Quarterly Writing Plans – What’s next? #amwriting #amediting

Things haven’t been going to plan at the moment, at least not the plans I set myself a few months ago. I still like to look back, take stock and make new plans in the hope I can get back on track. With this in mind, I’m going to take a moment to celebrate what I have done so far this year.

Achievements in 2022

I’ve published not one, but two short story anthologies!

Fantasy Short Stories

Love, Loss and Life In Between

After a barren couple of years of not publishing anything, it’s been brilliant to break back into self publishing. These are passion projects that I hope fans of my writing will enjoy, but they will also hopefully help me reach new readers too. I had a blog blitz for Fantasy Short Stories in June and have another planned in October for Love, Loss and Life In Between. Rachel’s Random Resources is still taking sign ups for anyone interested.

The Mermaid Hotel Romance series

I’ve edited and rewritten parts of Evie’s Song, including adding a new VP character (the match making hotel owner Mrs Shallon) and adding more scenes which include a prologue and an epilogue. I’m trying to find time to read through all the changes and decide if it’s finally ready or not.

I’ve spoken with a few agents via the Winchester Festival in June and have taken steps to make changes to Evie’s Song as per their suggestions.

Probably the most fun thing I’ve done this year is go to a weekend writing retreat run by Alison May and Janet Gover. It was so helpful and wonderful to spend a whole weekend just focused on writing, in particular Evie’s Song. The 1-2-1 feedback was invaluable! I would love to do it again, but funds are tight so it maybe a while before that is possible. They run these retreats 3 times a year and I highly recommend them.

Not gone to plan

Starlight Prophecy

The trilogy has stalled while I worked on the two short story publications and focused on Evie’s Song. I haven’t looked at it for months, but hopefully my subconscious has been working on those plot issues while I’ve been busy. I love fantasy and really would love to get this going again. I’d hate to abandon the 139k I’ve written between books 1 and 2, and Delaphine is an awesome anti-heroine I can’t wait to share her with the world!

MH Romance Series

I had hoped to have up to 3 books in the series published in 2022. Evie’s Song is coming along nicely and I have the drafts of books 2 and 3, but I just haven’t gotten around to continuing with them. With funds tight, the idea of self publishing may have to go on hold, and I’m still toying with the idea of approaching agents and publishers direct. We’ll just have to see where things stand in a few months.

Plans for the rest of 2022

The Mermaid Hotel Series

Finish Evie’s Song and make a decision on publication method. If self publishing I would love to have this ready by December. But I’m not sure yet. And is December / Christmas the best time to release a summer romance anyway?

Work on the drafts of book 2 and 3 so they are in more publishable shape.

Plan and develop series arc.

Starlight Prophecy

I want to work on this, even if it is just to plan the series and characters arcs so I can finish the first draft.

Future Projects – no date in mind

Reworking the old

Whilst watching the first episode of the House of the Dragons (the difficult birth scene) I was reminded of the second fantasy book I ever wrote. It was written 20+years ago, and will no doubt have many amateur mistakes. But as I started explaining the scene to my husband and all the events leading up to it, I got really excited for the idea again. I also realised I had a pretty twisted imagination back then, I’m definitely a lot kinder to my characters now!

I would love to revisit my old novels and see how much effort it would take to re-write them because I still want to tell those characters stories. I’ve even transferred them to my kindle so I can read them without being tempted to start editing straight away. It’s been in the to do list a long time!

Series and other ideas

I would love to write a fantasy series with shorter instalments than my trilogy. I’m think around the 100 to 150 pages mark. I have a project in mind, but nothing planned beyond the first few chapters.

I have ideas for a timeslip romance, and spin off stories around the Mermaid Hotel series.

Silent Sea Chronicles

I would still love to write the prequel to book 1. I recently reviewed the prologue I’ve written for it and really like it, but I’m still not sure if a prequel would spoil the rest of the trilogy. That’s what’s been holding me back for so long.

I would also love to continue the story of the various characters and see what the future holds for them. I just need to decide what format those stories will manifest in. A book of short stories, novellas, or a whole new novel / series?

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I think that will do for this update. I will review my achievements and goals at the end of the year. I can’t believe that’s only a few months away.

Have you any goals to share? Ones you are happy with achieving, or ones you’ve set yourself to complete by the end of 2022?

I will share my reading goals in another post very soon. Until then, happy reading and writing!

Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance

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I AM Writing Festival – Sign up for agent 1-2-1’s, talks and workshops #writers #writingcommunity @IAmInPrint

The I AM Writing Festival takes place 4th – 12th June in Winchester UK with lots of online and in person workshops, talks and opportunities to meet with agents. I attended in 2019 and really enjoyed the day. You don’t get many chances to sit with an agent and discuss your work, these connections can be invaluable.

This is the first year I AM in print are running the event and they need people to sign up to make sure it happens. So don’t delay, take a look and see what’s on offer. Whatever stage of writing you are at, there are bound to be events for you.

I’ve signed up for the virtual talks and to see two agents in person on Sunday 12th June to discuss Evie’s Song. I’m so excited to see what they think.

Check out the festival link here.

Quarterly writing update #amwriting #fantasy #romance

I had high hopes at the start of 2022 that I would get stuck into self publishing and have 7 books published by the end of the year.

The good news is I have my first short story collection out on 8th April, which features characters from my fantasy worlds. Further details below.

As to the 7 book goal… it seems unlikely. But maybe I’ll suddenly gain superhero typing skills and bash out the next books in my romance and fantasy series. For now, I need to be more grounded and think about what I can achieve over the next 3 / 4 months.

The Mermaid Hotel Romance Series

  • Evie’s Song is with beta readers. I plan to work on their suggestions as they come in. I also need to decide if I want to approach agents and publishers direct, or launch the series myself.
  • Make a plan for the whole series and series arc. Come up with titles.
  • Write the remaining scenes for book 2 and get in shape for beta readers.
  • Type up and expand upon book 3.
  • Later in the year – I already have lots of ideas for book 4, coming up with an outline might make the writing process quicker.

Starlight Prophecy Fantasy Series

  • I’m just starting to work on book 1 which needs development and scenes added.
  • Write the end of book 2 and make changes to reflect the changes from book 1’s storyline.
  • Later in the year – Plan out book 3.

Second Short Story Collection

  • Write a few more stories and sort through what will go into this edition.
  • Later in the year – Send to my editor and prepare to publish.

Other Writing tasks / events

  • CBC evening webinar in April ‘What’s next for your novel’
  • Winchester attend online talks and visit in person to discuss romance book with an agent / editor.
  • Weekend writing a novel workshop in Stratford – June.

What are your writing / reading plans for the next few months?

***

‘Fantasy Short Stories’ publishing on 8th April 2022.

Each story features characters from my fantasy worlds.

The Guardian – Meet Kalesh from Visions of Zarua as he tries to save his students from an unknown assassin.

Garrick the Protector – See how readers’ favourite, Garrick, became a Protector and joined the exiles. From Silent Sea Chronicles.

War Wounds – Meet Calder as he tries to deal with the fall out from raiders attacks and the hidden powers suddenly unleashed inside him. New fantasy series Starlight Prophecy.

Pre-order for only 99p.

Add to your Goodreads to-read shelf.

Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance

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Welcome 2022! My writing plans and goals #amwriting

I love this part of the year when 12 whole months stretch ahead of me and I can think about the future with time and optimism on my side.

I have a lot I want to achieve in 2022 as I feel the last 2 years have been a let down on the publishing front. I will set myself some big goals and do my best to meet as many as I can.

First I want to share the big goals to work towards over the whole year and then break that down into monthly tasks. I’ll try to give monthly updates which will hold me to account and hopefully give me the impetus to power through these goals.

Mermaid Hotel Romance Series

I’m considering approaching agents and publishers with this series idea, but I’m torn as I do love self publishing and I have already bought 3 beautiful book covers with the intention of doing everything myself.

If I do self publish I want to get 3 books out this year; Evie’s Song, A.J’s Legacy and Love in Degrees.

Starlight Prophecy Series

This fantasy series has been in my head for a long time and I really want to get book 1 and 2 finished and published in 2022. Again, I have purchased the covers but I’m stuck on the titles. So far I have Starlight Prophecy – Awaken. Starlight Prophecy – Arise and book 3 would be Ascend.

Other Writing Goals

Stick to a weekly word count. Before Christmas I was managing between 3 – 4k. That is a pretty good figure to aim for, whether that be new story ideas, new scenes for my WIP’s or with the new book I’ve pre-ordered as a late Christmas present to myself which is all about daily inspiration. More on that when the book arrives later in the month.

Write a new piece of flash fiction or short story each month for my writing group to critique.

Publish fantasy short stories set in the world of my books.

Publish a short story anthology.

Summary

As you can see I have set a huge challenge – publishing up to 7 books! I’m not sure if it is possible but I like to aim big!

For now I will focus on a month to month strategy. With that in mind my goals for January are simple. Finish editing Evie’s Song and publish my book of Fantasy Short Stories.

I’ll be back at the end of the month to review my plan and see how it’s getting along.

***

Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance

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Writing achievements in 2021 #amwriting #amediting #indieauthor

2021 was a huge disappointment in many ways, not least because it just seemed to disappear without anything happening.

There were some good things that happened and my big event was being a finalist in the Book Bloggers Novel of the Year Award 2021.

The Lost Sentinel came 12th, just short of receiving a prize, but it is still a great achievement and I’m proud to be able to display this badge on my blog.

As for the rest of my writing, I did manage to meet some of the deadlines I set myself last year but I didn’t manage to publish anything. However, let’s not focus on the bad but the good. Here goes…

Romance

I drafted the first three books in my Mermaid Hotel Romance Series – Evie’s Song, A.J’s Legacy and Love in Degrees (working titles). There are still plenty of notes to work through at the editing stage, but I’m hoping to finish them in 2022. Plus plans for the next 3 books in the series are whirring away at the back of my mind.

Fantasy

I’ve reworked my Starlight Prophecy Series and will have two full books rather than a novella prequel and a dual timeline story. This format should be a lot less complicated for the reader and for me to write!

Short Stories

I have finished three short stories based in the worlds of my fantasy novels and have printed them in booklet form to sell at events. Early in 2022 I plan to publish them on Kindle and giveaway to my newsletter subscribers.

I have also produced a booklet of short stories but I want to write some more before I publish these on kindle.

Courses

I completed two online courses, the Curtis Brown Creative Romance course led by Jenny Colegan and Romantic Novel Association’s Fantasy Worldbuilding course led by Ruth Long. Both of these courses were great fun and I feel as though I’ve learnt a lot from them.

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I think that is about it for now. All there is left to say is Happy New Year. Let’s hope 2022 is a wonderful year for everyone.

I’ll follow up with my plans for the new year very soon.

Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance

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Writing update – 4 month plan #amwriting #fantasy #romance

***IMPORTANT UPDATE*** THE LOST SENTINEL IS A FINALIST IN BBNYA 2021. I’m excited to reach the final round though the next few months will be agony waiting for the results! See my earlier post about it here.

I haven’t done a writing update for a while so I thought it would be a good time to share my plans for the rest of the year. But first…

What have I been up to?

It doesn’t feel like much. I’ve written 3 fantasy short stories as lead in’s to my books. The Guardian is a prequel to Visions of Zarua, Garrick the Protector from the Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy and War Wounds from my new series Starlight Prophecy, which I hope to publish in 2022.

I’ve also been working on my romance series Mermaid Hotel though did put that on hold to re-work the whole structure of book 1 and 2 in the Starlight Prophecy series. It’s been so good to escape back into fantasy, but now I’m at a stage where I need to put that on hold to get back to the romance series.

The next 4 months

In September I’m doing a 6 week Curtis Brown Writing Romance course led by Jenny Colgan. I plan to work through book 1 – Evie’s Song and hopefully get it into a publishable state very soon.

In October I’ve signed up for a World Building course run by the Romantic Novelist Association. It’s an area that my readers have said works really well in my books, but I don’t want to be complacent. I’m always eager to hone my craft so I’m hoping to learn a few things that will enhance the Starlight Prophecy series.

Publishing plans…

At some point I plan to publish the short stories I’ve written in a short fantasy teaser book which will be free to my newsletter subscribers. I’m toying with the idea of writing more stories to go into it but I haven’t decided for certain yet. I’ve also wondered whether to publish a book of modern day short stories and that idea is still in the back of my mind.

I’m hoping to finish books 1 and 2 in the Starlight Prophecy and the first few books in The Mermaid Hotel ready to publish in 2022. I would love to get something out sooner but time is running against me.

The most important thing is to keep working and hopefully 2022 will be the year I get lots of books out into the world.

I hope you will be there cheering me on.

Til next time…

***

Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance

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Guest Post: 5 Must know Tips for Fantasy Worldbuilding #fantasy #writingtips

Over the last year I have been reading writing guides and attending the odd writing webinar. It’s always good to keep learning the craft no matter where you are in your writing journey and that’s why when Desiree offered to write a guest post for me about fantasy worldbuilding, I thought it was a great idea. Read on for some very interesting tips…

5 Must-Know Tips for Fantasy Worldbuilding

Many of the best fantasy novels are considered such because their authors have painstakingly attended to every detail of their fictional worlds — from character names to the mechanics of each battle scene. Indeed, a truly immersive piece of fantasy is no mean feat, and often requires a fine balance between fabrication and reality, smaller details and broader brushstrokes. If you’d like to learn more, have a look at the tips below!

1. Take inspiration from the titans

Reading esteemed fantasy fiction is a surefire way to learn the ropes of worldbuilding. Authors who have found success with their fictional worlds will attune you to readers’ tastes and teach you the conventions of fantasy writing. You’ll learn how the experts incorporate detail into imagined worlds, as well as tips for portraying villainous and heroic characters in the context of those worlds (not to mention you’ll see firsthand what doesn’t work as well).

We’re not suggesting you rip off Harry Potter. For starters, you’re unlikely to ever get a book deal if your book is a warmed-over version of somebody else’s work — but also, the best fantasy is always the product of a person’s unique imagination. Having knowledge of your genre will simply help you carve out your own niche (and prevent you from unintentionally writing a story that’s been done a dozen times already). You’ll be able to blend tried-and-trusted conventions with your own fresh takes for the perfect reader experience of your fantasy world.

2. Blend fantasy with reality

Fantasy is often at its most gripping when its world contains eerie parallels to the world we live in — or if our world were to take a turn for the worst. Take Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale: a macabre story exploring what life might be like if women were brutally subjugated and forced to work within the confines of childbearing. It might feel pretty far from contemporary times, but there’s no doubt that women have struggled for emancipation, and still do, in many facets of their lives — especially when it comes to bodily autonomy. In this sense, Atwood has harnessed SFF to comment on a pertinent political issue, to great effect.

Atwood’s worldbuilding is so powerful because it takes an aspect of reality to an extreme (yet comprehensible) conclusion. It’s the type of writing that makes your spine tingle because one day it might just become a reality. If you can apply this sort of connection to your own worldbuilding, you absolutely should!

3. Do your research

A lot of fantasy is inspired by a particular time period or setting. Before you attempt to counsel your readers on the technicalities of shooting a poisoned bow and arrow, or describe the minutiae of Medieval court life, you’ll need to brush up on your knowledge of the subject at play.

Sometimes it’s as simple as scrolling through a Reddit thread; other times you’ll need to consult more serious literature, especially when the topic is fairly specialized (don’t make the same mistake John Boyne did!). Research will help you write confidently about the ins and outs of how something works, or everyday life in the world you’re basing yours on. Of course, fantasy is necessarily fantastical, but your worldbuilding will fall flat if your story is located on an ancient battleship and your descriptions are completely unrealistic w/r/t how battleships operate.

All that said, if you’re a new writer, don’t go overboard with the research. You don’t have to be a complete stickler with the facts (you’re not writing a history book, after all!), and there is always opportunity to make things up — but it’s important to give your work a degree of accuracy and credibility. This way, readers won’t switch off because your story seems too bizarre to be true.

4. Remember that the devil’s in the detail

There’s a reason people don’t just love Lord of the Rings, but are committed to keeping its lore alive on internet forums and at conventions across the globe: Tolkien spent so many years developing the detailed, complex world of Middle-Earth that it has transcended the texts themselves. It’s what every fantasy writer dreams of — but that doesn’t make it easy.

If you’re secretly hankering after a devoted fanbase for your work, it’s worth putting the extra effort into details that go beyond the sweeping brushstrokes. Thoughtful character and place names are a good start, but think about how you could develop other quirky bits of information that readers can analyze, discuss, and dissect. This could be anything from architecture to flora and fauna, particular music instruments to a customary greeting; the possibilities are endless.

5. Keep it consistent

Keeping the details of your novel consistent is good advice for authors of all genres, but it’s particularly important for fantasy writers. Why? Because, again, fiction that transcends reality requires the reader to buy into the world you’re selling them — and that includes every last bit of it. Chopping and changing details will look sloppy in any piece of literature, but in fantasy could turn readers off entirely.

To that end, try to keep a document (separate from your manuscript) where you keep track of character names, places, the functions of certain objects, and other features of your lore. This might include the rules and regulations that exist in your kingdom, the historic events that have taken place there, and the makeup of its people. This way, you’ll always have something to refer back to when these details come up again — not to mention you can write faster when you don’t have to keep paging back and forth in your manuscript to hunt them down.

Hopefully, these tips will make the process of creating your fictional universe a little smoother. But the most important tip of all is to have faith that your own imagination will take you (and your characters) to exciting and unexpected places. Happy worldbuilding!

About the author of this post – Desiree Villena is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects self-publishing authors with the world’s best editors, designers, and marketers. In her spare time, Desiree enjoys reading contemporary fiction and writing short stories.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance

You can follow me on

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Quarterly Writing update April-June #amwriting #indieauthor

It doesn’t seem long ago that I was sharing my writing plans for the first quarter with you, and I certainly haven’t reached the goals I set myself then. The extended UK lockdown and kids at home struggling through online learning has set me back, but it doesn’t help to dwell. Spring is here, or at least it was for a day or two, and it’s time to move onward with a positive attitude.

Achieved so far

Evie’s Song has reached the beta reader stage for the second time having had a 20k word extension. It is still just shy of the 50K mark so I envision this to be a novella romance series.

Silent Sea Chronicles is now complete and available to listen to in audiobook form.

Thanks to Motion Kitty I have this great cover animation to share.

Writing plans for the 2nd Quarter of 2021

The Mermaid Hotel Romance Series

Finish and publish book 1 – Evie’s Song.

Finish and prepare to publish book 2 – AJ’s Legacy.

Complete book 3 and plot out the remaining 4 books in the series.

Expand the lead in story to offer to newsletter subscribers.

The Starlight Prophecy Fantasy Series

I haven’t touched this since last year so I’m itching to get working on it again.

I need to complete the prequel and get it off to beta readers. I would love to do this asap, but I am heavily invested in the romance series at the moment.

Write the lead in story to offer newsletter subscribers when the prequel is ready for publication.

New Fantasy Series – Shadow Hunters (working title)

I came up with this idea quite a few years ago and have recently revived it for my online writing group. They are all enjoying the characters and the story, so I want to keep planning and working on this book and see where it leads.

Short Story Anthology

Over the years I’ve written some short stories that I’ve really loved in a variety of genres – romance, ghost, thriller, fantasy etc. I’m feeling 2021 is the year to share them with the world. Plus I want to include the lead in stories from my fantasy and romance books. It’s an exciting project I’m looking forward to working on.

Other tasks for this quarter

I need to work on Amazon sales pages and blurbs. I’ve decided to try to remove Silent Sea Chronicles from the YA category – I think 13 year olds will be happy to read it, but I don’t feel right marketing it to all children of that age.

The dreaded tax return is due, so I can’t ignore that.

Keep reading writing research books and share the ones I’ve found helpful on my blog.

Keep sharing book reviews of the fiction books I’ve loved.

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I think that is about it for now. I know I’ve set myself a long list again, but it’s always good to have several options on the go, it keeps life exciting.

What are your plans for the second quarter of 2021?

Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance

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Author pen name poll – results are in! #indieauthor

I recently ran a poll on twitter to determine whether an author should have different names if they write in different genres.

It was an interesting experiment and I’m very happy the results fit with my plans to publish both fantasy and romance under the same name.

Here is the results poll…

4 people out of 20 prefer an author to have different names when they publish in different genres, whilst 7 people suggest the same name is fine. With 9 out of 20 people happy with either option, I take that as a successful result for using the same name.

So hopefully very soon, Suzanne Rogerson will be an indie author of both fantasy and romance books. I will be back soon with more news.

Thanks very much to those who have voted and commented. If you still want to have your say, please reply to this post. I’d love to know your thoughts.

***

Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance

You can follow me on

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A quick poll on pen names. Should authors use them?

As an indie author I love the freedom I have to publish what I want, when I want. I’ve been building my platform as a fantasy author since 2015, but when we first went into lockdown in March 2020 I found myself drawn to the more light-hearted escapism of romance. This new direction has been an exciting change and I’m now planning to publish a 7 book romance series.

As I get closer to completing the first book, I’ve begun to wonder what to do about publishing in this new genre. Should I stick with Suzanne Rogerson or come up with a new name so my fantasy readers won’t mistakenly buy my romance?

I would prefer to keep all my writing under the same name, but I’m interested to get some advice from you guys. So, please take part in this twitter poll and comment in the post with your thoughts.

Thanks very much.

Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and romance

You can follow me on

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