Shoot for the Moon Challenge – October Roundup

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This is just getting silly! ANOTHER month has slipped by and we’re now running towards the end of the year – when did that happen? So the ridiculously ambitious challenges I set myself at the start of the year, aided and abetted by my partner in crime Mhairi Simpson, are winding up, or down (depending on where you are standing). The idea was that if I set myself stupid-crazy goals and failed, I would still be further ahead than I would have been if my targets had been more sensible. What can I say? It was very, very late and we’d been drinking a LOT of strong tea…
• Breathing Space continues to throw me major curved balls. After the shenanigans at the start of the novel, when I ended up telling moonFAR too much, as opposed to showing the action – I’d got into the groove and had started congratulating myself on the steady progress I was making. When it all slid away in Chapter 19 and I wrote a left turn that wasn’t in the plan. I’m normally reasonably laid back about such a development – but this is the last book in a trilogy and I need to have all the major plotlines sorted out in 20,000/30,000 words’ time. And this is a MAJOR detour. So should I scrap all this hindbrain stuff and stick to the plan? Or go with the flow?

I stomped around feeling grumpy and off balance for a couple of days, while I debated what to do. Angry internal dialogues raged – I should be getting some RIGOUR in my writing! It’s all very well ‘trusting your creative instincts’ but is that going to cut it in a professional career? I am writing this book to a schedule and have undertaken to have the whole trilogy ready to be published by next July – what am I playing at, allowing a major new development with a character who will be my science fiction private investigator for – hopefully – a reasonably long-running series? However, one of the advantages in having written a ridiculous number of books is that I do know my own writing process reasonably well. And I decided to allow this development to run for the duration of the chapter and see whether it would be able to be tucked back under the control of the main plotline – and sure enough, by the middle of Chapter 21, I saw daylight emerging… Have to say – each novel is an adventure which doesn’t get any less exciting or white-knuckled.
Challenge – to have the first daft of Breathing Space completed by the end of the year. I think I should have the book finished by the end of next month – whether I’ll be a gibbering wreck by that stage is more debatable. This book has posed some interesting, gnarly issues…

• Nailed. Which isn’t surprising as this was the only challenge that didn’t really matter all that much.
Challenge – to write and publish 100 book reviews on my blog during 2014. I wrote another 14 reviews during October, taking my yearly target to date to 106 reviews. Those of you who kindly follow my blog know that I also posted my 555th blog this month.

• We have now reached half term and the course is going well. I am planning to make next term’s course more interactive with more time devoted to writing exercises – and I have also worked out what topics I want to cover next year, which is always handy…
Challenge – to have written at least two sets of course notes for the next academic year by the end of the summer break. Still hoping to have the Spring Term’s course notes written by the end of the month – although I have just taken on a major teaching commitment until Christmas that might derail this one.

• I’m refusing to beat myself up over this one. It’s been a major issue throughout the year – doing this mad exercise has thrown up a couple of big roadblocks to my writing career – and this is one of them… So I am now aware of just what a problem this is – next step is to devote a chunk of realistic time to address it.
Challenge – submit all my unsold short fiction and poetry. No.

Another interesting month. Breathing Space has certainly provided more than its fair share of excitement. That said, I managed to write 18,600 words this month, bringing the overall word count to just over 106,000 of the first draft – though I’ve junked around 30,000 words of that total. I also wrote 2,400 words on admin for my Creative Writing courses and around 10,600 words towards reviews and articles for the blog – this brought my monthly wordcount to just over 31,750 words and my yearly total to date to just over 258,900 words. I don’t think I need to necessarily work harder – but certainly a whole lot smarter… And that’s going to be my focus for next year.

6 responses »

  1. Nice job with all of your challenges for the year! He he, no one ever said writing a book would be easy. 😉 But it sounds like you figured out what to do to keep plowing forward. Keep your chin up – and try to maintain some sanity for the upcoming holidays!

    I’ve been a little frustrated with my WIP as of late, too, so you’re not alone. Although mine’s a different kind of frustration. I’ve only just realized how much overdescription this thing contains, so it’ll most likely cause me to overshoot my original Draft #1 word count goal of 115K. (I’m currently over 93K.) So it means that a) it may take longer to complete the first draft than I’d hoped, and b) it’s going to mean more work come revision time. Grrrrrr to A, and “oh well” to B. Not much I can do about either now.

    By the way, I like tea, too. 😀

  2. Thank you Sara:).

    Yes… each book poses it’s own challenges, doesn’t it? Thought I do think you have showed your class by recognising there is too much description – so many authors don’t appear to realise they haven’t trusted their readers enough… And at the end of day, if it takes a bit longer to write and edit, getting it as good as you possibly can is worth the delay. Which is what I’ve been telling myself as the story has taken yet ANOTHER left turn! If it’s any consolation, I do think that cutting/pruning is a faster process than having to add extra scenes…

    • Absolutely agree with you that it’s worth the extra time to get the story right. I’d rather have it turn out to be the best it can possibly be, instead of me caving in to impatience just to get it out there. 🙂

      Another left turn? It sounds like your story has a mind of its own! *lol*

  3. Pingback: It’s Blog-Hopping Time! | Sara Letourneau's Official Website & Blog

  4. I think you’re doing fantastically well, sweetie! I’ve tried to set reasonable goals this year, some I have achieved, others I’m running out of time on! Always chasing my tail it seems! But well done you and congratulations, you’ve done brilliantly! 😀

  5. Thank you so much for your kind encouragement Sophie:)) It’s really appreciated on a wet, rainy November morning with the gas man rampaging through the house servicing ALL the gas appliances and fixing the fire in the kitchen – and tearing my hair out because this is the ONLY day this week when I have a clear run at writing… Ho hum. But it has been such a helpful exercise, monitoring my word count so closely – it’s the first time I’ve done it over a year and has certainly helped me see the faultlines in my working pattern. As tail-chasing – I know another culprit not a million miles away:) Those of us who spend swathes of time staring at a screen and working on our own sometimes need to take a chill pill!

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