Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Setting My Summer Writing Schedule...

As the quarter winds down, it's time for me to get my summer objectives down.

Books:

1. Money Shot is priority #1. From June to August, I will pretty much spend about eight hours a day with my subjects. My Thunders Mouth contract requires a minimum of 80,000 words, but I think it'll probably come out more toward 100,000. What I think I'm going to do first is write Chapter One right after the quarter ends. I have plenty of interviews and background to do it. After that, it's back to the San Fernando Valley for my information.

2. Money Shot (fiction): One, I need to come up with a new title for the novel. Two, I'm going to go back over the manuscript and make some changes. I need to know when I can expect the copyedit. If I can expect the copyedit in late summer, then I can make the changes in plenty of time. But you never know with Kensington. I like them, but I have NO clue to when I'll receive stuff.

3. I go to my Fraternity Centennial Convention (yes!) in Washington DC, and I think I'll stop in NYC before. Every so often, you need to meet and eat lunch with folks. So in one trip, I can meet with my editors at Kensington and Thunders Mouth, while also checking out my agent Manie. One thing people don't know about the book industry is how infrequent you can actually see folks that pay you. Eight years, three books at Kensington, and I've met my editor Karen Thomas around three times (maybe only twice now that I think about it. Once at Kensington, and then at BEA). I've never met my editor, Anita Diggs, at Thunders Mouth. I met my previous agent, Deidre Knight, once. And I've never met my current agent Manie Barron in person. But that's de riguour. However, I think a meet and greet is in order this summer, just to make sure we're all on the same page.

4. I have two book projects that are in various stages of completion (around 30,000 words). One is my Slaveryland project that I stopped last fall, and the other is a detective series I'd like to develop. If I have time, I'll putter around with them and try to advance them forward. I doubt that I'll be able to finish either one of them, but I'm going to get close. The goal would be to finish them by mid-fall, so when I turn in Money Shot, I have two more manuscripts in the coffer. It takes a bit for folks to decide to buy, negotiate, etc. so this will be cool to have perculating while I'm in school.

5. Find a damn good publicist. So far, everyone has told me that they've been underwhelmed by the publicists who specialize in black books, and I have to agree. My criteria is that you better not do a job that I can IMMEDIATELY tell that I could do better. That means scheduling me to some rinky dink late night radio shows in teenie tiny markets, just because you know that radio hosts. At this point in my career, I want national coverage for my books, and I want to start branding myself in the same way other national authors are branded.

Screenplays:

1. MK Asante is working on a great documentary project and he's asked if I'd like to make a contribution. At first, I was hesitant because I know how much stuff I have to do. But then I thought about it and realized that this would be an historic project, and I'd like to be a part of it. So you make time.

2. Summer is twelve weeks, and since UCLA doesn't open until late September, I figure I can write one full screenplay and part of another one. My next three scripts have to do with the black church, terrorism, and a black tradition.

3. I'm going to clean up Yardies as much as possible, but not sweat it if it's not ready to be seen. I'll work on Yardies over the long term.

4. The Showcase has been great in that I'm receiving calls and emails pretty much every day. Managers, production companies, etc. want to see my script. We'll see where that leads.

5. I want to develop a treatment I've been working on about Fraternity/Sorority life.

Lectures:

1. I tamped down the amount of lectures I did last year because of school. Not next year. I'll be lecturing at least twenty times during the year, and I'm scheduling throughout the summer. I need to know my schedule as soon as possible. I'll schedule school around the lectures.

That's pretty much it. I know that it sounds like a ton of stuff, but in reality, if you are REALLY disciplined, you can get it done. I'm a person who gets VERY nervous, and sort of paranoid, if I'm not writing. I can literally feel a weird nervousness happen in my shoulders, as though someone is going to come to the door and take all of this away if I don't get to work.

3 comments:

RageyOne said...

Oh my! You have planned a very busy summer! Stay focused and you can get it all done. Good luck!

Jay Clayton said...

Yes.. why you just inspired me to set up a "summer writing schedule" ... yet mine is nowhere near as exhaustive as yours.

Lawrence said...

It's not the length of the work, but your objectives. I have a ton of stuff to get done because of deadlines, requirements, etc. But even if you're just doing one thing, that's enough.