If you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten. So goes the old saying. Looking ahead to my writing in 2017, doing what I’ve always done could be beneficial and harmful all at once.
Some positives in my current writing process, for example, include:
1) Writing drafts to completion;
2) Strong grasp of plot; and
3) Making forward progress regularly despite the sidetracks of life.
I wouldn’t mind at all repeating the processes that net me these things.
On the other hand, I worry that my same old process is resulting in the same old characters showing up in each new novel and a lack of agent interaction for getting my work seen. So while I hope to keep the core of my writing and revision practices intact, my goal is to try new things in 2017.
On the character development front, I’ve pantsed characters, and plotted them. Chosen cultures I knew of, and people I knew well. I’ve Googled pictures and created files that I can visually refer to. But I know my next step is to make a spreadsheet of the characters I’ve written and fill out a character development questionnaire for the next ones to come. Anything to vary the relatability and personality traits with particular attention to interesting uniqueness and emotional depth.
As for agent interaction, there are several choices I can explore:
1) Attend more conferences;
2) Be less timid at the Pocono Retreat I already attend;
3) Know the succinct selling point of my current WIP when I do encounter an agent (aka the elevator pitch);
4) Query old agent acquaintances with new manuscripts; and
5) Participate in reputable online forums.
The bottom line, revising my current practices is necessary to get to my end goal of landing an agent and getting published. So evaluating what is and isn’t working is an important step, not just in the New Year, but in making midyear adjustments as well.
How about you? What’s something old you plan to keep doing and something new you hope to try in 2017?