Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Actually Finishing Something [in] July: Week One
Summer is (theoretically) supposed to be a relaxing time of year, but speaking purely as a writer, I've been having a really hard time with it over the past year or two. We spend nearly every sunny day outdoors, swimming in our pool—and don't get me wrong, I love spending time outdoors and I love swimming. But after the winter months, when all I had to do was get dressed, finish my morning chores and then sit down to a long quiet morning of writing, it's a big adjustment. All the time that I'm swimming or relaxing outside, I'm haunted by all the writing that I'm not getting done. So I've decided I just have to set aside a little bit of writing time each week, at least enough to make my writerly conscience relax and enjoy summer like it should.
In consequence, Actually Finishing Something [in] July, hosted by Katelyn Sabelko at Whisperings of the Pen (who really has a knack for coming up with neat blog events), sounds like a fun way to acquire some extra motivation. Participants set their own goals for the month, and link up posts tracking their progress back at Katie's blog. So I've decided to join in! Here are my answers to the participants' questions for Week One:
1) What is your writing goal?
Well, I'm Actually Beginning Something that I'd like to Actually Finish by the end of July. It will be either a long short story or a novelette, depending on how long it takes me to tell this particular story. The title is Corral Nocturne, named after a lovely piece of music from Aaron Copland's ballet Rodeo. (Listen to it; it's just beautiful!) I've been longing to use that title for ages, and I have finally found a perfect home for it (the meaning becomes apparent late in the story).
2) Give us a short synopsis of your project. What makes it unique?
Well, it's a Western retelling of the Cinderella story, set in turn-of-the-century Montana. I have indeed put some thought into making it unique, considering that there have been so many Cinderella interpretations over the years! The one thing I knew I wanted to focus on from the start was making my "Prince Charming" character have some initiative and personality of his own, rather than just being the usual figurehead that Cinderella is so anxious to impress.
3) How long have you been working on this project?
I always date the first page of a story in my longhand notebooks, so I can tell you exactly when I began: June 25th, 2013. That isn't completely accurate, though, since I did a lot of note-taking and outlining for...oh, about a week before that, I'd say.
4) How often do you intend to write in order to reach your goal by August 1st?
I'd like to get in an hour or two of writing on at least three or four days each week.
5) Introduce us to three of your favorite characters in this project.
Three? Well, there are only about eight speaking roles in the whole thing, for goodness sakes! Of course my top favorites are my two protagonists, Ellie Strickland and Cole Newcomb. Ellie is eighteen, a rancher's sister; a quiet, practical and rather lonely girl at the outset of the story. And Cole...well, no, I can't tell you anything more about him yet. Too early in the writing process. For third favorite I'd have to say Ellie's annoying, loud-mouthed older brother Ed—not that he's the sort of character anybody actually likes, but I have a sort of authorish affection for him because he's rather fun to write, and he's the one who inadvertently kicks the whole plot into motion.
6) Go to page 16 (or 6, 26, or 66!) of your writing project. Share your favorite line or snippet on the page.
Can't do that, I'm afraid, because there is no page 16 yet...nor a page 6, 26, or 66. Not even a paragraph 6.
7) Tea or coffee?
Tea. Peppermint tea, with just enough sugar and no milk.