What were your writing achievements last year?
Well... I guess this isn't with In Greater Hands, but my first recognizable story, Alomina, reached the 50k required word mark (and it's still going at 192 pages!), thus becoming an official novel. And I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first (and possibly last) time last year as well. And I also started at least two new books (In Greater Hands and The Second Brother). I also have made at least sixteen new characters (what, only sixteen?!) in various stories of 2016. I started a writing blog, and I got a group of little girls I knew in another state to start their own writing group. I researched more on writing techniques and different means of publishing, and I even may have picked up a few things. ;)
What's on your writerly "to-do" list for 2017?
Uh, well...I want to try to finish a book. I really, really want to finish Alomina before its anniversary in August, so I don't have to say I was working on it for three years before finishing it! I am pretty close, and I very highly hope I can indeed finish it soon (but it's probably not going to happen, knowing me). I also want to make it through the outlined part of In Greater Hands, so I can continue on my lovely little improvising way. Outlines. Are. So. Boring. Besides, everybody knows they're more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules. ;)
But, other than those above, I do plan to start another story, which shall as of the moment remain mysterious. Spoilers! :) I also plan to introduce more characters, at least a few, probably a few million. ;) And... sadly, I have to kill some characters too. I have at least five characters singled out, and I had hoped to get most of them done with before the end of 2016, so as to give a new start to the new year, but... no. I only took care of one, and set the stage for another three. I would give more detail, except I know that there are ears everywhere (meaning, among my blog-reading crowd, my novel-readers are there, and constantly alert for spoilers to tell them what happens). So, I guess my plan would be summed up thus - Finish book, throw rules in trash, kill off characters. ;)
Tell us about your top-priority writing projects this year!
Well, my main priority stories will be Alomina and In Greater Hands, but I also mean to try and straighten out the tangled labyrinths of plot that exist in Alagna and Anwynne's Adventures. Seriously. Alomina is a baby that desperately needs care. There's a whole character and sub-plot to match him that I haven't even added in yet more than a mention. There's a first chapter that is nothing but long and lovely description rather than any action or relevance. There's two characters that die (or at least come close to) and I've only gotten around to killing one of them. It is definitely my top-priority writing-wise.
How do you hope to improve as a writer? Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017?
Well, I hope to stop being such a wimp, for one thing. Every time I get even close to killing a character off, I chicken out, and either delay it or help them out. I just can't kill my ink-and-paper children! It's not right!!!! *sobs uncontrollably* Ahem. Anyways... I do need to toughen up about it, but I also need to get better on another count - villains. So, my villain in Alomina is well-developed and all, but I'm not really sure it shows in the actual writing. If everything I knew about him was in there, I think it might be a bit different. I made up a lot of stuff for him! It's just that... I don't quite know how to communicate all his development in the writing. And then there's the frustrating ultra-developed villains in slightly newer stories, which irritate me like nothing else because they're all Mister or Miss
|The disbelieving voices in my head when they hear me thinking I can get two stories finished. :P|
Well, I am one of those writers whom I call poeticists (basically people who write with poetic or classical descriptive styles, and so like to have just the right wording for every little tiny atom of that story). So I edit as I go. I edit very basely as I am writing, and then I edit even more when I type, and then when I add on new scenes to the typed document, I edit it and the old stuff even more. So, my editing process is kind-of just my writing process.
On a scale from 1 to 10, how do you think this draft turned out?
Well, I'm not as irritated with it as I was when I first finished NaNo (which was irritated enough to describe the story as "As horrid-sounding as kale with mayonnaise"). I actually almost think I might be able to look at it again soon. ;) On a scale of 1 to 10, I might say a six in comparison to my other stories, only because a) it was waaaaaay to intense for me because it actually had action in it, b) it had absolutely no romance or even grounds for such to speak of because the original intended romance may not work out so well now with the new character developments, and c) my favorite characters to write kept going missing or leaving. However, for itself, I might bump it up to a seven, only because if it was the only novel I'd ever written, it'd be good (plus I wrote it in terrible conditions, including stress, dizzy spells, and overall insane busy-ness without editing). But, like I said, in comparison to my other stories, it wasn't that great.
What aspect of your draft needs the most work?
Um, probably the fact that I have two different villains that I have no idea what to do with once they're vanquished, so to speak. I mean what do you really do with villains on such a large scale?! One of them is pretty much national level, so, I especially have no idea there. :P
What do you like most about your draft?
That can be summed up in three words. Bertie. Vance. Tsonja. The three characters that hit me like a subway train. Vance was expected to do so from the very beginning, but I thought he would be the only one taking the stage so much. Then Bertie came in. Bertie was just supposed to be some kind-of dry, funny Aussie special-force guy, but he walked in, and changed himself into one of the most delightful sights ever. He came in, and his mental image changed from a boring shortbread cookie to the most delicious 'smore you ever saw. He immediately became fascinating, and hilarious, and so amazingly sweet. He threatens to become my favorite after Vance (Wait, I'm their author, I'm not supposed to take favorites! *to self* Shush, you!). And then there was Tsonja. For the most part, my female characters never interest me very much. Sometimes there's a particularly interesting one here or there inserted at random, but they're not regularly competing for my favorite. Tsonja was. I heard her voice so clearly in my head... I had to force myself to write down her accent rather than just writing what she said, because my mind would hear her so well and then translate it, so to speak. She came through sooooo clearly, it was like writing down somebody I knew. She's natively Russian, so sometimes she uses very European-sounding phrases or has broken English (man, I wish I could speak Russian!). She's a bit sarcastic, very reclusive, characteristic, traditional, and Russian tough-lady to the very core. There are very few of my female characters that spoke to me as much as Tsonja Ristoff.
|My rendition of Tsonja Ristoff, although, not entirely accurate looks-wise, as they didn't have a shade of blond hair light enough on this particular designing-site when I made it.|
Well, finishing it is my current plan, and then finding beta-readers (which shouldn't be too hard). Although, I might consider the dark hole idea too. ;)
What is your main piece of advice for those just finishing a first draft?
Well, seeing as I'm always on my third or fourth draft before I ever finish the book (due to excessive editing habits) I can't really say much there. Especially since I have never finished a novel. My main advice might be more like a hyper-excited congratulations than advice, because they accomplished something I never have. :P Oh well. :)
Anyways, those're my plans for In Greater Hands (hey, a slant rhyme!). Hopefully, they don't get sidetracked too much. ;) But, writing rules are made to be bent a little anyways, so I think that it should be okay even if I do get sidetracked.
There you go! What did you think? Is there any chance that I have some potential beta-readers in my audience...? Is anybody else wishing that they could speak Russian?