, but it’s something I want to keep working on.
That’s it. Nothing about which titles I might want to write and release, nothing about fitness or dieting or getting the house immaculate. I’m sticking to stuff that’s fully within my control.
If you’ve never tried it, despite my raving, I once again recommend Terry Goodkind’s Wizard’s First Rule for a male-authored read. Character development is excellent, and it’s so far removed from that Legend of the Seeker tripe I don’t think that will be a big problem. The library has it in audio if that’s what you need to get through it. It’s also not a romance, per se.
Don’t remember if you tried Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia, but I enjoyed that and thought you might also.
I loved the first three books of the Symphony of Ages series by Elizabeth Haydon. (Rhapsody, Prophecy, and Destiny) There is a romance that spans the three books, but it’s not the focus and this wouldn’t be considered romance. It’s epic fantasy. Check out the Kindle sample of the first book and see what you think.
IDK if it’s for you but I found Last Hour of Gann and pretty fascinating read. I don’t know if it’s listed in romance, but that’s not where I’d shelve it.
Reading The Neverending Story could fit that goal, too.
I wonder if you’d like any of the Star Wars universe books. I haven’t read any, though I know I’ve picked up some freebies. (Except that I started to read Empire Strikes Back in the 80s because my dad and brother went to see it without me and that VCR think wasn’t happening yet. But I don’t think I finished it because Hoth was really cold. Much like your blog which keeps effing snowing on me while I’m trying to type.)
Did you ever finish Telling Lies for Fun and Profit? I know I was enjoying it when I set it down (and that was years ago) and then I lost it, then I found it…someday I’m going to go back and finish it. I was also reading How to Write a Damn Good Mystery, but since I don’t write mystery, I think I got out of it what I’m going to. You might get more out of it since you’ve read a lot in that genre. The craft book I’m most looking for is Holly Lisle’s worldbuilding course. I’m curious to see how she approached it. Should come out this year.
Susan, I might need to read that “how to” book on writing mysteries. (See how I avoided writing a bad word?) I’ve been wanting to write a cozy mystery. 🙂
I read a LOT of male authors. I thoroughly enjoy most of them. I read a lot of stuff that’s not romance, although I do love it when there’s a romance thread in the plot. That’s an interesting idea about shooting for a goal of a certain number of words in a year. I need to think about that before doing a goals post.
A suggestion, since you are looking to break out of the romance genre, and to read books by men. Try John Connolly’s Book of Lost Things. It was a fantastic trip, and I loved every second of it. As for craft books, I have yet to find one I like better than Stephen King’s On Writing and Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird
I actually have The Book of Lost Things on my shelf, and agree with On Writing. Bird By Bird wasn’t my fave, but I think that was because I listened to the audio, which was read by the author herself, who had no skill at oral recitation.
Some suggestions for male authors:
On Writing – Stephen King
Dolores Claiborne or Gerald’s Game – Stephen King
The Hot Kid or Get Shorty – Elmore Leonard
Life Of Pi – Yann Martel
The Old Man And The Sea – Ernest Hemmingway
Lonesome Dove – Larry McMurtry
To The Far Blue Mountains – Louis L’amour
The Way West – A.B. Guthrie
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams
These are SO not the kind of thing you are currently writing but you might want to consider why these authors are so popular.
Happy New Year.