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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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January 2013 Goals: How Did I Do?

At the beginning of this month, I set a pretty ambitious set of goals for myself. I had planned to write or rewrite five short stories — two stories for friends to try out a commission scheme I had dreamed up, and a rewrite of three ‘fluff’ short stories that I felt I could do better with. That roughly equated to about 22,000 words or so, give or take a few.

There were a number of obstacles staring me down that I had acknowledged but thought would be easy to overcome. Further Confusion 2013 would be taking up a considerable chunk of time, but I vowed that I could find time somewhere during the convention to write. We would also have company staying in the Burrow before and after the con, but I didn’t think it would impact my ability to bang out a thousand words every day. We were also returning to work from the holidays, and who knows what would lie in store for us there?

Well, it turns out that confidence is great, but following through with action is much more difficult. Further Confusion took more than a week out of my writing time — even though I took my laptop with me to the convention every day, there really wasn’t much writing to be done. Not when there were so many people to see and so many things to do! I also thoroughly enjoyed the company we had the honor of hosting, and retreating to a quiet part of the Burrow to do something as anti-social as writing was much harder than I thought.

I returned to a very busy work environment that took a lot of my attention, and dear Ryan took ill for about a week after the con. It took us another week to settle down into our routine, and by then — well, January was almost over.

Out of the five short stories I had planned to have finished by the end of the month, I’ve only completed one. The rewrite of “The Big Game — Chapter 1” is put to bed, and I’m still working on Rask’s short story, “The Tough Fit”. It’s nowhere near completed, though. I hope to have it sewn up in a week’s time.

So I can only count this month as an unqualified failure, writing-wise. And what did I learn from that failure? Well, I learned that being ambitious is good, but being realistic is better. I definitely should have given myself an easier workload leading into Further Confusion, and abandoned all plans to get anything significant done. If I found a spot to work on a story? Great, but it would have been optional instead of ‘mandatory’. I’ll try to be more aware of such things in the future, and plan more accordingly.

Also, it might be nice to find alternatives to the laptop for writing — something a bit more portable and convenient. I do have an iPad, but without a keyboard or 3G connection, so I’m not sure how workable that is. A notebook is probably my best bet, but I’d need to get into the habit of writing longhand. My hand cramps just thinking about it at this point!

In a couple of days, I’ll submit my plan for February. But in the meantime, I have to apologize to the folks who were expecting stories out of me a lot sooner! I’m still learning as I go, and I have to ask for the indulgence of your patience a bit longer.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2013 in Self-Reflection, Writing

 

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