Okay, maybe I have no idea what a bear feels like, but I do feel a weird combination of rested and groggy. And a tad hungry.
Did everyone enjoy their holidays? I dove deeper into my work in progress (WIP) and devoured Waterfall and Cascade by Lisa T. Bergen. I even spent some time with these guys:
And my husband, parents, grandmother, and in-laws were utterly ridiculous (but in the best kind of way!) because this beautiful girl was waiting under the tree for me:
Because it's January, and it's only natural to both reflect and cast a vision, let's do some of both!
If you're game, leave a comment answering one or both of these questions:
What's the best piece of writing-related knowledge you gained in 2011 that you're bringing with you into the new year?
And what goal(s) have you set for yourself this year?
What I learned in 2011...
I don't work well with an uber-detailed outline (already knew that part!) but what does help me is having an outline of the basics. From reading James Scott Bell's Plot and Structure, I decided to try plotting the basics. I don't want to post the ones I did for my work in progress (WIP) but I did a quick right up for Me, Just Different:
My character's ordinary world: She's wealthy, popular, and a partier
The disturbance: Narrowly escaping a date rape
The doorway into act two: Choosing to go to youth group
The middle: Skylar tries her hardest to be good on her own, but her parents are warring, her little sister is secretly pregnant, and she's trapped in a relationship she doesn't want with the guy who saved her from getting raped. Oh, and she's way more interested in the new guy at school than she wants to be. Especially because he's dating her best friend.
The doorway into act three: Skylar telling her friends she's making a lifestyle change and choosing to go to a youth coach's house.
Ending: It has one, but I won't spoil it here in case you still haven't read Me, Just Different (which is super cheap on Amazon - $5.20. And, yes, being a better marketer is on my 2012 goals list - why do you ask?)
I can combine the above plot points (Bell refers to them as "a disturbance and two doorways" which I like much better) with a couple key questions:
What goal is driving my character through the novel, and what are her obstacles?
What lie does my character believe?
When I'm done answering those questions, I've written under 200 words of an outline, and I'm itching to write. I've found this provides just enough structure to keep me on course, but I still have a ton of room creatively since I'm just using 200 words to define a 60 to 75k novel.
A goal I've set for myself this year is...
To have a better balance in my marketing/writing life. Before I was published, writing was the priority. Now that I have books on the shelves, and since I would someday like for there to be more Stephanie Morrill books on the shelves, that means I have to prioritize marketing.
But because marketing is one of those things that you never get to check off your to-do list, because there's always something else you could be doing, I have a tendency to push writing to the back burner much more often than I'd like to. Which makes me cranky. And which is bad in the long run, because if I'm not writing books, I'll have nothing that needs marketing.
I'm currently in the first draft stage of a manuscript, so my goal is to write 5,000 words a week. (When I'm in the editing stages, it gets trickier to pick a word count.) I would love to have a daily goal of 2,500 or something like that, but with little kids in the house ... yeah, it's just too unpredictable. So. 5,000 a week. If I can do more, great. If not, 5,000 will at least keep me from being crabby.
What about you?