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.