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?

Still running through the mix of projects this week.Both Project Beeman and Project Red are in the final neck this week and next, and I have to keep reminding myself that the final scenes never feel right on a first draft because they’re victim of all the problems in the earlier drafts. This means one of the big task that’s occupying my attention is fleshing out Project Beeman and doing some corrective rewrites on a bunch of scenes that are using the wrong POV or simply don’t work after the story changed around them.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I spent some quality time being introduced to The Tudors this week, where I spent a lot of time failing to recognise Henry Cavill and basically being surprised at the number of people who went on to be more recognisable in other things. It has had the unexpected consequence of getting me looking at a lot of the history, winding back to the War of the Roses for the additional context it provides.

What action do I need to take?

I’ve got three emails that really need to be sent that keep getting put off and about 500 words of copy, all of which advancing Project Countdown to the point where it hits the pointy end.

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 mentioned a whole bunch of things in Friday’s post that are still very much on the cards, but my priority for the coming week is running down the checklist of things that need to be done to get Project: Countdown finalised by the end of September.

Splitting my focus continues to work for me. Three of the five writing projects that get my time on a daily basis have deadlines within the next three months and all are ahead of where I expected to be at this point. I had a big epiphany about Project Beeman on Friday that has basically made the entire book fall into place, and set up a bunch of the things that will follow it in the months to come.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I put out a call for books with great racing descriptions this week and a friend suggested S.B. Divya’s novella Runtime which features cyborgs running ultra-marathons. It’s a neat little cyberpunk concept with some great worldbuilding, but reaction to it has been mixed as people either love it or find that it falls into that perennial critique of novellas – “it feels undercooked and I wanted more.”

I feel on the latter side, and given that I’ve written a bunch of novellas and plan on writing more, I spend a lot of time paying attention when I have that reaction in an attempt to figure out where it’s frustrating me. I’m still not sure yet, but reading reviews and comparing my reaction to other people’s is intriguing.

What action do I need to take?

That checklist of things for Project Countdown? I need to revisit it and rebuild it from scratch at this point, since I’m still working on the next-action list I put together a month ago and things have progressed much, much faster since then. I’m now at the point where there’s a bunch of vague things I know I need to do, but no clear guidelines about when or how they’re going to occur.

I also need to keep a close eye on the site’s spam list this week, as it swallowed a bunch of incoming posts from last week’s 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?

This week I settled into a weekly routine where I split my focus between 3-5 different writing projects at different stages of completion, moving each of them forward. It’s utterly counter-intuitive in many different ways, but I realised I’d need to write about 3,500 words every week day to hit my current deadlines and it’s the easiest way to complete them.

Which means, on the slate this week: moving into the second half of the second act for Project Beeman, hitting the midpoint of my first PhD novella, Project Red, and the end of the first act on Project Gladiator. I’ve also got some incidental design and research that needs doing for a little thing that’s in my bujo as Project Countdown.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I’ve been re-reading bits and pieces of Joe Lansdale’s Hap and Leonard series, as he remains one of those writers where I always see something new in how he’s done it.

I also sat down to start watching Wynona Earp on Netflix. I’d heard it was good, in that general way that the internet latches ono good shows, but it’s actually quite extraordinary (and possibly a show that is custom-built to appeal to Kevin). The last few years have a seen a lot of shows launch that work in the same terrain as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but Earp takes that initial brief and essentially creates a modern Western with some great characters and really tight writing.

What action do I need to take?

I have a small list of things that need to be done for Project Countdown that I keep putting off because a) they’re going to cost money I haven’t fully budgeted for yet, and b) they’re going to feel like I’m getting closer to doing this particular project and it’s somewhat scary. The next step is a lot of google searching, form-filling, and making a long-term decision.

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 moving forward on a range of writing projects at the moment – I basically kick off my day by opening five different scrivener files and working in each in order of importance. Project Beeman remains the top priority and it’s moving pretty decently now that I’ve managed to get unstuck on a plot issue. The secondary projects requiring big chunks of word-count are a novella for my thesis and a personal essay.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I did a pretty good job shifting my focus over to refilling the well this week, and I’ve absolutely adored reading Elizabeth Bear’s Karen Memory. I’m a pretty big fan of Bear’s at the best of times – she’s a great short fiction writer and an intriguing novelist – but Karen Memory is the first of her novel-length works where she’s busted out a strong narrative voice and a first person narrator (despite it being a strength of her short fiction work). The novel itself is a kind of steampunk western, although it doesn’t borrow too heavily from Western tropes in the way that most people think when they hear the term. Really intriguing worldbuilding anda . lot of fun to read.

What action do I need to take?

My workspace is massively disrupted at the moment, on account of swapping out my big roll-top desk for something that will fit into my tiny apartment a little better. Lots of tools are currently boxed up until I do the actual physical moving of furniture on Wednesday, but I’ll need to rapidly unpack and reorient myself once all of that is done to get back into a writing routine as soon as possible.

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 still got a little fine-tuning on the GenreCon program this week. Topics and panellists all exist in draft form, but there’s a handful that I’m not yet sold on and want to take another run at before we release them to the public. I’m also moving forward on Project Beeman again – had a lot of luck putting together detailed daily plans that are capturing all the busy work on any given day, which opens up more writing time than I would have thought.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I’m in the middle of my yearly re-read of Todd Henry’s Accidental Creative and his various follow-up books, rethinking processes and soaking up new details. I read these every twelve months and every time I pick up something new – Henry advocates a process with a lot of moving parts and it takes time to get some aspects down before others make sense.

This year, the part that’s particularly resonating is his sections of creative stimuli, refilling the well, and looking for connections between works that aren’t really connected. They mesh particularly well with some of the reading I was doing from Cal Newport at the start of the year about the way to make academia work.

What action do I need to take?

Updating the banner for the Sunday Circle to bring in the replacement question. For some reason I hesitate to do anything that involves Photoshop or InDesign at the moment, and all the tasks that pile up as a result of that keep eluding 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?

Writing takes a back seat over the next seven days, as I’ll be turning my attention to the GenreCon Program. The rough framework has already been worked out, but I need to spend the quality time refining topics, developing the core question driving each panel, and putting together copy that will entice people to actually go along.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I’m a big fan of getting familiar with people who do a form well before you attempt to write in a particular style, and writing program copy is one of those things that very few people do well. I’ve been reviewing old programs from cons and other writing events, making notes about what works for me (and what doesn’t) and generally looking at the formulas that can be adapted.

What action do I need to take?

I didn’t do a full weekly checkpoint last week and paid for it again and again throughout the last seven days, between forgetting small-but-important tasks, failing to to remember a handful of appointments, and generally getting mired down on a handful of projects. I absolutely need to set aside some time to do a more thorough breakdown this week so there’s a little more clarity.

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?

Running a little late on this check in today because Saturday/Sunday was swallowed by GenreCon promo as we counted down the last ten tickets. Ten minutes ago we sold out, so my brain is switching over to this week’s project list.

Still working on Project Beeman this week, as a bunch of unexpected demands on my time (and a computer glitch on Monday that wiped out a days work) meant very little forward momentum. I’ve now hit the point where my reluctance to work on it may also mean that I’m actually stuck on a part of the plot, so I’ll be going back and do a read-through of what’s already done tomorrow morning.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I ran an In Conversation with CS Pacat on Friday evening, which mean there were plenty of chances to ask another writer about their process and the parts of their practice that they’re obsessing about. Talking to other writers about what they do is pretty much the best part of my job, and Pacat talked a lot about the notion of narrative traction which plays into a lot of reading I’ve been doing lately.

What action do you really need to take?

I’ve got a small mess of admin tasks that are important enough to bother me, but not important enough that I put them ahead of other tasks during my week. It’s little things like updating the Sunday Circle banner to include this question, instead of the old one, and actually sitting down and figuring out processes for some projects I’m looking to kick off after GenreCon is over.

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 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?

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 I’ll be doing some pre-writing for the thesis novella I’ll be writing in August, getting down a bunch of vignettes where Is tart to nail the voice and the central character, plus outlining some ideas for all the works in the series so they’ll serve as a unified whole.

I’ll also be writing the second quarter of the current novella, where the investigation truly begins.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I read Lisa Cron’s Story Genius, which is a how-to-write-a-novel book that earns its distinction between putting a whole lot of attention on the internal conflict that drives a character (and really fleshing out why it’s important). I’m not always 100% on board with the approach the book is taking, but the thinking behind it is incredibly interesting and immediately started shaping my thinking about the thesis project that will be dealing with characters who are iconic rather than dramatic.

It’s possible a fairly rich seam has just opened up in the thesis chapter I’m writing as a result of that, but I’m still puzzling my way through the realisations.

What part of my project an I avoiding?

I got halfway through hammering out my business plan for the next two-to-three years last week, then allowed myself to start getting distracted by unknown variables within the plan and external demands on my time. I really should go back and finish things properly, if only so I’ve got a reliable measure of what “a good day’s work” actually means over the next few years.

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?

Managed to rough out a first act for the novelette I started last week, but there’s a lot of gaps in the narrative. I’m experimenting with a particular approach to workflow at the moment – working quarter by quarter, revising as I go, so I’ve started typing up the hand-written draft and fleshing out the scenes that need it. Probably leaning a little stronger towards novella as a result, and my goal this week is to get the next quarter hand-written and the first act fully typed up.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I’m spending some quality time on the Inhabitat blog again, collating articles like this one and this one about the intersection of algae farming, architecture, and air quality. I’ll be on-deck to start drafting the first instalment of my thesis series next month and there’s an awful lot of space-based settlement involved, so I’m starting to think through the look and feel of the setting alongside the science of keeping humans alive in the vacuum or hostile environments.

What part of my project an I avoiding?

I got a lot better at hitting a work/life balance over the last week, but I’m rapidly coming up against the problem of too-many-tasks, not-enough-time. There are currently three things I’m trying to cram into the 9-5 work day: GenreCon work, creative work, reading and annotating theory for the thesis. Getting the right balance is tough, and I still haven’t quite got it down yet.