A little research “trip”

I’ve been doing a lot of research for the latest short story in the last couple days, and today I decided to take a little walk to supplement my online and paper resources. The main character of my steampunk story is the niece of Gottlieb Daimler of automotive fame, and she helps him build an airship.

Luckily, the workshop where Daimler and Maybach built their first motorized vehicles is practically in my own backyard, so I went to take another look at it today, this time with story in mind:

Daimler's workshop

And here’s a model of the airship:

Model of Daimler's Luftschiff

Now if that doesn’t get the steampunk creative juices flowing, nothing will!

Even with the research, I got a total of about 1500 new words on the story written Monday and Tuesday. Haven’t gotten around to writing today yet, though.

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“Second Contact” finished

I’ve finally finished my fourth “story” for the the Clarion West Write-a-thon, nearly a week late. I won’t get the six stories done this time, I fear, but at least I’m producing more material to send out into the cold, cruel world. This one is a collaboration with Jay Lake that began many years ago and was abandoned due to novel deadlines and health issues. But I always really liked it, and the write-a-thon was a great excuse to tackle it again.

It’s a monster, though, coming in at 22,000 words. Be interesting to see if we can sell it. If not, we’ll just have to make an e-book out of it. 🙂

Another story finished

I’m still behind schedule, but I did get another story for the Clarion West Write-a-thon finished this week. And with my word count (4400 words) I came in ahead of my goal for Round of Words in 80 Days.

At the same time, I have two other stories in the pipeline, (including the research-intensive Callisto story, which I *still* haven’t finished), and I started brainstorming another story today for a Codex writing challenge.

So if I can finish those three stories by the end of the month, I will achieve my goal for the CW challenge. Hm. Maybe I need drugs?

Challenge progress

I didn’t quite get my word count goals for the week, but I’m pretty satisfied anyway. 3700 words is a good week for me. If I can keep this up, I should be able to finish the six stories by the end of the Clarion West Write-a-thon, even though my third story isn’t done yet. The Round of Words in 80 days will keep me accountable beyond the six weeks of Clarion West, but it’s a good, comfortable pace.

Why I prefer weekly goals

I’m working on a new story set on Jupiter’s moon Callisto. I did no pre-writing for this before the Clarion West write-a-thon, and it’s pretty research intensive. Of course, the research is giving me loads of ideas on where the story could go. But the fact remains, right now my daily word count is less than I would like, 1700 words until now for this week. But I have to take into consideration that I started a completely new story, brainstormed from scratch last Friday, and for some idiotic writerly reason, the idea that grabbed me was one where I had *no* research background.

But perhaps that’s part of the reason it grabbed me.

So perhaps my goal for this week will end up being forgiving myself for not reaching my word count or story completion goals. I might still find another project that can be finished in the meantime to still manage the story a week during Clarion, but even if I don’t, I have to be able to tackle a story that’s bigger than I can manage in only a week with my meager knowledge of astrophysics. One of the sticky notes on my monitor is a quote from Michael Swanwick, “Consider greatness as a career strategy.” And we can’t do that if we only write the stories that are easy to write in a week, or where we are always only thinking of daily word count.

A Round of Words in Eighty Days

I’m a bit addicted to writing challenges, and I just heard about a new one which seems to be right up my alley, since it allows for Life Happening. So, although I am already participating in the Clarion West Write-a-thon, I’m also signing up for the ROW80 a day late. My goals for the next 80 days:

– For the rest of the month while I’m working on short stories for the CW challenge, 4000 words a week

– After that, 10 pages revised a day on Chameleon in a Mirror + an average of 1 page a day new writing on Fragments of Legend. I’m keeping it low so that I will still have time for all the research I know I still need to do — and I won’t kick myself too much about it!

Once the revision of CIAM is complete and writing time frees up for other projects, I’ll post new goals.

ROW80

Story #2 finished – ahead of time!

I’ve caught up with myself after the stomach flu last week, and finished my second story for the Clarion West Write-a-Thon in two days. Ok, “On Finding a Shoe” is short, coming in at only 1700 words, but still, those two days include the whole brainstorming and research phase, not like my Mars story, which also only took two days to write — but a month of research.

“On Finding a Shoe,” however, is definitely not a Nebula candidate. 🙂

“The Pool of Souls” finished

Finished my first story for the Clarion West Write-a-Thon, today, “The Pool of Souls” (well, at least the first draft). It comes in at just over 4000 words in its present incarnation. Here’s an excerpt:

Imila swirled the paper around in the pool, panning for ashes as she’d heard some men panned for gold in mountain streams. Flecks of souls eddied in the small vortex she created, circling around her hands as if trying to determine if this paper was meant for them. Imila watched in wonder as some of the silvery ashes detached themselves from the rest, coalescing in a shiny mass. She continued the circling movement, coaxing her daughter’s soul closer. Then the ashes caught in the rough texture, and the paper turned a shimmering bluish gray as it absorbed all that was left of Terya.

Clarion West Write-a-thon

I’m participating in the Clarion West Write-a-thon again this year. This time, I want to use it to get some new short stories finished. I’ve been concentrating on novels much too long, and my story inventory has dwindled to little more than a dozen. I’m going to try to finish at least six new short stories, and also polish and send out six stories that have not yet been on the market.

Wish me luck! And feel free to sponsor me if you’re so inclined. Clarion West is an excellent cause.

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