Beautiful People #14 ~ My Novel Writing Plans for 2016

Posted January 15, 2016 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Blogging, Link Up / 12 Comments

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Initially I wasn’t planning on continuing with Beautiful Books/Beautiful People posts after finishing last year’s NaNo challenge, but I liked the questions for this month’s prompt so much, I actually filled them out just for fun before I even considered making a linkup post! Maybe I’ll keep going with these linkups. Who knows? Let me know if you’re interested in seeing more! 🙂

 

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  1. What were your writing achievements last year? I participated in National Novel Writing Month last November…and I won! Up til then, I hadn’t written any novel-length fiction in years. I figured NaNo would be a good way to see if it’s something I would still enjoy doing. And the answer turned out to be a GREAT BIG GLORIOUS YES. 🙂
  2. Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year. I’ve already got an idea for the book I’d like to write for 2016 NaNo, so my goal is to plan it all out by November and write it as my NaNo competition piece.
  3. List 5 areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve this year. I could only think of three, but they’re pretty far-reaching:
    • Consistent Characters. Despite all my planning, I noticed I portrayed certain characters inconsistently in last year’s NaNo. I plan to combat this by spending my first few months of planning focused on getting to know my characters (with the help of lots of character profiles and writing prompts). I’ve found taking personality tests like free partial MBTI exams can also be helpful in learning about a character, particularly how they approach conflict and personal relationships.
    • Word Count. I reached my 50K word count goal for NaNo last year, but I did it by writing almost 10K words past where I planned on having my novel end. It was my first time writing something that long, so I didn’t worry too much about it at the time. This year, though, I want to be sure I’ve planned something that uses the full word count, so I don’t have the last minute panic of coming up with more material.
    • Themes. The novel I wrote last year hinted at deeper themes without really delving into them, mostly because I wasn’t able to think of any specific ways I wanted to include them. I want to spend a month or two this year planning my themes and the specific ways they’re going to appear in the novel.
  4. Are you participating in any writing challenges? Pretty much just NaNo. Since the novel I have in mind still needs a lot of planning, I don’t think I’ll have time for any other challenges.
  5. What’s your critique partner/beta reader situation like, and do you have plans to expand this year? I don’t have a specific writing partner or beta reader, but I have a couple friends who do NaNo and the Mister is super encouraging. My friends and I have discussed having our own write-in, which would be fun, since writing is usually such solitary work. 🙂
  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 plan on using Eric Maisel’s What Would Your Character Do? to help me sort out my character’ deeper motivations. Once I get closer to November, I’ll do writing exercises from The 3 am Epiphany to loosen my writing muscles before the month begins.
  7. Pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this? The character I have in mind is named Aurelius Crane. He’s not the protagonist or even the #2 character, but he’s very important to the story and also the character that I feel like I know the least about. There are so many directions I can go with him, but I’ll need to commit to one before I can move on with the rest of the story.
  8. Do you plan to edit or query, and what’s your plan of attack? As much as I’d like to think I’ll edit my book from last year’s NaNo, it probably won’t happen. With my increased writing workload for the blog and all the planning left to do for my next NaNo project, there won’t be much time left for editing. Not that I regret my decisions; I chose my projects very carefully this year. However, I DO intend to use what I learned from writing last year’s novel to turn my current project into an editing goal once it’s written.
  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? This idea is kind of what inspired my current novel. As much as I like a strong female protagonist, I’m kind of burnt out on the whole “strong independent women don’t need men” theme. Sure, self-sufficiency is important in many areas of life, but it seems like EVERY AUTHOR is riding the independent woman train. Honestly, I’m getting a little bored with it, and I think that in an attempt to be feminist, lots of authors are downplaying the benefits of how men and women balance each other. So I decided to play with that theme a little bit in my book (though it’s more the inspiration for the plot that the direct purpose of the story). My current novel is set in a world where witches and warlocks refuse to work together. Both groups do different kinds of magic and are convinced that the other group’s variety of magic is inferior. A group of four witches and three warlocks learn to work together out of necessity, but by doing so they realize that their powers complement and strengthen each other. In fact, they’re able to unlock powerful joint abilities that they can’t access without each other.
  10. What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016? 50K words of witchy, warlocky goodness! 🙂

 

Do you have any writing plans for 2016? Share them below!

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12 responses to “Beautiful People #14 ~ My Novel Writing Plans for 2016

  1. Cait @ Paper Fury

    I LOVE YOUR PLANS. And I love that we tempted you to doing the linkup again. ;D hehe. We are sneaky like that. Mwahhaah *ahem* And I do agree with #9. I don’t think Every Author is doing it? But I do see it a lot. And also the fact that “strong” just ends up meaning emotionally detached and cold hearted. -_- That’s not what strong means!! Gah. So I have ended up hating “strong’ as a character descriptor, tbh.
    I’ll be doing NaNo too!! Although I kind of wish the NaNo people ran an editing month. THAT would be great. XD

    • Yeah, I guess I should have emphasized that I don’t actually think every author is doing it. It just seems like it sometimes since there are so many. And I think you’re right: so many supposedly strong/independent characters are basically just cold/detached. Personally, I always liked how J.K. Rowling approached it with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Each of the characters are pretty assertive and independent, but they’re not afraid to lean on each other when they need to. And they’re also not afraid to be seen to do so! Love that! 🙂

      AMEN TO A NANO EDITING MONTH. I would so sign up for that.

  2. I’m glad that you rediscovered your love of writing and plan to do it again. I had the opposite problem from you – I finished my 50k words (in 2014), but was nowhere near done with my book. I never did finish it, and I’m not sure if I will, but I think I’d like to try again in 2016!

    • I’m a notoriously short writer. It’s great when I need to communicate efficiently (like in a post intro or business email), but it always got me in trouble in school (my papers were pretty much always below the minimum page length). When writing fiction, I get my plot across successfully without a lot of words, but the characters don’t show as much depth and development as I’d like in my first draft.

  3. Oh, yes, I would be happy to see you continue Beautiful People. 😉

    Congrats again on finishing NaNoWriMo! And I like how you want to work on honing the craft aspects of writing, especially theme. That can be very nebulous and elusive, so it’s hard to plan for themes without risking a “preachy” direction, if you know what I mean. But themes can also make the difference between a good story and a great story, and it’s something I’ve been trying to pay attention to in my own work. And, oddly enough, exploring theme in literature is the core behind my column at DIY MFA. So, maybe those posts might help? I can share an “index” link with you, if you’d like.

    “What Would Your Character Do?” sounds so neat! I’ve never heard of it before now, so maybe I’ll have to look into it.

    I know what you mean about the “independent / strong female protagonist” bit. It’s more important to me if a character is believable, layered, and… well, herself, and not necessarily following the current trends. And so I REALLY like the idea you have for your next WIP. Do that. Please. 😀

    Also, if you’re interested, here’s a link to my BP post: http://saraletourneauwriter.com/2016/01/19/beautiful-people-vol-11/

    • I’m hoping I can get a handle on themes by getting a clear idea of exactly which ones I want to include (I imagine that’ll involve crossing some off the list so there’s not too many) and planning some specific examples of how they’ll be illustrated in the plot. I already have a couple ideas for scenes that would forward a theme, but I need to make sure I develop the plot in such a way that they still belong there when it’s time to start writing. Here’s hoping it works! 🙂

      My mom got me “What Would My Character Do?” back when I was in high school, I think. I love it because it’s great at every stage of character development. Even if I don’t know anything about my character yet, sometimes I just like to read through the descriptions for what certain types of choices can say about a character. I don’t always agree with the explanation, since multiple motivations could lead to the same choice, but it’s a good place to start.

      I’ll definitely check out your post! 🙂

  4. ladyelasa

    Lots of good goals and accomplishments! Amen about the independent women. Men and women were created to be a team. I’d love to see you do more link-ups! I like knowing more about your stories. ^ ^

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

  5. I couldn’t agree more with “I think that in an attempt to be feminist, lots of authors are downplaying the benefits of how men and women balance each other”. I’m also getting a little bored with that and I’m very feminist. 🙂 I even have a feminist page in my blog. My book is also about female and male forces in conflict and what they will learn about that. 🙂 Thanks for sharing free partial MBTI exams. I need help with my MC! Good luck with your goals! Here are mine: http://www.danielaark.com/what-a-week-33-writing-tip-setting-up-goals/

    • Thanks for your comment! I’ll admit I was a little worried about the feminism part of my post when I published it, because I knew it might not be a popular opinion. It’s cool to know someone else is writing with a similar theme!

      I checked out your Beautiful People post just now, and I laughed because I’m having the opposite problem: I’m having trouble figuring out one of my most important GUYS (that’s Aurelius, the one I mentioned in the post). I feel so overwhelmed by the number of directions I can take his character! I think I’m going to try writing some stuff about his family life. That usually gives me an idea of where to start. Glad you like the partial MBTI exams! I’ve been doing one for all the characters in the boy/girl coven. It’s been majorly helpful in sorting out how they’ll work together as a team. 🙂

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