In 2016, I had two major writing goals: marketing Reluctant Cassandra and writing the rough drafts of my trilogy-in-progress. Since we're five-sixths of the way through 2016 (how did that happen?) I'm going to go ahead and say I'm happy with where I am on both goals.
So, what are my goals for 2017? I hadn't thought much about it until I saw the topic for Julie Valerie's October blog hop. It was a good reminder to start making goals now--especially since it looks like 2017 is going to be just as busy as 2016!
Finish the Trilogy
There it is...my major goal for 2017. I already have the first two books drafted and I'm planning to have the third drafted by the end of this year. Side note: I'm actually planning to do a good bit of that draft during National Novel Writing Month in November. Are you doing NaNoWriMo? My screenname is (obviously) Ellen Smith Writes. I'd love to connect with you so we can support each other through this crazy 50k-words-in-one-month challenge! The camaraderie is the best part of NaNo!
Anyway, if/ when I finish the rough drafts for all three books by December 31, 2016, what does that mean for 2017?
It means I have to edit. Bleh.
In all seriousness, I'm pretty excited that the end is in sight for this story. I've been working on it in some form or other since 2011. I even had a full-length novel that I shopped to various agents before realizing that it just wasn't ready. So I gave it a rest, wrote and published Reluctant Cassandra, and started rewriting the story as a trilogy.
This story idea centers around one big question: If you could go back and change one event that shaped your life, would you?
Despite spending the last five years walking my characters through this exact question, I'm still not sure what I would choose. I don't want to give too many spoilers, but here's a synopsis of the first book in the trilogy:
Newlyweds Will and Mara Sterling have already faced "for better or for worse." They had barely met when a shooting changed both of their lives forever. Mara has had countless surgeries to reconstruct her right shoulder and she suffers from debilitating chronic pain. Will saw what really happened that night and he struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder. Despite their injuries, they've never let the actions of one gunman define who they are. They're healing, happy, and ready to start a new life together as husband and wife.
A new initiative from the Justice Department offers Will and Mara the chance of a lifetime. The shooter has been rehabilitated and his crime qualifies for an event modification. With the consent of all the victims, they can travel through time back to the original scene of the crime, giving the gunman a chance to put things right.
It sounds like a dream come true, but both Will and Mara have their doubts. Is it moral to change time for the rest of the world, just to undo one crime? Is it moral to deny the gunman a chance to correct his past crimes? And what if this one ripple means that they never meet...or fall in love?
After spending so much time thinking about this conflict, writing and re-writing the plot, and getting to know the characters, it's hard to imagine my writing life after this story is done. However, I'm equally excited to finally see the story where it belongs--in the reader's hands, not mine.
That's enough to make me pretty excited for 2017.