Beautiful People: Writerly Resolutions and Goals19:00
January is the month for making resolutions and setting goals and, for me, I find it quite helpful to set at least a few loose goals for my writing for the upcoming year, which makes this month’s Beautiful People subject perfect for me. Beautiful People is a writerly link-up hosted monthly by the amazing duo of Cait@Paper Fury and Sky@Further Up and Further In, and this month, it’s all about our resolutions and goals for our writing over the coming year.
What were your writing achievements last year?
Last year I:
- I reached draft 7 in Song Of The Crystal Tree. It’s taken me over three years to get to this point with it, but I feel like I must be getting close to the end at last.
- I wrote the 2nd draft of Snow. For a 2nd draft, I was pretty happy with the way everything turned out. The plot’s pretty solid and while the rest of the writing is a mess still, I have a solid base at least.
- And finally, I wrote two good drafts in NaNoWriMo Blood Debt, and my unnamed mystery/thrilling, and ended up with a total of 175k words for the month.
Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year?
I have two major writing projects. The first is, of course, Song Of The Crystal Tree, my YA fantasy which is about young magician with a kidnapped sister, an exiled prince, stolen power, magic and song, and a plot to usurp the throne. My plan this year is to get this book to the point where I can send it out to beta readers. It’s going to take at least one more draft to reach this point, possibly two, judging by previous progress.
My other major project is Snow, my YA superhero/Snow White retelling, which is about mutants, politics, hard decisions, and lots of ice and snow. In an ideal world, I’d like to get this book ready for betas as well, but knowing how I edit, I’ll be happy to settle for the much safer goal of getting two drafts of this book done.
List 5 areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve this year.
Showing Emotions: I often find translating emotions onto the page very difficult. My characters generally end up telling their emotions rather than really feeling them, which is honestly making them seem quite dull and flat, and is a problem that’s been bugging me for a while.
Creating Strong Character Voices: I’m editing Snow at the moment, which is told in dual POV, and one of the big problems it has, is that the two narrating characters sound almost identical, which, considering the rest of my planned series also has dual POVs, could be quite a problem in the future.
Writing Humour: While I enjoy humour in books, I find it a lot more difficult to write it into my own stories, which is a pity, because in my head my characters are quite witty and funny and much cooler people than I am. They just don’t come out that way on the page.
Worrying About Equal Chapters: For some reason, I feel the need to make sure all my chapters are the same length, and will even add extraneous fluff if they aren’t going to reach a standardised word count. I want to work on letting go of this and focus on making the chapters interesting rather than the same length.
Sticking To My Schedule: I have very good plans and intentions, but quite often my writing schedule slips a bit, I make some excuses as to why things aren’t progressing as fast as they should, or ignore the fact I’m getting behind, and drift. Creating and sticking to a writing schedule is one of my big goals this year.
Are you participating in any writing challenges?
I’m planning on participating in both of the Camp NaNoWriMos as well as the normal NaNoWriMo in November. That’s probably enough challenges for me at this point, considering I also want to get several tons of editing done during the rest of the year.
What’s your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year?
Currently, I don’t actually have any beta readers or critique partners, as I’ve never manage to quite reach that stage with my books. However, this is something I’m planning on changing this year, so hopefully, when the time comes, I’ll be able to find a few people interested enough in my books to beta read for me.
Do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year? Or are there specific books you want to read for research
I do indeed plan to read writing related books. The books I would like to read include:
- Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott. I’ve started this one, but haven’t finished it yet. I will though!
- Revision and Self-Editing for Publication by James Scott Bell. Rereading this one should be a big help with my editing goals this year.
- On Writing by Stephen King. I’ve never read this one, but I’ve always wanted to. I’ve heard good things about it.
- Outlining Your Novel by K. M. Weiland. I can always do with a refresher on outlining strategies, and this book helps me find the perfect mix between plotter and pantser.
Pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this?
That would probably be Nicola from Snow. She’s the second narrating character, and while I have a basic idea of her personality, I get the feeling that there’s a much deeper person behind the exterior that I haven’t managed to find yet. One way I want to get to know her better is to character journal, which I hope will help me find her voice and give me an insight into her life and the way she thinks. I also plan to work on her responses to a basic questionnaire, which will give me an idea of how she reacts to things and the way she thinks. I’m going to put together my own one though, as most of the questions asked in questionnaires aren’t really useful to me at this point.
Do you plan to edit or query, and what’s your plan of attack?
At this point it’s looking like I’m going to be doing mostly editing over the course of this year. I’m working out a schedule for writing and editing that will give me time to edit my two major projects, while also giving me a chance to increase my ever growing stack of first drafts (because having a manageable amount of projects to work on is no fun at all). Alas, I’m not yet at the stage where I can think about querying yet.
Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” What are the books that you want to see more of, and what “holes” do you think need filling in the literary world?
I write the books that I like to read already: Fantasy, sci-fi, retellings, and mysteries. I think that’s why I like writing first drafts so much, because discovering the story is almost like reading the exact book I’ve been hoping to find. As to filling holes in the literary world, I think that writers are already starting to fill them. I’ve seen a lot more books about people from different races and countries, and characters with mental health issues or physical disabilities in recently months than I have before. Writers are definitely already taking up the challenge of writing what they want to see and filling the holes.
What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?
Ooh, goals. I mentioned some of my writerly goals in a post last week (which you can read HERE), but since then I’ve made a few more goals for myself. By the end of 2016 I would like to:
- Complete two drafts of Song Of The Crystal Tree
- Find some betas willing to read my books
- Send Song of the Crystal Tree to betas
- Not cry over feedback from said betas
- Complete two drafts of Snow
- Write book four of my superhero/fairy tale retelling series
- Rewrite my book about dragons, elf thieves, and stolen relics
Are you participating in Beautiful People this month? Like me to your post! And tell me, what is one of your writerly goals for this year?