At the beginning of a new year, I always wonder what new challenges lie ahead. I'm almost afraid to look back on my accomplishments for the past year, thinking it will be depressing when I discover I haven't met any of my goals.
What looking back does do is remind me of all the interesting things I've done and learned, which might be even more valuable than analyzing those goals that I have (or haven't) completed. The most important thing I've learned for my writing this year is this:
The plot is nothing until the main character's experiences and thoughts make it come alive.
Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but one of the things that has happened in my writing this year is that I've gained a deeper appreciation for how critical the main character's perspective is to the story (thanks to Mary Kole, Cheryl Klein, the Plot Whisperer, countless blogs I've read, and working hard on my own writing). It seems like something obvious and basic, but the more I think and work on this, the harder and more challenging it becomes.
Now, if only I could stop obsessing over whether each individual word fits the way the character thinks or acts, I might actually make some progress.
What important thing did you learn about your writing in 2011? What aspect of writing do you hope to get some insight into in 2012?