It is that time of the month again. Happy 1st of September to those who stop by. Spring has been here in the SE of Queensland now for at least week or more. Like someone just pushed the button from Winter to Summer and forgot Spring is the segue between the two. But down to a review of what I achieve this month.
1. Write something every day – building up to three pages a day
Again this month it is hit and miss. I guess I write most days – taking Saturday off usually, but it is no where near three pages a day. I think I probably should concentrate on working up to this before December. I have found getting up ridiculously early gets my articles written without the distractions I seem to suffer through late at night. The downside of this is it really knocks my body around and I haven’t yet had the stamina to make it through a week of 4am morning get ups.
But I can see a routine in creation.
Editing has slowed down again – but I did get Graceville ready and present to my QWC critting class for the final class of the course. Edwina has also been through it ruthlessly – but says it is all sound now and I should consider sending it off after crit class. I need the feedback from fresh eyes that the voices work and the tension is there.
2. Participate in [Fiction] Friday every week
I was the contributor of the prompts this month. After some weeks in the wilderness of editing and no new writing, I contributed two this week (which was actually my absolute minimum for this goal – it should actually read, aim to participate in FF every week, with a minimum of fortnightly) I used a writing exercise from critting class to write to write the ten line flash fiction A Lover’s Tryst which was also my first entry into #FlashFriday. The following week I came Gargoyles Revenge which got lots of comments via The Flash.
3. Read two books a month (or a minimum of 600 pages)
It was three books this month – which I am really pleased about.
Skinny Dip – Carl Hiaasen
I really didn’t get into it like I have got into Ben Elton’s work. The American humour really just doesn’t do it for me in this novel, but I did love the redemptive journey of the hitman Tool in it. He was the saving grace of the book. And there were some interesting twists and turns of narrative. Feel a bit let down after being recommended Hiaasen last year.
The True Story of Butterfish – Nick Earls
There is every possiblity I didn’t enjoy Skinny Dip because I just had to get it finished so I could read Nick’s new book. It is also a signed copy which encapsulates a crazy day in my life. I thoroughly enjoyed it – the laughs came at the end for me. It is almost a coming of age, having read Nick’s earlier books. I love the way he makes men both strong and vulnerable. I thought Curtis was great, and was gunning for him to snog Kate in the pool, but my favourite character was 14 year old Mark. Maybe it was my years at Smithfield High School coming back. Having heard Nick talk about how the story came into being at Byron also lent a sort of surreal element to reading it.
Anatomy of Wings – Karen Foxlee
This was lent to me by Edwina without much of a word as to why I should read it. She had recently edited My Sandals which is told with a child’s voice. I heard Karen speak at Byron also. Not only did she talk about the development of the book but read certain paragraphs from it so I read with anticipation waiting to come to those passages. It is a book which works on so many levels you don’t immediatly grasp just how deep it goes. Beautifully told from 10 year old Jenny’s perspective, her descriptive narrative blows you away in parts. And the manner in which she weaves the back story of the other residents of Dardanelle’s Court into the story is superb.
September is slated to read Lightning and The Time Travellers Wife, as well as the One Book Many Brisbanes anthology – of which we got a copy of at the last critting group (Karen Foxlee has won the top prize for the last two years!)
4. Complete a manuscript
I’m am considering if I want to hit this benchmark I’m going to have to contemplate finishing Blue Melissae for NaNo this year. The story I had been contemplating for NaNo is now being used for Fourth Fiction. If all else fails – I will at least get to the end of Fourth Fiction with a novella length manuscript and that is nothing to be sneezed at.
Every day I read Lilith Saintcrow’s Facebook statuses and Twitterfeed and wish I was sitting down every day to a manuscript. And telling myself that will be possible next year with Dylan at school.
5. Enter a minimum of four competitions
Still three to enter. The WQ magazine arrived today and I have started hanging out on the Editor Unleashed forums keeping an eye out on what comes up.
6. Have a minimum of 2 fiction and 2 non fiction pieces published
I got a by-line credit for a Sydney Morning Herald article with Kate Benson early in August. While I didn’t actually write the article I did do the research and had things turned out differently it would have been me writing the article – but such is life. I have formed some good links at SHM though and hoping to follow them up this month with the Homebirth Rally.
I am constantly thinking of ways to adapt and write for submission for Kindred – but haven’t actually made moves to do it yet. And checking out some smaller presses – especially Pill Hill to see what is on offer there. If nothing else – Mercurial will be published through Chinese Whisperings – but going to try and find a market for Rum Balls in the lead up to Christmas and to also sell Graceville. Edwina insists the editor at Hecate will be interested.
7. Compile an electronic anthology of my best short stories from 2008
I wont be referring to this again this year. Next year perhap. The lesson from this has been editing is as important as writing – and it is an ongoing process.
8. Get my ‘Chinese Whispers’ novelette/anthology off the ground
Woo – hoo! This is one project which is kicking goals left, right and centre despite the numbers of issues we’ve had, including losing another writer last month. Again Paul was able to pull a rabbit out of his hat and we’ve now got the wonderful English writer Emma Newman on board and feeling very good about her being part of the project. In the first month of “business” the website attracted 511 unique visitors – with an average of 3 visits per person. We had our biggest day over the weekend with 110 visitors. We used the blog to introduce the writers over a two week period, and starting yesterday delivering the story tasters via there, along with the information about how the story came into existence and reflections on the being part of the project. This should keep the blog busy for the next 10 weeks and lead up right into publication. We’re currently up to writer number 8 and by the end of this month, Paul will have begun writing the final story. The 90 day project will be complated in just over nine months!
9. Begin writing my part of the Blood Sister project
Like the personal anthology project – this will be taking this off the list from now on. 2009 is not the year for this project
10. Commit to a schedule of professional development
Byron Bay Writers Festival was brilliant again. I got to chat with a number of writers, I met a new writing friend and heard lots of brilliant stories straight from the horses mouth. I don’t think I “learnt” as much as I did last year – the lasting impact of Sue Woolfe would be hard to beat, but it was lots and lots of fun. I came home feeling rather exhausted but topped up. No wonder I was back into Fiction Friday!
After meaning to for more than a year – I am finally on Linked In! I haven’t fully utilised it yet – but I’m registered and that is a start.
This is the final month of the critting course. I continue to learn things and hone my critiquing skills. While it has been great and I have loved making friends with Trudie – I will be glad for it to be over. Between critting class, Chinese Whisperings, Fourth Fiction, helping Ben andEdwina out and reading via Fiction Friday/#FlashFriday I really am over editing, commenting and critiquing. It will be good for things to go back to be slightly more normal – though I will miss class and the discussions. With the end of the critting course also comes the end of my professional development for the year.
a) take in a few sessions at the Brisbane Writers Festival
b) going Australian Writers Marketplace Online. I went to do it a few weeks ago but needed the credit card details to finalise it. This will certainly help me to track down potential markets.
11. Complete the series of articles for the Reclaim project on ‘Reclaiming Your Space’
While Reclaim remains on hiatus – this series of articles needs to be written. It shall be going on my weekly to do lists.
12. Watch one movie a week
This is a little hit and miss. Watching The Holy Grail (under the influence – again) really doesn’t count. We did watch The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and like Gran Torina and Eight Pounds, I felt my as if my heart had been yanked out – I cried and cried and cried.Woke with puffy eyes the next day.
I saw Public Enemy at the movies on the Friday Night at Byron and was disappointed with it. I struggled to understand the heavy dialects (much less the trouble beautiful French Sarah who I was bunking in with at the hostel had!) and I agreed with Margaret there was little character development, it was like they all just walked on, said their lines and walked off again. The exception was the girlfriend and there is an appalling scene were she is being beaten by a zealous police officer. Sadly – just another gangster movie though.
13. Participate in the National Novel Writing Month
I’m edging towards finishing Blue Melissae but unsure. Though realising once I get back from Cairns – it will be kicking off three weeks later so time to start doing some revision of Blue Melissae to see if that’s where I want to go. It could almost be where the panic button gets hit for NaNo!
I’m now wondering also if having written a few bits and pieces about Hartog – maybe that is where I should be focusing my NaNo energy? Ho hum??
Moving to Weekly Goals …
A few weeks ago I started doing weekly goals – to target certain things I want to achieve. When I wrote these goals at the start of the year I had no idea I was going to write for Fourth Fiction. I also had no idea I would have regular writing gigs with Write Anything or Type A Mom. It has been good for working out how I need to budget my time each week and ensure that I am working through, especially, my committments to other people.
By the end of the year I’ve said I want to have tied up all lose ends – thus why I don’t really want to write anything new. This includes having final drafts of:
- Rum Balls
- My Sandals (I hope I wrote down the title I wanted to change it to because damn if I can remember it now!)
- Light Years
- Summer Girl/Only My Heart Calling (this is a fav story from this year)
- as well as trying hard to have a first draft of Jude/Lea’s story.
I also have to finish getting this blog sorted on my self hosted domain. It wasn’t as simple as I had hoped even with the wonderful help of Dale. Time needs to be spent on the template and at the moment haven’t had the time to do it!