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?

Should hit the mid-point of Float later today, which has been a fun experiment in trying to replicate the quick cuts of a good-guy-infiltrates-while-bad-guy-prepares movie beat into prose. Lots of dead bad guys, and the secondary antagonist gets wiped out in the name of bringing the primary protagonist into view.

That means that the bulk of this week will go into the next major sequence, which is basically the move away from simple revenge into the larger plot. I am looking forward to this.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I’ve been heavy into the crime fiction this week, for various reasons. The best of the things that I’ve read was George Pelecanos’ short story collection, The Martini Shot, which has all the best traits of Pelecanos’ work, but also contained some surprises.

Pelecanos spent a good chunk of time working as a writer on the Wire, and he does a lot of really tight, voice-driven narratives that really nail the place he’s writing about (usually Washington DC). But the novella that gives The Martini Shot it’s title is basically a crime story unravelling on the TV set of a police procedural TV show and seeing Pelecanos synthesis his experiences behind the scenes with his eye for setting detail is kinda incredible.

What part of my project an I avoiding?

I had to stretch to figure this one out this week. For the first time in a long while, I seem to be in a place where I’ve got all my priorities running in sync, and the balance between writing new drafts, redrafting, and writing-adjacent tasks like blogging and email feels workable and doesn’t leave me with that feeling that I’m not doing enough.

Which is good, ’cause now it’s fine-tuning stuff. This week, sitting down and properly bench-marking the progress of Float so that I can be reasonably sure I’ll have a draft that can be turned over to beta-readers in early January. I’m about 90% sure that the current process will get me there, but I want to have some markers set into the process so I have a clear indication that things are falling behind.

And I should probably finish the blog post for the coming week.

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

  1. 16/10/2016 at 10:27 AM

    The Martini Shot sounds like a really interesting read, and definitely one I’m interested in checking out. And good luck with Float!

    My Sunday Circle is here.

    • karinacoldrick
      16/10/2016 at 7:22 PM

      My husband raves about Band of Brothers… I managed the episode with Ross in it but really couldn’t get excited about another war film/series. (Not my jam!) Great to hear the BDLN is coming along!

    • maggiedot
      17/10/2016 at 12:29 AM

      Huzzah for moving towards the finale of edits, and for a routine that’s working so well! How exciting! Do you have anything lined up to celebrate the milestone? (Also, I often comment over on your site for these–do you prefer a comment there or here?)

    • 18/10/2016 at 9:18 AM

      Hope the momentum sticks for the week – rock on!

      And I’ve not watched the full stretch of Band of Brothers, but loved what I did see. One point really stuck with me from the interviews they have with real soldiers – talking about the feeling of potential and scope in their lives in the midst of the war, even with all of the horror, then returning to very banal existences. “One minute we were looting Hitler’s stronghold, the next I’m a schoolteacher again” or words to that effect. Really interesting stuff, amazing cast.

    • 18/10/2016 at 2:02 PM

      Glad the new balance seems to be working! And the noir sounds like it would be a lot of fun.

  2. 16/10/2016 at 12:00 PM

    What am I working on this week?
    The two big projects that need to move forward at the moment are the Tavern of Voices website, and the commercial demo preparation. Also, in a carefully time-boxed way, more work on Now Playing. The catchup with the change strategist last weekend has set some very useful context.

    What’s inspiring me this week?
    It’s been a fairly hectic week, so conscious consumption of media has been a little thin on the ground, which isn’t ideal. I’ve been listening to Alison Wonderland’s Run a lot, and been loving it tremendously (especially with shiny new headphones with beefier bass for tracks like Ignore) and also Ed Harrison’s Neotokyo NSF, which I’m really digging.

    What part of my project am I avoiding?
    As long as I stay on course this week with those two commitments, everything critical is getting attention. Especially now that the wonderfully hectic stretch has passed for a spell. I also need to double down on some of the regular skills practice to keep the ground I’ve taken.

    I’ll be back online Monday to respond more to people’s posts and comments, but please don’t think in the meantime that I’ve just dumped my post and run away!

    • maggiedot
      17/10/2016 at 12:15 AM

      Ooo the Neotokyo NSF sounds super cool. I haven’t listened to all of it yet, but “Departures” is lovely. Thanks for sharing!

      • 18/10/2016 at 9:03 AM

        Ed Harrison’s work in general is gorgeous, and NSF is definitely a more diverse listen than Neotokyo GSDF, although I love them both. 🙂

    • 18/10/2016 at 2:05 PM

      I hope you get the chance to enjoy the less hectic time as well as to get things done!

  3. 16/10/2016 at 1:05 PM

    The change strategist sounds like they’re helping you make some great progress. In need to go back over your recent posts to learn more about what you’re doing with them.

    • 18/10/2016 at 9:06 AM

      Working with Kristine has definitely been fruitful! I worked with her over a year in 2013/14 – this was just a two hour check-in as an investment after a particularly fruitful stretch of voice over work. The specific goal this time around was to sanity check balance between priorities and whether the right things were getting full attention. She’s frickin’ awesome, because she’s not only a wonderful person, but has laser precision insight.

      This is probably the best short guide to why I worked with Kristine and what you get out of it – not sure if I posted this last time around.

  4. 16/10/2016 at 1:34 PM

    Here’s my Sunday Circle for this week. (BTW I notice some people are embedding links in their comments but I can’t work out how to do it – do I use html tags?)

    • karinacoldrick
      16/10/2016 at 7:23 PM

      Good luck with the fellowship applications!

    • maggiedot
      17/10/2016 at 12:19 AM

      Sounds like a great, productive week! I’m super curious about this “invite the geniuses” technique. Is there a book or a website it comes from where I could learn more?

      And bravo for attending the language meet-ups! I’ve always wanted to do one of those for Mandarin, but I’ve always been so shy about it. I may have to look into it sometime… 🙂

      • maggiedot
        17/10/2016 at 12:20 AM

        Oh! And yes–just the a href= HTML tags. 🙂

      • 17/10/2016 at 6:35 PM

        Hi Maggie, there is a TED talk that Elizabeth Gilbert did a few years ago where she talks about the geniuses. Just google Elizabeth Gilbert TED talk & it should come up. She also writes about it in her book Big Magic, which I also recommend. And the meet-ups are great!

        • maggiedot
          18/10/2016 at 1:15 AM

          Awesome, thanks! I’ll check it out! 🙂

        • 18/10/2016 at 9:13 AM

          Aah, and reading down the list, I see an answer to my question already. 🙂

    • 18/10/2016 at 2:08 PM

      Yes, all the best getting momentum going on the fellowship applications!

  5. karinacoldrick
    16/10/2016 at 7:44 PM

    What am I working on this week?
    This week, unlike last week, I have a quiet moment to think about the next seven days instead of dealing with what comes at me. In avoidance of despair, I have been working on the short story that came to me the other week. It’s SF and I’m getting to include my knowledge of physics, which is fun.

    What’s inspiring me this week?
    Inspiring. Hmm. I had two loooonng conversations with Australians during the week on the changes to the Fun Flimsy. One from my best-selling CP and another from a career HM&B writer. Both see the potential with premise, characters, tone and writing quality.

    BUT… my core plot trope (secret child) they just don’t buy. If the hero even suspects and has done nothing to ‘claim his child’, he’s not a romantic hero. If the kid is too old, you have to provide some outrageous reason why in the modern era, the hero didn’t find out through social media, AND give a bloody good motivation to the heroine for not sharing. The suggestion was to ditch the kid altogether. Except… that removes a handy chunk of my heroine’s goal and motivation, not to mention making a major external force plot point entirely superfluous. I feel I have 50% of an alternative solution, but the other 50% is escaping me. My head is wrecked.

    What part of my project am I avoiding?
    All of it. I am brainstorming so much I spent two hours awake at 4am this morning running through scenarios. Probably I need to drop it, but it feels like a big roadblock to doing anything else!

    • maggiedot
      17/10/2016 at 12:08 AM

      Phew! Quite the plot challenge on the Fun Flimsy! Sounds like a little time away to let it cool in the mind while you focus your energies on a short story is a good idea. Let the girls in the attic do a little thinking on their own, you know?

      I’m sure you’ve probably already considered this, so forgive me if the suggestion is redundant, but would it work if your heroine *had* gotten pregnant, but then, after *things that happen* she lost the baby? That would kind of cover why she wouldn’t ever mention it, but it could still be a major sore spot in her past (and give extra complication to third-party in her life, since there then wouldn’t be any reason for third-party). It’s quite the challenge, but I know you can do it!

      Best of luck, and enjoy the time away from it for a bit–sometimes projects just get a bit too hot to handle after all that mental work, and need a little cooling down if timelines allow.

    • 18/10/2016 at 9:22 AM

      I’m not sure if it helps at all, but I have an ex who is pretty much invisible on social media. These people do exist 🙂

      It might feel a little forced setting it up, but can you put your heroine in a context where she’s averse to oversharing online?

      Also, this might be a daft suggestion, but the two things that come to mind for brainstorming are working back from what you need your characters to do to their motivations (treat it like forensics, examining the evidence) or sitting your characters down and interviewing them?

    • 18/10/2016 at 2:11 PM

      Huzzah for quiet moments and short stories, and hope you are able to let the Fun Flimsy rest for a little while the solution comes together, as maggiedot said. (I love the expression the girls in the attic, it reminds me of people who refer to backyard chickens as “the ladies”).

      • maggiedot
        19/10/2016 at 12:52 AM

        XD Haha! I love that, too! It’s my modified Stephen King’s “boys in the basement.” Man, now I want to get chickens again… XD

  6. maggiedot
    17/10/2016 at 4:50 AM

    Congrats on the working routine! Sounds like things are really clicking into place and you’ve got a good schedule going. I’ve never read Pelecanos before. I’ll have to check him out!

    My Sunday Circle is here:

    • 18/10/2016 at 9:26 AM

      Kudos for getting over to the other side of the mental block. I hope the editing stretch goes well this week! (maybe build up a list of thorny issues/problems you can mull over while you’re getting the costume together, to have that time do double duty?)

      • maggiedot
        19/10/2016 at 12:55 AM

        I’ll definitely try to list things out–it’s more the overwheming sense that there’s no way I can get this much work done on it by the end of October (which is just a personal deadline, but still…)–it may have to bleed into November a bit, but I may be able to live with that. But I don’t want to slack up just because I can give myself a little wiggle room!

    • 18/10/2016 at 2:14 PM

      You’re making me want to watch Gotham again! I love how excited you are too about all those things that work so well for you. I need to remember to keep track of those myself to refer to when I get stuck or bored with a project.

      • maggiedot
        19/10/2016 at 1:00 AM

        It’s definitely got me thinking about what I may need to incorporate into my own work more often, simply because I love it so much! That said, I *do* think Barbara’s character needs some pretty intense work, since right now she’s just the sit-in-penthouse-pretty-thing-for-Jim-to-lose, and I just can’t help but think that she ought to have at least as much spice as the female villains who are so goal-oriented and fierce and fantastic. It’s been fun working out why something works or doesn’t work for me in the story–I’m not sure it’s ever been so obvious to me as it has been for this particular show! (Other than Desperate Housewives, oddly enough, which also demonstrated amazing ways to turn a I-hate-them-rawr! character into an underdog worth rooting for, and also that very specifically goal-oriented plot driving!) But yes–I’m definitely obsessed with it at the moment!

  7. 17/10/2016 at 5:04 PM

    What am I working on?
    – Outline for the November novel.
    – Mostly just trying to tidy up post-uni-confirmation and pre-family-wedding, so that I can meet the last of the month’s deadlines when I come back.

    What’s inspiring me?
    – Discovering my desk is perfectly positioned to watch storms come in from the west if they do so in daylight. Although I’m a nervy householder so after ten minutes I start cringeing because it is raining
    – Reading a Regency with a frequently-fainting heroine and frequently to-the-rescue hero that pretty much gets away with it. It’s a fun trope for a reason, when it makes any sense for the plot and characters. Frankly, in fairytales heroines are almost ALWAYS self-rescuing or even hero-rescuing (even Rapunzel, and within the logic of the world, even the original Little Mermaid) and I think heroines deserve a break every now and again.
    – Offsetting my interests jussst right so my favourite bookstore owners and comic artists send me recommendations for aviation documentaries.

    What am I avoiding?
    – According to the habit-tracker graph, taking any substantive business/strategic actions and improving my immediate environment.
    – A couple emails, but time has answered those questions.

    • 18/10/2016 at 9:31 AM

      I know it’s hard to squirrel away the time, but I can’t recommend investment on time to improve your environment enough – every time I’ve made shifts to improve the immediate physical surrounds, it’s paid off in spades.

      Hope the work on the confirmation goes well!

      • 18/10/2016 at 2:17 PM

        I know, I knoooow. When my housemate leaves I’ll probably spend a few evenings with a glass of wine and an allen key rearranging bookshelves.
        And thank you! I’m all confirmed:) Now to write and illustrate a novella!

    • maggiedot
      19/10/2016 at 1:04 AM

      Definitely second Kevin on the environment! And little habits everyday can go a long way to making things more relaxing. ^_^

      And I am 100% jealous of your storm view window! That is so awesome. (And I love habit-tracking graphs–it does help keep things in perspective, at least to some degree. My mother always reminds me that having a “balanced” life isn’t about always being in perfect balance, but knowing how and when to make minor course corrections to stay upright on the wire!) Best of luck with it all!

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