Of Deadlines, Short Stories and Novellas.

Over April, I have been striving towards a self-imposed goal of 10,000 words as part of CampNaNoWriMo. Regular readers will have read about it during over the past month. Fear not, this is the last post on the topic... for now.

I have mentioned previously that one thing I am constantly fighting is procrastination. I use deadlines as a means of forcing myself to get things done. I have used competitions, regular blog dates and this year, I decided to try NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month - 50,000 words on a new project - in November.) I had an idea for a novella. Pefect! I have started a box with notes, which I need to add to before November. I have taken holidays.  I can write, write, write.

Then I found out about the mini-version.  I could name my own goal, from 10,000 to 50,000 words.  I had a short story in mind, #3 in my growing Doctor Viola Stewart Adventures, using some of my favourite characters. It is based in the same world as The Department of Curiosities, but is less gadgetry steampunk, still alternative history. So far I have:

  • #1: An Eye for Detail - short listed for Australian Literature Review Mystery Short Story Competition, July, 2013. (3000 words)
  • #2: The Magic Lantern (completed - 3500 words)
  • #3: Doctor Jack. (in progress) ( 10,000 words, and counting).

The month started out in a very promising way but quickly fell apart. Days 1-7: 400 words. After a week of migraines, I was still only at four hundred words. Sigh. Procrastination had set in once more but, hey, I had twenty-three more days to write myself out of the hole. Another spurt got me to 1900 words, over the next five days.

Days 8-22: The pattern went like this: a spurt of writing, some plot tinkering, followed by three to four days of intense research - in an effort to make me look like I knew at least a little bit about the historical facts related to the story.

Day 23: I finally wrapped my head around the geography for some of the action and sat down for eight hours, writing out a rough plot line so that everything would track - logistically and timeline-wise.  I now had an ending. But.. 10,000 words would not be enough?

Day 25:  Doctor Jack has struck.. again. Two more, and the ensuing investigation, to go. Eight hundred and sixteen words til I hit my CampNaNoWriMo goal of 10,000. It was obvious the story would not end there. There is at least another 2,000 to 4,000 words to wrap it up. This is no longer a short story. This is my first novella. I am loving these characters.

Doctor Jack - 1st draft- Deadline 30th April, 2014: 

Day 26: First draft is still ongoing. I am now writing beyond my goal and just starting the third phase of the story. Yeah for deadlines! When will I be done? When the characters have completed their story.

Doctor Jack - 1st draft- Deadline 30th April, 2014: 

Introducing: Doctor Jack: Story #3 in The Adventures of Viola Stewart. (I so wanted to call it The Two Doctors Adverntures!) "There is someone stalking the women of London... again. Oculist Doctor Viola Stewart feels there is something strangely familiar about the murders. She convinces her friend Dr Collins(local police pathologist)to assist in her investigations. Together they uncover a sinister plot and a secret Society hell bent on creating a new order."

Wednesday will be my final sprint - during the Writer's Race - to see how much further I can get before the CampNaNoWriMo deadline at midnight. Then for the revisions, rewrites and edits.

Manuscript Word Progress:(on hold for the month) Total Words:   Revised Words:  At 1st draft only:

Hard Work, Goals and Inspirations.

In recent blogs, I have documented some of my writing journey - CampNaNoWriMo, attending the weekly Writer's Race (hosted by The Australian Writer's Marketplace online on Facebook), working at my 'day job', and doing the domestic chores that can not be avoided.

This week, I have pulled myself out of writing doldrums and have (finally) written almost 5000 words towards my CampNaNoWriMo goal. (I do tend to work better to deadlines or goals - which is why I use the progress gauges below.) I am quite relieved, as I originally chose to attempt CampNaNoWriMo specifically as another tool to fight off procrastination - one of my biggest enemies.

I chose the minimum goal level of 10,000 words, so I could get a feel for how difficult it will be in November, when I attempt the full NaNoWriMo experience, of 50,000 words - and a new story project that is knocking at my skull to get out. (I have taken time of work for that one, increasing my writing days.)  Maybe this would also get me back into the habit of daily writing.

Having not yet published anything (other than my shortlisted short story, online at the competition website), I thought I had little to offer already established writers. Well, this week has been an amazing ride for me! A short while ago, a long-time author friend of mine commented on how enthusiastic I am about my writing and asked me to write a blog post. This week a new author friend has asked to read Doctor Jack when it is complete, and author friend has said how I inspired her to get some writing done.

Sometimes the smallest comment can have the biggest consequences.  A big thank you to the three of you - you know who you are - you have boosted my confidence not only in continuing my writing, keeping up with my daily practice but also in sharing my journey with others, hoping that I may inspire them as you have inspired me.

Doctor Jack - 1st draft- Deadline 30th April, 2014: 

Manuscript Word Progress:(on hold for the month) Total Words:   Revised Words:  At 1st draft only:

Obligatory End of Year Reflections…

To my Dear Readers, I hope you all had a fulfilling Christmas holiday. I also hope that you achieved at least some of the at least some of your wishes and projects for 2013. I hope all of you the best for 2014 and wish you all peace within yourself, the courage to try something new and the confidence to keep doing your best.

 This year has been a big one for my writing. Most importantly, I have stopped talking about my manuscript/novel and finally started writing it! So now for the obligatory reflection on 2013. I realised that I have achieved a lot this year:

  • started writing again
  • completed  20 (mostly speculative fiction) short stories (over 9 months) - my favourites were Day of the Dirigible, The Feline Principle and Mum's Theory on Cats.
  • sent 15  short stories into competitions (still waiting on announcements for 5 of them)
  • got short listed on An Eye for Detail
  • got up the nerve to visit a writing group
  • joined a different (newly formed) speculative Fiction writing group (called Spec Fic Chic).
  • set up webpage for Spec Fic Chic
  • started a fantasy novel (chapter 1, some history and basic plot completed)
  • put fantasy novel on hold as got sidetracked by
  • started a steampunk novel manuscript. Am very enthused.
  • Completed 2 chapters and am starting a 3rd on said steampunk manuscript. I am determined to finish before the end of 2014.
  • attended my very first writing conference - well part of one - Salisbury Writers Festival, where I caught up with some friends I have not seen for years! (also attended part of one in Gawler). I am saving up to attend one next year.
  • joined SA Writers Centre  (katdb)
  • joined Australian Writer's Marketplace (AWM)
  • regularly attended AWM's writing races. The next one is on 15th January.
  • created pages for my writing  on Facebook- Karen Carlisle Creations and Twitter- (@kjcarlisle)  to communicate with readers and other authors.
  • relaunched my blog Off the Artboard - for my writing, art and photography (with a little costuming thrown in)
  • created a website - Karen Carlisle/Off the Artboard  dedicated to my writing, art and photography. This is where the blog now originates and mirrored on the blog site.
  • reglularly writing on blog
  • joined Redbubble (katdb), Zazzle (katdb42) and flirted with Cafe press
  • put up tshirt, art and calenders for sale on Redbubble
  • Put up art for sale on my website
  • Created 'Octoarm' jewelry and bookmarks - available for sale!
  • created a range of mugs available at Zazzle (The Question is only available off my website/ Rare Notion/ in person)
  • planted a new vegetable garden
  • got back in to my photography
  • was commissioned to do a 'Stargate' photoshoot and photoshoot at 'Parish Hill Wines.' CC13SG1 (1) ParishHillWines1
         
  • was commissioned (and sold) a logo for Bullina China Shop
  • was commissioned for artwork for a book on period fencing (now awaitinVictoriaOtto2g publication)
  • costumes: Vicotoria and Otto (Brian Kensinger's creation), Donna Noble (Doctor Who), Minerva Mayflower (Hudson Hawk),
  • tidied a 2 foot pile off my desk and cleared it for use.
  • lots of internet research
  • returned to work after 5 months  leave and sorting out work-related stress.
  • tried to learn how to use an overlocker!

For all of the above, I just can't wait for 2013 to end. It has been a physical and emotional rollercoaster ride for me. I am hoping 2014 is more of an even ride.  I can do without unexpected journeys right now.

My biggest goal for the upcoming year is to finish my manuscript and then tackle the in and outs of learning (and hopefully experiencing) the process of submitting it. It is a long road but I have to start it some time. Now that will be an adventure.