Tag Archives: finishing your novel

Dream to Goal to Strategy to Success

The first question everyone asks each New Year is—did you make a resolution?  For many years my answer was always the same—no. Which I’m pretty sure is exactly why I haven’t achieved my dream as quickly as I probably could have.

Back when I was a kid, I told everyone one day I would write (and have published) a book. Well, here I am several decades later still not having finished my book. The problem as I see it is that although I always knew I wanted to write a book, I never really set it as a goal until fairly recently. Once I finally did decide to get serious and map out how I was going to write said book, things did start to fall into place and I felt myself inching closer to making my dream a reality.

  • I worked hard at learning my craft.
  • I surrounded myself with like-minded people and people who had actually written and published a book.
  • I set a writing schedule for myself.


And yet, I still haven’t finished my damn book.

Today I sit here knowing that goal setting and strategy planning are all well and good, but when life tries to derail your perfectly laid plans, you have to revisit, adjust and recommit to your strategies. Sitting back and resting on your laurels isn’t an option—ever.

And you have to get specific.

So, to answer your question—yes I did make a resolution for 2013. (I know you’ll keep me honest and hold me to my word.)

I, Sharon M. Overend, resolve to finish my book within the next six months. (For those of you who are mathematically challenged, that means by June.)



I hear you rolling your eyes.

Ah, but I have a plan.

My strategy is to polish 10,000 words per month. I currently have 33,000 words in what I would call good shape. By July 1st, I intend to start querying agents and/or publishers.

I have no idea whether I will achieve this lofty goal, but I know that not having a plan will mean another year without my backside in a nice chair and my fingers curled around the expensive pen I promised myself I would buy the day I finished my book, whilst an eager group of fans wait in line for me to sign their copy of my soon-to-be bestselling novel.

That’s the plan.

What is your goal for 2013 and how do you plan on reaching it?

In case you need motivation to get busy writing out your goals and strategies for 2013, I’ve included a You Tube video (sorry it looks a bit dated) from Jack Canfield (yeah the Chicken Soup books guy) to kick-start you.


Filed under Writer's blog, Writer's journey, Writing, writing,

The Next Big Thing

Thanks, Heather O’Connor (www.merlinwrites.com) for thinking of me and my blog and including us in the game of blog tag.  As part of blog tag, author’s are asked to answer ten questions about their work-in-progress. Very timely, indeed, since I have made it my New Year’s resolution to finish my novel and begin sending it out before year’s end. I particularly enjoyed imagining who would play my characters if/when it is ever made into a movie.

What is your working title of your book?     LOOK OVER YOUR SHOULDER

A mock-up of my novel that I have placed in front of my desk to remind me what I'm there to do.

A mock-up of my novel that I have placed in front of my desk to remind me what I’m there to do.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Look Over Your Shoulder is a story about forgiveness and redemption.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

In 2004 my dear friend, Heidi Stanzel McIssac, was told she needed a bone marrow transplant to beat leukemia that she had battled most of her adult life. Being an only child with her father from Germany and her mother from South Africa, finding a suitable donor was not going to be easy. When a donor was not found within Heidi’s extended family, the search broadened to include media campaigns overseas. Eventually, a donor was located and Heidi received her transplant only to have her body rejected the donor marrow. Heidi passed away on September 16, 2004, leaving behind a thirteen year old daughter and parents who, most likely, will never recovered from their lose.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Heidi’s attempts to educate people about bone marrow transplants and her death made me take a look at my own family. I come from a large, Roman Catholic family. I have three siblings and ten first cousins. My ancestry is a Celtic cocktail of English, Irish and Scottish with a dash of French to add some heat to the mix. I suspect if I were to ever need a transplant, one would be easy enough to find. This got me thinking. What if someone from a large, dysfunctional family required a transplant and the only match available came from the least reliable person in the clan.

What genre does your book fall under? Literary Fiction

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? My hope is to find an agent.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? I was able to finish the first draft of my novel in a year.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Although the stories are different, I would like to think the style I have written Look Over Your Shoulder will remind readers of Jane Hamilton’s – A Map of the World, or Gail Anderson-Dargatz’s – Turtle Valley.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Since no one ever sees the same situation the same way, I thought it would fun to write this story from the point of view of three players—Anne, Burt and Barb.

Everyone looks to Anne, the matriarch, for guidance as they wade through the biggest crisis to ever face their family. Before she can help them, Anne must first confront her feelings of guilt and must make peace with a God she’s convinced has abandoned her.

Burt’s years of self-destructive behaviour have destroyed two marriages, pushed his three sons away and taught his family that he can’t be trusted. He is the last person anyone feels they can count on, and the only match for his sister. Although nervous about the transplant procedure, he comes to see this as an opportunity to redeem himself in the eyes of his family.

Barb, the youngest sibling, seldom thinks of anyone other than herself. When Lizzie’s body begins to reject Burt’s marrow, Barb is faced with the real possibility that she could lose the only person she feels has ever accepted her. Yet, true to form, Barb throws risky distractions between herself and the truth of what life without her closest sister could mean.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Anne – Shirley MacLaine, Burt – Robert Downey Jr, Barb – Julianne Moore.

Thanks again, Heather and tag, you’re it, Kate Arms-Roberts and others who still have to give me permission to use their names.

Kate Arms-Roberts is a Toronto-based writer, though she has hailed from various locations in the U.S. and U.K. before landing in Canada. She blogs at http://www.katearmsroberts.wordpress.com and is currently working on a fantasy novel for teens.


Filed under Writer's blog, Writer's journey, writing,