Progress Report

As the year draws to a close, I am, as always, disappointed with how far I’ve fallen short of the goals I set for myself. I wanted to write a short story for every month in 2009. Even counting the 2008 stories I revised, I only came up with half that; nor am I quite finished the Not-a-Werewolf book.

I did, however, write some things of which I am very proud.

“The Tongue of Bees”
“Who in Mortal Chains”

On submission:
“The Oracle of the Dashboard”
“The Compass of Chicago”
“The Duellist, After Her Prime”

Final revisions:
“A Sovereign Cure for Pneumonia”

In progress:
“Rush Lane”
“Seven Postcards from the Garden of Earthly Delights”
“Book of the Dead”

“King of Bramble Heights”
“Bleaker Collegiate”

Next things to write:
#3 in the Gus series
#3 in the Oracle series

State of the Little Novel:
2/3 complete, aiming for February

State of the Big Novel:
In pieces all over the floor… almost literally. This novel needs a chirurgeon.

State of the Novelist:
…in need of another cup of coffee.

Red-letter day yesterday. I got a cheque in the mail. I am in a fortunate position–I have a day job which covers my living expenses, so I am free to spend this cheque on something symbolic.

Because it is the cheque for “Who in Mortal Chains,” in which one woman cannot defend herself and another cannot quite control herself, I am going to donate it to the Shape Your Life project. (I may also buy myself a pint of Hop Addict, or something similarly great and bitter.)

2 thoughts on “Progress Report

  1. If you tried to complete a short story every month I presume that was done in parallel with your big novel.
    May I ask how you keep focus with all those balls in the air at the same time? I think many writers have difficulty reading another writer's books and writing a personal project at the same time as the ingested work tends to seep into your own projects, not to mention the challenges of having two projects in play at the same time.
    Is this not an issue for you? Are you able to keep your various works separate without blurring the lines?
    Just looking to get the perspective from there.

  2. I think it's similar to the compartmentalization that goes on between home and work, or between friends and family. Some people seem to be pretty much the same person from place to place. I have a different set of habits and vocabulary and clothing for each of the things I do in my life. I like to keep the crossover to a minimum (so that I don't accidentally swear like a longshoreman in front of my grandma, for instance).

    I don't switch projects within a single work session, though–I think that would be counterproductive for me.

    As far as the works of others, I think this is a beginning writer problem. I remember it being an issue for me as a kid. This is where the "million words of suck" concept comes into play… once you've written that many of your own words, a lot of that artistic contamination comes out in the wash. And what doesn't come out, you make your own, I think.

    I certainly learned a lot by purposely mimicking authors I admired (though most of those projects weren't saleable, they were a great exercise).

    I'm still very much a beginning writer in terms of publishing credits and business savvy, but I passed the million-word mark a while ago, which has given me a more solid sense of my own style and the tools at my disposal.

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