Friday, January 8, 2016

Beautiful People #14--Writerly Resolutions and Goals

At the beginning of the year, I want to make some concrete goals to make sure my writing time is spent productively. So I'm joining up with this wonderful tag by the Beautiful People hosts to think about it! 

1. What were your writing achievements last year?
In 2015 I finished an extensive edit of War of Loyalties. The 2nd extensive edit. Only by the grace of God. In June I wrote a short story for a friend. In July I did Camp NaNo and worked on Homeschool Diaries, which I'm still in love with the concept of, but it didn't click. I want to get back to it. In August I sent my laptop in for repairs and found it was a hopeless case, so I wrote things on three different family computers while I earned money for another one. In September, I wrote up all kinds of proposals and one sheets for the ACFW conference, and pitched my novel to agents in Dallas, Texas. In the fall and winter, I wrote 2 novellas, Caribbean Dance and Caribbean Dream, exploring the beautiful world of Colby, Julian, and Roo, which was something I never expected. They enrich my life in a beautiful way, and it hurts that I will never get to meet them in person. I also started War of Honor *cheers* which I have been waiting for years to dig into. All in all, over 173,000 words just in story writing.
2. Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year?
Definitely finishing War of Honor. That is my top priority project. Other plans include another Caribbean installment, Hope that You Remember Me, and writing the second half of a dark and exciting novella entitled Night of the Harvest Moon. We shall see what the Lord has in store.
3. List 5 areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve this year.
I can't think of five, but there are three major ones. 
Kindness to myself--I am not kind to myself. I recognize it, but have never done anything about it. Recently I went through all the sharp criticism I put myself through on a daily basis and was horrified. It pretty much went from the time I got up until the time I went to sleep, with breaks of forgetfulness or distraction in between. Honestly, it is a fault that must be overcome. I'm not sure how, but that's one of my projects this year. Most of those thoughts center around the idea of telling myself what I lack. Not enough focus, not enough writing, not enough research, not enough prayer, not enough rest, sometimes (believe it or not) not enough work. It's a vicious cycle that needs to end, it wreaks havoc on my writing quality, and it's not a healthy part of the life of a child of God. 
Plot--It is not my strong point. So I'm trying to balance getting it tight enough without losing everything about my stories that I most love. I feel like I've swung the pendulum too far the other way, and I don't love the characters quite as much now that I'm always thinking about plot structure, so I'm experimenting with that and trying to reassure myself that authors do not have to have everything figured out by the age of 21. 
Taking Time to Replenish Creativity--Ouch. Again, another really bad area for me. Creative projects, watching movies, reading a lot, and generally taking time just to rest and be glad fills the mind and refreshes the soul. I generally push those things away to get my to-do lists done, saving them for the fantasy breaks that never seem to come. So one of my goals this year needs to be intentional creative time. Not to accomplish a great goals. Just to slow down and be. I think I can do more of it, as I develop the habit of being kinder to myself. 
4. Are you participating in any writing challenges?
I hope to do Camp NaNo as well as the official NaNoWriMo again! Seriously, the writing highs, encouragement, and focused concentration are priceless. I love them. I love the word wars and incredible focus and comraderie from writers all around the world. Last year was my first experience with both, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
5. What’s your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year?
I have a lovely group of beta readers in the siblings of three different families, and a couple of come-and-go beta readers depending on schedule. I would like to add a couple of more interested in historical literary fiction who want to form a partnership with me. I write character-driven historical fiction, and I would love to find a couple of people serious about the craft of writing who are interested in swapping, fangirling, and strengthening each other's work not just after the book is done, but throughout the creative process of plotting and brainstorming.
6. Do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year? Or are there specific books you want to read for research? 
Good question. I don't have any specific ones planned, but I want to read the Go Teen Writers book on writing. I may have some in my Kindle that I need to get around to.
7. Pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this?
Some characters I feel like I need to rediscover in the sequel I'm writing. Can't say who because of spoilers.
8. Do you plan to edit or query, and what’s your plan of attack?
I hope to send out two queries this month. If that doesn't turn up anything, I am in a quandary as to whether to go secular, Christian, or indie. I honestly don't know, and I want to decide soon.
9. Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” What are the books that you want to see more of, and what “holes” do you think need filling in the literary world?
I want to see more big chunky history stories. I see a lot of fantasy, which I love, but most historical fiction I see is romance. And I'm not against romance, but I'm sad about the same spiritual and physical plot repeating itself over and over again until it's a worn-out cycle. I want to see stories move into different time periods, break word count stereotypes, and plot and character stereotypes, and really contribute something meaningful and different to the literary community. In saying that, I'm not trying to bash modern romance stories--there are many new authors in that genre I have found both originality and depth in that I am enjoying a lot.
10. What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?
Like I said, the three novellas, and beginning to send out War of Honor chapter by chapter to the first round of beta readers. I'm so excited I can't wait much longer, and they really have been extremely patient. And I want to share it with someone. The plot twists! The romance! The suspense! 

What are your writing goals this year? Which stories on this list most intrigues you? 


  1. I like your goals for this year. ^_^ I have a Long List of goals I might make up, but we'll see. XD

    It will be such fun to see the next Caribbean story--I can't wait. And War of Honor will be amazing too. WE WANT CHAPTERS FROM IT.

    Looking over the answer to your first question, I couldn't believe how much writing you got done this year. Fantastical job, girlie! :)

    1. Oo, tell me your goals sometime?

      Your enthusiasm is really sweet. <3 I was reading through the story midpoint today, and it gave me fresh zeal for getting it done. And Caribbean story. Colby. Donuts. Let's do this thing.

  2. So many great plans. Praying that the Lord gives you wisdom in accomplishing them for His glory. <3

    1. Thank-you so much. ^_^ I really appreciate it.

  3. I agree with you on wanting to see more chunky literary historical fiction books in the literary scene. That's probably my favorite genre to read. War of Honor sounds like an amazing addition to the genre, and you've made so much progress in your writing this year. 173,000 words? AFCW? That's awesome. One of my writing goals this year is to write a draft of my first historical novel. It's my favorite type of genre to read and yet I've never written it. Also, being kind to myself and taking time for me is also really important. One of my most important "life" goals of this year is to do one fun and relaxing thing every week.

    1. High five for historical books! I hope your writing goes really, really well. I'd love to know more about it!

  4. I look forward to the day when I can curl up with a book by Lady Bibliophile! Do be kind to yourself, my lady. : ) I'm sure you've heard the Andrew Peterson song: "How does it end, when the war that your in, is just you against you against you? You gotta learn to love your enemies too." Thank the Lord that we can rejoice in our weakness! Happy writing and reading and plotting to you! -Sarah

    1. Your sweet words were such a gift, Sarah. I will treasure them for a long time. I love that Andrew Peterson song. Thank-you so much. ;)

  5. Nice list of goals! I might take this list and do something similar ;) Btw, Go Teen Writers also has an excellent book on editing. I'm not sure if that was the same one you were referring to, but I thought I'd mention it. Happy 2016!

    1. I think that's the same one! I love their blog, and have read bits of their book. It's really, really good. :D Happy 2016 to you, too!

  6. Dear Schuyler, I love your writing goals for 2016! I'm praying the Lord will truly prosper all that you do this new year for His glory and make the work of your hands fruitful =). But yes, dear, don't overdue it or stress yourself with the work - give yourself rest and relaxation and don't you dare beat yourself up about your writing :D. And remember to always not strive in yourself, but lean on His strength! For with Him, we can do all things!

    Aw, I am so excited that there is more "Carribean" story sequels in the works - SO EXCITED! It's a beautiful story indeed that I love so much too =).

    Uhm, Schuyler, not pushing anything here, but would you be interested in including me among your chapter-by-chapter beta-readers for War of Honor? I am a deep lover of history and rich historical dramas, and though I may not be able to offer deep analyses for your writing as someone in anyway above your own talents, I would do best to offer my true critic and honest, fangirly thoughts :D. If you'd prefer to wait, I'll be totally content to wait, but just thought I should mention it in case you needed any more in your bag of devoted beta-readers ;)

    I totally agree with you about seeing more of those rich, deep historical sagas! Let's pray for that and do our best in our own writing.

    Happy writing for 2016, dear Schuyler!! <3

    1. Thank-you so much for your gentle kindness, Joy. It is always balm to my soul. And by God's grace, I'm going to try hard to be kinder. Sometimes even specifically pointing out to myself something that I've done correctly is a start, and something I'm working on. And yes, ultimately it's not about me at all, but God in me, and my focus should be so much more turned to His completeness than my own lack!

      I'm so glad you love the Caribbean stories. <3

      I will definitely consider you, my dear! Thank-you so much for asking! Your encouragement is wonderful, and it will be a few months before I am at that point, but I will be in touch with you before then to let you know!! I really, really appreciate your prayers and interest. They are so encouraging to me, and I want you to read it so much. <3

      Love you, and I'm so excited to see what you'll be writing in 2016!


  7. >>>> I want to see more big chunky history stories. I see a lot of fantasy, which I love, but most historical fiction I see is romance. And I'm not against romance, but I'm sad about the same spiritual and physical plot repeating itself over and over again until it's a worn-out cycle. I want to see stories move into different time periods, break word count stereotypes, and plot and character stereotypes, and really contribute something meaningful and different to the literary community.

    YESSSSS. Have I ever mentioned how glad I am, Schuyler, that you chose to set your own novels in WWI? Seems like everyone's writing WWII and western romances, or secondary-world fantasy.

    Of course, the trade-off is that people are usually a lot more willing to invest in a historical period they already know and love, and less willing to show interest in a period of history that's never appealed to them--perhaps because it was only ever a footnote in their history book. :(

    1. I know, WW1 has SO MUCH glory, wonder, sadness, pain, things to learn--and it's gotten almost forgotten beneath the shadow of WW2. I hope to resurrect it in a small part at least.

  8. Yay for 2015, and double-yay for 2016! I'm so happy for what you accomplished, and I look forward to what this year will bring. I'm praying for you and your writing. <3

    1. Thank-you, thank-you for your prayers, Victoria. You are a gem of a friend, and your writing journey is so beautiful. I'm blessed to know you. <3

  9. Love your goals for this year and good luck with your writing :-)


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