Beautiful People is a monthly blog meme hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Every month they pose 10 questions for writers to answer about their writing and give readers the opportunity to learn more about the writer’s characters.
This month’s Beautiful People isn’t so much about our stories or characters. Instead, it’s about the writers themselves! We’ve been asked to share our writing-related goals and resolutions for 2016. I sort of did this already for my Happy New Year post. However, the following questionnaire will reveal more details for those plans, as well as other insights such as beta readers and critique partners, which character I’d like to get to know better, and which craft book I want to read this year. So, let’s get to it! 🙂
1. What were your writing achievements last year?
Finishing the first draft of The Keeper’s Curse was without a doubt the BIG writing highlight for me in 2015. Finally coming up with its title was a welcome relief, too. I had spent 2 years referring to the poor thing as The Book, The WIP, or Eva’s Story because I couldn’t think anything better that reflected the story well enough.
Also, this isn’t exactly a writing achievement, but I attended two writing conferences (Writer’s Digest Conference and The Muse & The Marketplace) in 2015. Both events allowed me to learn more about the business side of writing and meet other people who share my passions and whom I can cheer on as they work on achieving their own writing dreams. Not to mention they were so much fun!
2. Tell us about your top-priority writing project(s) for 2016.
Hmmmm, gee, I wonder what that might be… TKC? 😉 Right now, Draft #2 is almost 80% complete – but it still needs more work before I feel comfortable letting anybody else read it. So, these priorities will require more revising than actual writing, but here’s what I have planned for the WIP this year:
- Finish Draft #2: This should happen during the first quarter of 2016. I’ll reveal my target completion date in the next edition of Chronicling The Craft, which should be out next week.
- Work on Draft #3: Once Draft #2 is done, I’ll take about 2 weeks off to prepare my “game plan” for Draft #3. Since Draft #2 took half as long as Draft #1 did (1 year as opposed to 2 years, 2 months), I’m hoping Draft #3 will take even less time. No deadline at the moment; I’ll wait until I’m closer to finishing this stage before doing that.
- Give TKC to Beta-Readers & Critique Partners: This may be a stretch, but it’s the next logical step after Draft #3. My thinking right now is this won’t happen until the beginning of 2017, at the earliest. Even if it’s ready by the end of 2016, I’d hesitate to ask people to read it over the holidays, since it’s such a busy time for everyone.
3. List five (5) areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve this year.
I could only think of two areas. Both are more “writer’s life” related than craft-related (though I’m sure I need help with some craft areas, too), but they’re the first ones I thought of and the most sensible ones to tackle this year:
- Being Less Hard on Myself and Accepting My Process: Originally I was going to call this item “Becoming a Smarter Writer.” The problem is, I already do everything in my power to make my process as efficient as possible. Yet, despite blocking out distractions and using note-taking between sessions and mood-enhancing music to “get in the flow,” I’ve learned that I’m simply not a fast writer. I still beat myself up (figuratively speaking) over it from time to time – and I know I shouldn’t. So, I need to accept the kind of writer I am. I’m self-motivated, passionate, and persistent – and right now, that matters more than writing 1,000 words per hour.
- Starting My Writing / Revising Earlier on the Weekends: When you get up at 5:00 AM on weekdays for work, it’s so, SO tempting to stay in bed later on weekends. (If you’re wondering, 8:00 or 9:00 AM is late for me.) This year, I’m going to get up at 7:00 AM on Saturdays, Sundays, and other days I don’t work. That way, I can squeeze in an extra hour or two of novel work while still giving myself a reprieve from super-early mornings. The easiest way to achieve this? Set my cell phone alarm, and put said phone on the other side of the room – which will force me to physically get out of bed to turn the noisy bugger off. 😉
4. Are you participating in any writing challenges?
No. I’m focusing only on personal blogging and novel-writing goals. That’s plenty for me right now.
5. What’s your critique partner / beta reader situation like? Do you have plans to expand this year?
Well, several people have already told me they’d be interested in beta-reading / critiquing TKC once it’s ready. But since the manuscript isn’t actually ready, I can’t say I have anyone committed to it yet. That said, I’ve beta-read for other writers in the past (once for a first chapter, once for the first 3 chapters, and twice for entire manuscripts), and three of them have already volunteered to the return the favor.
I should also mention that I’d be happy to beta-read or critique anyone’s manuscript in the future. Fantasy is my preferred genre, but I also enjoy other types of speculative fiction (science fiction, dystopian, steampunk, etc.) as well as historical fiction. Be warned, though: I’m SLOW. (*lol*) I’m not a fast reader, and my comments tend to be quite in-depth. However, I try to be honest, fair, and constructive in my feedback. If you don’t mind that kind of beta-reader, drop me an email at my Contact page and I’ll let you know if your project might work with my schedule.
6. Do you have plans to read any writing-related books this year? Or are there specific books you want to read for research?
Wonderbook! I bought it last year at Writer’s Digest Conference, and it’s the one writing-craft book I really want to read this year. Not to mention it’s such a shiny, pretty, colorful thing – because it’s not just a speculative fiction craft book. It’s a speculative fiction craft book FULL of pictures and diagrams. Oh, and essays from writers like Neil Gaiman, Ursula K. Le Guin, Lev Grossman, George R.R. Martin…
Yup. I need to read Wonderbook this year. 😀
7. Pick one character you want to get to know better. How are you going to achieve this?
B-b-b-b-but I want to get to know all of my characters better!
OK, if I had to pick one character, it would be Nomaro, one of two protagonists for a novella I’m planning to start once TKC is with beta readers. I’d do this by completing a character profile on him (I do one for each of my characters, covering physical and basic characteristics, personality traits and flaws, personal history, motivations, fears, etc.), and by doing at least one Beautiful People entry for him.
Apart from Nomaro, I’d also like to do Beautiful People entries this year for three characters in TKC whom I haven’t covered yet: Vandar and Doni (the last two of Eva’s fellow Councilors); and Aurek’s brother Drasten, who was featured in last year’s Siblings Edition of Beautiful People but deserves a solo post at some point.
8. Do you plan to edit or query? What’s your plan of attack?
Oh yes, there will be all kinds of editing in 2016. 😉 I already have a plan of attack in mind for Draft #3, but I’ll wait to share that in an upcoming edition of Chronicling The Craft. As for querying, it’s much too soon to think about that. The earliest it will happen at this rate is 2017.
9. 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’d like to see more YA fantasies that focus on non-romantic relationships. There’s been talk in the blogosphere about more friendships between female protagonists in this genre, and I support that idea wholeheartedly. (In fact, I’m reading one such book right now, Truthwith by Susan Dennard.) But I’d be just as happy to see more stories about siblings, parents and children, relatives, male and female-male friendships, etc. I’ve got a couple story ideas along those lines, but they’ll have to simmer on the backburner until time and clarity allow for them to “fully cook,” if you know what I mean. 😉
10. What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?
To be as close as possible to finishing Draft #3 of TKC, if not done and ready to send it off to beta readers and critique partners. I also want to have an outline for my novella ready so I can start drafting it while I’m waiting on TKC feedback.
That’s it for this month’s edition of Beautiful People. What do you think of my writing goals and resolutions for 2016? What are some of yours?