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.

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Summer/Winter Sale at Smashwords

Smashwords is having another sale, and I’m taking part. For the month of July, “Dragon Time” is free with the coupon “SSWSF”; my YA fantasy collection and “Looking Through Lace” are half price with the coupon “SSW50”. Here’s the list of my fiction on Smashwords.

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.

Brave New Worlds and (Cowardly?) Stubborn Old Bitches

As we all know by now, the publishing industry is in a state of flux, and none of us can really predict how things are going to look five years down the road. A couple months back I started trying to participate in the revolution by creating some ebooks of my own by uploading some previously published stories and novellas. All the experts assured me that I could have my files ready in a matter of hours, minutes even.

Uh, can you say days? And then come the error messages from Smashwords

Well, there was too much going on in May, including both travel and increased grandmother duties, for me to deal with renewed demands on files that had originally been approved. Finally tackled that task tonight, thus this little rant. I can only hope that all those experts are right and eventually I will need mere minutes to create new ebooks. Right now, however, I have pretty much forgotten everything I taught myself in March and feel like I’m starting over from scratch.

Perhaps an ebook a week is the ticket.

Events in May

This is going to be a busy month for me. Next week it’s off to Madrid for the next Villa Diodati workshop.

Two days after I get back from Madrid, I’m heading north to Braunschweig for a reading in German and English organized by Writers Ink. I will also be teaching a writing workshop there for members.

After the Braunschweig gig, I will continue on to Leipzig, where I have another reading, this time organized by the “Freundeskreis Science Fiction Leipzig” (FKSL). Maybe after all that, I’ll get a little more writing done again.

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