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).
What am I working on this week?
I still don’t have a name for the novella I’m writing at the moment, but I’m going to start referring to it as PROJECT BEEMAN here because I’m growing increasingly aware that there is little else to differentiate between various creative projects when I talk about them. I’m currently 10,000 words in and have just stumbled into the second act, drafting a scene between the protagonist and their foil that marks the beginning of the subplot that’s intended to drive the action until the act closes.
I’m also starting to sketch out the dramatic versus iconic character notes that I started pondering last week, in an effort to lock down some content for the upcoming thesis chapter. I’m preparing to do what’s effectively going to be the heavy lifting on my academic work – a chapter that provides a framework for looking at series works as a cohesive form with notes about the techniques open to writers in order to create a sense of unity and generate effect.
What’s inspiring me this week?
I’ve been heavily immersed in books about structure and form for the last week, which meant I ended up going back and rereading Dean Wesley Smith’s Writing Into the Dark which walks through Smith’s own process for writing his way through a novel without doing any planning at all. I always take Smith’s advice with a pinch of salt – the career he outlines is not necessarily going to make all writers happy – but it’s incredibly useful to revisit this book when I feel like I’m getting bogged down in my own head while working on a story.
I’ve also been reading Joe Abercrombie’s Sharp Ends, his short story collection which brings together a bunch of story-length work set in the same world as his novels. I started out looking specifically at the way he uses third person, since he’s really good at putting us in a character’s head while writing in the third person mode, but I quickly got distracted by the way he uses events in his novels as the basis for short fiction by spinning it off with another point of view.
As a method of building out a world – and it’s not until I read this book that I realised just how focused Abercrombie’s work is on building up his world in a very cohesive way – it’s incredibly fascinating.
What action do you really need to take?
This question has traditionally been “what have you been avoiding” ever since i started the Sunday Circle, but one of the things I’ve been avoiding for a long time is sitting down and addressing the final question in order to get closer to what it was originally intended to do in Todd Henry’s The Accidental Creative.
Henry himself had already revised this, when he revisited the notion in the circle in a later work. Instead of asking what people were avoiding/needed to be prompted on, he replaced it with this:
What resources can be we bring to the table to help you in your work?
Of course, it’s also meant to be asked in a small group who meet regularly and in person, rather than showing up on the internet. On the other hand, it could be useful to have a question that’s more focused generating questions on “does any have advice about handling X” than answers like “I am not doing y.”
So I’m rather torn at the moment, and I’m turning to the resources all of you bring to the table: would you rather have “things your avoiding” question three traded and replaced? Does either of the above hold more appeal?