Hey peeps and welcome to Beautiful Books, hosted by the lovely Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up & Further In. What is Beautiful Books? It’s very similar to the monthly link up of Beautiful People, but this month it focuses on NaNoWriMo writing projects rather than specific characters in the novels. You obviously don’t have to be participating in NaNo in order to join; it can be any writing project. Click here or the picture to be taken back to the most recent Beautiful Books linkup page!
Today’s post is focused on our writing goals for 2017. Now I already talked briefly about some of the goals I hope to achieve this year, but this one goes a little more in depth in a few places where I feel I didn’t touch upon. So here we go!
1. What were your writing achievements last year?
I think just writing the story that had been on my mind for so long was the biggest achievement I accomplished. I had wanted to write about these two characters, Nara and Mikail, for so long and finally doing it was such a release. I loved it!
I also successfully outlined for the first time in years and I actually liked it? I’ve griped about outlining before and how pointless I found it but OH MY GOD I LOVED IT. I need to outline with every single story I do in the future. Seriously, it helped to keep my story focused on the goal I was trying to achieve with it, and even if I didn’t use every plot point that I had written, I was still hitting the major ones and it felt so incredible to be able to see that happen and how the story changed and morphed as I went as a result.
2. What’s on your writerly “to-do list” for 2017?
- Finish writing not only the draft from NaNo 2016, but also the draft from Camp NaNo 2015. I haven’t finished either story yet, but I’m getting so close to the end for both! (I have a problem writing endings, so that’s probably why I’ve avoided it for so long.)
- Then edit said drafts. I might just focus on one story for this year even though I love both of them (and the draft from Camp NaNo is a hot mess… I have NO IDEA how I got to where I am in the story from the beginning of what I was writing…). So I think that I’ll just focus on the NaNo 2016 draft for now and edit that one.
- But here’s my main “to-do list” when it comes to writing this year:
- Finish drafts.
- Edit them.
- Find beta readers.
- Edit some more.
- Query some agents and hope to find a great agent.
- Proceed with publication process. Hopefully.
I’M GOING BIG OR GOING HOME THIS YEAR, GUYS. IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN.
3. Tell us about your top-priority writing projects this year!
“The Thief and the Magician” is my top priority this year. I really loved what I was writing for this story, but I just have a few kinks to work out and obviously some major editing, but otherwise, this story is going to be my primary focus. I feel like it’ll be the story that I want to surface to the world.
I also want to finish writing “Crossing Boundaries,” the story I was working on in 2015. I LOVE my two main characters, but as I’ve stated: it’s a hot mess. I don’t know if I’m going to let it see the light of day any time soon, but maybe one day in the future.
Also, I feel like I have ideas brewing in my mind that I should probably write down. Maybe I’ll work on something new? Or maybe a sequel? Who knows? Not me, clearly.
4. How do you hope to improve as a writer? Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017?
I want to improve in all ways as a writer, honestly. I want to listen to people about what makes a problematic book and how to defeat that beast. I want to do more outlining and just work on editing. At the end of 2017, I want to be able to feel like I’ve accomplished something rather than just letting these projects sit and feeling sorry for myself that I’m not actually doing any writing.
By the end of this year, I want to be able to follow my passions and dreams and write and create and be happy.
5. Describe your general editing process.
After my first NaNoWriMo that I actually wrote 50k words (which was 2014), what I had done was printed out my story (and used up all of my ink) and began to read through it with a critical eye, using a red pen (yes, the dreaded red pen) to mark changes, grammar fixes, etc. For me, personally, I feel like I need to write with pen on paper in order for changes to really stick out in my mind. I could do it all on the computer and save trees and ink and whatnot, but I’m old school and love the feel of writing out what I want to see changed in my story by hand.
At this beginning stage, I already know a LOT of things that want changed because I think of them as I write the first draft, but I rarely go back to fix those things. But once I know I’ve successfully completed writing my first draft, that’s when I can move on and actually put those changes in. Like even now I know there are several things I want to add and change and remove from my draft of “The Thief and the Magician,” but I’m not ready to make those changes just yet.
After that, I’ll go back in, apply those changes to my documents on my computer, and at that stage I’m thinking of letting my husband be my first reader. I want a second set of eyes from someone I trust (who’s also a fast reader) to give me feedback. I know if I tell him to be honest and not sugar coat it that he’ll let me know if things sounds weird, if the flow is wonky, whatever the case may be.
After that, I’ll do another round of edits. I’ve never gotten past the first stage that I talked about, though, and even then I never finished my first round of edits, so this is going to be interesting for sure. But I’m going to take my time with it, doing small chunks at a time until I’ve completed it, then I’ll go from there.
6. On a scale of 1-10, how do you think this draft turned out?
Well, considering I’m not finished… With what I have actually written, I think that this draft is turning out around a 5 or a 6. I’m happy with parts of it for sure, like personalities, certain scenes I know I want to keep, certain emotions that I want to keep, but there’s a lot that needs to be fixed. So yeah. 5/10.
7. What aspect of the draft needs the most work?
If Nara’s supposed to be extremely afraid of Magicians, or just wary around them, WHY DID I NOT MAKE HER MORE AFRAID AND WARY AROUND MIKAIL? UGH. This is currently my biggest gripe of the whole draft and I need to add chapters or change some scenes around to fit this in. Just. UGHHHHHHH. I’m mad at myself, honestly, haha! And I knew I was doing it as I was writing, but I didn’t want to stop and fix it. It’s fine, EVERYTHING’S FINE.
And then there are obviously kinks and stuff I need to elaborate more on, and there’s definitely one chapter that I KNOW was just a filler chapter and needs to be replaced, like, ten years ago, and… yeah. Okay. The draft in general just needs some work.
8. What do you like most about your draft?
I love my characters. I grow very attached to a lot of characters I write, particularly the main characters because, well, duh, and this story, “The Thief and the Magician,” is one I feel so passionate about that I’m so glad that I decided to give it another shot because I struggled HARD during Camp NaNo 2016 when I first started working on it. The chapters weren’t coming out right AT ALL. In fact, I rewrote several chapters during this time because they just didn’t work and they weren’t how my characters were supposed to be, and I was writing it in the wrong tense, so that was frustrating. But yeah. The characters are really what make my draft feel alive to me.
9. What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?
I kind of already glossed over it in a couple questions already, but here’s more:
- Finish the draft, do a round of edits, let husband read it, do another round of edits.
- Hopefully find two beta readers to give feedback, then do another round of edits.
- THEN I’ll start querying. I want to go the traditional publishing route because that’s just what I personally want to do.
- Then I’ll just go from there.
10. What’s your top piece of advice for those just finished writing a first draft?
Let it sit for a little while.
I literally haven’t looked at my draft or thought about it or touched it since the end of NaNoWriMo 2016, and I haven’t even finished it yet. Writing over 50k words in 30 days really taxes the brain, and even if you didn’t do NaNo but you still have a completed first draft (or mostly completed): let it sit.
Don’t think about it, don’t open the file, don’t let yourself worry about it for now. Obviously, don’t take too much time away from it or you might never go back to it until you’re filled with guilt, but give it a month or two. Or give it a week or two. Either way, just let it sit so your brain can recuperate from the hard work it just put in with you writing this first draft. You worked extremely hard on this draft, so now take a break, do something for yourself that isn’t writing, and then go back to your draft. You’ll have refreshed eyes and quite possibly a new outlook on what you want your draft to look like once you start edits. Taking that step back could be very beneficial to you.
Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦
How are you doing on your writing project? What are your plans for this year? Is your novel ever going to see the light of day, or is it going to be buried under mounds of debris, never to be seen again? What do you like most about your draft? Tell me all the things!