A to Z Challenge 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Brave New Year...With No Impending Mayan Cataclysm

Technically I'm a day late in declaring the New Year but I was on vacation for the holidays and I decided to stay on vacation (from everything) the entire time.  Now that my year has officially started, it's time to get busy writing.  And hey, as the title states there is no impending Mayan disaster hanging over our heads.  Imagine that.

On to writing projects.  I have two works I need to re-visit.  One is (and always was designed to be) a novel length sci-fi apocalypse-type story, and the other began as a short story but I've been advised by some to maybe extend it into something more (basically I've been told there may be more story there if I just explore it a bit).  This brings me to a place I've never been - a complete revising of previous works.  I've never taken such a long break from something I've been writing and come back to it.  These stories continue to invade my thoughts however, so I know I need to get them into at least a 2nd or 3rd (or more) draft/final state.  Where to start, where to start.

One aspect of my writing I have always failed at (I can say that without wincing now) is adequately bringing my characters to life.  I've not sat down and really described my characters.  I haven't explored their various quirks and mannerisms.  I've just breezed through a semblance of a story, which is why my first drafts have come out pretty shallow.  With this in mind, I'm going to need to work through a character inspection of sorts to get a much better handle on who these people are.  I did try creating a template once with appropriate question/answer prompts, but it just felt foreign and uncomfortable to use.   I think this time I'm going to take a different approach.  I'm going to write about the characters, as if I were explaining them to someone.  More of a storytelling approach but for myself (since I love to talk to myself all the time).  I think that will work out better for me and who knows - I just find some interesting stuff I can add directly into the story.

I also need to work on world-building.  When I looked at all the awesome cool stuff Beth Revis did for her first novel Across The Universe (like drawing her ship, etc), I was thinking one thing - I SO WANT TO BE THAT GOOD!  My novel-length WIP definitely needs some serious world-building.  Everything takes place in one location (well, multiple areas of one location, but anyway) so I need to know that place inside and out.  Another new process I'll have to work out.  I may have to engage my artist son to draw me some stuff, since he's insanely talented and could probably draw it better than I can (and if he can imagine it from my words, I know I'm doing a better job of translating the imagery).  With my short story/potential novel, I do need to have a better handle on the location but its less important.

I may start something new at some point later in the year, but for now I really want to concentrate on these two projects.  I have a ton of work to get done, but I'm hoping this will be the year I can actually say I have something ready to shop around to an agent (or whatever the next step ends up being for these WIPs).  I am also planning on ramping up how much I pay attention to the literary world in general.  I've been lurking minimally, but I probably should get more involved if I can.   I hate to think of opportunities passing me by just because I didn't watch for them.  Anyway, I'm eager and ready for a challenge and this year will probably end up being that and so much more.  Here's to everyone else out there looking forward to a busy year.  May we all find some level of success, no matter how small or large.