More Resolutions-y Stuff!

I’m too lazy to write a real blog post, so I’m going to do the latest Beautiful People post, which is about resolutions and stuff! Yay!  I did technically already do a resolutions post, but I like some of the questions in this.

These questions are from Beautiful People.

What were your writing achievements last year?

I made it through draft two of Oracular.  That was about it.  But that was a lot, so hey.

Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year?

Finish Sleeping in Cyberspace.  Make it through draft three of Oracular and hope that the story when I’m done with that pass-through will actually be coherent.  And…write some novellas.  Okay, that’s actually three, so if you want a one-project answer, then I’d say finish draft three of Oracular.

List 5 areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve this year.

  1. Less procrastination.  I think this basically explains itself.  I spend a lot of time doing things like “oooh, Pinterest” and stuff, but there are also countless hours I spend doing basically nothing because I just don’t want to write (or anything else).  If I just cut some of those down, I think it would be so much more.
  2. World-building.  I did already post about this a little, but I really want to work on my world-building and…really figure out how in the world people world-build all the way to the end without getting sick of the world.
  3. I want to write something funny for once in my life.  My writing style tends to be very serious, and while I normally don’t have a problem with it, for once I’d like to write something humorous.
  4. Read more…I don’t feel that I really read enough last year.  Eheh, guilty.  I’d like to change that this year—and keeping track of what I read would be great, too.
  5. Find more confidence in myself (and get better so that confidence is well-founded). Confidence is probably one of the biggest things holding me back, so I would like to change that.  But, of course, I would like to actually be good and be confident in it—not just think I’m good when in reality I’m terrible or something.

Are you participating in any writing challenges?

I don’t know yet?  I may or may not do NaNoWriMo this year.  It’s too early to tell, really.  It’s possible I will try again to write the sequel (all the way through, this time, instead of just pieces) for Oracular for NaNo this year, although maybe I’ll have another project  by that point.  (You can always count on the plot bunnies to find you, that’s for sure.)  Maybe Sleeping in Cyberspace will have a sequel.  (I think it has potential for a sequel because of the way I’m setting up the world.  I just don’t know if my characters will allow me to write a sequel.)

What’s your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year?

As of about a week ago, I found two possible CPs for Oracular and we traded the beginnings of our novels.  We’re still in the “trial run” stage, so I don’t know if it’ll actually turn out, but I’m hoping!

Do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year? Or are there specific books you want to read for research?

Yup.  I got three writing-related books for Christmas, actually.  I can’t remember their titles off the top of my head, but I would like to read them.  (One is basically a “here’s info about guns for writers” (this is for my sci-fi WIP), and the other two are on character traits.)

Pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this?

One?  Just one?  Um.

Um.  After going back and forth a little, I decided on Iaelie Crestal.  She was one of the first characters I “got to know” while planning Oracular, but while writing the second draft, I started to realize that I didn’t actually know her as well as I thought I did, and I think I might be misrepresenting her somewhat.  (Weird, I know.  I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen with a character.)  So before I start truly editing draft 3, I want to get to really get to know her, and do her character justice.

Do you plan to edit or query, and what’s your plan of attack?

That may or may not be how I’m approaching editing.

Actually, that’s not totally true.  I don’t have a fully-formed plan, but I have some vague ideas, and I’ll be fleshing it out better once I’m closer to editing.  Right now, I shan’t worry about it.  (I’ve always wanted to use the word “shan’t” in a sentence.  I think I just fulfilled something on my bucket list, teehee.)

 

As for querying?  No.  I don’t think I will be at a stage to even think about querying until next year at the earliest (and probably not even quite then, depending on how well draft three fixes up the plot).

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’m actually writing about the relationships between teen/young adult siblings at the moment, and I can’t say I see a whole lot of that in fiction.  Or at least YA.  Not that there aren’t siblings, I just don’t see a lot of stories where the relationship between siblings is all that relevant to the story.  Seeing more of that would be nice.  Especially good relationships.  Of all of the sibling-relationships I can think of, most of them seem to be “my brother turned evil and now we’re mortal enemies” or something.

Good, strong, healthy relationships between siblings.  Or just familial relationships as a whole.  (Turns out, it’s hard to have a character have a good relationship with their parents when the parents are dead.  And…a lot of parents end up dead in YA fantasy.)

(I think it would be nice to see more ordinary, platonic friendships, as well, but I like the idea of familial relationships right now.)

What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?

…a lot.  ‘Nuff said.

Mostly, I want Oracular to be readably coherent and have a world to stand on.  I also would like Cyberspace to have a finished first draft, and plans for edits, and I also would like to have some more short stories written (see bar on the right), but the main project is Oracular.

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Resolutions and Stuff

First off, yes, I redid the theme and stuff for the blog.  We’ll call it preparing and freshening up for 2016.  There’re still kinks and stuff I have to sort through, so I apologize for that.

Anyhow!  Today is New Years Eve.

New Years Eve is special for me because today, five years ago, is when I decided to take writing seriously.  Kind of funny it happened on a day I’d easily remember.

So for my 5th writing anniversary and the last day of 2015, it seems kinda fitting to sit and look back over everything I’ve accomplished.

I edited and finished a second draft.  NaNoWriMo 2014 emded with a 100k of broken plot, non-existent world-building, and flat characters and I was so in love with it, I spent the majority of 2015 editing.  I finished draft two on Halloween, and it’s now 110k of semi-cohesive plot, non-existent world-building, and characters I adore (who seem more developed and less flat in the second half of the story).

I learned more about my writing style.  I am not a true discovery writer, as I once though, but a little of both.  I plan the stories and then discovery write the emotions.

I improved a lot.  I don’t know that I can recount all of this.  I improved at describing things.  I have a better grasp of suspense.  And lots of other things.  I am so much better than I was in 2014 (and I have so much more to learn).

I competed in NaNoWriMo 2015, and even though I lost at a total of 26k, I consider this an accomplishment because I also was doing so much else at the time, and I still wrote.

I started a new novel, full of things I’ve never tried.  My WIP, Sleeping in Cyberspace, is sci-fi, which I’ve never really written, it’s a heist, which I’ve never written, it’s faster-paced than any of my previous works, and I am dealing with the theme of sibling drama, which I’ve only dealt with in smaller amounts before.

Overall, I’d consider the year pretty productive.  But next year!  What are the plans for 2016?

I want to finish my WIP, Sleeping in Cyberspace.  At my current pace, I think I will have the first draft done by February or so.  I’ll be blogging about my progress, I think.

I want to start draft three of Oracular.  The first step for draft three is to do more world-building, so I plan to start that in February as well.  After that, I get to sort out my plot, add a little more to my characters, and a bunch of other stuff.  I’ll blog about all of that, as well.

I want to write some novellas.  I’m not the greatest at writing short stories, but I enjoy writing novellas.  I want to write a bunch more, to explore new concepts and ideas, and for practice, and also maybe for use as world-building.

I’m going to keep my “resolutions” to as simple as that because 2016 is promising to be busy and chaotic and I am a little unsure that adding more plans this early in the game is wise.

Anybody else have any resolutions to share? How was your 2015 as a whole?

Updates and Whatnot

I’ve been struggling lately with blog posts, mostly because any time I think of something to post about, I then think, “Nah, why would anybody want to read that?” and then I don’t post anything.  But really, since when did I post things that were particularly all that interesting?  If I was that interesting, I’d probably have more followers.

Ha!  As if I’m in this for the followers.  I don’t even know why I’m doing this.  I guess because I got bored a few years ago and thought, “Hey, let’s make a blog.”

So, really truly, I have this blog to talk about writing.  So I’m going to talk about writing, and if I do it in the most boring fashion ever, well, then, I can say I succeed at being a bore.  I’m doing this for myself more than anything anyway, I think.

With that all out of the way, I suppose this post is mostly an update on my writing and such.

First off, sometime since January 1st, I decided that I was going to set a goal of trying to write about 200 words every single day.  It’s a very small amount, but that’s the point of it.  Even on busy days, I can write that much early in the mornings, so I know I can do it every day.  Of course, that doesn’t mean I won’t try to write more.  However, having such a small goal makes it easier to feel accomplished each day, no matter how much or how little I’ve written.

Yesterday, I wrote almost 3k, and it was awesome.  Especially since I didn’t even realize I’d had that much until I sat back and glanced at my word-count.  Today, on the other hand, I’ve written only roughly 250 words, yet I still feel accomplished.  I wrote, and I met my goal, and I’m satisfied.  I’ll still write more tonight, but if I feel I need to do something else for the evening, I know I can.

I guess what it is is that I can easily make my goal, which means I can spend my day doing more than just writing.  That’s especially good for school days, when I don’t even have the whole day to get done everything I want to get gone.

So, there.  I have a little bar on the right side of the page of my consecutive days of writing, starting January 1st.  My hope is that that bar will never drop down back to zero even once this year.  I have no clue if that is a far-fetched goal, but I will do my best to make it there.  And if I don’t make it…

This gif amuses me way too much.

 

Anyway.  On another note, I’ve started editing my NaNoWriMo novel, Oracular.  Well, ish.  (There’s another bar on the right side tracking my progress, in case anyone’s curious.)  I haven’t actually edited a single thing in the novel yet.  What I am doing, however, is basically being my own alpha reader.

At the moment, I’m reading the novel, start to finish, and taking notes on it.  My thoughts on a character’s reaction to something, notes on places where the world-building is thin, questions whose answers could prompt changes in later parts, and all that stuff.  When I’ve gotten all the way to the end, then I’ll start sorting through things.  I have a lot of world-building ahead of me, because I realized I had holes all over the place.  My magic system I didn’t even begin to touch on, and that really shows, and I have things like characters righting things down on paper even though I specifically noted that trees are sparse enough in this country that they can’t make paper, particularly not for everyday use.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

Once I have a more solid world to build on, I’m going to have to sort out my characters.  I had five viewpoint characters, and it was a struggle to balance it—a struggle that I failed miserably.  One character had roughly fourteen narrated chapters, while another had four or five.  Scrivener has a handy Collections thing that I can use to sort out the different narrated chapters, and I’ll be sorting out each character’s arc and better balancing the chapters.

After I’m done with that, I don’t even know.  To get to this part, I’m pretty sure I’ll be rewriting most of the beginning, at the very least.  Hopefully I won’t have to rewrite much of the middle, and I don’t even know with the ending.  That will probably get rewritten mostly, as well, though I’ll know better when I finish reading it.

Maybe by that point, I’ll be willing to let someone else read the novel.  (Hello, Peace.)

Anyway, so that’s where I am for now.  I’m feeling confident, if a tad bit overwhelmed.