Aside from a new round of revisions on my opera, I've started a new piece for school-level orchestra. Just like my publishers try to select a balanced catalog every year, I try to submit a balanced portfolio (thus increasing my chances of having more music selected). I usually send eight to ten new pieces every year,so once I've completed a few, it's a good idea to take a look back at what I've done and figure out what I need to write to balance things out.
The easiest way is to plot it out on a graph (yes, kids, graphs come in handy in the real world). On the X axis is style: Major Key, Minor Key, and Novelty Piece. On the Y axis: Beginner level, Intermediate, and Advanced.
Check marks in the boxes let me know that I'm lacking an Advanced/Minor Key piece and that a few Novelty pieces would round out the portfolio. So the new one I started this weekend is an advanced-level piece in c-minor, focusing on accidentals. As it's developing, I can tell that it will be different - Instead of an A-theme and B theme, etc. I think I'm going to let it develop organically like a theme-and-variations. At least that's the plan for now. So far I'm just 16 measures in.
As for the opera, I'm waiting for some books I've ordered from the library on vocal composition. I do realize that it would have been a great idea to study up BEFORE writing a massive three-act 100-minute opera, but hey, it's a learning experience. In other news, my pros showed the piano score and libretto to a big-time, well-connected opera singer and word is that she was excited by it. Fingers are still crossed!