I'd like to go for 50 hours this month, but I'm going to split them 30/20 between a) making the submission package for Mender, and b) figuring out what I'm writing next.
a) So. 30 hours on Mender. I need to:
1) Finish the revision. I might be able to do this today-- the edits needed on the last 13% of the book are very light.
2) Spellcheck the MS.
3) Send it to my beta swap partner.
4) Work on my query. I have a draft of one, but I know it will need a lot of work. Queries are a bitch.
5) Give feedback to ~30 queries posted on Absolute Write. I am counting this toward my writing hours for two reasons: a) because analyzing what's going wrong with other queries makes your own stronger, and b) because some critters on AW only give feedback to users who also give feedback, and even though I've given tons of feedback in the past, it's been a while, and people have probably forgotten me. I don't want to come off like I'm barging in and asking for something I'm not willing to give back.
6) Submit my own query for feedback, and revise accordingly.
7) Write a synopsis. UGH. I probably need two versions of this, since some agents want 1 page and some will give you up to 3.
8) Make changes to Mender as needed based on beta swap partner feedback.
As for b) figuring out what I'm writing next, I have four possibilities to consider:
1) Going back to Eleven Names and rewriting it. I still think the concept for this one is strong, and I feel like I've grown enough as a writer to do it justice. But I have such a history with it; it's giving me pause. It's like trying to decide whether to go back into therapy to save a relationship that's been dysfunctional for years. Do you have the energy? Do you care enough?
2) An adult Science Fiction novel that technically takes place in the same story universe as Eleven Names and The Owl Bearer, but is unrelated to that plot line and can totally stand alone. I can clearly envision the first 1/4 or so of the book, which is a good sign it's close to ready to be written. It will be my first story set on another planet, which means I'll need to do more ground-up worldbuilding than usual.
3) The first book in a YA Science Fiction trilogy/series. I have a lot of ideas floating around my head for it, but they don't all make sense. My instincts tell me this one needs to marinate longer, but if I did some story-building work on it maybe it would all fall into place.
4) A Fantasy/Romance novella that is completely unrelated to anything else I have written or plan to write. I got the idea and the first two pages just poured out effortlessly. Then I wasn't sure what to do next, and I set it aside to start writing Mender. That was year ago, but the idea is still nagging at me. And maybe it's worthwhile to have something I can shop around to magazines and online publishers like Book Smugglers while I'm also trying to get dead-tree published with the Big Six.
So, the plan: I intend to spend five hours on each of these possibilities in March. For five hours, I will pretend that THIS is the one, and do the first five hours of stuff I need to do to get it ready to go. At the end of the month, I'll evaluate where each one stands, and-- fingers crossed-- will be able to determine which is best choice for now.
And with that, I better go get the hell to work.