Another rather productive week.
I finished drafting another short story. I like it, but it’s not as long as I originally wanted. Many of the short stories that I’m writing right now clock in at 2000-3000 words, and I’m trying to structure one of 5000-6000 words. Oh well. I’m still pretty happy with how it came out.
I also outlined a different story that’s an expansion of one of the pieces of flash I wrote last October. I’m playing with rearranging the narrative timeline — I don’t want to tell it linearly — but I also don’t want to turn it into a series of confusing flashbacks. Part of the solution there is I have to figure out where (or when rather, as in when in the timeline) to start the story. I’ve written parts of it already, but I’ll likely end up scrapping what I have so far and starting over.
But as Brandon Sanderson says, Every word is valuable.
I have not been very good about blogging in between these writing recaps. I’m also kind of rethinking whether or not to do the weekly recaps. I started these as a way for me to track progress and keep in mind what I’ve accomplished during the week, but it all feels so vague and hand-wavey since I can’t really share the stuff I’m working on here.
In any event. Had a productive week. I finished the piece of flash I was working on for submission, got some eyes on it, and am going to do a final polishing pass before submitting (likely tomorrow).
Now that that’s done, I have to work on my application for a writing workshop this fall. I’m nervous about that, but I’ve gotten very good feedback so far, so. Worst case scenario, they say no, right? (I love that that phrase is used as a friendly platitude. Most days, I can take it as such. Some days, my brain is like YES YES THAT WOULD BE THE WOOORRRRRRST.)
In other news, had the first meeting of the new writing group yesterday. It was fun and productive. We did some structured critiques and caught up on life since the intensive. I think this is going to be a good thing.
ALSO. Butterscotch Shenanigans released Levelhead into early access on Steam on Thurs! If you like challenging platformers a la Super Meat Boy, you should check it out. There’s also a level-editing component, so it nicely fills the Super Mario Maker shaped hole in the PC market. I got caught up in the excitement of watching the launch, and lost a good day and a half to it. (See it here. Link opens a Steam page.)
This upcoming week is going to be a busy one. Lots of life stuff scheduled, which ends up breaking up my day and making it so I feel less productive. I’ve also lapsed somewhat in the writing of morning pages. Probably something I should get back into, though right now, my brain is saying we’ll be okay without them. But then, I’ve heard that before.
Something of a tough week. Mechanically rather than creatively. I spent the majority of it finishing a short story that I started during the MRK Short Story Intensive. This story really did not want to be out in the world — each word was like pulling teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth. Requiring lots of heavy machinery. Or, if you’d rather, I really had to mine for each word.
I’m not sure exactly why this is. I had the same feeling writing the beginning of this piece during the intensive, and I was convinced that it was terrible because it felt so hard to write. But when I went back to read it, it was fine. I received good feedback from my fellow MRKers too.
I’m wondering if it’s because I’m trying to use a specific outlining technique. Normally when I write, I start by discovery writing to find a direction. Well, scratch that. I start by noodling on an idea, holding it in my brain and feeling some of the edges. Usually, I catch on something and I go with that. Then I discovery write to figure out where it wants to go. But what ends up happening is that my arc lacks meaningful conflict and tension (so more of a line than an arc, I guess). Or, for longer form works, I get lost in the middle and I’m not sure where to go.
This is an issue I’ve run up against repeatedly.
And this is where the MRK Short Story Intensive* came in.
THIS. PAST. WEEK. I’m still reeling.
Last weekend, I took Mary Robinette Kowal’s Short Story Intensive. It was absolutely amazing, and I’m still processing it and trying to figure out how to put it into words. It was a legitimately intense couple of days, but I got so much out of it, and it fueled me for this entire week. STILL SO AMPED.
I started my flash fiction April project, which has been going well. The piece that I wrote on Wednesday, I’m going to polish and submit to a contest. I’m clarifying some of my writing goals and working on nailing down deadlines for myself. I’m going to start submitting this month.
The intensive introduced me to a great group of fellow writers, so we’re forming a critique group together. I spent a good amount of time figuring out the logistics of that — our first meeting is next weekend.
Also, one of my friend’s from residency came for a short visit to apartment hunt since she’s moving to St. Louis this summer!
Getting my recap post up early this week since the weekend is going to be pretty busy.
I’m realizing that I need to figure out a more organized plan for the pieces I have revised, that need to go out to beta readers, and that need polishing. Plus a way to organize things when I start submitting.
Trying to figure out the markets is an intimidating prospect, but it’s also fun since a lot of my research is reading short stories to see if my work might fit in a potential market.
Did I do it backwards? Should I have done more market research first and then written towards a market? There’s so much conflicting advice…
In other news, Camp NaNo is about to start. I’m planning to do another flash fiction challenge month. Forthcoming post on that next week!
Finished a short story this week. Finished revisions on a couple more pieces of flash. I’m starting to get antsy about the fact that next up is putting stuff out into the world for other people to read. A necessary step, obviously, but one that is making me have feelings.
Also, there are a few things coming up in the next few weeks that I’m excited/nervous about. Next weekend, I’m doing Mary Robinette Kowal’s Short Story Intensive, and I’m pumped for that. Then, April is Camp NaNoWriMo, and my plan is to do another flash fiction month. Mid-April, there is a flash fiction submission deadline that I need to hit.
This is a little short and not as self-reflective because I have to get ready to drive Adam to the airport for GDC, but I wanted to get this post up before that.
The allergy shots are causing horrific looking bruises at the injection site, which I haven’t experienced before. So that’s interesting… It has nothing to do with writing, but still.
Started a new short story this past week which I’m feeling pretty good about. It needs a round of editing and then I’ll ask for some second opinions. Finished revising a couple of flash pieces. Caught up on Writing Excuses.
All in all, a pretty good week.
I didn’t do as much work this past week as I should have. Feeling like I’m in a weird kind of slump (though did end up working on some poetry). Although, by week’s end, I’m starting to feel better. That might just be the Twitter hiatus talking.
I’ve been getting allergy shots for a little over a month now, and they just upped the dose this last round. Since then, I’ve had this vague malaise kind of feeling and I can’t tell if it’s related to that or if I’m coming down with something.
Will probably take some ibuprofen, make some kimchi jjigae, and try to ignore it.
More of the same this week. I think I’m hitting that threshold where I have to step away for a little bit and come back with fresh eyes. So I might just take this next week to work on something new and shiny, and then finish up revisions after that. I still want to get some other eyes on the pieces before I start submitting and whatnot.
I haven’t yet figured out how to task switch in an effective way, but I’m thinking that I might generally work better if I have more than one thing going on i.e. something with production and something with revision.
Ugh. This has been the week of errands and interruptions. I did not get as much done this week as I would have liked. Revisions and rewriting still going slowly — it’s all starting to feel very lateral and like stalling. But, like we’ve talked about before, I have no perspective.
Because that front isn’t feeling very satisfying, some of my structures have slipped, and I find myself spending time in the afternoon and evening scrolling mindlessly through Twitter (I am very much a lurker). Which not only is wasting my time, but is putting me in a negative mental space. But like all dopamine drips, once I started doing it, it was hard to put the phone away. So I think this upcoming week is going to see my phone in another room and strict observation of no social media. Gotta break those habit loops.
Speaking of Twitter, did y’all see the whole #CopyPasteCris debacle? Courtney Milan kicked it off when she discovered that someone had plagiarized parts from her book The Duchess War. She named names and posted side-by-sides in a blog post. Then Romancelandia Twitter started compiling receipts and discovered that over twenty authors (and inexplicably, a couple of recipes and a couple of articles) had also been plagiarized (What in the actual fuck?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?). The list includes many well-known romance authors including Tessa Dare, Lisa Kleypas, Kresley Cole, Loretta Chase, and Sarah MacLean. And. Nora Roberts. Who does. not. suffer. fools. It’s a saga, and you should check it out.