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.

Beautiful People: August 2016

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Beautiful People is a monthly writing meme hosted by Cait @Paper Fury and Sky @Further up and Further in in which writers answer a series of questions about one of their characters.

This month I will be focusing on Queen Cressida, the mother of my protagonist from my epic fantasy work in progress.

Give a brief overview of their looks. (Include a photo if you want!)

Queen Cressida

The avatar creator used to make this image is found here: http://www.dolldivine.com/rpg-heroine-creator.php

This isn’t exactly right as in the story itself Cressida isn’t nearly this thin and the clothing designed in this fictional word would have a different cut than the one shown here, but it’s the closest I could get in an avatar generator.

Share a snippet that involves description of their appearance.

I can’t say that I’ve ever described Cressida’s appearance in my story itself. I don’t tend to write a lot of description, and have a tendency of focusing on personality traits when I do. That is especially true of this story since the story is told from the first person point of view of a mind reader who cares far more about people’s thought patterns than how they look. Here are snippets describing the queen’s personality:

(Note: These exerts are from an unedited draft.)

From part one:

“I stand by my mother’s side pouring her wine with eyes down-turned. It’s a struggle not to acknowledge mother’s thoughts. To pour her wine and move along. Mother is a queen. She can’t afford to associate with servants. Not even the one who happens to be her daughter.”

From part four:

“Baby, she [Cressida] has never called me that before, or at least not that I can remember. Part of me wants to say that she should be sorry. That my mother should have stood up against the persecution of Sifters and recognized me as her daughter. Queens are supposed to make the rules after all, but right now, arm in arm, it’s hard to be mad at her. I want to forgive.”

What is the first thing people might notice about them?

They’d notice that the way Cressida carries herself is imposing.

What are their unique features? (Ex: freckles, big ears, birthmark, scars, etc.)

Queen Cressida has a scar on her upper arm from an assassination attempt.

How tall are they? What is their build? (Ex: stocky, slender, petite, etc.)

Cressida is slightly taller than average, though people in this time period are on average a little shorter than modern humans, so she might be short by modern standards. Cressida is slightly overweight, but this is considered attractive in her society.

What is their posture like? How do they usually carry themselves?

Cressida has very upright posture. She almost never slouches. Cressida carries herself in a way that suggests privilege and control.

Your character has been seen on a “lazy day” (free from usual routine/expectations): what are they wearing and how do they look?

I don’t think Cressida has had a day free from her usual routine since she was in her teens. She’d probably wear the same thing she does any other day because she’d expect to have something in need of her attention at any moment.

Do they wear glasses, accessories, or jewelry on a regular basis? Do they have any article of clothing or accessory that could be considered their trademark?

Cressida often wears a beaded crown similar to the one pictured above.

Have they ever been bullied or shamed because of their looks? Explain!

No, not to her face anyway. No one wants to bear the consequences of insulting the queen.

Are they happy with how they look? If they could change anything about their appearance, what would it be?

Cressida wishes she didn’t have wrinkles. She doesn’t like the signs of age that are starting to appear on her body. If she could change anything about her appearance she would get rid of these wrinkles.

Beautiful People: June 2016

Beautiful People for Writers

Beautiful People is a monthly meme hosted by Cait @Paper Fury and Sky @Further up and Further In in which writers answer questions about their characters.

This month I’ve chosen Glenda, a major side character in my current work in progress. Glenda is the half sister of the main character and a crown princess.

What is their first childhood memory?

Glenda’s first childhood memory is of being extremely dressed up for a holiday in her culture that celebrates the end of the rainy season. (Flooding is common there, and the people are happy to see the rain go.)

What were their best and worst childhood experiences?

Glenda’s best childhood experience was one time when she was alone in the palace gardens and many of the flowers were in full bloom and she fell asleep. Glenda loves flowers, and rarely gets to be alone. This particular time was one when she really needed a break from being royalty, and she was thrilled by the fact she’d managed to evade her guards for so long.

Glenda’s worst childhood experience that isn’t a spoiler is her father’s death in the first chapter. Sometimes the relationship between Glenda and her father could be tense, but she loved him and was devastated by his death.

What was their childhood home like?

Glenda lives in a palace. It is quite large and extravagant. She grew up being able to easily obtain almost anything she desired unless that thing was privacy.

What’s something that scared them as child?

The fact that she always knew her mother was hiding a huge secret, but wasn’t told for years. She was scared of what that secret might be and imagined something far worse than it actually was.

Who did they look up to most?

Glenda looked up to her mother because she respected her mother’s leadership skills. (Her mother is a queen.)

Favourite and least favourite childhood foods?

Glenda’s favorite food is a type of pastry that isn’t made in our world, but that exists in this one. Glenda really does not like tomatoes.

If they had their childhood again, would they change anything?

She’s only about twelve in the story, so still a child, but Glenda’d probably change the way she treated her half-sister, the main character, who she didn’t realize was related to her, and so treated poorly most of the time.

What kind of child were they? Curious? Wild? Quiet? Devious?

Glenda could be devious at times, but when it came time to look professional for her future subjects she would look professional.

What was their relationship to their parents and siblings like?

Glenda’s relationship with her half-sister Yuliana, the story’s protagonist, is a complicated one. Glenda didn’t know Yuliana was related to her for many years. Before then she’d only known Yuliana as a palace servant and had treated her as such.

Glenda’s relationship with her mother is much better than her relationship with her sister. She has great respect for the way her mother has led her country, but resents the fact that the queen keeps so much a secret from her.

Glenda loves her father as well, though she has some resentment for the fact that her mother was essentially forced to marry him to save her country. She’ll also occasionally get into some heated arguments with him, and rebel against his wishes significantly more often than those of her mother.

What did they want to be when they grew up, and what did they actually become?

This question cannot be answered due to major spoilers.