I decided that my goal for 2010 is to finish the novel I have been purportedly working on. It has been renamed, by the way, and this time I’m happy with the title: Doubting River. River is the name of the dog. I really like the multiple interpretations of the title.

My dream agent is a woman named Meg Ruley. She spoke at the PNWA conference last year, and I became convinced that she was the perfect agent for me. Unfortunately, she doesn’t accept unsolicited queries, so the only way to query her is to pitch her at a conference. So my goal was to finish the manuscript by the PNWA conference in July and do so. Turns out, though, that she isn’t going to be attending the conference this year. Another agent — for whom Meg Ruley is a mentor — is, so I’ll pitch to her.

I further decided that I should enter the PNWA literary contest. Finalists in each category get a ribbon to attach to their name tags, and they have a special reception with the agents and editors. I figured being a finalist would help me get noticed! I read the rules and decided to enter the novel in the mainstream category and my screenplay (on which the novel is based) in the screenplay category.

How can I enter an unfinished novel? Easy (and allowed!). They need only the first 25 pages and a synopsis. So my goals for February were to get those two entries done and submitted. It turned out that the Sandy, the literary contest for another conference had their contest due date at essentially the same time, so I ended up getting three conference entries in. I was really, really proud of myself for meeting those deadlines.

There’s another contest due April 1 that asks for the first 50 pages. So hopefully that will keep me going. I love having deadlines and self-imposed ones just don’t do it!

Now I’m trying to get my butt in gear and get back to working on the manuscript. I want to try a couple of things. First, I want to try to shift back into my right brain by writing and not editing for a whole month. Second, I want to try something akin to NaNoWriMo. I’m not going to wait for November — the official NaNoWriMo month — but I would like to set a goal of 50,000 words for the month.

Ugh. To do that means I need to get off my butt and get some planning done tonight. I have to know where I’m going or I’ll never get any words on the page!

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