October Spectre-cles.

I have new glasses. Almost the same as the old glasses, just… ever so slightly better. The main thing is they aren’t scratched – the old glasses? The old glasses were old.

So, what new things have I seen? Ghosts, goblins, all that, sure, but also a plan, which we will get to.

The thing about making plans is that they need to be flexible – things happen. Things like panels – I hadn’t entirely planned on a panel, but when the opportunity to present a panel presented itself I pounced, plainly.

Alliteration aside, I think the panel went fairly well – you can find some more details on that here:  https://www.patreon.com/posts/my-oxfurred-can-73851368

However, writing, rehearsing, refining, and actually putting on the panel… well, that kind of ate into the time I had for the ‘test-novella’ plan.

As a result, I got through two – which really turned into test-scenes and plenty of notes for possible novels. One for my Scapes-related gunpowder fantasy, temporarily working-titled ‘The Key’, and one for a standalone sequel to Mouse Cage. Some of the writing from that will wind up on the Patreon patrons’ feed, but…

That all put me in the position of trying to decide if I wanted extra time, to finish up the original plan, or if I wanted to try and – as I had originally hoped – start picking my next project around now.

I decided to go with a slightly new plan, pick my next project(s), and by adapting a technique militaries use to prioritize targets for special forces, I prioritized among the many things I’d like to work on.

The military technique – the CARVER Matrix – is great for working out what needs to be blown up, not so great for working out what book to write next. So, I invented the RATS Matrix.

In brief, it uses four criteria – Readiness, Alignment, Timetable and Sexiness.

Readiness is how ready the work is to go – am I ready to write it now, or do I need to write outlines?

Alignment is how closely the work aligns with my career goals. Can I self-pub it? Can I try and get an agent to sell it? Will it be off-the-wall and alienate my readers, or help me find new ones?

Timetable is how long I expect the project to take.

Sexiness is how interesting and appealing the project is – how excited it gets me, in an entirely platonic way. In the way a car is sexy, at least to the average person without specialized interests and urges.

If you’d like to try it out for yourself, a version of the spreadsheet I actually used can be found here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1SflhU86ZZcWmDaAC2aJZF4lpFYiLywPrqwlFwKwCBmo

By assigning a score for each of these, to all of my works, and doing some math? I discovered that doing a War Doggy standalone ‘sequel’ to Dog Country, and doing this False Fuse book about heists in San Iadras and Bobby the fox, would be faaaaairly similar, although my best option is arguably the Scapes book.

However, before I can really write the Scapes book I firstly need to learn how to use poetic meter/metrical writing, so I can do lyrics for sea shanties that aren’t terrible. I also need to get through a lot of research reading, including stacks of fairytales I’ve been gathering up for ages.

So, the new plan is to work on the Bobby-the-fox heist story book, which is a process I will refer to as Bobbyfoxing, because I dislike the working title of False Fuse at the moment. Titles, titles are my nemesis.

While working on Bobby the Fox, I will also be doing all my reading and researching and other prep-work for the Scapes novel.

We’ll see how that goes – I also have those short stories I need to revise and start trying to sell to science fiction magazines, and, well…

Part of me is wondering if ‘War Dogs 2’, whatever that is, might not be a really cool story to use to try and serialize – posting sections here first, giving Patrons the first look, and later making them public/posting them on sites like Wattpad/Royal Road/SoFurry after like a month or two. But, that is at least two books away, for now. At least, with the version of my work-plan currently in my head.

We’ll see how it turns out, because…

If the plan doesn’t work for me? I’m going to change it. Sticking to a plan or set of deadlines that just will not work is both a great way to waste time and feel awful, so, don’t do that. Prioritize yourself, make new plans when you need to, and forgive yourself if you miss the goals you were chasing – because chasing new goals is a lot easier if you don’t drag the ball and chain of self-blame around behind yourself.

So! I am going to get on with my plans, and I’ll let you know how it’s going next month. In the meanwhile, I hope you’ve been enjoying Mouse Cage! I was rereading large chunks of it last week, while working on the potential-standalone-sequel, and I was pretty happy with it in a lot of places, even if I say so myself. Speaking of Mouse Cage, if you’d like to boost my morale (and show other people that they should read it too), please do consider leaving a review on Goodreads or Amazon or wherever. <3

Otherwise? As ever, thank you so much for your support, and your interest in my work. It means more to me than you know.

Categorized as Patreon

By foozzzball

Malcolm Cross, otherwise known as 'foozzzball', lives in London and enjoys the personal space and privacy that the city is known for. When not misdirecting tourists to nonexistant landmarks and lurking at bus stops, Malcolm enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy with a furry twist.