February: Begin querying agents for book 1. (Yipes!) Review the outline of book 2 and do some research.
March-May: Draft book 2.
June: Draft Rooglewood entry.
July: Edit Rooglewood entry and send it off. (I'd like to be much more on the ball this year, so I'm going to try finishing it in two months. Two and a half, tops.)
August-December: Finish drafting book 2, and if I've actually managed to meet my monthly goals, I'd like to do a round or two of edits on it as well.
So to directly answer the question, my writing priorities are books 1 & 2 plus a fairy tale novella. Because these plans must be balanced with things called Work and (very hopefully) School, I'm trying to remember to take my own advice and have grace for myself if circumstances change and crowd out writing.
List 5 areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve this year.
Efficiency. I'd like to write more often, and write better when I do write. Even if all I can do is a little bit here and there, I want to be more consistent.
Moving forward. I'd like book 1 to be ready for the next phase.
Writing first drafts that aren't littered with dragon-sized plot holes. It's been about four-ish years since I've actually written a first draft for my fantasy series, and the most recent was possibly one of my worst. But I've grown since then, and I know a lot more about my fantasy world, so maybe the new book 2's first draft will be more structurally sound. We can hope.
Continuing to cultivate my writing craft in general. One should never stop growing, after all.
Poetry. I wrote only seven poems last year, but I'd like to do more this year. Stretch my poet muscles. Try new techniques.
Are you participating in any writing challenges?
Only if you count the annual Rooglewood Press contest. Nano might be a possibility this year, but I'm not putting any expectations on myself.
What’s your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year?
I stumbled into a wonderful Pack of writer gals online a year and a half ago, and have since had the pleasure of beta reading a number of their stories. Some of the girls have been betas for me too, which is heaps of fun. (My goodness, that sounds British: heaps of fun.) I'm quite content with my current situation, so no, I don't have expansion plans.
Do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year? Or are there specific books you want to read for research?
Finish Gail Carson Levine's "Writer to Writer," which I started last year. I've heard that "Steal Like an Artist" by Austin Kleon is good, so maybe that too? I don't have many specific titles in mind. I'll probably look for some good books on mental illness (specifically delusion-related stuff, though there's probably a nicer word for that). I have a character whose parents believe he's crazy, resulting in psychologist appointments. I'd like to at least sound like I know what I'm talking about.
Pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this?
Basically my entire supporting cast of book 2! Aileen's and Josiah's family members. The Shifters, a group of five elementals. Rex Nelson, the pilot. Yeah. Basically everyone. I'll get to know them better by writing their story and doing character sketches.
Do you plan to edit or query, and what’s your plan of attack?
Some of both. See question #2. As for a plan of attack . . . with editing, it'll be the usual process. With querying--well, that's a whole new arena for me. So I have no idea!
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?
More clean, excellent fantasy. Whether it's Christian or not is almost besides the point. I want to see good fantasy--without all the foul language and sleazy content so many of them seem to carry.
More steampunk, because the genre is awesome and quite underrated.
And I don't know if this is a hole, exactly . . . But I want to see an off-kilter story that plays with mind. One part crazed humor, one part creepy, and one part deeply hidden meaning. I have something like this cooking in my brain, but it'll be a while before it's ready to be written.
What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?
I hope to have book 1 actually, for real complete--and if all goes well, I want to either have an agent or at least be actively querying. I hope to have another fairy-tale novella completed, and I also want to have book 2 drafted. Somewhat edited too, if I have the time. Like I said before, it really depends on how these next several months pan out.
If nothing else, I want to be able to look back on 2016 and say that I made good use of the writing time I had. (But if I'm honest, I'd really, really like that whole querying thing to . . . you know, be a thing.)
What do you think? Insane or doable? (Wait . . . don't answer that.) What are your writing plans for the year?