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Happy Holidays!

It’s that time of year again… The houses on your street are covered in lights. Every store you go into is playing Christmas carols. Every store you go into is also jam packed full of people buying last minute Christmas presents–but hey guys, it’s almost Christmas, and in a few days the stores will be survivable again.

No matter what holiday you’re celebrating this winter, and even if you’re staying indoors with your best bah humbug face on, I hope you take the time to truly enjoy this last week of 2012. If you’re like me, you’ve accomplished a lot this year–although not as much as you hoped to accomplish–and you deserve to celebrate those accomplishments.

I was going to write a pretty large post today and two more this week. But then I read this post and realized that I am also suffering from pre-holiday burnout. I’ve been working so hard in the last three months or so that my brain has almost completely shut down.

I need time to rest and relax and to see all the people I haven’t been able to see in the last couple of months. I also need to spend a couple days focused on powering through my edits of Moonshadow’s Guardian, because frankly, I’ve been working on this thing forever and if I can’t get the edits near their finish line by New Years I’m going to be really upset.

So I’ve decided to take this week off from blogging. You will not be hearing from me on Wednesday or Friday. Instead, you can expect a post with my personal list of goals for 2013–and why I chose those goals–on Monday, right before we get into the new year.

I hope you will have a wonderful holiday, and if you really need some reading materials, don’t be afraid to go hunting through the archives here–I’ve written hundreds of interesting posts since I started blogging here and odds are you haven’t read them all.

Happy holidays!

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Prompt of the Week: The New Year

Today’s Prompt: The New Year

When the Phoenix flies overhead,
the year shall be born again
and all the things on this planet shall grow
and once again life we will know.

The Monastary of Dracon and Astarael was a beautiful place. It was three stories tall and many hundreds of feet long, deep within the woods of Appollinia. The building was black stone on one side and red stone on the other, built hundreds of years ago by devotees of both God and Goddess. On Astarael’s side there was a bell tower which stood two stories above the rest of the building.

Miriam had been a monk-in-training for three years now, since her mother died and her brother became a soldier. She truly loved this place; it was her home now, in a way that her village had never been. Here she was truly accepted. And here they could teach her how to use her gift.

The snow had melted away and now Miriam was cleaning up the last of the leaves, preparing the soil to be filled with new plants, both edible and decorative. She hummed the song of Astarael, of death, as she cleaned. It was a beautiful day, sunny with a few white, fluffy clouds in the sky. Beautiful weather did not mean a happy day. Her mother had died on a sunny day just like this one.

Above the cry of a bird echoed. It sounded almost like a flute. Miriam looked up and her whole body froze.

Overhead was the most beautiful bird she had ever seen, flying in a grand circle over the monastary and the forest. Its wings appeared to be made out of fire, though Miriam knew that was just an illusion created by orange and yellow and red feathers. It was huge, perhaps two or three times Miriam’s size, the biggest bird on the planet. Its tail flowed out behind it in an orange plume. It cried out once again, its cry like the high notes of a piano. And then it flew off towards the castle, to make its announcement to the whole world.

Miriam dropped her broom and ran into the monastary. She ran through all the halls until at last she came to the bell tower. Up the spiral staircase she went, running so quickly that she might have actually flown a bit. At last she burst up through the trap door and into the bell room. She grabbed the long string hanging from the heavy bell and pulled. One, two, three.

“The Phoenix has come,” she shouted, though she knew very few would hear her over the bell, “the new year has begun!”

Please comment with your first 75 words

New Year’s Goals

Today is the last day of 2010, and what a year it has been. I started the year full of hope, with many many goals. Some of these goals have been accomplished, but I will admit that the majority of these goals remain elusive. Some have changed; some projects have been abandoned; and others are just a few short steps away now.

In 2011 I would like to see my dreams start taking form and shape. I would like to begin to make my future my present.

Some things to think about when picking your writing goals for the new year are:

~What you accomplished last year

Did you finish a book? Write a hundred poems? Blog every day? How can you take that accomplishment and build on it? For example, this year I almost filled two poetry books. In 2011, I can look through these poetry books and start working on a poetry collection. This year I also managed to attract more readers for Fictional Worlds and blog more consistently. Next year I will be completely redesigning Fictional Worlds, hoping to build it into a bigger and better blog.

~What you know will challenge you this year

Anybody who’s been around for more than a couple of years will know that life is unpredictable. Strange things happen all the time. Sometimes we see them coming, sometimes we don’t. If you know something will be particularly challenging this year-your final semester of high school, a new college/university program, or a new and more diffictul job-then work around it. If you know your time will be severely limited, pick smaller goals that allow you to continue to live your life. I personally am terrible at time management, having far too many friends who I allow to distract me on a regular basis. This year my goal is to make my art come first. It is the most important aspect of my future. It is my dream, and I need to start treating it with a bit more respect.

~What do you think would be interesting to try?

Finally, you should make goals based on what you’re interested in. If you normally write fantasy and you want to try science fiction, then make it your goal to develop a science fiction world and start a science fiction novel. If you want to try your hand at writing plays, make it your goal to participate in Script Frenzy. If you’d like to be published by the end of 2011, make it your goal to have your submission package ready by March, and your novel sent out by May. Personally I plan to have finished rewriting Moonshadow’s Guardian by April 1st, and to complete a second smaller revision by July 1st, because I would like to submit it to publishers starting directly on my eighteenth birthday, August 29th.

Making your List

Now that you’ve thought about your goals and picked some out-writing more short stories, creating a poetry collection, whatever yours might be-you should give each goal a time frame. Some will be year long goals and some will be shorter goals. Some will have definite deadlines (like entering certain contests) and others will take up specific periods of time (like Nanowrimo). Still other goals are only building blocks for the next year, like creating a world and starting a new novel in that world.

Here’s my list:

Writing Goals for 2011

1. Write one poem every month- this is to ensure that I continue to write poetry on a fairly regular basis. I might also put together a poetry collection this year, taking poems from various poetry books of mine.

2. Write one short story every 2 months- this is for a couple of reasons, one of which is because short stories help build publication credits and a following leading up to a writer’s first novel. The other reason is that I think I should write more short stories.

3. Rewrite Moonshadow’s Guardian completely by April 1st- I put this aside for Nanowrimo and I need to get back to it. It would be better if I could complete this by March 1st instead. I would like to be able to send it out on my eighteenth birthday. I have decided to separate it into two novellas. This is just the first one.

4. Build the new mythology for Asteria by February 1st- Asteria is the world on which Some Secrets Should Never Be Known takes place, the novel that I was working on during November. I have made several changes to the mythology that will seriously alter the storyline. I need to finish working out the consequences of these changes so that I can start the book. This shouldn’t take too long.

5. Write the first draft of Some Secrets Should Never Be Known by May 1st- this is a real baby for me, a book that happened to come to me in a dream. Its main characters, Marla and Logan, are two very strong young people with strong minds and strong voices. I’m excited to get to work on this book.

6. Blog consistently (3 times a week) all year- blogging consistently has always been a challenge for me and will continue to be a challenge for me in the year ahead. While my focus should mainly be on other forms of writing, the blog is important to and I can’t neglect it. I really do love Fictional Worlds and I have a lot of fun with this blog.

7. Move Fictional Worlds and probably rename and redesign it entirely- Orble has been a great place for me and my blog, but it’s time for me to move on and make my own space on the web. This is going to be a long and painful process, but Fictional Worlds should be in a new space by midway through the year.

8. Create a new place&A Cast of Characters for short stories-I would like to write more short stories. Some of my short stories will obviously take place in worlds I’ve already created, but I would like to create a world and characters specifically designed for a series of short stories. This will be an ongoing process.

9. Revise Moonshadow’s Guardian again in May-June and start preparing submission package- I would like to be able to submit this story to publishers on my 18th birthday in August.

10. Write 500, 000 words in 2011-this will be for WriYe, but it’s also just to increase my productivity. This will include blog posts as well as the Moonshadow’s Guardian Novella(s) and Some Secrets Should Never Be Known. It will also include 100, 000 words this November, though I haven’t picked a storyline for Nanowrimo yet.

What are your writing goals for 2011? When you’re done, put them on your wall where you will always see them.