Something Old, Something New, by Kristen C. Strocchia


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?



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9 Responses to Something Old, Something New, by Kristen C. Strocchia

  1. Thanks for pushing me to re-evaluate, Kristen! I admire your tenacity so much. I’ve been realizing I need to get over my perfectionist fears and really push through to complete drafts, even if it means leaving the beginning messy for a while (eeek!). I also need to crawl out of my introvert comfort zone and do the New York conference this year! Thank you so much for all of your thoughtful posts…this one was really encouraging to me 🙂

    • Oh, I forgot to say what I’ll keep….I’m going to keep my think-it-out notebook, while adding in some outlining notecards. I’m also going to keep my happy, homey Eastern PA conferences on the schedule!

      • Kristen C.S. says:

        So glad we can encourage one another. You’ve been an inspiration to me as well! Good luck with NY and looking forward to seeing you back at the Pocono Retreat. =)

  2. Great post, Kristen! Something old that I’m going to keep doing is creating a master list of goals for myself. But, new this year for me is assigning a level of importance to goals so I can prioritize, which also helps me keep my eye on the prize. Also new for me is to pretend it’s NaNoWriMo all the time…trying to write 2k words a day and update my word count on a spreadsheet so I’m accountable to myself, but also have the thrill of seeing my count tick up.

    • Kristen C.S. says:

      Oo, prioritizing goals. That’s something I could use too. I love that this blog serves as a sounding board and brainstorming tool. Thanks so much to you and Lindsay for all you do to keep it running! =)

  3. Loved this, Kristen. Thanks. I am trying something drastically new. In previous years, I set an annual writing goal and broke it into tiny, weekly bits. This year I am setting goals per project, then lining them up. For example, my first writing project deadline is March 1. I’ve still broken it into weekly bits, but in March, I’ll reevaluate as if it were the new year. Then I’ll start a new “first project.” Splitting hairs? Yes. But sometimes I have to resort to tricking myself into getting stuff done. Thanks again.

    • Kristen C.S. says:

      What a great way to help prioritize, Joanne! Midyear reevaluations of my goals is super helpful too. Best of luck with your project deadlines and writing goals! Thanks for sharing your ideas with us. =)

  4. Erik Ammon says:

    Something old? Continuing with 12×12, going to the Pocono retreat. Something new…Maybe trying to get out of my introvert shell, especially at the conference, but that’s something I like about writing- it’s something I can do alone in the dark recesses of my mind 🙂 Great for kids books!

    • Kristen C.S. says:

      Sounds like a solid plan. [And there are many of us lurking in our dark recesses] Oh wait, did I just confess to that? Happy writing in the new year, Erik! =)

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