Looking back on a year of growth

NYE image

As I sit here thinking about the year 2015 creeping up on me, I look back on the year that was and smile. Yes, it was a challenging year. I finally completed my school requirements at the Seton Hill University for my MFA in Writing Popular Fiction and I can look forward to graduation next month.

The year, school-wise, has been an interesting one. I switched from one mentor to the next. I reset my writing goals and I was determined to unravel the plot holes that had been plaguing my story, Worlds Apart, for the past year or so. Finally, I had an epiphany when I revised the entire thesis novel in a second draft with my new mentor. It was as if I had forced myself to hone in on the thing in one sitting in one weekend and think about my manuscript as if I were a reader (instead of just the writer). I could see more clearly why I wouldn’t want to follow or care about certain characters if I were the reader. It was so painful to cut scenes and chunks of the book away, but after I did it, I felt liberated to finally write the story that I needed to write. Not only that, but my story grew to be 85,000 words, still within bounds of YA though.

Another opportunity for growth came when I got my feedback from my mentor about what needed to be changed throughout the entire manuscript before turning in the final version for a grade. She could see where I had made changes to the characters and that I had added in the layers of details and exposition that were needed to make the story easier to follow.

There’s still more work to do before I submit the story to agents early next year, but I feel confident that I have the story planned out through all three books and that I wouldn’t be stuck anymore. With that said, I’m already 10,000 words into the second book in the Worlds Apart series as we speak, thanks to participating in the NaNoWrimo writing contest in November. While I didn’t win it to make it to 50,000 words, I still feel like I spent a lot of time working through the plot of the entire second book. I feel more confident about where the story is going and when I sit down at the computer, I know exactly where I want to go with it.

So, that’s just my example of how I’ve grown this year. What’s yours? Do you plan to write your first novel in 2015? Will you try your hand at poetry? Just try, whatever you decide to do. You never know where life will take you and how much you’ll grow in the process.