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 doing rewrites of my thesis chapter ahead of my confirmation submission in 8 days, which looks like it’ll be taking up the bulk of my writing time this week.

What’s inspiring me this week? 

Mary Capallo’s Swallow, a history of people who swallow foreign objects and the doctor who pioneered their non-surgical removal. I had a lot of doubts about the book when I started it, but I kept hitting points where I was cringing as I read it and some of the lists of things people have swallowed is incredible reading. I ended up taking three pages of notes for things I either want to include in stories or just remember ’cause they were interesting.

What action do I need to take?

I’ve got a bunch of paperwork that I need to finish for the confirmation, which will disappear until the last minute if I don’t keep an eye on them.

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 got my chapter draft away late last week, which means this week gets devoted to creative project rewrites and making the suggested changes to my prospectus document accompanying my confirmation submission.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I’ve been reading Chris Claremont’s run on X–Men from its beginning around issue #100, building towards the Dark Phoenix saga. It’s largely regarded as a genre-defining approach to comics in many ways – and you can definitely see the shift in approach from Stan Lee and Roy Thomases earlier issues – but reading it as an adult also starts to reveal some definite Claremont-isms that define his run and aren’t as fun as they were when you’re a fifteen year old comics reader.

That said, the large-scale ambition and sense-of-wonder he brings to the comic are fantastic.

What action do I need to take?

Now that I’ve got all the thesis drafting stowed away, I need to start getting fiction drafting fired up again and get back to drafts.

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 on the final 2,000 words of my PhD chapter, with three sections left to write. One is an overview of the way verisimultude shapes the way we interpret genre, one is the way in which genres shape reading communities, and one is looking at how the way series works are being published and read has shifted the poetics of series works. It’s a lot to fit into the space, but that’s better than having not enough.

What’s inspiring me this week?

The Good Place. I resisted watching this a lot over the past month because so much is made about “the big twist,” but my partner picked it after we ran out of The Unbreakable Schmidt and it’s been outstanding. I adore the way it sneaks a bunch of legit philosophy into the narrative, and there’s just some incredible performances from the cast.

What action do I need to take?

 I really need to go through my chapter draft and double-check all the referencing is correct, and the bibliography is properly put together.

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 holiday season is upon us and fitting work around the other commitments is getting harder and harder. I’ve got a metric butt-ton of thesis drafting that needs to be done this week, including some catch-up for work that didn’t get done in the last seven days, but I’ll mostly be working to keep to good writing habits as best I can during the season of catch-ups and feasting.

What’s inspiring me this week?

This week has been spent on a deep dive through various Marvel comics storylines over the last decade, courtesy of a Marvel Unlimited subscription and a particular interest in how many of the long, long-term narratives of comic books shape the writing process. The absolute best of them that I’ve come across has been Dan Slott’s run on Spider-Man, starting from the point where he rebuilt the main character’s life by putting the fact he’s a genius front-and-centre, through to the storyline where Doctor Octopus becomes The Superior Spiderman, and then the character’s re-launch. It’s an incredible masterpiece of serialised storytelling, with plot elements quietly being laid a year or more before they pay off, and getting to read them all in the compressed timeframe really shows off how well-crafted they are.

What action do I need to take?

I’m largely working from home at the moment, with the end-of-year shenanigans seeing a lot of my regular going-out-and-engaging-with-people activities put on hold while people are away. This has resulted in long stretches inside the house and very little engagement with the outside world, which tends to have a negative effect on my overall mental health. I really, really need to make sure I’m getting out of the house once a day, for a period of at least a half-hour, and preferably in a place where I need to interact with people.

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 a third of the way through the wordcount on my thesis chapter and barely feel like I’ve gotten started. This week will involve tracing my way through part of structuralist genre theory, and really diving into the research on the role of ellipsis in constructing narrative ahead of the X-mas-to-New Year period where texts will be harder to track down.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I’ve watched and read a bunch of great stuff this week, but The Marvellous Mrs Maisell on Amazon Prime has probably been the thing that really captured my attention. It’s a project from the creator of the Gilmore Girls, Amy Sherman-Palladino, but it blends a lot of the hallmarks of her work (fast dialogue, children not fitting into rigidly-defined family roles) and blends it with the New York stand-up scene of 1958 and a level of edginess that Sherman-Palladino isn’t going to reach on commercial TV.

What action do I need to take?

I really need to go hit the University library in person, picking up a handful of texts that aren’t available online. I also need to read through the half-dozen PhD exegesis I’ve got sitting on my hard drive so I can start familiarising myself with the structure of the sections I’m wirting and start to internalise it a little. What to write is harder to figure out when you’re trying to figure out how to write it at the same time.

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’ve just hit the period where everything else gets sidelined in favour of the thesis, which means I’m expanding out my plan and filling in the gaps. This week I’m transforming my original lit review draft, which lacked a lot of focus, into the first half of a review that will actually fit the topic I’m pitching. On the plus side, I’m starting this week ahead of my word-count benchmarks for the first time, so I’m hopefully that I’ll have the chapter drafted by my Dec 30 deadline (even with all the holiday chaos about to hit). 

What’s inspiring me this week?

This has been one of those weeks where I’m spoiled for choice in this entry – I’ve read so much good stuff that’s got me eager to start work on new projects, and I’m kinda torn between three possible entries. Kij Johnston’s The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe was easily the best thing I’ve read this week – it’s a brilliant Tor.com novella that takes Lovecraft’s Dreamlands and starts inserting the kinds of characters who are routinely marginalised in Lovecrafts work. It’s simultaneously a homage and a critique, a complex book that’s just an outright pleasure to read.

The most inspiring books this week have been Caitlin Kiernan’s The Aubergine Alphabet and Jonathan Hadken’s All The Wasted Heat, two very different vignette collections that have got me thinking about the potential of the form and how it could be used. Hadken’s collection is a series of prose-poems about Brisbane, recommended to me by my friend Chris Lynch, that sets out to capture a mood and a place. Kiernan’s collection is framed as a weird alphabet primer, far less unified in terms of its topics but similarly effective at evoking a mood.

While there’s definite the potential for interesting work in both veins, the subtitle on Kiernan’s book (“A Primer“) increasingly got me thinking about the potential for using vignette sequences to world-build other projects, capturing a vast cross-section of a setting and building up the mood. It’s not a unique idea – two other vignette-driven works I can think of, off the top of my head, are Hemmingway’s Movable Feast about Paris and Brett Easton Ellis’ second novel, which is all about Los Angeles – but it’s a method of world-building that’s appeals to me as a pantser.

What action do I need to take?

I need to do some quality research on the use of ellipsis as a narrative device, as one of the arguments that I’m making about the poetics of series narratives is the way they leave the reader suspended in the gap between story points. Each instalment effectively ends in an ellipsis, which puts pressure on both reader and writer to search for the contextual clues that will make the omissions comprehensible.

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 thesis chapter, and putting some serious work into the draft for the second Brain Jar book, You Do’t Want to Be Published, which is a collection of blog posts and articles about writing. The main task this week is going through and making sure everything in the collection makes sense once removed from the original context, then doing some ‘directors commentary’ around each.

What’s inspiring me this week?

Georgette Heyer’s The Reluctant Widow is one of the more light-hearted Heyer novels that we’ve read for book club, but it’s also delightful and a slight shift in the usual expectations that I tend to bring to her work. Great, bantering dialogue and a surprisingly complex mystery plot lie at the heart of the book’s appeal – it’s possible this is going on my list of novels I use to introduce people to Heyer (or, at least, a close second or third book to solidify their appreciation).

What action do I need to take?

I need to go do some work on the Brain Jar website, getting The Birdcage Heart information upon the page and setting up a news page where things can be announced.

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?

Top of the list this week is getting about 1250 words on my thesis chapter written, walking people through the concepts I’ll need them to be aware of before I get into the really meaty bits of talking about the differences between writing series and writing closed narratives. I’m hoping that the relatively low pace (approximately 250 words a day on my designated writing days) will be enough to keep me focused and contained, rather than freaking out.

My secondary projects are getting back to work on Hell Track and kicking around the novelette that does not currently have a name. My main goal is to do some work on these every day, through November and December, so I’m still in touch with the projects and ready to pick them up once the thesis chapter is done.

What’s inspiring me this week?

Given that it was mentioned in both my newsletter and the blog earlier this week, it’s probably not a huge surprise that David Mittel’s Complex TV has set my brain buzzing over the last seven days. A fantastic look at how television has changed since the advent of the DVD boxed set, with a prolonged study of how that has affected the way we read character, storyworld, etc. Not just a useful book for writing, but a useful model for approaching the study of series I’m doing for my PhD exegesis. I’ve not had a book get me this hyped up when I consider how narrative works in years, and I can’t wait to start pulling apart the ideas and apply them to fiction.

What action do I need to take?

I fell back into the habit of blogging last week and I’m tempted to go back to daily posting for a while. This does mean I’d need to start developing a content plan and finding an extra two hours a day to write a post (or, it should be noted, look at doing quicker, shorter posts than the 2000-word average I tend to write once I start exploring an idea).

If anyone’s got any concepts they’d like to see covered, drop me a line.

Also: the first Sunday Circle kicked off on the 29th of November, 2015, which means this is probably our two-year anniversary. Thanks to everyone for being involved – hopefully the weekly check-in and discussion has been as useful for you as it has for me.

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 put two major projects to bed recently, courtesy of GenreCon wrapping up and uploading The Birdcage Heart collection to all sales sites in preparation for Nov 30. That opens up a lot of tie to work on other projects, much of which will get funnelled towards the first PhD Chapter (this week’s to-do list: 3 readings and a new chapter plan after my old one was a little too ambitious) and the next Brain Jar Project, Helltrack (this week’s to-do list: nail down the voice and tone I’m looking for, figure out how to write the first race).

What’s inspiring me this week?

I picked up Nic Pizzolatto’s short story collection, Between Here and the Yellow Sea, because I figured I’d need something post-GenreCon that got me inspired to write. It’s definitely delivered on that front – Pizzolatto may be better known for True Detective these days, but I first encountered him through his debut novel, Galveston, and this delivers the same taut, controlled narrative voice. 

What action do I need to take?

I need to schedule some downtime this week, because my system is still in con-mode where I feel like I should be doing everything and it’s really easy to keep rolling with the high-focus panic that engenders. The need to be productive is overwhelming, but the ability to make decisions is minimal.

It’s also a really bad idea to stay in that mode – the last week was hard on my mental health – and I keep trying to over-schedule my week and do everything at once. I really need to sit down and cross half the things off my list, giving myself a chance to focus on a few tasks that will really be important rather than a hundred tasks that aren’t essential.

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?

This week is all GenreCon, all the time. Pretty much everything else takes a backseat to getting the whole thing launched on Friday and running over the weekend, which means my checkins will be pretty sparse this week and next.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I’m about halfway through Caliban’s War, the second book of The Expanse, which I picked up after going through the first book at a pretty steady clip. I love the TV version adapted from James S. A. Corey’s books, but it’s definitely one of those series where the books are the better format. Reading this and the Game of Thrones books in relatively close succession has been really useful, as I can start seeing how they both do the big, sprawling conflict with multiple stakeholders.

What action do I need to take?

Schedule breaks that are meaningful, rather than just collapsing in a heap. This week is kinda constant and it takes conscious effort to keep myself from checking email and checking hashtags for potential problems with the con, and it’s hard to set aside that impulse and get away from the conference.