2017: Writerly Goodness
In my final post of the year I don’t want to reflect on the “could have”, “should have”, or “I wish that would have happened” moments. 2017 has been a year of roller coaster-like events for me. Some moments were very high and others were pretty close to the depths of despair. It’s easy to get caught in those moments, but I’ve decided that 2018 is going to be all about pushing forward and NOT looking back.
Today I want to focus on all the writerly goodness I found in the world in 2017. The things that taught me something or encouraged me to have more empathy. Or maybe just a book that directed me to look at the world in a new light. Whatever it may be, I want to focus on the light instead of the dark.
Let’s start with one of the biggest joys of my year:
I’m not going to lie, I HATE exercising. But after sitting at a desk for too many hours, I was determined to get up and move this year. One of the biggest motivators was the knowledge that I had a new podcast waiting for me. These thirty to forty minute writerly talks not only motivated me, but made me laugh and yes, even tear up sometimes. Here are my faves from this year:
Literaticast: Jess Keating – BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU TELL YOURSELF
Writer Writer Pants on Fire – ELSIE CHAPMAN episode
88 Cups of Tea – Erika L. Sanchez : An Unwavering Love of Writing
First Draft with Sarah Enni – A conversation with Robin Benway
It’s impossible to talk about this year without mentioning books. I was caught up in revisions and copyedits for a major part of the year so new books became my reward for getting a portion of an edit completed. The books that made a difference to me this year were the ones that opened my eyes to something new in the world or taught me how to develop my writing craft in a more comprehensive way. Here are some of my favorites for 2017:
A mystery threaded in with Shakespeare – this book had my heart from page one!
A coming of age story about two boys in Utah who are trying to figure out who they are and what should be their life path. Eye-opening, emotionally brutal, and honestly compelling. Full disclosure: I read this book in one day.
Thank you to these two beautiful writers for allowing me to step into their worlds. Both books were emotionally well-drawn and had me breathlessly turning the pages.
In a world that is ever-increasingly showing the dark side of man, Jennifer Mathieu’s MOXIE made me stand up and cheer. I loved the beautifully written female relationships and the way the women banded together to protect each other even under the threat of severe punishment. In my book this is a must-read!
An honest and thought-provoking book on how to strip down the cages writers build around themselves and ways to open up your heart and mind to writing honestly.
A definitive read for any writer who wants to add a bit of romance to their manuscript.
I have a hard time really digging deep into the darker side of characters. This great resource helps to illustrate great ways to write a flawed character.
Stranger Things 2
A master class in how to create empathy for characters and build emotional arcs while still driving the plot forward. Every time I struggle with a character arc now, I’m going to think about Steve Harrington and how he went from being a privileged snot to the protector of a rogue band of kids seeking to do nothing but save their friend and find the truth.
Riverdale (Season One)
While the first episode was a little bit too much info-dumping, the following episodes quickly drew me into the mystery. Another great example of leaving enough breadcrumbs, and alluding to red herrings, to keep the viewer coming back. And I also have to admit that the slow burn between Betty and Jughead was brilliantly architectured.
While I know this movie brought out mixed feelings in people, for me it was one of the best movies of the year. I love a flawed heroine and Diana was EXACTLY that. She made decisions based on her heart not her head (most of the time) and that dragged her down several wrong roads. That’s what made this a compelling superhero movie for me. She was all strength and power, but there were equal parts of her that were human, too. I appreciated that she could admit when she was wrong and not glaze past it to defeat the villain.
Another masterclass in letting emotion tell the story. As I sat in the theater, I was glued to my seat. The first ten minutes there was zero dialogue, yet I was riveted. I didn’t know the characters backstories, or what they were dealing with emotionally, but I was immediately on that beach and in that moment due to brilliant performances by the actors and the genius of the camera work.
Many things in publishing are kept quiet. We see the big announcements about deals and advances but beyond that we don’t know what a writer goes through to get the word out about their book. A big portion of this is about promotion. Erin’s comprehensive post on how to run a pre-order campaign pulls back the current on this process. She gives step-by-step tips for the debut author on how to make this kind of promotion work. Personally, I’ve referred back to the post at least ten times in the last six months. If you’re not quite to your debut, still bookmark this one because you will need it when you get there!
How To Use Instagram Stories
All right, I’ll admit it, Instagram is my new favorite! I am honestly very tired of all the conflict and drama on Twitter so I have slowly begun to spend more time on Instagram. I’ll also admit that it’s kind of fun to just veg out and look at all the pretty pictures of books. I will admit though that Instagram does have quite a bit of a learning curve, especially when it comes to the story function.
Here is my favorite link on how to make the “story” option work for you.
That’s my roundup for this year. It’s absolutely crazy to believe I’m closing in on almost six years of running this blog. I’ve had so many amazing memories from this year, and I look forward to sharing many more important and informative posts in 2018, including new installments of the FIRST FIVE FRENZY and QUITE THE QUERY. Until then, I hope you all have a safe, warm, and shiny new year!