1. What were your writing achievements last year?
I re-wrote the fantasy novel that I have been working on for the past two years, and I focused on characters. I also attempted to write a few short stories, though I haven't finished any of them. Additionally, I wrote a lot of blog posts of which I am proud, and I earned A's on all of my college essays (though one was, technically, a B+/A-)!
2. What’s on your writerly “to-do list” for 2017?
My biggest goal for 2017 is to finish my fantasy novel. If I can, I would also like to write/finish several short stories. If I can't write them, then I would at least like to outline them. Tentatively, I am thinking about writing an anthology of scary stories (my Gothic Literature class inspired me). Also, my sci-fi café story idea is still cooking in the back of my mind. It's not fully baked yet, but I have high hopes that the oven timer will sound its completion soon!
3. Tell us about your top-priority writing projects for this year!
My fantasy novel! Though have learned a lot through the enjoyable process of editing this book, I am ready to finish this story.
4. How do you hope to improve as a writer? Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017?
I hope to continue refining my essay-writing skills. Also, I hope I can continue growing in my characterization and streamlining skills.
At the end of 2017, I would like to have a physical copy of my finished manuscript in front of me. (And my secret hope is that I will have published something in my school's literary journal. But, shh! Don't tell anyone!)
5. Describe your general editing process.
Since I've only editing one book before this one, I don't have an editing process yet. The one I've been using for this novel has been working well, though. I started by working on my plot, and then I worked on my characters. Now, I'm working on my plot and characters again. After I finish with them, I will look over the draft for wordiness, decide if I need better word choice, and fix grammar mistakes.
6. On a scale of 1-10, how do you think [your most recent] draft turned out?
A seven. It was much better than I expected and it has a lot of potential, but it still has a lot of work to be done to it. Luckily, I can see exactly what needs to be done! All I need is the time and motivation to do it.
7. What aspect of your draft needs the most work?
In addition to my characters, my world building still needs work. I don't have to worry much about one of my races since only one of its members is in the story. Finn's race, however, I have renovated since I decided that I didn't want him to be an Elf. I've made up my own race, which means a lot of rewriting later in the story. Hopefully, I can write them well enough that people don't think they are Elves.
8. What do you like the most about your draft?
The cleverness and humor. I didn't remember that my story was so funny! I'm taking this as a good sign: if I'm entertained by it, certainly my audience will be entertained, right?
9. What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers?
Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?
After I finish this draft, I will have several people read it. Then, I will work on edits based on their comments, and word choice and grammar edits. After that, I don't know. I want to publish the story somewhere, but I don't know yet if I want to self-publish it or go the independent or traditional route.
10. What’s your top piece of advice for those just finished writing a first draft?
First of all: Congratulations!! You wrote a whole novel! My advice to you is to take a break from your story for several weeks. Then, start looking at it again. You will see the problems and have to come up with solutions. Sometimes, letting other people read your work helps you figure out problems and solutions.
No first draft is perfect, but nearly every story has potential, so find problems, find solutions to those problems, and make your novel the best that it can be!