It wouldn’t be New Years without a few New Years Resolutions. In know, I know, how 1980’s of me, but what can I say? I’m a romantic. My list is pretty short and I’m sure to be adding to it as the year goes on, but here I go.
- Read more. For aspiring writers this is a must. Nobody has to tell me, I know this. I tried this year to set goals, and despite falling far short of achieving those goals, I feel comfortable in what I did accomplish. That being said, the challenge now is to keep up with my reading. Unlike last year I will not be making a list of books that I plan to read – even though a pile of books does exist in the corner of my “library.” And although I will not say all of what I want to read, I will mention a few. They are The Lincoln Lawyer, Dune, and The Forever War because they are all being made into movies and coming out in 2011 or 2012. And it’s about time! I am also looking forward to reading DeepSix, Omega, and Cauldron by Jack McDevitt because he is awesome; and How Few Remain and Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove; and Make Room! Make Room!, Planet of No Return, and Planet of the Damned by Harry Harrison for the same reason. Along with many, many others.
- Write more. I bet you didn’t see this one coming? However, more than wanting to write more, I also want to write stories of better quality and of longer length. Along with wanting to read more, this means that I am going to have to do a better jobs of learning what it means to be a writer and how best to not only get more done, but also learning from those that have come before, i.e. other writers. One thing that I have learned this year is that while it is easy to write, not everybody can be a writer. To be a writer people must want to read what you are writing about, and for fiction writers, this means creating the illusion that what your readers are reading is real and really happening and not just words on a piece of paper.
- Making better decision on what to write about. This was the big problem that I had last year. Not to toot my own horn, but I have tons of story ideas. Don’t get me wrong, not all of them are good ideas, but a few of them I am pretty proud of. But they were just ideas, and undeveloped at that. In the past few months is when I started to learn that I had to choose what I wanted to write about, and if I wasn’t sure how to get started, then I had to choose better at what I wanted to read, which would hopefully give me a push in the right direction. For example, I have an idea that mixes a Galactic Empire style of authority with a Gladatorial-type of life style. But I didn’t know how to get started, and more importantly I wasn’t sure what my story was going to be about. So I started compiling books that I wanted to read that might help me develop this story a little better, like Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy. Another is an anthology that I have called Galactic Empires.
- Focus. Yeah, I wrote some stories this year, in fact I wrote quite a bit of them. My issue was staying focused and seeing the story through until the very end. It is something easier said then done. More often than not I found myself getting frustrated and starting either another draft or moving onto something completely different. It might not have been the best way to spend my time, but I think what would have been better is if I stuck with the story and saw things through until the end. It might have said even then that this is crap, but I might have had at least some new directions to go in when I started my next draft. But more often than not I didn’t see things through until the end, and as a result I have several stories that are sitting in their perspective folders, half-finished or just waiting for me to re-visit them.
- Understanding. What makes a story great, or even good? Characters? Plot? All of the above? None of the above? The answer, in my opinion, is all of the above. But even then, writing something full of new ideas and interesting characters isn’t easy. In fact, it is a down-right pain in the ass! But that’s where understanding comes in. Sooner or later, I believe, that I will discover that combination of elements that makes the characters of my story awesome. And hopefully I will find similar ingredients that makes my plots gripping and compelling. I must figure out and understand how all aspects of a story fit together to feed my plots and my characters, until I do that I will be just some guy with a hobby.
Lastly is the promise, if only to myself, to keep at it and keep trying, because nothing ever comes easy. If it did, nothing would be fun, because in with the challenge lies the fun. And this is why I keep writing in this blog, and this is why I came up with this stupid list.