Welcome 2013: Please Be An Awesome Year

welcome20132Welcome 2013, please be an awesome year. It’d be highly appreciated, I assure you. I’ve made my New Year’s Resolutions this year and I hope to keep them all.

I can’t fully control most of them, but I can do my best. I don’t want to reveal them all (I totally believe in jinxing myself!) but I will share a few. I wrote them all last night, sealed them up, and put them in a box in my desk drawer so I won’t be able to see them until I open them next year… and I don’t remember all seven off the top of my head. How bad is that? It was just last night.

Some of my 2013 Resolutions:

  • Read at least a 100 books (genres to focus on: YA, contemporary, horror, steampunk YA, pretty much anything YA, actually…)
  • Do something productive toward my goal of getting published EVERY DAY (things like writing, revising, plotting/outlining story ideas, reading, researching, etc)
  • Get a literary agent this year! (‘Cause that’d be awesome)
  • Start my career (as a recent college graduate, I have a job that’s OK but definitely not something I want to make into my career.)

2012 hasn’t been a bad year. It was the first full year I’ve been out of college. Sometimes I find myself regretting my decision to graduate a year early and not go to graduate school. But I didn’t graduate early or did go to graduate school I wouldn’t have been able to travel and intern in Australia and New Zealand for the first half the year. I made awesome friends and saw beautiful things. I did some ridiculous things that I never thought I’d do like swimming with jellyfish (so scared of those things!) and sharks at the Great Barrier Reef and jumping out of an airplane at about 14,000 ft over the Australian rain forest.

While all of that was amazing, I’m happiest about how much I’ve developed as a writer this year. I’d say I’m considerably better than I was this time last year. I’ve begun to reach out to other writers, attended my first writer’s conference, made some very good friends, and joined a few critique groups. The latter has really helped me see the errors in my own writing. I also finally figured out how the publishing world worked. At the start of the year, I was so scared of query letters, synopsis, and researching literary agents, but now I’m not. Granted, I still don’t like synopsis so much (but I learned the trick is to write them before you write the story!) and I’ve actually developed some love for writing query letters. And I love researching things. I really do, so the whole literary agent research work wasn’t so bad once I reminded myself that. It’s different doing research for something you love versus forced-research-college-stuff.

Overall, 2012 was a good year. I’m not really a big fan of odd numbers (I know, weird) so I’m weary of this oncoming year for no good reason. I do think that more good things are in store for this coming year. I hope that there are a lot of great things in store for you, too!

Good luck!

The Not So Pretty First Draft

I’m officially finished with the first draft of my WIP, which is currently nameless. Coming up with compelling, meaningful, titles has never been a strong suit of mine. It’s 85K words and a YA urban fantasy (no shocker there, right?). It’s considerably different from my complete manuscript (Vanishing Valerie) which is currently out in the land of partials and queries. Unlike VV, it’s first-person and present tense. I’m not sure if it’ll stay like that through the revision stage. I mean, it’ll probably remain first person but the verb tense may change.

For the most part, it turned out like I had expected. I’m sure you all know it goes when you’re writing, sometimes the story takes a completely different turn. A couple characters turned out differently than I had envisioned, but that’s fine since it took the story to where I wanted it to go. But… really, Hemingway’s quote couldn’t be more right. It’s decent, but really nothing remarkable. I need to take a big step away from it before I can start to revise it. I need fresh eyes and to figure out how to make it better — and, mostly, whether I’m going to change the verb tense or not.

So what am I going to do with that time? Focus some on the querying process for Vanishing Valerie, of course, but mostly read. Read, read, and read some more. I really think that it’ll help me with revision more than anything else. I was reading an article, Envy or Inspiration, over at Magical Word today and it really was perfecting timing for me. Sometimes I struggle with being envious over the amazing books I read, but I just have to keep reminding myself that it’s their final products. Their polished work that took them multiple drafts to get to, so of course my lousy first draft is nothing in comparison.

What about everyone else? Do you feel your first drafts are pretty good or just awful? What do you do to prep yourself for the revision stage?