One of my goals for 2016 was to be more focused on my writing. Be it actually putting pen to paper, reading some great books on the craft, or just becoming more aware of the kind of story I want to write. That’s why it’s so great that I discover Beautiful People when I did. With a new set of questions each month challenging aspiring authors to define their goals, know their characters, and build their world it’s perfect for me to take my stories to the next level. Hosted by the fabulous bloggers over at Paper Fury and Further Up & Further In, I hope you check out the link and join the community!
1.What were your writing achievements last year?
This past year, 2015, was the first time in my life where I consistently made writing a priority. Not so much that I actually wrote all the words on the paper, but consistently having an idea for a story brewing in my head. This might not seem like much, however for me it was a huge deal even if it was just a half-baked idea here and there. I entered two writing competitions, one of which being sponsored by Chipotle on (in 5,000 characters or less) their burritos brought people together. Needless to say I wasn’t very passionate, and did not see my work on their greasy takeout bags. The big one was the 2016 Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards, whereas I wrote a novel excerpt. I won’t find out the results until February/March (though I’m not very confident on my odds), nevertheless it was a great practice and I feel my technique came a long way in a few months.
2.Tell us about your top writing project for this year.
I never know when an idea will catch my fancy but as of now; 8:35 p.m. on January 17; I want to focus on a book the complete opposite of my 1930’s Hollywood murder train wreck. Instead this one is sugar, and spice, and everything nice about an American girl in 1960’s Paris. It has no linear storyline and is probably without any real hope of actually being published, but still it focuses on everything I love like makeup, clothes, colorful baked goods, midcentury architecture, cats, magazines, and funny anecdotes. If I had to describe it as any mashup it would probably be best contrasted to Julie & Julia meets The Help. Fabulous, I know. Oh, and be warned the color palette is charcoal; slate, nude, and berry pink if that tells you anything.
3.List 5 areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve.
1.Know my characters better- I only have about a million character printouts pinned to my writing board on Pinterest, but heavens forbid I actually use a viable resource. So yeah, as a character driven reader I think it’s my duty to know every detail of my character life inside and out. 2. Understand my era/setting- Did I forget to mention I love period pieces? Well I do, except for the actual researching and fact checking part of the process. If I do end up writing my modern French masterpiece though (so never) you better believe I’ll know 1967 Paris like I lived it. 3. Actually use a storyboard- Going along with my theme of better organization, I hope with the start of this novel I’ll miraculously become a color coded, post it sticking, walking oracle of my book’s timeline. Or I can do nothing and muddle through my sequence of events like a kid in a corn maze. 4. Write outside my comfort zone- The only type of writing I’ve done traditionally is third person limited or first person- with very little dialogue and nothing to suggest I’m familiar with the rule of show don’t tell. This year though I want to try omniscient, objective, unreliable…any and all of it. 5. Actually write- Though I’ve previously had a well formulated idea and a solid chunk written- never have I physically completed a novel cover to cover. Fingers crossed though that this is the year of Megan (and a healthy dose of National Novel Writing Month).
4.Are you participating in any writing challenges?
As I mentioned above; hopefully NaNoWriMo, but beyond the obvious I really have no clue. I guess that’s where you guys come in; are there any good writing challenges for aspiring young adult writers?
5.What’s your critique partner/beta reader situation like?
Ummm…non-existent! Of course you should probably have more than fifteen pages of a book written before asking someone to give you feedback, which kind of eliminates me at this point. I would be more than happy though to do this for another writer, as the greatest way to learn is by doing.
6.Do you have plans to read any writer related books this year?
I plan on only reading all the writer books out there! Including but not limited to: Paper Hearts by Beth Revis and On Writing by Stephen King. If you guys are familiar with any other strong books on writing, please let me know.
7.Pick one character you want to know better, how will you achieve this?
There are a million different characters floating around in my head, all waiting to latch onto the novel they belong with. Right now though the character that stands out most vividly in my mind is Jamie Kent. I know next to nothing about her and her story other than that she’s basically me written in ink fifty years ago. And because I’m fabulous, Jamie clearly will be too. Sure there are some kinks to figure out along the wat, but through the aforementioned Pinterest resources and just actually writing her into different situations; I plan on knowing her like the back of my hand by 2017.
8.Do you plan to edit or query, and what’s your plan of attack?
Boy do I wish I had a cut and dried manuscript to query, or even edit for that matter. Instead I’ll be going through the disillusioning and semi-soul crushing work of putting my words to paper for the first time. With that I hope to move onto the stage of editing my second draft (which is vastly more fun in my opinion) by 2017.Of course none of that will actually happen unless I quit dreaming a year in the future and instead focus on writing now.
9.What are the books that you want to see more of?
This is by far the easiest question on here for me to answer, as my opinion of the hole publishing needs to fill is one I’ve bemoaned on many separate occasions before. Let me reiterate it one more time though…HISTORICAL.FICTION! And by that I don’t mean strictly by adults-for adults historical fiction, or dull nonfiction of the Civil War with a young readers edition. No, I want historical fiction written for teenagers and middle grade readers. Something worthy of being made into a movie adaptation starring Shailene Woodley; with adventure, spunky protagonists, and keen attention to the minute details that make good historical fiction great. It has long been a genre seen as the frumpy older sister to contemporaries/dystopians/and fantasies but let that be no more! I believe in historical fiction and you should too.
10.What’s your ultimate writing goal for the year?
Finish my book!!!!!!!
Once again; here’s all the information you need to join the community.
Thanks for reading!