1. What were your writing achievements last year?
I finished my second ever first draft! And I finally won NaNoWriMo for the second time ever! It was a lot of great, second-time wins for me, I guess. Otherwise, I made a lot of progress on many stories and will hopefully be bragging about finishing more first drafts and editing by this time next year.
2. Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year?
As always, I have multiple priorities, because why focus on one thing and give it all your attention when you can spread that attention thin over multiple projects?
first draft: almost complete
second draft: in progress
first draft: being reread and edited
first draft: maybe three quarters done?
first draft: in progress
first draft: in progress
first draft: in progress
All of these stories have been my main priority for the past few years, so why change that now?
3. List 5 areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve this year.
- diversity: not all characters have to be white; I’m doing a decent job of sexual diversity, but racial and physical abilities tend to be less diverse and realistic; I need to change that this year
- planning ahead: I used to have so many meticulous plans and storylines ahead of time, and it’s great to refer to them even if they’re a few years old and might be slightly out of date with the current stories – if I can get back into these, then it’ll be a lot easier to keep writing rather than hitting so many roadblocks
- graphics: I feel like I’ve said this before, but creating pretty new graphics, like chapter headings and random aesthetic graphics, can be quite inspiring and get me very excited about writing, so I need to keep that up so that I can keep up my writing as well
- beta readers: I need to finally get to a point where I can let other people at least begin to read my work; maybe just a chapter or two at a time, but I need to be open about it if I ever want to do anything more with my writing – I mean, if I can’t even let my sister read my stories, how on earth am I going to get my work published and read by complete strangers?
- reach out: I want to try reaching out to other aspiring authors and following along with their journeys as well; writing can be quite solitary, and as an extremely shy introvert, that works for me most of the time, but I still want to connect at least every once in a while with other writers
4. Are you participating in any writing challenges?
Are there writing challenges out there? I mean, I guess there probably are, the internet basically has everything, but I don’t know about it, so no, other than probably doing NaNoWriMo again come this November, which feels like ages and ages away.
5. What’s your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year?
Hmm, should have read ahead. Yes, I’d definitely like to expand my critique partner/beta reader situation, since there’s basically nowhere to go but upward and onwards. Basically, all I have to do is shove a page at someone and say “read this and tell me what you think (please be nice please be nice I can’t handle criticism I need to change that but I can’t),” and that would be a step up from my current situation.
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 don’t know if this sounds arrogant, but believe, it’s not meant to be, but I’ve never really read any books about writing. Just reading books in general that I want to influence and inspire my reading tends to be the closest I get. If I see a book that really looks interesting to me, then that answer can certainly change, but nothing on my to-read shelf that would fit this category.
7. Pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this?
Rain of Forgotten is one of my protagonists who is the least like me – she’s always so full of energy to the point where she has trouble standing still for long, she’s so cheerful and happy all the time, she’s very extroverted and outgoing, and she’s into physically-demanding things like cheerleading and learning how to fight along with Hunter, her future love interest and the boy whose family she was taken in by. She’s this tiny little thing full of energy and sass and happiness, and I would love to be like her so much. She has amnesia and doesn’t remember her life before the beginning of the book, so I want to work more on her backstory and how it affects her now.
8. Do you plan to edit or query, and what’s your plan of attack?
I’m definitely just focused on writing and editing right now. I don’t want to think about querying until I’m at least on third drafts of projects. I’m not a perfectionist, but I’m definitely on that spectrum and need things to be much more polished before I think about asking people to take a chance on my stories.
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?
Oh my god, there are so many books I would love to see, and it’s just so difficult to think of them all. I want fairytale retellings that retell lesser-known stories (I am so sick of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast retellings), as well as QUILTBAG and POC elements added to them. I want new adult stories that I can relate to rather than focus too much on romantic angst and a few too many sex scenes. I want futuristic stories where the world is actually a better place and is working, and the conflict comes from something else, other than power-hungry scientists and politicians or whatever keep cropping up in dystopians.
Trust me, there are plenty of other stories I want to see, but these are just the ones that immediately came to mind.
10. What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?
I want to be working on more second drafts, and maybe even a third draft or two. I also hope that I’ll have begun reaching out to people to read my stories and critique them so that I can get one step closer to querying and trying to go from “aspiring author” to “legitimate author.”