Shoot for the Moon Challenge 2015 – May Roundup


At the end of yet another month, how am I doing with my series of my ambitious targets? Hm. Not brilliantly. Family commitments have to come first, of course and during May they featured fairly heavily.

• I have had some extremely detailed feedback on Running Out of Space from two of my marvellous beta readers, so I’m in the throes of addressing some of the issues they suggested I revisit and fix. It’s been very helpful to be able to give the manuscript a thorough going-over before presenting it to another wonderful writing friend who has agreed to comb through it for me. As for the other two manuscripts – I’m still in the very early stages of knocking them into shape.
Challenge – To have my science fiction series, The Sunblinded Trilogy,moon ready to publish by the end of August. A target that is looking increasingly unrealistic. I’ll keep working as hard as I can to get the books ready, but obviously the requirement is to have the books as polished and readable as possible. It would be completely daft to compromise the quality of my writing for the sake of a timescale.
• I wrote eight reviews this month, so I’m still on target for the year. Although I’ve noticed that so far this year, I’ve read and reviewed 9 less books than this time last year.
Challenge – To review a minimum of 100 books during 2015. I should still easily fulfil this target, unless something major happens before the end of the year.
• I am still in the process of submitting Mantivore Dreams and Netted to agents.
Challenge – To seek and procure representation for at least one of my novels. Still ongoing.
• As the academic year at Northbook College draws to a close, I have an opportunity to judge whether this year’s courses have been successful. Overall, I think they have worked. The interactive nature of this term’s course has meant I have had to alter my working methods more than I’d initially anticipated and it should run more smoothly next year. But I am definitely going to give it another go. The students seem to have found it an enjoyable and stimulating experience to share their favourite authors with the rest of the class and I have found it fascinating and enlightening to observe the wide variation in choices.
Challenge – To make this term’s Creative Writing courses more interactive.

In addition, I gave a talk to West Sussex Writers’ in May, along with my committee colleague and computer guru, Ian Black, on the available technology to help writers. It took us a while to organise and design a structure so we could deliver the information in the most user-friendly way, but it was evidently worth the effort as the talk was received positively by the membership.

It’s a busy time of year. My teaching commitments are intense right now, the garden needs knocking into shape if it is going to be anything other than unruly jungle for the rest of the summer, and Family need more of my time than I’d anticipated. But then, that’s Life isn’t it? Unpredictable, often frustrating and taking me off into unexpected directions. And if that didn’t happen, I’d be a diminished, narrower version of myself. That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway. Though I’d LOVE a clone to get on with all those boring-but-vital chores that still need doing.

In the meantime, I wrote just over 9,000 words on books reviews in May and just under 11,500 words on my teaching courses, bringing my word count to date to around 106,500 words. There’s been one bright spot in my creative landscape. I am not a brilliant poet, but sporadically the idea for a poem rattles around in my head until I do something about it. As submitting to magazines takes time and organisation that I currently don’t have, I’ve been posting some of my poems on my blog. This has prompted me to tidy up and thoroughly edit some of my rougher-edged efforts. Thank you for the kind comments and Likes some of you have taken the trouble to leave. It was unexpected and very cheering.

5 responses »

  1. Looks like you did a lot this month, even if you didn’t meet all your goals. I think the real determination shows not when we complete the challenges, but when we manage to keep going regardless of the difficult circumstances.
    Good luck with the editing and querying! 🙂

  2. You’re welcome about your poems! I for one have enjoyed them a lot, especially the oasis and moon poems. Those have been my favorites so far. 🙂

    I have to admit, I was very apprehensive about my beta-reading feedback on Running Out Of Space. I wanted to help, and I liked Jezell as a protagonist and the “space opera” atmosphere you created… But every time I finish beta-reading, I always have this fear that I might offend the writer with my feedback, even if I phrase them as honestly yet politely as possible. Maybe it’s just insecurity…? But it sounds like what you’ve received has been helpful so far. Please let me know if you have any questions at all.

    And I agree with what Melfka said above: Making the continuous effort to work toward our goals even when things are tough is often the most important part. It’s sort of mirrors the quote, “It’s about the journey, not the destination.” Good luck with everything!

    • Thank you, Joanna:). Yes, it does feel a bit like a trudge right now. But you’re right. It’s a question of gritting my teeth and keep going. Whatever happens, I can’t visualise my life without writing – so I need to suck it up and get on with it. Thank you for the luck – I’m waiting to hear back from 2 agents who requested full m/s, so it is a ‘fingers-crossed’ period.

      And Sara – after the amazing detail and effort you put into your meticulous edit, I would have to be an absolute churl to be anything other than humbly grateful! You have raised a number of valid points that I have taken on board and am busy sorting out. Poor old ‘Running Out of Space’ was with a small publisher for several years, and underwent many extensive edits during that time, so I really have found it particularly tricky to look at the m/s with fresh eyes. Your insights have given me a chance to attack it with fresh purpose. Thank you!

      I really have appreciated your kind comments on the poems:) I enjoy writing them and I believe that crafting them has made me a better prose writer.

      • *sighs with relief* You’ve made me so much better about it now, Sarah. I’m glad I was able to help.

        You mentioned that ROoS was with a publisher for several years. When did you start working on the story? Just curious… especially now that I remember seeing a date at the end of the manuscript. I think it said 2007…?

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