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 Future is Weird

Last night the storms sweeping across Brisbane took out my power around 8:00 PM. I nodded and continued working on my laptop for another three hours after that, occasionally pausing to check the internet or chat with friends via messenger and my cell phone’s 4G connection. I could have kept working for another four or five hours, just on the raw laptop power floating around my house.

Somewhere in the middle of that, I realised I no longer owned a battery-powered torch. Eight to ten hours of computer time after a power failure, but no light.

The future is fucking weird.

Also, highly appropriate, given that I kicked off a new project yesterday that is all what would happen to society if dinosaurs came back? and Where in Rockhampton would you hole up to wait out the dino-pocalypse?

The logical answers have no place in the book, of course, because once you start with the phrase dino-pocalypse you can pretty much assume that science and logic are irrelevant. But it’s still interesting to think about.

Words to go

Three years ago I bought an apartment and began the process of moving in. I remember thinking, at the time, that I should probably stop buying new books because the ones I had already didn’t actually fit in my one-bedroom apartment with its outright rejection of right angles.

Obviously, I failed at that. It’s not really a surprise. I’d made a similar promise when I moved into my previous place, crashing in a friend’s spare room for a few years, and the bulk of my book collection went into storage. That promise resulted in nearly thirty boxes of books getting moved when I left.

 

Part of me resents the fact that I don’t get to move any more. I’m used to living like a hermit crab, always searching out a new shell when the one I’m in starts to feel restrictive. In another world, where I stuck with renting, I’d be spending the next month searching for an apartment on the far side of town that’s more convenient for getting to university.

Part of me watches friends moving out of their rental, quite unwillingly, and admits that I’m kind of fond of having a place that’s mine and will stay mine until I decide otherwise or I fail to pay the mortgage (which, quiet honestly, is so much goddamn cheaper than any rent I’ve ever paid).

So I stay. Quietly figuring out new places where books can be stored, or what can be thrown out in order to make more room.

And occasionally, just to keep myself focused, I sit down and figure out how many words I’d need to write and sell in order to pay this place off. Not that I’m relying on writing alone to do it, but writing is how I measure everything.

Current status: 2,984,186 words to go.

I really should get back to work.

 

 

Planning

Tomorrow I’ve cancelled my usual Wednesday plans and set aside some quality time to tidy my flat, revisit my quarterly plan, and generally wind the key on all the systems I rely upon to keep my life running. There will probably be white boards. There will definitely be laundry.

I’m not a natural born planner. In fact, I kinda loathe the process. I’m totally on the pantser side of things, when it comes to writing, and I will generally defer any kind of collaborative planning to the other person as much as they’ll let me. I dislike making decisions, and I dislike being responsible for things.

Worse, I resent time given over to planning. It always feels like wasted time that could be spent doing other, more useful things. It doesn’t matter that planning always saves me time, ’cause I get bogged down in fewer dead ends and panic spirals and I-don’t-know-what-to-do-next apathy…

My gut tells me that planning is a waste of time right up there with reading the instruction manual for a new DVD player, but my head knows that reading the manual saves all sorts of time once you have to do anything more complex than pressing play. I am doing complex things at the moment. I acknowledge the necessity of planning, and make time to do it.

And then I will go see Kong: Skull Island. Because, you know, giant apes and Tom Hiddleston with a machine gun.

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.

Things You Should Be Going To In April If You Are In Brisbane And Into Spec Fic

It’s rare that I leave the house for reasons that are not gaming, uni, or terrible movies, but next month I’ll be making the effort twice to support a couple of spec-fic-type happenings taking place in Brisbane. And since I don’t want to go to these places and hang around, all awkward and knowing no-one, here’s a heads up for people who may share my interest in all things science fiction, horror, and fantasy who might be interested in coming along.

LAUNCH: CAT SPARKS’ LOTUS BLUE and THORAIYA DYER’S CROSSROADS OF CANOPY
Where: 
Avid Reader Bookshop; When: Thursday, 13 April, 6:00 PM; Cost: Free (but preregister)
Why should you be going? It’s rare that spec fic writers from outside Queensland launch their books locally, and even rarer when the authors of those books are published by overseas presses. Sparks and Dyer are both great writers and they’re coming to town to co-launch their first novels into the world. Register you interest in attending at the Avid Reader website.

THE SCIENCE FICTION BOOK CLUB Featuring Jodi McAlister and Maria Lewis

Where: Avid Reader Bookshop; When: Monday, 24 April, 6:00 PM; Cost: $7.50
Why should you be going? Despite the name, this is an in-conversation with the two guests led by Brisbane author Trent Jamieson. More importantly, it’s being touted as the first of a monthly series, which means that even if I weren’t interested in what these particular authors had to say (for the record, I totally am), I would go and support the series on the principle of USE IT OR LOSE IT. If you don’t support this sort of thing early, when it’s vulnerable to lack of numbers being seen as lack of interest, it doesn’t stick around.

I’ve wanted something like this to exist in Brisbane for a while now, which means that I will plan to be there the last Monday of every month with fucking bells on. Tickets and details available on the Avid Reader website.