Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Goals for the Summer

Summer for me does not start on whatever date it's supposed to start. It starts when I'm done teaching. That day is Friday. So I've been thinking about what I'd like to accomplish over the next three months with respect to reading and writing. My goals are all things I can do without help from anyone. This is why you will not see ACQUIRE AN AGENT. ACQUIRING AN AGENT relies on someone other than me (or Anita or Tracy or The Wife or The Mom) reading my stuff and recognizing it for the pioneering genius that it is. Unfortunately, I have discovered that literary agents have a huge blind spot when it comes to appreciating pioneering genius. I call that blind spot The (Il)Literati's Collective Bias Against Anything Written by Paul Michael Murphy.

On to the goals:

1. I am going to query like a madman. My plan is to query over 100 agents for both my middle grade novel and my YA. Ideally, I'll be able to stop somewhere before 100, but I will not stop querying until the agenting community has publicly denounced both my books and me personally. If I were them, I would start with my chin. My chin deserves widespread scorn.

2. I'm going to finish my third novel. I have one that stalled out about halfway through but I still like it quite a lot. So now that I don't have to grade papers or plan lessons or enter stupid data into the stupid work database or watch Criminal Minds, because I think I've seen them all, I can look at it with fresh eyes and finish the thing.

3. I am going to read 40 books over the summer. My reading has been a little behind last year's pace, partly due to lack of initiative and partly due to the cinder block that was Under the Dome, so I'm going to make it up this summer. I still plan on hitting 100 books by year's end.

P.S. Westerfeld's Leviathan was cool.

18 comments:

Jonathon Arntson said...

I am wowed that you liked Leviathan.

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

I'm not wowed you liked Leviathan. From what I've read of it, it's pretty good. Nice goals. Can't wait to witness this.

Jonathon Arntson said...

Alright, I take that back. I am relieved you liked Leviathan. All the other so-so reviews were from girls.

Paul Michael Murphy said...

It was seriously cool. I can understand some criticism of the story itself, but that's a result of it being the first in a series so there's a lot of table-setting. But the originality knocked me out.

Anita said...

In July, I'm going to politely ask you to show me your latest work. (I've got to critique 10 pages from 8 different writers for MFA right now while taking care of 4 kids, since most of you teachers insist on taking summers off). I know that your are a very good writer. I think it's just a question of finding the right story...one that has market appeal and tugs at emotions. Just between us (and the people who read this blog), when I was reading Part-Time Indian, I kept thinking of you (because the amount of crass was similar) and thinking you have a stronger voice than Alexie. Buuut, you've got to find a story that will market that voice. I hope you do.
I wonder if Tracy's wife reads his work. Husband hasn't read any of my writing (other than columns). I'm sure he would if I asked him. Hmmm. I think Husband and I might be weird.

Anita said...

Oh. And what about teh weight loss?

Kelly said...

Good luck with your query/writing goals, Murph!
My five year old calls this time of year "fake summer" because he tells me real summer doesn't start until the 21st.

Paul Michael Murphy said...

Anita--you've already read my latest work, and I haven't done much else with it since then. So that'll be good for you. You can do the critique after a cursory glance to remind yourself.

The reason I didn't blog about the weight loss is because I didn't want to anger you. But since you asked:

As of last night: 16 pounds. I'm in a 5K on Friday. My goal is svelte. (And I'd like to do a half marathon. I ran seven miles last Sunday without too much trouble.)

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

Nice running. I'm gasping after 3 miles, but I run pretty hard. I'd rather go hard and get it over with, so I stay at shorter distances. Gets the heartrate pumping though.

Anita - my wife thinks I'm some sort of sicko for always reading kids' stuff. She's also a skimmer (though I love her dearly). Does that answer your question?

Anita said...

PMM: I am soooo upset! I can't believe you've lost 16 pounds. I mean, I'm happy for you, but I'm going to have to step things up. This is ridiculous. I'm still dying after a measly two miles.

TRACY: Oh good. Thanks for clearing that up. I guess we're about normal then.

Tina Laurel Lee said...

Anita, My husband doesn't read anything but non-fiction really. Hasn't read any of my fiction for sure. May listen to it or read it to my son someday. I figure I have one shot with him. Blog friends seem like good ones to pester over and over with your work.

Congrats on the weight loss. That is seriously hard to do, if you can get to svelte you can certainly knock out all those other goals.

Ray Veen said...

Loved Leviathan. Love Westerfeld in general.

Paul, my friend, UP NORTH was brilliant. Query your ass off this summer, because that sucker needs to be agented.

Anita said...

TINA: Thank you! My husband loves Baldacci. And Wimpy Kid.

Dinah Menil said...

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Anita said...

Wow, PMM, what have you been up to?!

Shaun Hutchinson said...

Leviathan has been on my TBR pile for some time now. Maybe I need to bump it up to the top. COngrats on the 5k too! That's awesome.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with your goals, PMM. Had to leave a comment so I could share the word verification: "wilidic." Why does Bill Clinton come to mind??

Anita said...

Hee-hee. Who is this anon fellow? I know you think it's me, but it is NOT.