Beautiful People is a blog meme from Cait at Paper Fury and Sky at Further Up and Further In.

Why am I participating in this? Because it’s about writing- your goals, your characters, and your process. 2015 was the year that I started up my writing again, and in 2016 I’m planning on sticking with it with a combination of prompts, editing, and introspection. So let’s get these questions rolling!

1. What were your writing achievements last year?

Last summer I started up a writing group with some friends, with the goal of completing a few short stories and keeping our creative juices from drying up completely. From those stories I gained the confidence to participate in my first National Novel Writing Month, which I completed with 52,000 words and a few days to spare!

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

Editing my NaNoWriMo project is checklist item number one. It’s a complete story, but it’s rough. Really rough. I want to get it to a state where I would be comfortable having someone else read and critique it, which is a deadline I’m giving myself until the end of March to hit.

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

  1. Editing. Editing. More Editing.
  2. Finishing what I start. I have a finished rough draft, a second story fulling outlined, and a third with a developed concept. Three stories is enough, but I have the bad habit of thinking up new plots, distracting myself with them for days at the expense of other projects, and then abandoning them all together.
  3. Characterization, especially the more minor ones. Just because they aren’t the start doesn’t mean they should be cardboard cutouts.
  4. Action Sequences, because I wrote those for the first time in my NaNoWriMo draft, and it was quite the experiment. I have heaps of room for improvement.
  5. Romance. More specifically, romance that feels realistic. My various concepts are not romance novels, but they have characters with emotional feelings and bonds. I want them to feel right, but like the action sequences, it is not something that I am naturally great with.

Are you participating in any writing challenges?

I would like to do NaNoWriMo for a second time this November.

I’ve also set myself a personal challenge of doing one short (literally no minimum word count) writing prompt each week, to feed my need to play with different genres without losing focus on my normal projects.

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

Right now I don’t have any active critique partners, though I have a collection of friends from the aforementioned writing group that I can call upon if needed. Once I finish cleaning up that NaNoWriMo draft I’ll start harassing them.

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

I actually bought a Kindle Collection last fall that had 20-odd titles in it. I’ve skimmed a few of them, but I’m planning to dig in a little more in the coming year, especially with the books that relate to my specific scene-writing goals.

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

Daisy, who is one of my main characters, but who has the least amount of just about everything. The least amount of described action, the least amount of dialog, and only the barest bit of backstory. She is the weakest of my main group, but the actions she has already taken on the page prove she has room to be an amazing character.

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

Edit. Revise. Edit. Revise.

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?

This a rough question! I suppose I’d like to see more books within the fantasy and sci-fi realms that have strong, unique female leads. Yes, the YA genre is full of heroines left and right, but many seem constrained by the “rules” of the genre. Youth, romance, etc. I want to see more amazing ladies of all ages and skills and appearances, and I want to see them headlining books outside of the YA genre.

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

In a perfect world, I would love to get my NaNoWriMo draft published somewhere, anywhere. If I can’t get the revisions to where I like them in time in order to do that, my secondary achievement is to finish another NaNoWriMo event.