i’ve always adored these ‘beautiful people’ prompts. paperfury hasn’t quite put up the one for this month/year, but i am an impatient human being. i robbed these from the 2016 meme. because i was not blogging in 2016. so they’re neW TO ME OK. this one i love especially because it feels really crisp and clean to tie up loose ends and start new ones.
1. What were your writing achievements last year? Writing achievements. Welp.
I wrote 350k over the course of the entire year. I also completed the first draft of one sci-fi novel, two half-drafts for it, and have now shoved it on a back burner to let it stew in a pot of inspiration composed of Victoria Schwab, ditching superhuman cliches, and seeing where it takes me. I also completed the…third? fourth? it’s been a wild ride, man. of my 1982 MWLB story. This novel also semi-finalized in a contest!
I also won a short story contest and earned $75 off of it. (In theory? I don’t have anything in hand, but still.)
The biggest ‘achievement’ (is learning an achievement? yes. yes it is) is that I learned was about story structure.
I started off the year with a very vague concept of everything. Sure, inciting incidents, traumatic occurrences approximately 75% of the way through the story, showdowns. Got it.
I had no idea how to show character arcs, make the theme shove the plot along, and how to tie it all together. It resulted in stories with lots of filler and no real coherence to tie them together, and I had no idea how to fix them because the foundation was so shaky. Learning about that through a few of K.M. Weiland’s books + stalking her blog was the best thing ever.
2. Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year? This question implies that I am supposed to pick one.
I can’t say it’s top priority, because it shares the spot with another story. But out of my three WIPs, it’s not like I’ve got a lengthy list.
This project is a dual-POV speculative contemporary…thing. It feels like it will have a rom-com tone (a romance-less rom-com. got it.), but is a hybrid speculative/urban fantasy creation. Basically ‘what would happen if you were kidnapped to become the Grim Reaper? what if someone you loved was in danger of becoming the reaper?’ + the theme of trying to erase the broken edges of your past to try to fit into an identity that isn’t your own to earn acceptance + the setting of either contemporary/1972/1993 France.
a quick blurb that basically exists for aesthetic and mystery:
- A young artist marries a skeleton. A traumatized street performer claims amnesia. A pre-med student’s ambitions crumbles into bones. A paraplegic baker accidentally goes dark side. Perhaps that is to be expected, when the Grim Reaper is involved.
Also the cast. Sweet crumpets, the cast. I shall leave Pinterest board links because this post is already so long.
3. List 5 areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve this year. I’m actually going to pass on this one, because it’s something I hadn’t even thought of! I wrote the question down so I can spend Sufficient Time contemplating this and coming with something I want to stick with.
4. Are you participating in any writing challenges? I am! I’m part of a teenager writer’s forum that has a forum-wide challenge. Everyone is divided into groups and makes an individual word count goal. So I set my goal for 500k for 2018, we’ll see how that goes!
5. What’s your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year? Pfft. I actually had to think about this question a good bit. Do I plan to expand? Do I even have a critique partner situation? Who knows.
In past years, I made a habit of posting my writing as I wrote on the aforementioned forum. Which was lovely! It was inspirational and a fun way to share work and all that jazz and ragtime. It was also an A+ way to pick up piecemeal critiques. I may do it in a more Official Way this year. As in, specifically pairing with a few people and doing the whole critique-partner thing. And perhaps post for the public once I’ve actually written? For me, it sours the whole ‘we’re off on an adventure, hobbits! here’s my story!’ when I rewrite and repost so many times. It feels like “oh. this…again. how many possible incarnations can this go through. who knows.”
6. Do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year? Or are there specific books you want to read for research? I’m hoping to specifically find some books on PTSD and French culture for that grim reaper story. I’ve also heard good things about Bird by Bird, and Big Magic, so I’m interested in picking both of those this year.
7. Pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this? One. Just one.
Mm, if I randomly stab at it, I want to get to know Ryker better. The combination of an Anthony Ramos faceclaim + his unique outlook as grim’s apprentice, and his Tom Holland + John Laurens personality has really hooked me. Usually, I do this by filling out character worksheets, putting together Pinterest boards and soundtracks for them. Also, charting their character arc really helps me get to know them.
8. Do you plan to edit or query, and what’s your plan of attack? I’m casually considering querying at the end of 2018. It depends on where I land, honestly. So I don’t have a plan yet because I’m not committed. As far as editing, my plan is usually to torch the whole plot and rewrite. Not the best idea. So a tentative future plan is to read through, mark the specific things that feel wrong, and come up with reasons why? That way I know that there is legitimate story problems, rather than “wow shiny idea that I could work in let’s goooo”.
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 want to see more urban fantasy books? I’m not quite sure that’s what I mean. I want to see books that are set in the normal world, in diverse time periods (I apologize to all his-fic lovers, but I feel like books set in 1944 Europe + pirate stories in the Caribbean, for example, are overdone. My apologies)., with a hint of the unusual. I’d love to see more of books that don’t focus on traditional creepy creatures and just add a bit of the unusual to their story world and explore that.
I think holes that need filling are boy/girl platonic friendships. The ‘fight and die don’t touch my person’ type, but with no suggestions of eventual romance. I have ships, I love shipping Cute Couples! But platonic boy/girl friendships must not go extinct. I also feel like there’s a hole when it comes to combining unique concepts with unique time periods and unique settings. For instance, where are my stories about 1972 Turkey mermaids? Or my stories about dystopian France? I feel like many stories would be revitalized if authors consciously chose to move beyond defaults for setting.
10. What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2018? My top priority for my MWLB story is to finish it. As in, do my next draft, get it critiqued, do another draft, and then see if I’m personally ready to start sending query letters. By that time, it will have gone through approximately 6 or 7 drafts? So many. So many.
My top priority for my sci-fi story is to get it completely replotted/the whole concept twisted around. And then rewritten in first draft stage (technically third after all the half-drafts but shh).
My top priority for my grim reaper story is to get it plotted and written. I’m doing a lot of work on the back end of things this time, hopefully to prevent extremely tangled drafts in the future. Hopefully all that will pay off.