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Monthly Archives: July 2014

Pinpoint: Clarion Write-a-Thon, Week 3

Writing 150The Clarion Write-a-Thon is a little over halfway done, and I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I’ve hit my $500 fundraising goal! Thank you SO much to everyone who’s donated amounts small and large. I am beyond appreciative for your consideration and generosity. I know that there are any number of causes and fundraisers to donate to — from friends who are trying to do cool things to actual charities working to make the world a better place in variety of ways. It really means a lot to me that you’d look my way and kick in a bit of cash.

I’m currently at the top of the leaderboard, which means that there’s an excellent shot one of my short stories will receive a critique from a Clarion alum or associate! I’m thinking that “The End of Belle Avenue” will be the story I submit — it’s nowhere near ready, but once I’m done with my 50,000 words I’ll go back and edit the stories that I’ve completed. I think I have a fairly good handle on what I want it to be, so shaping it in the second draft should be possible.

The bad news is that my current word count is about 15,000 at this halfway point, which means I’m 10,000 words behind where I should be. This means I’ll really need to step it up for the next three weeks, writing roughly 2,060 words a day until August 2nd to make sure I hit my mark. It’ll be a challenge, but I’m really keen on making this work. I have 17 writing days until the end of the Write-a-Thon (I’d like to think that I’ll get some work done when I visit Ryan at the end of July, but who am I kidding?), and each one of them will need to be quite productive. There’s no more room for error.

This means, of course, that I will need to reconfigure my life for the next month or so to be significantly more writing-oriented than ever before. The past few weeks have seen me making really good progress on this front, but now I’m going to have to knuckle down and really put the old nose to the grindstone.

Currently I’m writing a couple of short stories that I hope to have done in the next day or two: a rather fluffy little story that’ll go up on SoFurry and Weasyl when it’s done called “Too Much Universe” (it features a fair bit of growth) and another one that will be published in the APA for its Summer 2014 issue called “SEA Change”. After that, I’ll try to work on two more short stories at once — the commissioned story that a friend has asked for several months ago and a werewolf story that’s been percolating in the back of my head for some time. There’s no shortage of ideas; just the lack of patience with my current level of writing ability in bringing those ideas to life properly.

I’ll try to be better about scattering excerpts from my projects here and elsewhere through the next few weeks so you’ll have a better idea of what I’m working on. Of course, it’s not too late to donate for the Clarion Write-a-Thon if you’re so inclined! Please visit my author’s page here and feel free to pledge .001 of a cent per word ($50 if I hit 50K) or simply donate what you can. Every little bit helps, and I really appreciate anything you can spare! Even though I’ve hit my personal goal, the Write-a-Thon’s goal of $20,000 is a long way off. I’d like to help them get closer in any way I can!

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2014 in Writing

 

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Bringing Up The Rear: Clarion Week 3

Writing 150We’re at the beginning of Week 3 in the Clarion Write-a-Thon, and so far I’ve finished just one short story. I’m very nearly at the end of my second — which is a bit of fluff that I’m planning to “publish” on Weasyl and SoFurry. I won’t spend too much time describing it, but let’s just say it’s the first of an experiment. I want to build a shared universe in which various characters get up to shenanigans, floating into and out of one another’s stories. They’re meant to be palate-cleansers between larger projects, more or less, just quick and dirty things.

What’s interesting to me is that the closer I get to the end of a particular story, the slower the writing becomes. I have a big problem with endings — there’s generally a strong idea of the closing sentences, but it’s the bridging of the story from the post-climax to the coda that I generally have trouble with. You want that sense of movement, of things winding down. Personally, I find endings at their most satisfying when you see the collection of order from chaos, when the characters are beginning to piece together the lessons they’ve learned through their experience.

But that’s tough to do in a non-expository way. You don’t want to sit your protagonist down with a cup of tea and give readers a play-by-play of their internal monologue. And it’s hard to have a conversation with another character about it without being a bit too on-the-nose. So I’m still figuring out that part of the story, the part that goes downhill. It’s fun to come upon these gaps in my experience, where I’m forced to confront my ignorance about a basic part of the writing process. Up until now, it would have discouraged or frightened me.

The charity portion has been a success, and I thank each and every one of you who’s donated from the bottom of my heart. So far we’ve raised $371 in donations and $100 in pledges — the pledges have really provided me with incentive to reach my word count goal; if I don’t write enough, I don’t get the money. So far, I’ve logged 10K out of 50K, so there’ll be a lot of catching up to do.

In addition to a metric ton of writing this week, I’ll be trying to update the writing desk a bit more regularly with thoughts about process, snippets of what I’m working on, and (hopefully) the Citizen Kane review at long last. I’ll be heading to Disney Land (!!) on Friday, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t see something from me there, too.

If you’d like to donate money to my Clarion Write-A-Thon, or pledge an amount to motivate me towards completing my word count, visit my author page here. I’m nearly at my $500 goal; I just need a generous donation of $30 more. Once I’ve crossed the finish line, I’ll need to come up with incentives of some sort for “stretch goals”.

In the meantime, I hope you guys are living great stories. I’ll see you here tomorrow!

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2014 in Self-Reflection, Writing

 

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