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

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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?

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.

  19 comments for “The Sunday Circle: What Are You Working On This Week?

  1. 16/07/2017 at 10:16 AM

    Story Genius looks like a really interesting read. Thanks for the link/rec! Annnnd good luck with that second quarter of the novella. 🙂

    My Sunday Circle is here.

    • 18/07/2017 at 11:55 AM

      Kudos on the productivity through what sounds like a pretty full-on period, Sophie.

      Would you be able to put aside a little bit of time this week to brain dump all of the stuff that’s been distracting you? (Is it pulling focus because of the lure of unexplored vistas? Or is this stuff encroaching on you because of other people?

  2. 16/07/2017 at 6:46 PM

    I read Lisa Cron’s Wired for Story after a writer friend highly recommended it. But I have a very strong neuro-bullshit detector and quickly got annoyed with her style. After a few chapters I just skipped through to the questions at the end of each chapter, which is where the really useful information is. I used them recently with a rewrite and they helped me work through several issues that were letting my story down.

    • 17/07/2017 at 10:02 AM

      That’s pretty much my response to this book. It’s quietly confident that it’s stumbled over a thing that no other writing book has stumbled across, when in reality most writing books will at least genuflect to the core of Cron’s argument. She’s just constructed a series of useful points after looking at in in the depth most writing books won’t do.

      So overall the signal to noise ratio is about 20/80%, but that’s better than most popular writing books manage and it’s relatively easy to strip out the truly useful stuff and turn it into a three-page pre-writing process.

    • maggiedot
      17/07/2017 at 10:44 PM

      I’ve found Wired for Story very interesting, but have kept your caveat close-to-mind while reading! I can see how the questions could be incredibly helpful in the editing process. Thanks again for sharing!

    • 18/07/2017 at 12:00 PM

      Good luck for the rewrite, Ree! Hope it goes swimmingly!

      This might be a daft suggestion, but would it potentially help with facing what needs to change in the text and not rushing through work if you separated the process of identifying key changes to be made, and working through that list of tasks? So you’re almost wearing several different hats, each at a different time?

      • 18/07/2017 at 8:44 PM

        Thanks Kevin. I’m thinking that I’ll focus on a different aspect with each rewrite. The first thing I’m doing is changing the “she” and “her” to “I” and “me”. Then I’ll be looking at adding in those extra first pov aspects that bring the reader in closer. So in a way I will be wearing a different hat with each edit. One thing I’m noticing already is that the first pov brings in the opportunity to examine the narrator’s experiences much more closely, which adds extra challenges but also the ability to connect with readers more strongly.

    • 18/07/2017 at 12:01 PM

      Thank you for the introduction to the concept of filter words, too – once the examples were pointed out in that blog post, it was so self-evident how much leaner the writing was with them removed!

      • 18/07/2017 at 8:38 PM

        I agree Kevin – once you remove them the writing instantly becomes more polished.

  3. maggiedot
    17/07/2017 at 10:43 PM

    The iconic v. dramatic hero sounds like a really interesting train of thought, and right up my brain-train alley right now. Thanks for bringing that to mind!

    My Sunday Circle (belated) is here.

    • 18/07/2017 at 12:05 PM

      House guests sounds wonderful, but definitely chaotic when it comes to creating a reliable schedule.

      Is there a part of the day that you can depend on being free each day (ie. early morning, late afternoon, post lunch) at the moment, or is everything up for grabs while you’re playing host?

      • maggiedot
        18/07/2017 at 11:48 PM

        It’s pretty much all up for grabs, unfortunately, but my mother-in-law is very supportive, so I probably just need to get over asking for some time to work!

    • 18/07/2017 at 12:07 PM

      Oh! If you’re playing Sims 4 on PC, you might find Raptr Useful for accurately tracking time spent in the game.

      • maggiedot
        18/07/2017 at 11:49 PM

        I’m on a Mac, but I have been using my usual time tracker to keep an eye on it, especially right now in the “honeymoon” period where it feels like the only thing I want to do! XD

  4. 18/07/2017 at 11:51 AM

    A little late to the party this week thanks to a rushed Sunday, which means I’m catching up with this Tuesday post-errands.

    What am I working on this week?
    After what felt like a fairly vague week that in retrospect tied up a lot of loose ends, the big three things for this week are research for the tent-pole project, some steps to consciously improve revenue generation (essentially widening the pipeline of incoming leads) and some prep for a panel I’m proposing for PAX this year on narrative and performance in video games. Other than that, ramping up work on the film again now that this bloody cough has all but gone.

    What’s inspiring me this week?
    This post by Amanda Palmer landed at a point where it was really, really useful:, although I suspect there’s never a bad time to hear advice about avoiding comparison traps.

    I managed to get out and see some theatre last week – Rapture by Finucane and Smith, which was something very much out of the way of what I’d normally head out for. Still processing it, and unsure what I thought of it. (But that feels like a good thing)

    ALSO! I finally managed to sit down and do some unnecessary creating tinkering with sound design – the results are over here.

    Other than that, revisiting bullet journal practices and adding daily reflection at the end of the day to the process is something I feel is going to help make course adjustments in where I’m headed much sooner.

    What part of my project am I avoiding?
    I don’t feel any avoidance happening at the moment. Shelving the video production stuff instead of beating myself with a stick has really helped (thank you SO MUCH for the suggestion Ree!) and that time/energy is rattling around looking for a home at the moment, which feels like a good thing.

    It’d be nice to be spending more time in the booth at the moment, but baby steps…

    • maggiedot
      19/07/2017 at 6:58 AM

      Love that post by Amanda Palmer–just totally spot on. Thanks for sharing!

  5. 18/07/2017 at 11:52 AM

    Peter: How much time would it take to finish off the business plan? It sounds like something that’d be really useful to have closed out so it’s not hanging over your head while you’re working on other stuff…

  6. 18/07/2017 at 9:10 PM

    Sounds like you’ve had a good week Kevin. And I’m glad my suggestion was useful 🙂

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