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Tag: write-a-thon

Write-a-thon 2018 progress report: editing

(Pictured above: some of my notebooks from the 2006 Clarion West workshop) I know the world is on fire, but the Write-a-thon is happening for TWO MORE WEEKS! Sponsor me! Sponsor another writer! It’s not like I haven’t been writing, I just haven’t been writing essays and progress reports. This Write-a-thon I’ve actually been doing mostly editing, which is an absolutely necessary art of writing, but it’s hard to measure progress. Drafting is easy — it’s all about the wordcount, baby! But editing, especially final stage editing like I’m doing on Stripping Down to Scars, that’s harder. How do you…

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Clarion West Write-a-thon 2017: Week 5 progress report

The 2017 Clarion West Write-a-thon is happening now! You can sponsor me, or sponsor another writer. A shout-out to all the summer birthday kids, who marked their passage through life on family road trips and dried-out summer days, in suburban isolation or Vacation Bible School. Or, you know, during writing workshops. My birthday, coming as it does in the late middle part of July, is always during Clarion West, probably always during the fifth week. And so it was in 2006 when I attended the workshop. In fact, my birthday was on a Thursday that year too, and I spent…

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Clarion West Write-a-thon: Week 3 progress report

The 2017 Clarion West Write-a-thon is happening now! You can sponsor me, or sponsor another writer. Hello everyone! Here we are at the beginning of Week 3, which also means the beginning of July. So if you’re in the workshop, it’s either time for “OMG the workshop is already 1/3 over!” or, alternately, “OMG, we have the ENTIRE MONTH OF JULY to go!” One of my goals this year was to assidulously track my time and get some realistic picture of how to optimize my life around the needs of day job, writing, and life in general. After doing that…

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Clarion West Write-a-thon 2017 Post 1: Father’s Day, science fiction, skepticism

Hello everyone and welcome to the first day of the 2017 Clarion West Write-a-thon, where you can sponsor me, or sponsor another writer, or sponsor all the writers. Sponsor somebody who isn’t me just to spite me! It’s okay! I realize it’s become one of my traditions to write weekly essays during the Write-a-thon, so if you’re just dying for me to write about something other than politics for a change, you’re in luck! (Fair warning: there might still be politics.) My three topics for this essay: Father’s Day, science fiction, and skepticism. My dad introduced me to science fiction,…

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2016 Write-a-thon Week 5 report: little failures

Halfway through the final week — we’re really in the home stretch now! (At the actual workshop, this was the point where we started painting each others’ toenails.) Accomplishment-wise, week 5 was kind of a mixed bag. I was on vacation for my birthday and was hoping to check two of my remaining goals off the list. But I actually got less writing done than in a normal work week. I think this was because my writing strategy was “optimistically carry my iPad around all day with its brand new copy of Scrivener installed and hope vaguely to snatch a…

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2016 Write-a-thon Week 3 report: the second step

My simple goal, to send out that one story to at least one place, became a quest to devise a plan for how to send out stories, period. I put some time into thinking about the process of submitting short fiction at a meta level. What is it? Is there an art to it? How many steps does it take? I realized there are, practically speaking, three steps: Match a story with a market. Polish the story for that market. Perform whatever clerical work (making printouts, etc.) is required to actually send the thing off to the editor. I think…

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2016 Write-a-thon Week 2 report: the first step

This is the Write-a-thon week 2 report. What, you missed the week 1 report? That’s because I didn’t get to it. And here it is, my week 2 report, coming in the middle of the week. That… tells you something about what’s going on in my life right now. I’m at one of those points where the setting is maximum chaos. And some of it is about what’s going on externally, and all the various distractions and time vacuums, and some of it is about the way the stress affects my brain. Sometimes, right when I need to be most…

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The Shadow Workshop [6]: Six weeks gone

Part of the 2015 Clarion West Write-a-thon series! IT IS NOT TOO LATE! Sponsor me, sponsor another writer, or learn more about the Write-a-thon In my notebook observations , I wrote: Six weeks is longer than it seems at first It’s also shorter. And this year, once again, it’s already over. So, success at meeting goals! What did I set as my goals, anyway? Hmm, let’s see… 1. Write every day. Okay, I managed that! However, I didn’t get in much time per day. I also didn’t manage any really long writing sessions on the weekends — just about every…

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The Shadow Workshop [5]: Joy of deadlines

Part of the 2015 Clarion West Write-a-thon series! Sponsor me, sponsor another writer, or learn more about the Write-a-thon Returning to my notebook observations after the first Shadow Workshop: I sometimes put barriers up that are wholly artificial. Like, “I have to finish this thing before I work on this other thing.” If you’re like me, you’re constantly juggling a lot of different projects all at the same time, and have a to-do list that never seems to end. Right now, sitting here, at the end of Clarion West Week 5, there are at least a dozen different things I…

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The Shadow Workshop [4]: Confessions of a reformed pantser

“Are you a plotter or a pantser?” I was asked this while sitting at the Clarion West booth at Emerald City Comicon. I first saw this dichotomy outlined in a post on the NaNoWriMo blog. (NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month, where the challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. “Plotter” or “planner” is fairly obvious — somebody who plans out a novel before starting to write it. “Pantser” refers to “seat-of-pants” meaning, you just start writing and see what happens. It’s kind of a funny way to describe oneself, really. “Pantser” isn’t even…

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The Shadow Workshop [3]: When is it time to let go?

Part of the 2015 Clarion West Write-a-thon series! Sponsor me, sponsor another writer, or learn more about the Write-a-thon Writing six stories in six weeks means six ideas, right? At least, that’s what I thought during my do-it-yourself Clarion West shadow workshop. With a deadline only I cared about, and nobody critiquing the stories but me, I still put in a good faith effort to write six stories. But only one of them ended up being a finished story of the type that I might hypothetically submit for publication somewhere. The others were a collection of scenes and notes and…

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The Shadow Workshop [2]: A crit group of one

Part of the 2015 Clarion West Write-a-thon series! Sponsor me, sponsor another writer, or learn more about the Write-a-thon For my second Write-a-thon topic, I want to tackle the last thought in my notebook: Sometimes I like my work. Sometimes I hate it. I don’t know which time I’m correct. When I did my shadow Clarion West, I knew that there was one thing a real student would get that I didn’t get: critiques. What I didn’t know was that giving critiques, and listening to the critiques of others, was actually the more significant experience. (Discussed here in last year’s…

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The Shadow Workshop [1] : Ants & housework

Part of the 2015 Clarion West Write-a-thon series! Sponsor me, sponsor another writer, or learn more about the Write-a-thon Memory is funny. I would have sworn that the first time I tried my own do-it-yourself Clarion West Write-a-thon was the first year I applied, but didn’t get in — 2002. But I also keep notebooks, and discovered that my memory is faulty. My first “Clarion Rejects Write-a-thon” was actually in 2004, which was the second time I applied but didn’t get in. My goal was to write six short stories in six weeks, which was the Clarion West Challenge as…

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