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?

I have a week off work and a new set of antidepressants that seem to avoid all the side-effects of the last meds, so this week is all about higher-than-normal social times, cleaning my house, and getting a fracking short story done. I’ve given myself a deadline of July 31 to get two stories out and into submission.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I re-read Georgette Heyer’s Venitia for book club this week, and it was a curious experience. I’ve read the book twice before, and I love it dearly, but there is a peculiarity to the structure that means I never really remember much about the book until I’m three-quarters of the way through.

There’s also something very particular about the way Heyer constructs endings which fascinates me. She writes slow-paced books in many respects, setting up extraordinary amounts of chaos that comes together in the last few pages and just rush you through resolutions at high speed. It’s brilliant, and confounding.

What part of my project an I avoiding?

I have skated through the last seven days without a proper weekly plan, or daily plan, and it’s starting to show. I have not quite dissolved into a cloud of butterflies and dissipated on the breeze, but I am very, very close. Will have to do some proper thinking about what needs to be done, and when, before today is over.

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

  1. 24/07/2016 at 11:49 AM

    Why did you think the story structure of Venitia was peculiar? I’d be curious to hear more about that.

    Also my Sunday Circle is here

    • 24/07/2016 at 3:28 PM

      I know this is basically my answer for everything, but would breaking down the re-read help at all in approaching it, or do you need the momentum that comes from reading through in a big block? It’s a tiny pleasure, but I’ve found that putting together a simple spreadsheet that updates me on % completion for audio editing for the narration project I’m working on at the moment is a big help.

      Also, giant kudos for the progress on the novelette this week. And for working with Tiny Owl – Sue is an absolute sweetheart!

      • 27/07/2016 at 8:09 AM

        Haha, breaking it down is great advice though! I do have a pretty comprehensive scene map for this manuscript already, and am relatively happy with the story structure itself, so I was mostly hoping to do this read-through as, well, a reader, especially as it’s going off for a structural edit shortly. I do really like the idea of having something that updates on the actual % of completion though!

        And thanks! Sue’s terrific. I’m really thrilled to be working with her on this one.

    • 24/07/2016 at 7:03 PM

      Heyer doesn’t do three-act structure as we’ve come to know it at all, although her books are highly structured. The central romance plot is usually pretty straight-forward, which means the books are actually about the subplots and the people around the central characters, until the ending arrives and everything is more-or-less set to rights.

      But even by those standards, Venetia is digressive. There are distinct sequences within the story, but they aren’t really linked to a central plot the way we’ve come to expect from the more focused approach used in films and TV.

      • 27/07/2016 at 7:50 AM

        That’s really interesting – it sounds a bit like the way Austen does plot too, where the main romance story is a to be, usually with a little knot in the middle, but the secondary character arcs tend to offer something quite different. Mansfield Park was especially interesting for it as I think it’s more critical than ever about class there’s a pretty major subplot about the slave trade which Austen’s quite clearly criticising. It’s really fascinating to read and confirms what an intelligent and forward thinking writer she was.

        I’ll definitely have to read more Heyer! I’ve only read Cotillion and The Grand Sophy, both of which I really loved.

        • 31/07/2016 at 6:21 PM

          I’m curious to know how you find Diana Wynne Jones’ plots compare. A lot of hers (Howl among many others) have that slow burn–>CHAOS! structure too, and I love it.

  2. 24/07/2016 at 3:24 PM

    Peter: I know I’m telling you stuff you already know, but consider this a quick reminder to be kind to yourself this week, with everything else going on. Modest goals, and plenty of patience for yourself. Hope the planning goes well, and it sounds like catching up with peeps will be a great way to remind yourself of what’s important.

    Exit Pompous Advice Mode.

    Venetia sounds fantastic structure-wise – like an artful arrangement of dominoes throughout combined with some clever misdirection.

  3. 24/07/2016 at 3:43 PM

    What am I working on this week?
    Getting edits on the narration project out the door, primarily.
    Other than that, work on Now Playing continues. The project has survived its drop-dead milestone, and will continue to be A Thing.

    Those are the big things to get out the gate.

    What’s inspiring me this week?
    There’s been a few things, all pop culture. Firstly, I’m beyond ecstatic about the release of an older mother character for Overwatch, who has an interesting backstory and sharp edges. Her introduction video made me cry:
    Secondly, GHOSTBUSTERS, and seeing so many female friends on FB say “This is the movie I’ve waited my whole life for!”. Representation matters, dammit.
    Thirdly, there’s a slew of stuff that’s come out of Comic Con this weekend that I’m really excited about. Wonder Woman actually looks grand, Justice League looks interesting, and I’m super-excited about the new Luke Cage series.

    Reading time has been scarce, but loving On Stranger Tides, and thank you so much for the Pimsleur recommendation, @maggiedot – I’ve gone through the introductory lesson, and it’s ace – will be picking up more. Duolingo is great for reading and writing Russian, but there’s so much elision in the language that it’s next to useless for understanding the rules of pronunciation.

    I’m actually really enjoying working with video, and that’s been itching my brain in terms of what next and how to do things better. I’d stopped blogging a while back, and I think it’s a much better fit for communicating with whatever audience I have, despite the extra work involved. I’ve almost finished wrapping my head around how best to use iMovie, I’ve streamlined the pipeline of making videos, and I’m eyeing off what’s next. Looking with distinct interest at Adobe After Effects.

    What am I avoiding?
    Dragging my feet on editing a little to get this narration project done, but otherwise things are progressing pretty well. Formal study time as in reading books has suffered this week, but there’s been a lot of investigation and process improvement, which has a much more immediate impact at the moment.

    • Maggie
      25/07/2016 at 5:56 AM

      Hooray!! I’m so glad Pimsleur has been helpful! I’ve been meaning to check out Duolingo, too–I think in the past my husband’s used to to keep up on vocabulary, and also really liked it. *adds to mental list of things to try*

      Congrats on the Now Playing project clipping right along! That’s so fun! 😀

    • 27/07/2016 at 8:15 AM

      Glad you enjoyed Ghostbusters!! I thought the relationship between Erin and Abby could have been better developed, but otherwise I loved it. And yes! Comic-Con always brings the goods.

      Now Playing looks like a really, really interesting project too. I’ll definitely check it out. 🙂

  4. karinacoldrick
    24/07/2016 at 7:21 PM

    Hi gang

    Quick note again…
    Firstly, glad to hear you’re doing better this week, Peter. Good luck with the deadline.

    What am I working on this week?
    Removing the points that freaked out Maggiedot in my Fun Flimsy is order of the day. AWESOME feedback and certainly drove home why beta readers are vital!

    What’s inspiring me this week?
    Feedback, for the most part. So wonderful reading a a reader’s thoughts as they go through your work. Also, have started Unseen Academicals – one of my few unread Pratchetts.

    What am I avoiding?
    Jotted down a couple of points for a new story rather than get stuck in plotting Opus 2. Probably just as well, because the Fun Flimsy edits are going to take up my free time this week. Deadline is to get the full into new requestor by end of this week. Excited and terrified by this.

    • Maggie
      25/07/2016 at 5:59 AM

      Haha! I’m glad the notes were helpful, and I totally did freak out there! Just shows how intensely I cared about the characters by that point in the story! ^_^ Seriously, such a fun read. I’ll be sending positive, muse-soothing thoughts your way this week! 😀

  5. Maggie
    25/07/2016 at 5:50 AM

    Interesting about the Heyer structure–I’m definitely going to have to check the book out. Always interesting to see how one can approach non-three-act structure. And hooray for properly functioning meds! In approaching the coming week, would it be helpful to set smaller-than-necessary goals? I sometimes find that setting small goals when I have a large chunk of time available helps facilitate productivity (often much more than I’d planned for!) without adding unhelpful pressure or the risk of disappointment. Just a thought, though!

    Just a short update today–I’m posting from my phone, and my hen-pecking is out of practice. ^_-

    What am I working on this week?: Trying to bash out a fun short story, and maybe–maybe–get another short story submitted.

    What’s inspiring me this week?: Actually, it’s Katrina’s novel! Man, it’s really made me realize how I need to focus on scenes in a more focused manner–I think I often luck out with writing scenes that function properly, but in the outline I’m working on, I tend to get a bit more wishy-washy on the goals/emotional track I need to take. (And yeah, I definitely freaked out at one point, but it’s just a testament to how invested katrinacolderick had gotten me in her characters! :D)

    And PBS is replaying the Great British Baking Show again! Mmmm…I’ve never been much of a baker, but it makes me want to make breads and fancy cookies, biscotti, cakes, and petit fours! There’s a part of me that’s absolutely obsessed with the idea of making baguettes…

    What am I avoiding?: Reworking the ending of a short story. It’s practically submitable, but the ending still isn’t quite right, and there are one or two other places that feel off, but for some reason I just cannot figure it out, and its driving me crazy. I don’t mind hitting a point of “good enough” to submit, but I do struggle with letting go of a story even when I’m legitimately unhappy with parts of it. I’m very aware of the competition for these publication slots, and I just hate the idea of letting my sense of urgency to submit overwhelm my gut instinct. There’s no specific deadline on this one, so there’s no real pressure other than my own need to get things out again regularly. It’s just the gut alarm shrieking “Not Ready!” I’ll try a few exercises on it this week and see if something will unkink the hose of inspiration…

    • Maggie
      25/07/2016 at 12:59 PM

      And, of course, I mean Karina–not sure where I thought the T came from. I’m going to chalk it up to sleep deprivation…

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