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The Clarion Write-A-Thon: Week 6

After five weeks of the Clarion Write-A-Thon, I’ve written 30,523 words and raised $321.57. Both are fairly far from the goal of 50,000 words and $500, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to write 19,500 words by August 1st. I mean, I COULD, but it’d pretty much mean doing nothing but writing for the rest of the week in an attempt to bring it home. And while that does sound appealing in its own right, I don’t think it would be feasible this week.

However, I CAN make the $500 donation goal — but only with your help! Please go to my author’s page and donate what you can, if you can. As an added incentive, the person who donates the highest amount this week will get a commission for a short story of 4,000 – 5,000 words! What a deal! Sort of. Maybe. No, it definitely is. You will LOVE it!

This week I’ll be working on another commission, “A Stable Love”. It’s been in the works for far too long, but I do think that I finally have enough momentum to crack it — one of the things I’ve learned through the Write-A-Thon are where my blind spots are as a writer and what I need to really focus on in order to create better short stories. “A Stable Love” will be my first big attempt to take what I’ve learned and apply it.

Once I’m done with the short story and the Write-A-Thon, the plan is to start doing the prep-work for a couple of serial short story projects I’ve wanted to work on: “The Big Game” and “Beast: Wild Genius”. I’ve already talked about the Beast fan-fiction in vague terms, but I’ll save the details for later as the first few arcs begin to take shape. It’s strange — normally I would be pretty shy about this whole fan-fiction thing, but the more I talk about it and the more feedback I get, the more excited I am for it. I really can’t wait to dig in on it.

“The Big Game” is a different version of a short story project I started (and abandoned, of course) a little while ago. The basic story is six friends getting together at an annual retreat in a remote cabin, where they catch up with one another, think about their lives and sort through all kinds of interpersonal issues. Of course, this is while they’re playing a poker game that allows them to gamble with their size instead of money. Because of course they do. 🙂

The original story featured an audience-participation element that allowed people to vote on the big winner and loser for each part of the story. What I found is that it put a lot of the focus on the mechanics of the card game and less on the characters and how they played around with each other. While I love the idea of the audience voting on how the story progresses, I’m not entirely sure it’s right for this. Maybe doing a “season 1” that establishes the characters and dynamic, allows me to refine a behind-the-scenes system to simulate how the card game works, and lets me simply work on the story without the added complication of audience votes might be the thing to do. A sequel could reincorporate the audience elements once I feel more confident in completing the project to begin with.

But we’ll see! For this week, the plan is to write as much as possible, as often as possible. It’s very unlikely that I’ll make my word-count goal, but it’ll sure be fun to try.

Again, any amount you can give towards the Write-A-Thon and the Clarion Workshop will help immensely. You’ll be helping to keep the Workshop running next year AND help really great writers receive intense instruction, critique and connection with some of the best writers and editors within our industry! Thanks SO MUCH to the people who have donated already, provided feedback on story snippets and supported me with writing advice and encouragement. You guys rock!

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2015 in Writing

 

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What Are You Working On?

Fandom 150Well, thanks for asking, me! I thought you would never ask! Here are a few of the things I’m hoping to make progress on this week:

A Stable Love. This is a story that was commissioned by a friend, way back last year when I was toying with the idea of maybe offering commission slots for stories — just to see if I could develop a project process that would let me work fast enough to do them. Spoiler: I haven’t been able to crack this at all.

Part of it is the scope of what I’ve tried to do with this. The story as it stands is a bit stuffed, but that’s my own doing. Here’s the blurb — a shy, lonely hired hand feeds his horses a mix that mysteriously appeared in his barn one day and suddenly the three stallions he’s in charge of take charge of him! Each one teaches him a lesson in how to let go of the inhibitions holding him back while dealing with the impossible changes they’re going through. Will the guidances of the horses — and his faithful German shepherd companion — be enough to set him down the path of being a better man?

I’ve outlined the plot, how the three horses (and one dog) strip away one problem aspect at a time, how this changes him through the course of the story, and where he should be once it’s all said and done. The problem is (naturally) the beginning, where I’m trying to establish the main character’s personality, his relationship to the butler (who he’s secretly pining for), the horses, his dog — all while introducing the supernatural element that serves as the engine for the narrative. This introduction alone is about seven pages long, and I’m not sure that it needs to be so big to establish what needs to be in place before we start rolling. I’m sure there’s a more elegant way to set the table but it’s a bit beyond my reach at the moment.

Anyway, I’m through the weeds of that, and now that things have been set up and we’re into the main part of the action I’m hoping the writing will come more easily. I don’t really have a good timetable for when the first draft will be finished, but for the first time in a year or so, I can actually see myself seeing this through to the end. So that’s progress?

Backburner Stuff. I have this idea for a bit of fan-fiction. It’s embarrassing, but I’m going to lay it out anyway. Beast of the X-Men has been getting little love for years now, even though he’s done a few things under Bendis’ run that have set his story in motion all number of ways. I haven’t been caught up on the current state of Marvel for a while now, but if I understand correctly he might have hastened the death of the Marvel comics multiverse with a few of his actions.

Even still, there hasn’t been a whole lot of attention drawn to Beast as a *character*, and the particular problems that come with his baggage. While I admit that a LOT of my interest in him is prurient, I think there’s a great deal of story potential with him that’s being missed. So I thought I’d do something about that.

My idea is something along the lines of a prose version of a weekly “digital comic” — something along the lines of Batman ’66 or Injustice: Gods Among Us. Chapters will be published as a part of an interactive on writing.com once a week, and every month or so three or four chapters will be bundled together to make up an “issue” that appears on SoFurry and Weasyl. I have a rough idea of where I’d like the story to go, what the main internal conflict will be, a network of allies and relationships in the greater Marvel universe, and a rogue’s gallery. I’m slowly making progress on story beats; but it’s about time to open up Scrivener and really start nailing things down in an outline. Since I have such a problem with focus, I’m giving A Stable Love most of my attention, but this is something I’m fiddling with in the background, when an idea presents itself.

Acceptance. I’m reading the third and final book in Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach trilogy; it took me a while to get into it, but now the momentum of the plot is picking up. Once you get into it, the first inclination is to devour it, but I get the feeling that Vandermeer is using deceptively simple language to mask something deeper going on in the prose. A lot of the story features a fascination with words and phrases, so there’s really no wording that gets placed by accident. I’ve been slowing down with it, reading and re-reading sentences to feel their place in the story. It’s neat to be a bit more careful with the novel here.

Meanwhile, my “to-read” stack grows and grows. There are short stories, poems and novels from friends to get to; Avatar Tuner and 10 Billion Days and 100 Billion Nights lent to me by a dear friend; Secret Wars is ramping up, and Bendis’ X-Men run is ramping down. Seriously, I’m gonna have to cut out everything but writing and reading to catch up, but that’s not a bad thing!

How about you fine folks out there? What are you writing and reading?

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2015 in Comic Books, Furries, Reading, Writing

 

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