Beautiful People: 2016 Writerly Resolutions/Goals

BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE IS HERE! With Writerly Resolutions and Goals for 2016. Sound scrumptious? Of course it does. Let’s get this proverbial show on the proverbial road!

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Beautiful People is a monthly meme for writers held by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In — join in the linky if you like! It’s a lot of fun! 🙂

1. What were your writing achievements last year?

R&RWriting and editing an entire novella (The Rose and the Raven) and entering a contest. Writing two short stories. And working on several novels and getting a total wordcount of over 100k words for the year. Also taking new approaches at my two series. And I learned how to do a draft zero, how to write a lot of words, how to write small things, and also how to CUT a lot of words. I also learned how to write utterly adorable romances (in my humble opinion) so I’m proud of that. XD Basically I made some achievements and learned a TON in 2015 about writing and vaguely feel as though I’ve taken great strides.

*blinks* …Wow, until I answered this question, I had no idea I felt that way about the year! o.o Hurray for Beautiful People bringing out our deepest thoughts! (If it works for our characters, it can work for us writers too!)

S&Scover42. Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year?

Ummmm. Work on The Other Half of Everything, The Siren and the Skyship, The Silver Forest, continue The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (KW2), and replot my entire epic fantasy series, the Starrellian Saga? Maybe? I know, that’s not one, but I’m sort of on writing hiatus right now and… yeah. Those are what I’m thinking about anyway and want to work on the most. 🙂 (Now watch something entirely different happen… >.>)

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

  1. Plotting. I get so caught up in “I have to write WORDS and increase my number of actually WRITTEN writing!” that I often write when I’m not ready for it. I need to remember that plotting is a HUGE part of writing, even though it’s not easily visible.
  2. Actually writing. I’m very much a binge-writer, and I can’t write consistently to save my life (or… okay, during NaNo. But it’s exhausting and I usually would rather write 3k one day so I can take a day off than write 1667 words consistently every day). Consequently, it can be really hard for me to actually sit down and START writing! I need to work on this.
  3. Stop waffling. In line with the first one, I need to try to make my plots tighter and more interwoven. I tend to go off down rabbit trails and have a lot of stuff going on without actual plot happening, which makes for freakishly long and daunting books.
  4. STOP CHASING PLOT BUNNIES! …Okay, so this one is probably out of my control. *cough* But I keep getting SO distracted by attractive new plot bunnies that hop by me and drag me off down rabbit holes. I have oodles of perfectly good books to work on already and I don’t need any more until I’ve actually WRITTEN a few of these!
  5. Write what I love. This is actually a contradiction to the point before this, since many of those plot bunnies ARE what I love. But vaguely, I get caught up in stories the way they appear, and sometimes I don’t remember to throw in things that really catch my interest. I’d like to focus on that more this year.

4. Are you participating in any writing challenges?

NO. …Ahem. Yes, I’ll probably participate in NaNoWriMo in November, because I love NaNo, but I’m kind of burnt out as far as challenges go so I think I’m going to leave it at that… (Of course, that was my plan last year and then I randomly entered the Rooglewood Press contest soooo there’s that. *cough*) Challenges tend to stress me out and make me feel guilty for not writing, and I really need to relax and rediscover my joy in writing without all the pressure. 🙂 Currently, writing is for ME so I shouldn’t get caught up in deadlines when I don’t have to!

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

Hum. I have a few lovely people who like to read my things at times — I still don’t quite know WHY. O_O — and… I haven’t worked on this much. I still haven’t figured out what I want most from a critique, which also accounts for my struggles trying to be a good beta-reader for others (I’m sorry, everyone!) so… I don’t know. I basically fail at all things beta/critique. :-/ I guess if I had plans it would be to actually read and give feedback for the lovely stories people send me, and figure out what I actually am looking for in a critique? Basically: LEARN THINGS AND NOT BE A HORRIBLE PERSON. There. That can be “plans to expand,” right? 😉

writingmagic6. Do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year? Or are there specific books you want to read for research?

I’d like to read Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine and possibly On Writing by Stephen King and maybe a few writing books I have around. I do have like twenty random ebooks on writing etc. that were given to me. Not sure. *shrug*

Research… not really. I’m not much of a researcher. Reading fabulous books that I love is my research in general and always has been. 😀

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

meridian2

Meridian

Oh my goodness, I don’t even know. O_O I do have a few characters who kind of lack something or I don’t really know what they’re LIKE yet… like Meridian in The Other Half of Everything, or Arielle in my Kedran’s Wood series (and also a certain spoilerish character from KW who I can’t even mention). So maybe someone like that. Or maybe just rediscovering my favorite characters from my Starrellian Saga, or any one of my favorites in the other books I want to work on.

As to how to achieve it? I have no idea. My characters do what they want and I can’t make them behave so I’ll just sit here and wait probably, because I’m lame like that. 😛 (Tips, anyone?)

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

I don’t knooow! *flails around* I usually edit somewhat as I go, and whenever I actually FINISH a thing I edit it… I don’t have a plan of attack and I have no idea about queries vs. self-pub and all of that utterly confusing industry type of questions. Basically I want to write and not worry about such things right now.

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?

OHEcoverWhimsical, funny, epic, rollicking, insane fantasy adventures of the sort that Diana Wynne Jones wrote. The world does not have enough of these. I have no illusions that I will in any way approach DWJ’s genius, but The Other Half of Everything is SUPPOSED to be more along those lines… (Though it is still very vague and also keeps throwing dark subplots/characters at me… HONESTLY. It’s supposed to be lighthearted! Like I said, my books do what they want. >.>)

Also retellings of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. There are definitely not enough of them. Which is why I’m going to totally return to The Silver Forest and write MY version of The Twelve Dancing Princesses (and hopefully make it fabulous *cough*).

(Also, there need to be more YA heisty/con-artist books. But I’m afraid I can’t help there. Yet…)

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

I’m really bad at making goals and actually sticking to them. My inspiration is a flighty and unpredictable thing, and whatever I think is the most important will probably get tossed to the wayside as my writing self tackles a totally random project I never heard of before (*cough* basically everything I wrote last year *cough*). So instead of having anything particular I’d like to have achieved by the end of 2016, I will only say that I would like to HAVE ACHIEVED. I’m not particular. As long as I can look back at my writerly year and say “I achieved”, then whatever that is that I did achieve, I’ll be content. ^_^

Authorly Bucket List

To wrap up my week of tag catching up…

Tag Catch-Up Post #7 (or #8, depending on counting…) – THIS IS THE VERY LAST ONE I PROMISE.

So, a few months back, I was tagged by Sarah @ Light and Shadows for a new tag, created by Erin Kenobithe Authorly Bucket List Tag! (It is also, apparently, known as the the Stuff-I-Need-To-Practice-More-Slash-Stuff-I’d-Like-To-Be-Better-At Tag. But Authorly Bucket List is easier to say, doncha know…) Go check out their blogs, do! You won’t regret it. 😀

Okay, so the the idea with the Authorly Bucket List Tag (Original Post) is to list three to seven things you’re not very good at, and another three to seven you’d like to try.

Shivers, y’all. This looks awesome.

Let’s get this show on the road! (And I may have to steal a couple of your things, Sarah, since I have some similar problems… >.>)

Things I Need to Work On

Actually Writing
Um. Yes. This is my biggest problem. I don’t often actually sit down to write. I procrastinate about it like you wouldn’t believe, I spend a lot of time plotting and thinking and doing little nothings, and basically everything except actually writing. But whenever I try to solve this with goals, or with events like NaNo, it works okay for a bit but then I get major burnout. If I specifically try to write several days in a row, for instance, I get burnt out and sometimes take a couple more weeks to recharge. I tend to write in large bursts (large here having the smallish meaning of like 2k words) with sometimes a couple weeks between. Yeah, it’s bad. But if I’m inspired, I can pound out a whole bunch. So it just depends. I guess I need to get myself inspired and keep it that way, and develop a bit of discipline.

Villains
Ah, villains. They’re what makes the world go ’round — or at least the plot. Usually. I never figure my villains out enough. They like to be kind of flat. And my main problem is that I never know their motives well enough or figure out what their plans are/their timelines. They kind of conveniently do stuff whenever the plot requires it, and… Yeah, enough about villains, let’s move on. I think my villains just don’t interest me much because I don’t LIKE them. I don’t want to spend all this time with them and figuring out their “deal”. I don’t understand people who are fascinated with villains and antagonists. O_O I mean, if they’re lovable/redeemable, sure… But yeah. The bad badguys I just want to stay away from, which does not help my writing since they’re kind of necessary! I guess I need some help in the villain department.

Battles / Fighting
I kind of majorly fail at fighting scenes. I don’t understand the concepts of swordfighting etc., no matter how much I read/watch about it. Much as I would like to! If there is fighting, I will be generally vague about it and move on because… what even are you supposed to do with that? It’s even worse with full-fledged battles. I haven’t attempted to write a battle in years, and I know even then I was horrible at it. How do you do it? You’ve got to focus on mini fighting scenes with individual characters throughout (see above…) and also keep track of all the sides and flanks and attacks and retreats and who’s fighting who and I just get so confused. How do you juggle all of that and make it remotely make sense?? This is probably partially why I’m terrified of returning to writing Epic Fantasy after being so long distracted in the shallower territory of contemporaries… Speaking of which…

Fantasy
So, ever since my first Kedran’s Wood story (The Owl of Kedran’s Wood) kidnapped me and held me captive to work on the adventures of Tare and the Chess Club for the last few years, I haven’t done much in the way of working on anything Epic Fantasy ish, my first love. I sort of popped back to work on my Starrellia series a couple times, and of course wrote most of Heartseeker for NaNo, but the truth is I’ve been away from Epic Fantasy for a very long time and want to get back to it. Which brings me to my thing-I-need-to-work-on: FANTASY. My fantasy is not as imaginative and full of fantastical things as I would like. It just doesn’t often occur to me that I can do whatever I want, and instead I just blunder along with whatever’s right there at the forefront of my brain. What about dragons, fairies, enchantments, intriguing magicalness, totally unique new things…? All the possibilities! My fantasy seems to normally be fairly tame, and I think some exploring of possibilities would not go amiss.

Things I’d Like to Try

Fairy Tale Retellings
Yessss. I actually hope to accomplish this soon, since I’m (currently) planning on writing a Twelve Dancing Princesses story for NaNo this year… We’ll see how that turns out. But fairy tales are awesome, and I adore retellings and they are so fun to read. So naturally I’d like to try my hand at a few! I even recently put together an idea for an epic fairy tale mashup conglomeration, so that might happen someday. I’ve never done a retelling, so it would be interesting to see how to make it similar to the original tales but also fresh and new and… yeah, it sounds like quite a challenge, and one I’m very excited to try at some point.

Mind Reading / Telepathy
There’s something really fabulous about mind-things, somehow. Mind communication. Yummy. I’ve always found it interesting to read about, and seeing the different ways different authors do it… I’d like to try it myself someday because it would just be awesome. Now I just need to find a way to do it… But there are so many possibilities! Maybe it’s been done to death, but I don’t really care. I just want to try because it sounds so fun!

Time Travel
Like mind-reading, there is something awesome about time-travel. Or, specifically, Timeslip, which is the version that’s my favorite and tends to involve someone ending up in an older time period with some sort of magicalness involved, I think… As opposed to the sci-fi-ness of a time machine. It’s also much less predictable, more uncertain, which I like. But I’d also like to try a time machine story as well, which I have an idea for, including dealing with the question of how can people go back in time without changing the future/their present… Yeah, it kind of makes the head spin. Which is part of the fun. I don’t have a specific timeslip idea but I really would love to try it someday if an opportunity presented itself. The main problem with time travel stuff is I’d have to do all the research just as if it was a historical fiction book, the thought of which terrifies me. So… we’re shelving those ideas for awhile. 😉 (Unless of course, it’s time-travel in another world…! Which would solve the research problem. I’ve only seen this done in Diana Wynne Jones’s book The Crown of Dalemark and I ADORED it so so much!! So it can be done.)

Cons and Heisty-ness
I’ve recently become obsessed with reading and watching crimey-heisty things, as I call them. TV shows Hustle and Leverage, the Heist Society books by Ally Carter, White Cat and its sequels by Holly Black (despite their ickness). Even milder versions like National Treasure‘s subplot to steal the Declaration of Independence. I just can’t get enough of the Robin-Hood-like (or at least not entirely bad) con-artists and grifters and thieves, and all of the cleverness involved in a good heist/con, especially when it involves giving the badguys what’s due them. I’m an upstanding citizen, honest, but this sort of thing is fascinating to read about. XD There is also a sad lack of such things, especially in the book (YA especially) world! (If you know of any, either books or films or shows, pleeeease do tell me.) I would probably never be able to write a con/heisty story because my brain just isn’t clever enough, but the thought is there and if I ever dared, I would love to try.

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Sooo… There’s my authorly bucket list, or some semblance thereof! What is yours? I guess I should work on these… Slowly… Somehow.

Or… I don’t know, maybe I should throw all of that together and actually sit down to write an epically fantastical epic fantasy full of full-fledged battles and deep villains who time travel (by means magical, scientific, and otherwise), with heroes and heroines from fairy tale stories, who use mind communication and carry out brilliant heists and cons.
. . .
UM. Actually, I would totally read that because it would be awesome. O_O OH MY GOODNESS. *facepalm* I need to stop coming up with story ideas and write some of my current ones.

What have I done.

(This is why I should not brainstorm when my brain is asleep and susceptible to madness…)

*hastily sweeps new plotbunnies under rug, tramples them quickly, leaves a large and heavy safe on top to keep them down, and surreptitiously walks away whistling as if nothing happened*

And I Tag

Abi // Ashlee // Kelsey // Jenelle // Katie/Robyn // Claire // Any writers who want to.

But please!! Do feel free to snag this if it looks interesting! (And let me know if you do! I would love to read such posts. :))

I’m just trying to spread out all my tagging this week, otherwise EVERYONE would
be tagged with EVERYTHING and it would be exhausting. XD

So there’s the last of my tag catchup posts! *queue cheering* I will now leave y’all in peace. 😉

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Do any of you writers have problems like mine, or tips to overcome them?

What would you like to try in your writing? (Different POVs, steampunk, talking umbrellas…?)

ARE YOU GOING TO DO THIS TAG?

Do you know any good heisty books/shows??

Tell me all! Let the Authorly chatting begin! 🙂