Monday, January 23, 2017

Beautiful Books: January 2017

It's hard to believe that January is almost over. Didn't 2017 just begin? A lot has happened in the past month or so. It's been a busy time, which is why I've been sticking to book reviews lately. I hope to pop in here and there with writing related posts and other random snippets and ramblings, but consistently, it'll be book reviews and comic book gushing.

Otherwise, you can find me still writing once a week at The Fangirl Initiative and posting chapters for the serial story, Thieves of Bakkaj. (If you haven't checked out the story, you should.) In addition, I've started posting bookstagram photos on my Instagram account, which has been super fun! Feel free to follow me and discuss books.

Today, I'll be participating in January's Beautiful Books segment. Previously, I highlighted my 2016 year in books and my most anticipated reads and reading goals for 2017. Now, I'm going to dive into the other side of this blog: writing. Specially, these questions will discuss my writing accomplishments from 2016 and what I hope to do in 2017. 

1. What were your writing achievements last year?

  • I successfully helped start a serial story that has been updated weekly since the beginning of November. I've fallen in love with the characters and world we've created, and I'm so glad we're able to share it with everybody else for free! 
  • I completed NaNoWriMo 2016, even though I was rebelling and editing/re-writing a draft. I haven't finished that draft, but I've learned a lot about the direction of the story and what I need to do in order to finish it. 
  • I've come up with a lot of ideas for stories and story-telling. Probably too many for me to ever write, but it helps flourish my creativity and imagination. While I may not have written as much or gotten as far with my writing as I initially planned, I learned a lot as I explored and discovered during 2016. It's helped me as a writer. (Plus, learning how to balance working a full-time job while writing and reading lots and lots of books and also pretending to be social and artistic takes a lot of practice. I'm still perfecting that.)
2. What’s on your writerly “to-do list” for 2017?

  • Continue writing the serial story and making it even better than it already is. 
  • Further edits for A Girl and Her Dragon and hopefully get an alpha reader to read over draft 2.5/3 by the year's end.
  • Publish a blog post once a week for the entire year. 
  • Edit the library story.
  • Start a new story for NaNoWriMo 2017.
  • Something fun, something new.
3. Tell us about your top-priority writing projects for this year!

  • Thieves of Bakkaj is an online serial story I write with three friends. It's a high-fantasy story that follows several characters as they maneuver through a world of magic, myth, and mystique. And it can probably be explained better by going to the website and reading it. (Also, I love all my characters and all the other characters.)
  • A Girl and Her Dragon is my perpetual WIP that involves dragons, pirates, knights, and adventure. Basically, I still don't have a good blurb for it. It's just too much to fit into a single paragraph, or worse... a sentence. It needs a thorough edit and re-write to take the messy tangle of a story and form into something worth reading.
  • The Secret Library Society was my 2015 NaNoWriMo novel about a dyslexic boy and a library. It's magical and special and very close to my heart. I want to edit it and do justice to the concept. 
4. How do you hope to improve as a writer? Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017?

I want to continue to learn how to edit and re-write. My biggest struggle with writing is that I love to create and write and build worlds, but I don't like to go back and fix everything I did. I've never edited an entire novel all the way through, so I hope that I improve on that by learning the best way to do that. It's been a slow but steady progress as of late.

Hopefully by the end of 2017, I'll have a cleaned-up draft of A Girl and Her Dragon and deeper appreciation for other stories.

5. Describe your general editing process.


Lots of moping around, internal crying/screaming, avoiding editing at all costs, finally sitting my butt in a chair with a pen and paper and writing down everything that's wrong while I re-read through my story/chapter/draft. Reward myself with chocolate and/or ice cream and a book.

6. On a scale of 1-10, how do you think this draft turned out?

I'm assuming this refers to NaNoWriMo, so maybe a 5 or 6? It wasn't a full novel, just a re-write/edit of the perpetual WIP. But it helped me understand my characters and world further. It helped me know how this story should be told, and it helped me progress further on editing (and creating a more structured story outline) than I have before. I call that success even though I didn't feel like I had that much progress.

7. What aspect of your draft needs the most work?

World-building, followed closely by plot. I tend to write character-driven novels, so I lose the plot sometimes as I write scenes to get the characters moving and talking and running. Thus, I also lose aspects of my world-building or I completely neglect the details of the government or religion or the basic mechanics of the world. I definitely need to do more research to build my world and make it come to life and feel lived in. Then I need to make sure my characters stay on track to deal with plot and not what's going on inside of their heads...

8. What do you like the most about your draft?

The characters. I will always love the characters I create. Their interactions and relationships intrigue me as well as their backstory and other aspects that bring them to life. I think I have a pretty solid idea for the characters.

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?

If I finish editing/re-writing draft 2.5/3, I want to have an alpha reader take a look to help boost my ideas. I might even have her start on the first parts I've written as I work on the latter half of edits. After she looks it over and I improve it, I'll start seeking my beta readers. I don't think I'll be near the querying and publishing step for a while yet, but we'll see.

10. What’s your top piece of advice for those just finished writing a first draft?

Take a break. Go read a book or take a long walk, make something to eat, and just let the novel sit for a bit. Two weeks, a whole month, whatever works and isn't too far out. Work on something new or edit something else. When those two weeks or month has passed, take it back out and just read the whole thing without any notes or judgments. Just enjoy what you wrote and be happy. Then you can go ahead and get your red pen or whatever you like to use and edit. Rip it to shreds. And have fun doing it!

What are you writing goals for 2017? Did you participate in January's Beautiful Books?

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