I suppose it's not too late to wish you all a Happy New Year. Resolutions, lists of things to get done, everything gets a new start, a new look. So naturally, we think about our writing goals, and what we can realistically get done in a year. Trouble is, I don't know what's realistic any more. My first goal for this year: write a list of goals for this year. When I have the time, of course.
I seem to be treating time as an enemy, which it feels like most of the time. I go back to the age old question of whether I am using my time wisely enough. So there you go:
1. Use time more wisely.
Since I haven't actually written since NanoWriMo, I should fill you in on how it went. It won't take a genius to work out I didn't get 50,000 words. The goal for me was never necessarily to hit the word count in a month, because I was almost certain I couldn't do it (probably my first mistake - telling myself that). What I wanted to get out of it was the initial push to get that first few thousand words down on paper and to get a story flowing. I wanted to get myself into the habit of writing every day, even if just a few lines, and hoped that it might stick. I wanted to get down these ideas that have been with me for a very long time, but I never had the skills to articulate them. I wanted to take on a new genre and have a bash at creating an entire world.
What actually happened, you ask. Well, I certainly got that initial push, and I ended with roughly 12,000 words, which no matter what it looks like in the grand scheme of things, I am proud of. Although, reading Peter Brett's blog, he has just cut about that much from his novel-in-progress, which gave me a disheartening perspective. You see, the problem is that I tried after November to continue the pace; but then Christmas hit. Only having 5 days off and hosting Christmas for the parents didn't leave me that much time.
I have barely touched it since then.
I certainly got down my ideas, even if only in crudely formed sentences and somewhat lacking descriptive details, but that was the point, just to flipping well write. So many ideas and potlines have opened up in my head while I've been writing. It's that pressure of knowing you have to write what comes next, not whatever scene comes into my head as I have been known to do. Actually, the ideas came a lot more easily. I found it fascinating to see how far my characters had come, and how much had actually happened in the wordspace. One of my greatest weaknesses in writing has always been writing so much without saying anything. Words and words and words but very little story. When asked 'what's it about', I find myself speaking about the underlying messages and what the characters are like, not about what happens.
Creating a world was fun, but exhausting. There are still so many details which need researching. I know the beauty of a fantasy world is that nobody can check accuracy, but actually most fantasy worlds have elements of truth to them. For example, the system of rule and the monarchy, government or leadership doesn't necessarily have to be based on or reflecting anything we know of. But my point is, I know so little about that sort of thing that I would like to research it, just to see the patterns, or similarities in various systems in order to work out a new one.
At the moment, consistency is very overstretched. I realised when reading through my novel, that chapters 1-4 all supposedly happened in one single day. If anything, I felt that was a waste of plot, shoving it all into one day. You see I seem to have gone the opposite way and made too much happen too soon.
So, already I am beginning to see things which need improving. However, I am simply noting them down and plan to continue along the same path as I did with Nano.
2. Finish Draft 1 of The Poison Maiden.
I shan't try and conjure up goals in a single post, but will keep them coming over the next few weeks. That's as good a place to start as any, right?
Speak again soon.