Beautiful Books: 2017 Writing Goals

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Beautiful Books is a tri-annual linkup and variation of the monthly Beautiful People meme run by Cait @paperfury and Sky @furtherupfurtherin in which writers discuss their writing projects.

What were your writing achievements last year?

I finished rewriting my epic fantasy work in progress.

What’s on your writerly “to-do list” for 2017?

To reread my project from last year, decide what to do about it, and write another first draft. Hopefully have something I feel comfortable sending to beta readers by the end of the year.

Tell us about your top-priority writing projects for this year!

Not quite sure what the focus will be this year. I have a lot of ideas I could start, and am not sure which ones I will chose yet.

How do you hope to improve as a writer? Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017?

I hope to get better at revising my completed work. At the end of 2017 I hope to see myself with at least one revised manuscript.

Describe your general editing process.

This is still forming, hence the goal to get better at revision, but I tend to start with big picture issues first then move to smaller ones.

On a scale of 1-10, how do you think this draft turned out?

Five, it’s a lot better than the first draft, but needs a lot of work.

What aspect of your draft needs the most work?

World-building, this piece deals with a lot of fictional cultures, and I’m having trouble deciding on some of their characteristics.

What do you like the most about your draft?

That it’s complete now. 🙂

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?

Not sure yet. It depends how confident I feel in it after more revisions. however, I’ll almost certainly be sending it to beta readers, but not for some time.

What’s your top piece of advice for those just finished writing a first draft?

Set it aside for a little while before deciding what to do with it.

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2016 Reading Statistics

I loved making this post last year and seeing everything I read that year in visual form, so I decided to do the same for 2016. This will exclude most of the statistics already listed in Goodreads’ beautiful “My 2016 in Books” feature.

Age Groups

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In both 2016 and 2015 I read more young adult books than any other age groups, but the amount of books I’ve read in other age groups has grown a lot relative to last year.

Genres

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Like last year, the overwhelming majority of books I read were fantasy. I’m somewhat embarrassed that not one of the books I read in 2016 fit into the contemporary category (though one got very close).

Contemporary is far from my favorite genre, but I like to try to read at least a few books from it. Guess this means one of my reading goals for 2017 is to read at least one contemporary novel.

Where Books Take Place

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Like last year, I read more books taking place off of Earth than any one place on it. This year the portion of books seems to have grown enough that a little more than half of the books I read take place on Earth, unlike last year where I read more books taking place in fictional locations/in space than on Earth.

The portion of books I read in places outside of the US has also grown a little, though not by much. Like last year, most of the books taking place in a European setting took place in the UK. So many, I considered making it its own category both times, but ultimately decided against it.

Note that this chart doesn’t comment on the accuracy of how these places were portrayed, only that the book in question had at least one significant scene set in this location. This also means, therefore, that some books fall in multiple categories.

The book with no location is nonfiction.

Conclusions

I didn’t read as much in 2016 as I did the two years before. (I read 63 books in 2016, 73 books in 2015, and 77 books in 2014.) However, I’m okay with that.

I was much busier in 2016 than I was in 2015 and 2014. I wanted to still read a significant amount of books in 2016, but focus on reading what I wanted to read. I knew that otherwise I would never find the motivation to read. I feel I have succeeded in these goals.

Note: Charts made with onlinecharttool.com.

December 2016 Wrap-up

I read four books in December. Three were fiction and one was non-fiction. One was fantasy and two were sci-fi. Two were young adult.

28954189Short Synopsis: Two teenagers must compete for a position neither of them wants: to become a professional killer.

Thoughts: Not my favorite Neal Shusterman book, but still an awesome read.

See my review to learn more.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

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Short Synopsis: A duke, his concubine and son are exiled to a desert planet. Chaos ensues.

Thoughts: This one took me a while to get through. There is a lot of world-building that can slow the pace down at times, but the world-building is ultimately the novel’s greatest strength.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

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Short Synopsis: Fifth book in the Abhorsen/Old Kingdom Series.

Thoughts: I read the first three books, but skipped the fourth on account of the negative reviews. Skipping the fourth (a prequel) had no impact on my enjoyment of this novel.

Goodreads claims this is the nineteenth book I’ve read by this author. I suspect the count is closer to seventeen, but it’s still high regardless. Nix’s world-building keeps me coming back.

Also Lirael=awesome. That is all.

Rating: 4 blue jays

180467Short Synopsis: Nonfiction book about how writers can self-edit.

Thoughts: A lot of this is basic and I already knew, but there were some details I needed a refresher on and a few things I hadn’t realized. This book does a great job doing what it set out too, but I’m not going to rate it because I have such a hard time deciding what to rate non-fiction.