Tag Archives: New Year’s Resolutions

Goals: Can’t Live With ‘Em, Can’t Live Without ‘Em

Welcome to 2018!

We hope your 2017 was full of wonderful words and stories, and that 2018 will be even better. That might even mean giving up on your New Years resolutions.

It’s shocking to think about, isn’t it? Quitting your goals? Almost taboo. Most of us have “never give up” stamped on the insides of our brains, and tell ourselves we’re quitters and failures if we do give up. Sometimes we barrel through our goals even when it’s no longer in our best interest.

This month, we’ll discuss when it’s appropriate to quit your goals. That’s right – when failure is your best option. Are you ticking off items in your to-do list just to do them? Are your goals no longer serving your overall purpose?

Some of us may not agree with quitting your goals, however. Some of us might say complete the goal anyway, because it’ll create a good habit for you to always complete your goals. Perhaps it’s best to modify your goal instead of doing away with it completely.

Please enjoy this month of thinking critically about the goals we set and when it’s best to quit them, modify them, or complete them! We’d love to hear your thoughts on our posts – please comment whenever a thought on the topic comes to mind!

Getting Started with Organizing Your Projects

Like most of the authors I know, I’m not a naturally organized person. Sometimes it’s a struggle to force myself to get the major plot points or non-fiction chapters mapped out before I start on a new project. After installing a giant electronic whiteboard I picked up on CraigsList, I was able to see the value of the visual cues and mind-mapping when hashing out a new project.

When it comes to my writing laptop, appropriately named “Novel Factory”, I tended to start writing and just dump everything into the My Documents folder. When I set a project aside for a while, I sometimes have a problem locating where I put the documents, notes, and/or pictures. That’s why I created an organized area for projects.

The first step was to create a home for my projects. This is a set of nested folders so I know where things are located. In My Documents (I use Windows for this example), I have a folder called !Master Project Files. I place an exclamation point at the beginning of this folder name to make sure it appears at the top of the listing.

I have enough projects where I had to add in a layer between the Master folder and the project names.

Here is my main overall folder structure:

  • !Master Project Files
    • Fiction
      • Science Fiction
      • Cyberpunk
      • Fantasy
      • Horror
      • Western
      • Graphic Novels
    • Non-Fiction
      • Cookbooks
      • Author’s Handbook Series
      • One-Offs
    • Poetry
      • !Poem Superstore
      • Chapbooks
    • Collections
      • !Short Story Superstore
    • Anthologies
      • Original (Add in Submissions and Contracts folders to each Project)
      • For Other Publishers (Add in Submissions and Contracts folders to each Project)

The “Superstores” are short stories and poems that have been published elsewhere or are original unpublished works that are available to put into a new collection or chapbook. When I complete a short work or poem, I make sure to put a copy in the Superstores.

For each project, I copy the below generic project folder structure and rename it to the title of my new project. Inside some of these folders are appropriate files. For example, in the Word folder, I have a generic Word document set up with my preferences (font, margins, etc.), whereas in the Research folders I have a simple text document ready to accept notes and URLs. In the Final folders, I have documents that have my set publishing templates for interiors and covers. Note that I have a folder called Graveyard. I never throw away (delete) anything. If I cut something, such as a scene or a whole story arc out of a book, I paste it to text documents and place them in the graveyard. I can use these later on to develop short stories, to generate ideas for a series, or to use the words for marketing. Sometimes I file off the serial numbers and reuse them in other books.

Here’s my individual project folder structure:

  • Project Name (Rename Me)
    • Manuscript
      • Word
      • Text
      • Scrivener
    • Images
      • Cover Ideas
      • Characters
      • Places
      • Objects
    • Research
      • Concepts
      • Scientific
    • Characters
    • Tropes
    • Marketing
      • Ideas
      • Ads
      • SWOT
    • Final
      • Print
        • Interior
        • Cover
      • eBook
        • Interior
        • Cover
      • Audio
        • Notes
        • Script
    • Graveyard

When I have a new project, I copy the “Project Name” folder and its contents and place it in the appropriate genre master folder. Then I rename it to the book title. Now I can find all of my information for any project in one location (three, if you count the backup on my server and the copy linked and auto-uploaded to my commercial Dropbox account.)

Hopefully this will inspire you to create a better organized virtual home for your darlings. Have a happy, prosperous, and productive 2017!


About the Author:DeMarco_Web-5963

Guy Anthony De Marco is a disabled US Navy veteran speculative fiction author; a Graphic Novel Bram Stoker Award® nominee; winner of the HWA Silver Hammer Award; a prolific short story and flash fiction crafter; a novelist; an invisible man with superhero powers; a game writer (Sojourner Tales modules, Interface Zero 2.0 core team, third-party D&D modules); and a coffee addict. One of these is false.
A writer since 1977, Guy is a member of the following organizations: SFWA, WWA, SFPA, IAMTW, ASCAP, RMFW, NCW, HWA. He hopes to collect the rest of the letters of the alphabet one day. Additional information can be found at Wikipedia and GuyAnthonyDeMarco.com.

Welcome to 2016!

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2016, and may it be your best year yet.

It’s almost cliché to open January with a “let’s come up with resolutions that we can ignore at the first sign of trouble” topic. Instead, I thought it would be a better idea to focus this month on ways you can actually achieve those writing goals of yours.

We’ll have a wide range of items to help you make January a success. Articles include:

  • Software to help your productivity.
  • Personal methods working authors employ to get their projects completed.
  • Motivation and tips for those days when your muse was out getting hammered at the local watering hole last night.
  • Setting and reaching reasonable and achievable goals.
  • Suggested non-fiction books (and reviews) that are worth your time.
  • Tips for plotting your next book, and tips for winging it.
  • …and plenty more!

Guests this month include Petra Klarbrunn, Stant Litore, and Annik Valkanberg.

In 2016 the Fictorians will debut a monthly author interview series. The project will debut on January 29th, the last weekday of the month. You can expect a new interview monthly.

Tune in every weekday for a new article focusing on the writing lifestyle. Let’s go!

Resolve to Resolve…

A guest post by Guy Anthony DeMarco.

With the holiday season in full swing, many folks decide to make a resolution for the upcoming New Year. With this in mind, here are several ideas to consider for 2015.

  1. Resolve to Write.

Sometimes it seems silly to tell writers that they should write. Too many of them finish a big project, such as a novel, and spend far too much time tweaking, publishing, and promoting their book. Yes, these are important details, but the majority of your time should be spent writing your next book. If you have only four hours to devote to writing a day, three and a half should be spent on writing. As Dean Wesley Smith said, be a writer (one who writes) versus be an author (one who has written). The best way to be noticed is to have a large assortment of items for sale. Each book is a hook on a line. If you have one hook in the water, you may catch a fish. If you have twenty hooks in the water, the odds are a fish will notice one of those juicy worms and you’ll be dining on fish tonight.

  1. Resolve to Complete Projects.

If you’re like me, you have dozens of half-finished projects that are taking up space on your hard drive. Make a decision to pick some of them and get them completed and in the marketplace. If you decide to take on a project, resolve to get it done, barring emergencies or medical disasters. A half-written project of 20K words is wasteful, so go over it, replot if necessary, and get it out the virtual front door.

  1. Resolve to Learn About Writing.

There are quite a few blogs and websites that can keep you in touch with what’s happening in the marketplace. Ralan’s and Duotrope can help you spot markets that are open for submissions. Joe Konrath, The Passive Guy, and Hugh Howey have excellent blogs concerning self-publishing. Local conventions usually have a writing track, so bring a notepad and take notes. If you’re new to the Fictorians, go through the archives and see what catches your attention. Buy a book or three about writing, then actually read them. If you write off of the top of your head (aka a Pantser) or go through great troubles to plot out every detail of your story (aka an Plotter/Outliner), take some time to try out the other method. I personally find it’s easier to be a Pantser when writing short stories and flash fiction, but for a complex story or a novel, being an Outliner comes in handy.

  1. Resolve to Learn About the Business of Writing.

This is a big resolution, and it will certainly take some time over 2015 to complete. The good thing is it can be easily done if you nibble on the elephant, one bite at a time.

Probably the easiest way to cover this resolution is to attend a seminar or workshop dealing with the business side of writing and publishing. The aforementioned Dean Wesley Smith conducts workshops on the west coast with his brilliant wife Krisine Kathryn Rusch. Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta run a seminar on the writing and publishing business each year in Colorado Springs, Colorado, called the Superstars Writing Seminar. The date for next year is February 5-7, 2015, and will feature Kevin, Rebecca, Jody Lynn Nye, James Artimus Owen, Eric Flint, Toni Weisskopf, and a host of additional top authors and editors. They cover everything you could ever wish to learn from award-winning professionals.

There are dozens of books on the business side of writing. While anyone can write a book and publish it, make sure the author has extensive experience before commiting to reading an advice-centric book. Dave Farland has several excellent books (not to mention an excellent free blog), and Wordfire Press in particular has a wide variety of business advice books.

  1. Resolve to Learn About Copyrights.

This is a smaller resolution, one which every writer should know. There are plenty of folks who give bad advice on copyrights because they’re only parroting what they heard—and they heard it from someone who also didn’t have a clue.

In my opinion, the best book on copyrights is published by Nolo Press. It’s a longish book, but you will know exactly what a copyright is when you’re done. It would be a safe bet that you’d learn something new—something that contradicts what you believed for a long time—when you learn about what a copyright is and is not. For example, many new authors are convinced that copyrights cover ideas. They don’t—they only cover the execution of an idea, such as a finished book.

Take the time to learn how to be a professional writer and author. Not only will it help you avoid the pitfalls on your career path, but it will make your journey more enjoyable.


About the Author:DeMarco_Web-5963

Guy Anthony De Marco is a speculative fiction author; a Graphic Novel Bram Stoker Award®; winner of the HWA Silver Hammer Award; a prolific short story and flash fiction crafter; a novelist; an invisible man with superhero powers; a game writer (Sojourner Tales modules, Interface Zero 2.0 core team, D&D modules); and a coffee addict. One of these is false.
A writer since 1977, Guy is a member of the following organizations: SFWA, WWA, SFPA, IAMTW, ASCAP, RMFW, NCW, HWA. He hopes to collect the rest of the letters of the alphabet one day. Additional information can be found at WikipediaGuyAndTonya.com, and GuyAnthonyDeMarco.com.