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 finished off the Bad Dog: Origins draft late yesterday afternoon, and started making notes about what I’ll need to do when I start revising scenes this week (mostly: build up the supernatural elements of the plot; create a list of all the references that need to be inserted earlier, or included later).

That means this week is back to the Float draft, after spending the planning time over the last week putting together a new outline for the second half of the book. A couple of big meaty scenes in the next sequence, which is basically playing with the protagonist-gets-captured beat of a kill-your-way-up-the-conspiracy story. Tomorrow I sit down and write the first scene where protagonist and the antagonist are in the same room, which should be fun.

What’s inspiring me this week?

Still in Lansdale-land, reading my way through his horror-western, Dead in the West, and dolling out little bits of the Hap and Leonard series on Google Play. Dead in the West brings back a character that Lansdale has used in a bunch of short stories, collected in Deadman’s Crossing, but this time around it’s primarily a serial work and the structure is…very different. There’s a lot more influence from TV and movies in the way Dead in the West comes together that’s interesting to study.

What part of my project an I avoiding?

There’s a whole bunch of that protag/antag scene that needs to be fleshed out, but I haven’t yet put a lot of thought into what that’s going to look like. I know what I want the scene to be, and I have the very broad strokes, but its the first scene after the mid-point which means it needs to generate new momentum, send the story in a new direction, and reveal a little extra about what’s really going on. How I’m going to do that is still up in the air, but I’ll need to lock it down pretty quickly.


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

  1. 30/10/2016 at 9:01 AM

    Man! You finished that Bad Dog: Origins draft quickly. Congrats on getting it done. 🙂

    My Sunday Circle is here

    (Peter – I think you’d really like The Expanse which I talk about here, if you haven’t read it already)

    • 30/10/2016 at 9:06 AM

      I am hanging out for the Expanse on Netflix. Cannot wait.

      • 30/10/2016 at 4:21 PM

        It’s a lot of fun! Plus I’m loving seeing Steven Strait get roles after The Covenant haha

    • maggiedot
      30/10/2016 at 12:42 PM

      The Expanse sounds fantastic. I’ll have to check it out when it rolls my way! And congrats on being so, so, SO close to done on this revision of the BDLN! Sounds like that last bigger tweak is a tricky one. Best of luck getting the motivation in place to get it done. Would it help at all to break that final edit piece into smaller fractions of work, if only to make it seem less daunting?

      • 31/10/2016 at 8:39 PM

        Definitely check it out! It’s a lot of fun. Thanks for the tip on breaking it down too. I think that’s what I’m going to have to do. It’s a bit of a monstrous final act.

    • 30/10/2016 at 8:17 PM

      Space Detectives! And I am so excited about Flight, it sounds right up my alley.

      • 31/10/2016 at 8:41 PM

        Yes! Space detectives! It’s pretty great. And thanks re: Flight! I’ve given myself a sneaky headstart today, and am really enjoying working on it, so hopefully that momentum sticks around for the month.

  2. Kate
    30/10/2016 at 9:42 AM

    What am I working on this week?
    Nano! I have signed up for NaNoWriMo for the first time in years. My purpose in doing so is not so much to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days as it is to jumpstart my writing practice which has been stalled for the better part of a decade. I hope that by participating in Nano I will achieve one or more goals, mainly to reconnect with the simple act of writing new words and hopefully fire up a few of the neurons that used to be connected to my understanding of the craft of fiction; to get at least past the half-way mark on a substantive new work so that I don’t once again end up with a bunch of false starts that lead nowhere; to lay down some new daily routines or habits that make room for fiction in my life (which has recently become organised in a whole new way with a young child and a new job)

    What’s inspiring me this week?
    I just returned from a week long leadership camp with arts leaders from around Australia and to say it has inspired me is to completely understate the brain-wrinkling and heart-smooshing conversations and experiences I have just had. My fellow group members are inspiring this week, and quite probably for the rest of my life.

    What part of my project an I avoiding?
    Nano! Well, specifically the prep I should have done by now to make the completion of a novel in 30 days more likely. I should have more ready in scene mapping, a more detailed understanding of my plot, some more of the secondary characters fleshed out. But I don’t. I’ve had other priorities ahead of that until now so I’ll be diving fully clothed (I possibly have time between now and November 1 to take my shoes off first) If anyone else is doing Nano and wants to buddy me, I am “brisvegasgrrl”.

    • maggiedot
      30/10/2016 at 12:38 PM

      Ooo, have fun with NaNo! I haven’t done it for a few years, but did find it very helpful for developing and understanding my own work habits a bit. Best of luck! 😀

    • 30/10/2016 at 12:43 PM

      Kudos to you for taking on Nanowrimo Kate! I’ll be cheering you on from the [virtual] grandstand.

    • 30/10/2016 at 8:21 PM

      Me too! I’m… silverfish, very old account:)

  3. maggiedot
    30/10/2016 at 12:59 PM

    @Peter: Congrats on wrapping Bad Dog, and moving headlong into edits! Best of luck tackling the next phase. 😀

    My Sunday Circle is here this week.

    • 30/10/2016 at 8:29 PM

      The Shirley Jackson bio sounds fascinating – is that the one by Ruth Franklin?

      • maggiedot
        31/10/2016 at 1:36 AM

        Yes! It’s huge–about 500 pages–but it’s absolutely captivating.

  4. 30/10/2016 at 2:00 PM

    Congrats from me too for finishing Bad Dog, Peter.
    Here’s my Sunday Circle for this week.

    • 30/10/2016 at 8:31 PM

      Huzzah for Vigil!

    • maggiedot
      31/10/2016 at 1:41 AM

      Ooo, I’ve been wanting to read Vigil soon. And hooray for steady progress! If You Are the One sounds like a fun show! Do you watch that on TV or a streaming network?

      • 31/10/2016 at 7:56 AM

        I watch it on TV (SBS) but it’s not as much fun during daylight savings months because 80% of the tweeting comes from NSW & Vic, & poor Queenslanders like me are left behind. But I soldier on 🙂

  5. 30/10/2016 at 2:51 PM

    What am I working on this week?

    I’ve sat down and begun to plot out the book (YA Sci-Fi for those following along). Realised that a ‘sneaking scene’ has been included early on and immediately thought of Dr Kim and her novel boot camp (Argh, from almost 2 years ago, where has the time gone?). I won’t likely do nano this year. Well I’ll be plotting heavily but not actually fully writing the scenes. I don’t know how I’ll track my progress otter that Pass/Fail, but I’ll how it goes.

    What’s inspiring me this week?

    This week was mostly a blur with work, family, and life. My reading and tv watching is virtually non-existent.

    What part of my project an I avoiding?

    Oddly, I’m avoiding working on the plot. Specifically everything after the 1/4 point. I guess that in the back of my head I think that if I put something down then it is set and harder for me to create another ending. Ya, I know that kind of how it works and I just have to get over it.

    • 30/10/2016 at 8:30 PM

      Can you track it by “did I work on it x amount today y/n” or by a time-based version of Kim’s word-count bingo?

      • 31/10/2016 at 5:30 AM

        Kim’s bingo! I totally forgot about bingo word count. Thanks for the reminder.

    • maggiedot
      31/10/2016 at 1:38 AM

      Best of luck on plotting progress!

  6. 30/10/2016 at 8:14 PM

    What am I working on?
    – First draft of novella due early December (well, the first quarter of it is due, but ideally I’d like a whole draft).
    – Finalising the outline for NaNoWriMo, which would be easier if I weren’t at a family event.
    – One episode cover, two cover thumbnails, two novels to read, two art commissions, two illustrations and the layout for a picturebook.

    What’s inspiring me?
    – Forcing connections between my reading/watching of late is quite enjoyable. When I do the Accidental Creative style of note-taking, under the “Pattern” heading I try to find or invent patterns with the last three or four things I read/saw/am working on, however unlikely. Edwardian artists, the FLAG cable and the rise of the early-modern corporation, for example. Lots of ideas.
    – Setting an alarm and reading through my non-fiction pile for an hour mid-morning is really paying off. I navigate the pile by trying to choose something nominally unrelated to the last two.
    – Two books I recently finished were Dear Genius: The letters of Ursula Nordstrom and Time Was: The Reminiscences of W. Graham Robertson. Nordstrom was a children’s book editor at Harpers from 1940 to the 1973. She loved her work and understood its importance and bullied, cajoled, befriended, encouraged, inspired and defended authors and illustrators such as Laura Ingalls Wilder, EB White and Maurice Sendak over a period of extensive changes to the industry and the world. Robertson was a set designer and artist, the friend of Burne-Jones, Rossetti, Oscar Wilde, Sarah Bernhardt, Ellen Terry… His reminiscences are charming, surprising, hilarious and full of the little human details of life among such artists. Both books are inspiring: the ardent professional mentoring of Nordstrom; the boots-and-all revelling in dreamy genius of a generation of painters, actors and authors at the end of an era.

    What am I avoiding?
    – Getting things finished, I think. I’m pushing a few deadlines at the moment, due to additional family functions and some changing assessment dates and the buffers I had weren’t quite sufficient.
    – A serious overhaul of my working area, but it’s started. I still have a lot of storage and furniture waiting for its owner to send for it.
    – A couple of small tasks I persist in expecting to happen just because they’re on the list, and so I don’t schedule time to do them.

    • maggiedot
      31/10/2016 at 1:46 AM

      Dear Genius is one of those books I’ve had on my wish list for years–now I really have to check it out! Have you read The Clockwork Muse? I’ve found it’s method for predicting/planning work for specific deadlines really helpful in taking a busy life schedule and extrapolating out how long a given project will take. It probably wouldn’t work for everything, but on those hard to finish projects or quick turn-around times, I’ve found it invaluable for keeping me grounded in the day-to-day requirements I need to hit to get to the end point on time.

      • 01/11/2016 at 10:24 AM

        Thanks for the recommendation!

    • 31/10/2016 at 7:59 AM

      What a busy week! I’ve never heard of the Accidental Creative style of note-taking. Can you tell me a bit about it?

      • 01/11/2016 at 10:23 AM

        I think Peter’s written a few posts about the book, but the notetaking approach is to regularly take short notes on your reading and review them for ideas. It suggests making notes on four points: 1. What patterns do I notice? 2. What surprised me? 3. What did I like, and why? 4. What did I dislike, and why?

        I force a few answers for each even if I can’t think of any, because it can make really interesting connections. And often I add 5. What did this make me want to try?

  7. 30/10/2016 at 8:16 PM

    Congratulations on finishing the draft, Peter!

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