Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Back on Track or Off the Rails?

I have managed to close the gap on my word goals over the last week.  I missed the Sunday check-in due to pure forgetfulness but I'll blame that on being new to the whole ROW thing.  Here is where I stand.

My frontier horror story is sitting in at about 4,000 word and is nearly complete.  I've done some touch up work on my colonial sci-fi story but it is still pretty rough.  I'm hesitant to jump into a full edit while I am still working on the other piece.  So I am a little behind but my goals gave me wiggle room so things are still alright.

Did you all know there is a fellowship contest every year for screenplays?  I'm sure there are many, but I recently became aware of the Nicholl Fellowship which awards 35,000 dollars to assist budding writers focus on their writing instead of their day jobs.  Pretty sweet deal if you can put together a screenplay worth reading.  I might take a run at it this year just to keep my motivation up.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Day Late and 2,000 Words Short

I haven't been as effective in cutting down my word deficit as I'd like to have been.  I got a fair amount of work done on my frontier horror tale but I'm still 2,000 words down from where I should be given my 1,000 words a day goal.  With the completion of the stories being key to moving on to my next stated goals I feel pretty bad each day that I don't write.  That said, I really feel like the story is coming together well and I suppose that is a significant part of it.  Not everything can be measured in words, right?

This weekend promises to be pretty busy as I've been handed an important work project to complete by Monday.  I will still need to find the time for writing, though.  If I really want to make a go of writing full-time I need to look at it as a job that I can't just skip out on whenever other things are piling up.

Encouraging words, as always, are welcome.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Girls Not on Film

I've noticed a trend in my writing lately that honestly hadn't occurred to me until I read a rather lengthy, and extremely poignant, article on the lovely interwebs.

Article Here.  Yes, it's quite long but the importance of what it discusses cannot be understated on a blog that purports to be about writing.

Back on point, I went back over the unfinished works that I have in my folder and realized that I'm writing a lot about women lately.  Greenhorn has a female protagonist in a setting that doesn't usually boast them.  Soulless has one as well.  My short piece of frontier horror fiction follows a thirteen year old girl's struggle to drag her father's body back to civilization.  My colonial sci-fi piece features a female war hero turned convict.

Looking through the stories I had to ask myself if I was writing about women simply because they were women.  Would each story change if the gender of the main character did?  In a world where it is common to suggest that everyone is equal it becomes that much more important to remember that being equal and being uniform are not the same.  Characters, like people, should be unique and to suggest that gender doesn't have an impact on our behavior and personality is disingenuous.  I believe that the female perspective does bring something different to the table than the male perspective.

I'm not sure when I started to put women in the most prominent positions in my work but I think the article makes it pretty clear that women are horribly underrepresented in most forms of popular fiction.  The fact that finding a well crafted female protagonist in a work of fiction that isn't romance or some hybrid of romance is so refreshing should be a brightly lit warning sign.

That said, it is also true that some male writers struggle with presenting the differences in genders appropriately.  Some female writers are equally unable to overcome that hurdle.  Perhaps it isn't a matter of difficulty representing the other gender, but difficulty with writing in general.  Just because it is harder for someone to present a cross-gender viewpoint isn't reason not to pursue it.  We only advance our ability by challenging our weaknesses.

I hope that my stories present their protagonists as three-dimensional, fully realized people regardless of the gender I've chosen.  I hope that my presentation of female characters come across as believable and honest.  Mostly, though, I hope that others out there are making the same efforts.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

ROW80 Goals First Quarter 2013

So I am going to try and follow the Round of Words in 80 Days system this year.  I came across it through Camille LaGuire's blog "The Daring Novelist".  It is a goal setting system where you choose milestones to accomplish over each 80 day period with 10 day break between sessions.  You post updates on Sundays and Wednesdays, so that will give me a few more blog posts each week.  It seems like one of the more manageable systems I've seen.

So, onto goals.

I am going to try and apply to the Clarion Writers Workshop this year which means this quarter is going to be really important.  Work has been a real drain on my creativity recently and it is going to be a struggle to get the 12,000 words together that I need for the application.  I could use some old stuff but most of my material is unfinished novels and the workshop is short fiction focused so I want to send something appropriate.

That means, at present, I need to do a thousand words a day over the next two weeks to have the stories done, then edit and revise them over the following two weeks.  Ideally, I would like to get the application in before February 15th.  It's going to be a tight deadline so that means less screwing off and more focus.

Once that's done, however, I would like to go back to Soulless (working title since I discovered that there is a series out with an installment called Soulless which looks pretty interesting) and start putting in more time there.  If I can focus enough to get two stories together of around 5,000 words each, maybe I can make some headway on that project.  I really like the idea behind it and I believe it will come together if I can just work on it regularly.  If I take a day each week away from Soulless and devote it something shorter (I'm working on a tale about zombie hunting Inquisitors in Black Plague era Italy) then maybe I won't get so bogged down.

Lastly, I'd like to put up at least one post a week here that is not related to writing.  Sunday and Wednesday will be goal posts and I am going to try and go back to doing the flash fiction challenges on Terrible Minds so if I pick a random topic for another day that will be four posts a week.  Shouldn't be too challenging.

Summary:  1,000 words a day through February 1st.  Edit and revise two stories by February 14th.  Apply to the Writer's Conference by February 15th.  Work on Soulless through March 28th, possibly interspersing this time with Plague Dogs.  Four blog posts a week on here.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year, New Efforts

So the new year is upon us and we've managed to narrowly escape total destruction at the hands of a turning age.  Now is as good a time as any for resolutions.

1. Care less, write more:  Ok, I need to just start writing and stop worrying about whether what I am writing is any good.  Nothing is good until it's done.

2. Run, Lift, Stretch:  Three days of running, two days of strength work and a day of yoga to limber up.  If I am going to be active in Seattle I am going to need to get in shape.

3. Less wasteful spending: I need to revise my budget and stick to it.  Saving is especially important for my plans this year.

4: Blog, dammit!: Three times a week, come hell or high water, I will put something up on here.