2012 – The Year of Possibilities and Learning

Last year I had a list of goals a mile long. It was my year of chasing rainbows.

To tell you the truth, I haven’t been back to revisit my goals. The thing about writing goals is that they’re not easily measurable. You can’t say, I’m going to have a book published this year (unless it’s been scheduled) because there are so many factors that are out of your hands.

So, when it comes to writing goals, I look at them more as a means to get me to focus on what I want to achieve for the year.

I guess it’s a bit like doing an elevator pitch. If I can’t contain my goals to a paragraph then chances are I’ve made them too complex and that makes them hard to achieve.

So, if I could sum up my goals for this year, they would be to make the most of opportunities and learn as much as I can about my craft.

2012 is going to be my Year of Possibilities & Learning.

I have a number of manuscripts polished and ready to go. So this is going to be my year of getting them ‘out there’, of biting the bullet and being brave, and submitting. (They are my possibilities)

It’s going to be my year for exploring new genre, for trying my hand at things I’ve never tried before; different ‘points of view’, different styles and new skills. See, I’ve probably set too many goals already, but when it all boils down to it, it’s about honing my skills and working harder at becoming a better writer.

So this is the process I’ve gone through to work towards that goal.

1.  Look at the things I’m not so good at – the things that always seem to come up when I’m having my work critiqued. I’m going to share them with you.

The Things I could Do Better:

  1. story beginnings
  2. story endings
  3. simplifying plot
  4. exploring setting and developing it more
  5. strengthening my characters by focussing on the things they don’t say.
  6. avoid word repetition

2.  Buy books that can help me. I know I’m going to have to work hard at these things. Two books I’ve bought to help me are Martha Alderson’s, ‘The Plot Whisperer’ and mary Mary Buchkam and Dianna Love’s “Break Into Fiction’, so I’ve got a bit of light reading planned this summer:)

I also got some fabulous tips from Michael Bourret at the SCBWI LA conference last August..and the fabulous Ellen Hopkins.

3.  Enrol in short courses like Mary Buckham’s Master Classes online on Active Settings and Body Language and Emotion.

It’s been a while since I’ve done anything like these online courses so I’m very excited. I’ll be sure to share what I’ve learned.

My US author friend, Laura Elliott has decided that 2012 will be her Year of Just Do it!

My Australian author buddy, Karen Collum seems to have the ‘measurable writing goals’ thing worked out. You might like to read her blog.

Hope you have a happy and inspirational year in 2012. I’d love to hear about what you have planned for this year.

Happy writing:)
Dee

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WRITING – STARTING WITH THE FINISH

Welcome to 2010 everyone, and I hope it’s a safe, happy and succesful year for you.

Logic dictates that I should be starting the new year with a post about beginning a story – but seeing as logic has never been my strong point, I’m starting 2010 with a post about how to handle the end.

Probably selfish I know, but relevant to me at this point in my novel’s ‘creation life’. That’s because I am currently in the throes, wrestling with, doing grapple tackles on my new YA novel, Street Racer – and it’s the ending that needs the most work.

See, my problem is, that I’m a little bit like a Racer in the way I write. When I see the end in sight, I put my foot on the accelerator and go for it – don’t stop till I reach the end. In fact, sometimes, I’m in such a hurry that I make wrong turns, forget to check out the scenery – and have even been known to lose a character along the way.

This year, being a new year, I’m trying a new approach to story endings and so far it seems to be working.

What I’ve realised is that it’s important to take your ending away from the rest of the story and treat it as if it were the start. In fact, this is something you can do with any parts of your story that you feel aren’t working as well as they should be.

Here’s what I mean, when it comes to endings. Take the last fifty pages of your story and rewrite them with the same diligence, care and love you have devoted to the start. If you are anything like me – you will have written, reworked, agonised over and polished that beginning until it shines – that’s after all what all the writing experts tell you to do; that this is the part that will impress the publisher or agent.

But what generally happens with my endings is…..well, I leave them till last. That makes them a bit like the last Christmas present to unwrap, the last week of the school year, the last day of the holidays – you just don’t face them with the same enthusiasm. I’ve realised it’s all about changing your thinking.

If you take the end away, detach it from your story…..and then rewrite it; you won’t run out of steam. Treat it as a new piece. Break it down chapter by chapter, page by page, word by word – until every single part of it is the best it can be. With any luck you’ll find that by doing this, you’ll give your story ending the same vibrance, clarity and spark as the beginning.

Hope this works for you. Would love to know if you can relate to this way of writing, or you may have a completely different solution to offer.

Feel free to leave your comments, and share with other writers the way that you work.

Dee:-)