Did you reach your goal?
I did! I actually pushed myself to finish early, since my family was planning to take summer vacation this week, and I wanted to be free to really relax and not be worrying over the last few pages of my story. So I actually stayed up until midnight last Friday night and I finished Corral Nocturne. Every writer's got to pull an all-nighter at least once in their career, right?
If you didn't fully complete your goal, were you able to make a good amount of progress in your project?
Well, I did finish, so this doesn't exactly apply. But it's not a fully complete project yet, of course; it's a rough first draft that needs typing and editing. Having that first draft down on paper is a huge step, though, which I don't think I would have accomplished in such good time without the help of Actually Finishing Something. So yes, you could say I did make a good amount of progress!
What was the most difficult part of finishing something this July?
Finding the time to actually sit down and write turned out to be harder than I expected, because a number of non-writing things popped up in my daily schedule this month that I hadn't expected at all. I'm not the kind of person who can write a few lines, jump up and do something else, and then sit down and start writing away again; I find it hard to focus if I get distracted. So finding those substantial chunks of time I needed to work was a challenge.
Did you maintain a writing schedule? How often did you write to meet your goal?
Not exactly; like I said, I wrote when I could. But mornings and early afternoons were my favorite times. I did manage to keep to my original intention of writing on several days out of each week.
List some of the musical tracks/artists you listened to most frequently this July. Tell us why they inspired you and how they fit with your story.
Well, I think I covered that pretty well in Week Two. The waltzes inspired me because a waltz is involved in a key scene near the high point of the story—"After the Ball" in particular because, well, it's in the story. And another song that's been running in my head a good deal is "At the Old Barn Dance" by the Sons of the Pioneers, which ties into the subject of Corral Nocturne very nicely.
Snippets! Share as much, or as little, as you choose.
Ellie looked in dismay at the hay, and at the thick black boots of the boys, and the rough board sides of the wagon box. "But my dress—"
Mrs. McGregor peered round over a substantial shoulder. "What, you're afeard you'll tear it? (Henry! John! you stop that wrestling; you'll muss your clean shirts.) Well, maybe you ought to sit up here with us if you can fit. Climb on up!"
Overhead the sky had darkened to velvety black spangled with stars, like a vaulted roof for the little amphitheater of lights and bunting on the platform. Laughter and the scent of barbecue and bonfire smoke floated in the air.
It was a clear night, and she could see for miles across the darkened prairie sleeping under a mist of starlight. But the wide stillness made her feel more alone; its beauty contrasted more sharply with her own broken night. The stars themselves were bits of shattered dreams, fallen around her like glittering shards of glass in the hollow blackness of her world.
Pick a character from your July writing project and describe his or her daily wardrobe. Imagine how this character would dress if he or she were living in the year 2013.
Clothes happen to be a point of interest in this story, perhaps more so than in anything else I've written yet! For everyday, Ellie wears simple calico dresses made in the style of—well, it's the late 1890s/early 1900s; I haven't pinned it to a specific year in my mind yet—perhaps sometime a shirtwaist and skirt; with button boots and frequently an apron. For going places she wears a straw sailor hat, and for working at home I imagine she'd wear a sunbonnet or a straw hat of some kind if necessary.
In 2013? Given the opportunity (and the funds) to dress as she liked, her style would probably be simple and classic—pretty blouses and skirts; perhaps plaid shirts and sweaters with jeans in cold weather. One thing would remain the same: she'd always relish the chance to dress up, preferably in soft colors and full swirling skirts.
Bonus Question! What was your favorite part of Actually Finishing Something [in] July? What could be done next year to improve the challenge?
Well, I can't think of any improvement. Favorite part? Besides the motivation, I enjoyed the group aspect—it was fun keeping up with everybody's projects and reading their snippets.
~ * ~
Well, there you have it! With the challenge and my vacation coming to an end, regular programming (such as it is!) will resume on the blog next week.