Journal, Writing

Challenges, challenges, challenges

So it’s been a few weeks since the last post, and for that…I apologize. But I’m not going to grovel, because I’ve been working on some pretty crazy stuff. First off, starting in November, I decided to jump back on the crazy train–no, not NaNo, though that is a crazy train of crazy which I might try again next year, but alas, not this year–and do another Chekhov Year.

What is a Chekhov Year? Basically, it’s a year (so 52 weeks) in which I attempt to write one short story rough draft per week. I accomplished this (or very near it–just six stories shy) in 2007, and apparently (according to this blog!) attempted a modified version in 2009 which failed miserably. The whole every-other-week thing I tried to make happen just didn’t cut it. I need every week or nothing.

So this year, starting on the first of November, I began Chekhov Year #3: Return of the Chekhov Year. Thus far, I’ve successfully drafted four new rough drafts:

– “The Mortal Coil” (SF)
– “Arin Gladspire and the Rogue of Chaos” (F)
– “Snap” (magical realism/mainstream)
– “Relief from the Shadows of the Night” (F) (just finished this one today!)

They’re not always pretty, and they all need a lot of work, but at least I’m getting new drafts to play with! :)

For the time being, I’m setting my novel projects aside on lay-away. I haven’t quite gotten to the point where I feel like I’m ready to move in that direction, but I’ve got some stuff set aside for the future, when/if I begin approaching longer projects. For now, I’m pretty satisfied sticking to short fiction. I think there’s still a ton I can learn about the short form, and I’m seeing visible progress in my abilities in this area. Just a few days ago I got a rejection from Clarkesworld Magazine, but it specified that the story I’d sent them was close! I’m so thrilled by this, I cannot even tell you. Of course, it’d be great to sell a story there, but I’ll take a promising rejection, too! I’m not picky! :)

I’ve gotten a few other promising rejections lately, too, which makes me feel like some more focus in this particular area could be something with payoff in the future, so I’m going to focus in. I think part of this calming-down on the novel side is also due in part to recognizing that I often try to do things a little too fast, desperately trying to achieve certain personal career goals by subjective ages, etc., instead of focusing on the craft itself and improving that. Heck, even if I don’t qualify for SFWA until I’m fifty, it’ll be better if I’ve spent this whole time working my tail off on short fiction. So for now: the short fiction has it. My undivided (*cough*) attention.

Okay, I’m lying a bit. I’m also still trying to churn out chapters of The Thief Dilemma on a semi-regular basis, and DO still intend to get as close to a finale on that as possible by June. I got a little snagged up because September/October’s chapter was so draining to write, and I fought with it for so long–it’s where I want it, but now I have to work myself back up to jumping in again for another chapter! :) That said, writing a novel chapter a month or bimonthly may be how I eventually write novels. Oh, boy. :0\

Other than that, still chugging away per usual! I may begin a “Chekhov Year” diary, which might be posted every Friday, post-short-story completion for the week, and compiles notes from each day during the week. An example entry might look like:

Week 2: [Working Story Title Here]

mm/dd – OMGZ I have noooooooo idea what I’m going to wriiiiiiiiiiiiite this week!!!!!!11!!!!!!1
mm/dd – Ok, so I’ve got like this *TOTALLY AWESUM* IDEA AND OMGZ IT’S GONNA BE LIKE WHOA.
mm/dd – Fail. *sob*
mm/dd – 1000 words of progress on [Story Title Here]. I changed the whole plot and killed 90% of the characters.
mm/dd – Draft of [Story Title Here] finished! Hooray! I’m not dead yet! :D 

“OMGZ I have no ideeeeeea what to wriiiiiiiiiite this weeeeeeeeek!!!” which would have been my post as of 10PM last night, though I managed to pull an idea out of the air and out of some tunes this morning. AND it’s DONE already. Which is totally a rarity. I pounded out 3.5k today to finish the story in total, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t *entirely* suck, but I’m not making any promises as of right now.

And I’m going to call this post HERE because it’s getting long and unwieldy. ENOUGH I say. And goodnight.

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