Sunday Circle

The Sunday Circle: What Are You Working On This Week?

Sunday Circle Banner

The Sunday Circle is the weekly check-in where I ask the creative-types who follow this blog to weigh in about their goals, inspirations, and challenges for the coming week. The logic behind it can be found here. Want to be involved? It’s easy – just answer three questions in the comments or on your own blog (with a link in the comments here, so that everyone can find them).

After that, throw some thoughts around about other people’s projects, ask questions if you’re so inclined. Be supportive above all.

Then show up again next Sunday when the circle updates next, letting us know how you did on your weekly project and what you’ve got coming down the pipe in the coming week (if you’d like to part of the circle, without subscribing to the rest of the blog, you can sign-up for reminders via email here).

MY CHECK-IN

What am I working on this week?

I’m rebuilding the novella plan at the moment, after realizing that it’s somewhat counter-intuitive to have a stranger-comes-to-town story where the stranger leaves town in the second act.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I picked up Joan Didion’s South and West because it was basically raw notebook material rather than finished work. It’s basically daily notes as Didion travels through the American south, for a book that never never ended up getting written, followed by some short notes for a book about California. I’m a huge fan of Didion’s essays in general, and the clarity of the notes is pretty incredible.

What part of my project an I avoiding?

The combination of Easter and university holidays have largely resulted in me becoming fairly antisocial and feral. The coming week is going to be fairly heavy on social events, and I am totally not prepared for the shift in gears and the impact that’ll probably have on getting writing/research done.

The Sunday Circle: What Are You Working On This Week?

Sunday Circle Banner

The Sunday Circle is the weekly check-in where I ask the creative-types who follow this blog to weigh in about their goals, inspirations, and challenges for the coming week. The logic behind it can be found here. Want to be involved? It’s easy – just answer three questions in the comments or on your own blog (with a link in the comments here, so that everyone can find them).

After that, throw some thoughts around about other people’s projects, ask questions if you’re so inclined. Be supportive above all.

Then show up again next Sunday when the circle updates next, letting us know how you did on your weekly project and what you’ve got coming down the pipe in the coming week (if you’d like to part of the circle, without subscribing to the rest of the blog, you can sign-up for reminders via email here).

MY CHECK-IN

What am I working on this week?

Still working on my heavy-metal-orangutan-dinosaur-apocalypse novella this week. The rough draft of the first act is done, which means i now move onto the road-trip portion of the story and freak out about the fact I now get to write scenes with actual dinosaurs.

Also putting together the thesis rational for my PhD prospectus document so I’m prepared when uni goes back.

What’s inspiring me this week?

Stick with me on this one, but the four films in the Sharknado series. I sat down to watch all of them with a friend earlier this week, and I was really impressed with the first three. They’re terrible films, as everyone accuses them of being, but they are internally consistent terrible films that don’t treat their concept as an ongoing joke. Everyone in the movie treats the possibility of a sharknado (and, in film three, the oncoming sharkpocalypse) with utter seriousness, which I suspect is one of the reasons they became a cultural landmark back when the first film debuted in 2013..

They lose that in the fourth film. The tenuous verisimilitude and internal consistency of world-building gives way to the parody of Star Wars movies and entirely consequence-free carnage. Deaths – however stupid –  that would have been mourned and carried with a character in the first three films are forgotten in the fourth, and major characters have the kind of plot immunity that robs scenes of their tension.

Basically, the fourth film is the kind of godawful movie most people assume the first three are. It’s an incredible series to watch if you’re a fan of incredibly goofy narrative concepts (which, lets be honest, heavy-metal-orangutan-dinosaur-apocalypse falls into), just so you can figure out why they work and why they stop working.

What part of my project an I avoiding?

I have to pull apart the lit review from my thesis and rebuild it from scratch, as it appears I may have tried to do far too much for the wordcount available to me in my end-of-semester assessment.

I’m also hitting the end of the kicking-the-tyres stage of a project I’m not particularly sure about, which means I should really fire up some of the sub-projects that would let me test whether the main project will work.

The Sunday Circle: What Are You Working On This Week?

Sunday Circle Banner

The Sunday Circle is the weekly check-in where I ask the creative-types who follow this blog to weigh in about their goals, inspirations, and challenges for the coming week. The logic behind it can be found here. Want to be involved? It’s easy – just answer three questions in the comments or on your own blog (with a link in the comments here, so that everyone can find them).

After that, throw some thoughts around about other people’s projects, ask questions if you’re so inclined. Be supportive above all.

Then show up again next Sunday when the circle updates next, letting us know how you did on your weekly project and what you’ve got coming down the pipe in the coming week (if you’d like to part of the circle, without subscribing to the rest of the blog, you can sign-up for reminders via email here).

MY CHECK-IN

What am I working on this week?

So the next month is going to be spent doing a draft thesis prospectus for university, which may end up being the 4,000 words most likely to drive me crazy out of all the things I’ve ever written (at least, until I have to write the thesis). I’m also about 1/4 of the way through a novella about dinosaurs, heavy metal, and bounty hunters, but I’m torn between trying to split my time between these two or just going full-tilt at the prospectus draft and clearing it out of the way.

What’s inspiring me this week?

Joe Lansadale’s Vanilla Ride and Devil Red, two more instalments in his Hap and Leonard series. They’re the books where he came back tot he characters after a long delay, so in addition to being fun books they’re also interesting to look at in terms of the thesis, since they mark a series where the characters exist in very different cultural contexts (they suddenly have cell phones and the internet is a thing).

What part of my project an I avoiding?

Making a call on how to balance thesis work and creative work over the next few weeks. Mostly, I suspect, because the call I want to make (‘I’ll just do both’) didn’t work in a way that’s actually useful to me. I always mean to do thesis work, but i’ll usually end up ignoring it after a day writing creatively or dive into it and work obsessively for two or three days where nothing else matters.

This may be a problem with having no way of putting hard edges around the thesis work, so I can measure when a day is ‘done,’ especially since word-count alone isn’t a good measure for these sorts of things.

 

The Sunday Circle: What Are You Working On This Week?

Sunday Circle Banner

The Sunday Circle is the weekly check-in where I ask the creative-types who follow this blog to weigh in about their goals, inspirations, and challenges for the coming week. The logic behind it can be found here. Want to be involved? It’s easy – just answer three questions in the comments or on your own blog (with a link in the comments here, so that everyone can find them).

After that, throw some thoughts around about other people’s projects, ask questions if you’re so inclined. Be supportive above all.

Then show up again next Sunday when the circle updates next, letting us know how you did on your weekly project and what you’ve got coming down the pipe in the coming week (if you’d like to part of the circle, without subscribing to the rest of the blog, you can sign-up for reminders via email here).

MY CHECK-IN

What am I working on this week?

The uni stuff is still bubbling away in the background, but the primary task this week is writing enough scenes in a zombie apocalypse novella (working title Very Bad Men) that they’ll serve as a plot skeleton. The novella is a very silly project, but I’m basically lifting the approach to writing scenes straight out of Robert Ray’s first edition of The Weekend Novelist – writing opening scenes, climaxes, end-of-act transitions and the demount before the bulk of the story.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I could quite easily spend this section enthusiastically talking about episode 8 of Riverdale, which was quite an extraordinary slice of melodrama when you’re looking at it as a writer. In the space of thirty or forty minutes, they recontextualised a half-dozen characters, changed a litany of alliances, and reversed the narrative direction of several subplots running through the show.

Honorable mention goes to the new netflix YA series, Thirteen Reasons Why, which is…well, not pleasant viewing, but a YA story that looks at suicide, abuse, and the cruelty of high school with a kind of bluntness than isn’t usually there in a series aimed at teens. It’s a show that comes with all the trigger warnings, but its great.

What part of my project an I avoiding?

I keep looking at the process of writing a lit review for my thesis thus far and throwing up my hands, to say nothing of the thesis rational I need to have done by the end of April.

And given that I’m doing this on a Sunday morning, for the first time in forever, it would appear that I need to revisit my weekly planner to make sure my deadlines are a little better managed.

The Sunday Circle: What Are You Working On This Week?

Sunday Circle Banner

The Sunday Circle is the weekly check-in where I ask the creative-types who follow this blog to weigh in about their goals, inspirations, and challenges for the coming week. The logic behind it can be found here. Want to be involved? It’s easy – just answer three questions in the comments or on your own blog (with a link in the comments here, so that everyone can find them).

After that, throw some thoughts around about other people’s projects, ask questions if you’re so inclined. Be supportive above all.

Then show up again next Sunday when the circle updates next, letting us know how you did on your weekly project and what you’ve got coming down the pipe in the coming week (if you’d like to part of the circle, without subscribing to the rest of the blog, you can sign-up for reminders via email here).

MY CHECK-IN

What am I working on this week?

I’m packing a bunch of uni stuff into this week so I can get ahead of a few things. I’ve been kicking around rough drafts of the key terms and lit reviews I’ve got to get done over the next few weeks, and there’s a few blog drafts based on research notes in progress where I’m moving ideas off index cards.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I started watching the first season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on Netflix as a Riverdale replacement, and…holy shit. I really should hate this show, since it routinely lapses into being a musical and I loathe the genre, but the show is generally smart enough to navigate its way around the things I dislike. The songs are great, characters are…well unlikable…but kind of adorable in their awfulness.

What part of my project an I avoiding?

I’m having one of those weeks where the answer to this is probably everything, but it’s mostly a case of letting habits fall out of whack after working from home a lot more than usual. I’ve been putting off taking a close look at that for a few weeks, but I think most of the systems have wound down and need to be tightened up.

The Sunday Circle: What Are You Working On This Week?

Sunday Circle Banner

The Sunday Circle is the weekly check-in where I ask the creative-types who follow this blog to weigh in about their goals, inspirations, and challenges for the coming week. The logic behind it can be found here. Want to be involved? It’s easy – just answer three questions in the comments or on your own blog (with a link in the comments here, so that everyone can find them).

After that, throw some thoughts around about other people’s projects, ask questions if you’re so inclined. Be supportive above all.

Then show up again next Sunday when the circle updates next, letting us know how you did on your weekly project and what you’ve got coming down the pipe in the coming week (if you’d like to part of the circle, without subscribing to the rest of the blog, you can sign-up for reminders via email here).

MY CHECK-IN

What am I working on this week?

Typing up a short story that’s been kicking around in my notebook for a few weeks, trying to dredge out the heart of the story from a handful of false starts. That alternates with putting together some rough write-ups of PhD ideas and research, so I’ve got something to work with over the next couple of months.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I watched Iron Fist in a thirteen-hour block, as is my wont with the Netflix Marvel shows. It’s not the best they’ve done by any stretch of the imagination – and the first episode verges on being excruciatingly bad – but there’s a really interesting mix of things that work really well and things that just…don’t.

When they get a scene right, they get it really right. Every couple of episodes they’ll build up to a scene where a character gets exactly what they want, but it ends up screwing said characters so badly and surprisingly that I just kinda sit there fascinated by how slickly they set things up.

On the downside it does a terrible job of getting around the inherently racist elements of the character, the action scenes are nowhere near as slick as the other Netflix shows, and the goofiness of the whole living-weapon-from-K’un-Lun is really foregrounded in the opening. It’s done for effect, but the payoff isn’t until you’re many, many episodes into the series and you put up with an awful lot of stupidity for no apparent reason until then

What part of my project an I avoiding?

I’ve been letting planning slide a bit over the last month, taking short-cuts instead of really investing in laying out projects and planning out what needs to happen. I’m going to be taking a few hours on Monday to do a really thorough sweep and start the quarterly planning process.

The Sunday Circle: What Are You Working On This Week?

Sunday Circle Banner

The Sunday Circle is the weekly check-in where I ask the creative-types who follow this blog to weigh in about their goals, inspirations, and challenges for the coming week. The logic behind it can be found here. Want to be involved? It’s easy – just answer three questions in the comments or on your own blog (with a link in the comments here, so that everyone can find them).

After that, throw some thoughts around about other people’s projects, ask questions if you’re so inclined. Be supportive above all.

Then show up again next Sunday when the circle updates next, letting us know how you did on your weekly project and what you’ve got coming down the pipe in the coming week (if you’d like to part of the circle, without subscribing to the rest of the blog, you can sign-up for reminders via email here).

MY CHECK-IN

What am I working on this week?

Splitting my time between a pair of story drafts. One is the Martian underworld boxing story I mentioned last week, which is rolling into novelette length quite nicely, while the other is an urban fantasy heist story that’s also proving to be less short than expected. May have to look at shelving one, so I can focus on something a little more finishable this week.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I caught The Great Wall at the cinemas last week, and while it’s a narrative that’s got a whole mess of problematic elements, it’s also absolutely freakin’ gorgeous in terms of its visuals and fight choreography. So many movies are done with the orange and teal colour scheme these days, particularly action movies that rely on digital effects, that just seeing a movie soaked in colour is so visually different that you realise how much you’ve missed.

In narrative terms, it’s the big, dumb action movie I was hoping Cowboys vs. Aliens would be a few years back, and it quietly gets me thinking about the big dumb action stories I’ve got sitting in my to-do pile.

What part of my project an I avoiding?

Still the dense, heavy French literary theory works that require an incredible amount of research and thinking to get through. I’ve made some progress, but etting through he first paragraph of a Bourdeiu essay required a half-page of notes on the various philosophies and theories mentioned, just so I could make sense of it. It’s slow, mentally taxing work that I keep looking for ways to put off.

The Sunday Circle: What Are You Working On This Week?

Sunday Circle Banner

The Sunday Circle is the weekly check-in where I ask the creative-types who follow this blog to weigh in about their goals, inspirations, and challenges for the coming week. The logic behind it can be found here. Want to be involved? It’s easy – just answer three questions in the comments or on your own blog (with a link in the comments here, so that everyone can find them).

After that, throw some thoughts around about other people’s projects, ask questions if you’re so inclined. Be supportive above all.

Then show up again next Sunday when the circle updates next, letting us know how you did on your weekly project and what you’ve got coming down the pipe in the coming week (if you’d like to part of the circle, without subscribing to the rest of the blog, you can sign-up for reminders via email here).

MY CHECK-IN

What am I working on this week?

i’m kicking around a new story draft about boxing, crime-lords, and French colonies on a Burroughs-esque mars around 1920 or so. I’ve already got the first few scenes down and just started winding my way towards the real meat of the story, which means it’s probably going to be on the long side.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I spent a good chunk of Saturday inhaling Caitlin Kiernan’s Agents of Dreamland novella, which is fricken’ incredible in the way that about 99% of Kiernan’s short fiction work tends to be. It’s basically Lovecraft filtered through layers of conspiracy and espionage paranoia, but that sort of description never really does Kiernan’s work justice. It’s less about what the story is about, and more about the mood that’s being evoked.

What part of my project an I avoiding?

I really need to do a final sweep of the short-story rewrite I did last week and get it into submission shape. . I’ve had the final print-out sitting on my desk, needing to be proofed, for about two or three days but just keep scheduling other things ahead of it.

The Sunday Circle: What Are You Working On This Week?

Sunday Circle Banner

The Sunday Circle is the weekly check-in where I ask the creative-types who follow this blog to weigh in about their goals, inspirations, and challenges for the coming week. The logic behind it can be found here. Want to be involved? It’s easy – just answer three questions in the comments or on your own blog (with a link in the comments here, so that everyone can find them).

After that, throw some thoughts around about other people’s projects, ask questions if you’re so inclined. Be supportive above all.

Then show up again next Sunday when the circle updates next, letting us know how you did on your weekly project and what you’ve got coming down the pipe in the coming week (if you’d like to part of the circle, without subscribing to the rest of the blog, you can sign-up for reminders via email here).

MY CHECK-IN

What am I working on this week?

The white-boards are basically running my life at the moment, keeping me focused on shifting priorities. I’ve got an application going in Tuesday and my thesis synopsis going in Friday, but I also want to get some short fiction moving again. Top of the list is a rewrite of a story that kinda started out as a version of Hills Like White Elephants on Mars, took a left turn through Film Noir, and now seems to be heading somewhere else entire.

What’s inspiring me this week?

Abstract, the Netflix documentary series about design and designers. 40 minutes at a time, with an individual designer as the subject paired with a different documentary director, with results that range from the brilliant (the episodes of illustration, architecture, photography, and typography) to the interesting (the episode about Nike shoe designer Tinker Hatfield) to the blah (the episode about Chrysler and car design), but it’s always got something in the episode you can take away as a creative.

And, honestly, if you can watch the episode about Bjarke Ingels without wanting to move into his figure eight apartment complex (or, at least, write a story set there), you are doing far, far better than I am.

What part of my project an I avoiding?

I’ve got two papers that need to be summarised for the PhD, which I’ve been putting off because they’re dense and complex and not as much fun as some of the other theory I’ve been reading. I really need to set aside a couple of hours to struggle with stuff that’s going to be much harder to understand and get it clear in my head.

The Sunday Circle: What Are You Working On This Week?

Sunday Circle Banner

The Sunday Circle is the weekly check-in where I ask the creative-types who follow this blog to weigh in about their goals, inspirations, and challenges for the coming week. The logic behind it can be found here. Want to be involved? It’s easy – just answer three questions in the comments or on your own blog (with a link in the comments here, so that everyone can find them).

After that, throw some thoughts around about other people’s projects, ask questions if you’re so inclined. Be supportive above all.

Then show up again next Sunday when the circle updates next, letting us know how you did on your weekly project and what you’ve got coming down the pipe in the coming week (if you’d like to part of the circle, without subscribing to the rest of the blog, you can sign-up for reminders via email here).

MY CHECK-IN

What am I working on this week?

I’m sent a story out to beta last week and got comments back, so my main goals this week are revising the story draft and getting my thesis synopsis together ahead of a meeting with my supervisor this Friday (and submitting it for assessment a week after that).

What’s inspiring me this week?

Man, so much theory and critical work could get slot right now, but let’s go with John Thompson’s Merchants of Culture. I’m barely a third of the way through Thompson’s examination of the publishing industry, but his break-down of the types of capital at work in publishing immediately got me thinking about how useful it would have been two or three years ago when I wanted to try and explain those concepts in classes. There is a strong possibility there will be blog posts in the next few weeks based upon my reading.

What part of my project an I avoiding?

Finally feel like I got a grip on everything over the last week, so I’m finally looking at the content of what I’m doing instead of my general need to be doing it in this section. In this case, I’ve got a short story revision that I’ve been doing for the last few days that hit a stall point when I realised that sitting down and revising it further would both be a) time-consumingly challenging to do, and b) increasingly likely to send it spiralling out past a usable word count where I can get the thing published. I’ve been reluctant to go back to it for about 48 hours now, and I’ll probably let it slide for much longer if I don’t actually think through those two problems.