Writing goals for June 2017

Monthly Goals: June 2017

June is always a very difficult month when it comes to writing and the things I actually want to do. As I struggle to finish university, I have to find time in between the studying and the exams of June to arrange my writing monthly goals and see what and how I can get everything done.

What’s the plan for June?

June is full of exams.

This is something I need to keep in mind. It’s very easy for me to get lost in writing and other creative endeavours. That means my university life suffers. For this month I need to prioritize studying to writing.

Finish edits for “Fool’s Errand”.

At 16k, this shortish story is very close to the end. It’s going through the last bits of editing, I’m getting some feedback for it that will hopefully help me get this story where it needs to be.

Polish “Fool’s Errand”.

At this point, the story will have seen an editor, Beta Readers, and Critique partners. I will just need to fine-tune the last details. Then read it again, and correct anything I might have missed the first 45 times.

And then comes the second short story, “The Duchess”

Sitting at 17k right now, by the time I am done with it, it’s going to have seen some growth for sure. I’m an underwriter people. My stories grow before they shrink.

Edit “The Duchess”. 

I am already going through the manuscript and making notes of all the things I need to fix. And I’m cursing myself for not making a proper outline for this. I’m an outliner. I know the merits of a good outline. And yet I thought I would experiment. Well, that means more work for me now.

Send “The Duchess” to Critique Partners and Betas.

After my round of edits, I need to see if what I fixed and changed makes sense. “The Duchess” will go off to my Critique partners first, then my Betas. And I will have to be patient and wait for their wonderful feedback to come back my way.

Prep “The Duchess” for my Editor.

The feedback is in. Now, I’ll have to go through it and fix the story more. I need to get it as clean and polished as I can before it goes off to my Editor, and she can rip through it.

I know that I have set up more goals than I can handle, than I can do. Maybe I won’t get it all done, but since my priorities are different this month, I’ll be satisfied with a 45% on this list.

What are your goals for the month? Are you going to be writing? Do you also have exams?

~ Harris

#Wordbound: Wednesday, February 15th (writing challenge)

Wed, Feb 15

#Wordbound: Put a character in an abandoned building or space.

WEEK 7: New #wordbound prompt coming at you! This one is due February 22! Have you been keeping up?

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It was a run-down cottage at the edge of Loas Vera. The red forest had grown and spread, engulfing the small, wooden building in vines. Roots broke through the structure, and crimson and burgundy leaves covered the remains like a blanket.
Ilaeth left the safety of the forest. Every step was measured, careful. He had to be quiet. He didn’t know what else could be in there, what could be waiting inside the dark walls of the cottage.
And yet, Ilaeth couldn’t help himself. Even as his heart pounded in his chest, and he could hear his pulse loud in his ears, his curiosity won.
The door was a simple slab of wood without any elaborate carvings or decoration. Unhinged as it was, Ilaeth lifted it up and set it aside, against the wall.
Ilaeth took a tentative step inside.
Part of the roof had caved in over time, and the morning light poured in, illuminating the remnants of a life.
His eyes took in the room. Dust danced in the sunlight. A family of pixies were curled up on the bed, their small wolf-like bodies huddled up together for warmth, their transparent wings rising and falling with their breathing.
They didn’t mind him.
There was a table and a pair of chairs on one end. A layer of dust had settled on them, thick and undisturbed for years it seemed. A tin bucket that was big enough to be used as a bathtub was by the unimpressive fireplace. Ashes and half burned wood still littered the stones, the bricks and the inside of the chimney painted black from the smoke. A few shelves held a couple pots and plates that were there, and an empty trunk sat against the wall.
There weren’t that many things.
Someone had lived there though. Ilaeth could just feel it. There weren’t any clothes or personal things left in the cottage. Whoever had stayed there, they had taken all that with them. But there were two pillows on the barren bed, two chairs at the table.
Someone had lived in this house, and now it stood abandoned, gathering dust and decay. It just was, and it had been so long since someone had lived in there, had sat on those chairs, had lit up the hearth, and had a nice warm meal.
Whoever had lived there, they were long gone now.
Not even their shadow remained.

~ Harris

#Wordbound: Wed, Feb 8th

WordBound: Wed, Feb 8

WEEK 6: This #wordbound prompt is due on 2/15! Ready to cause some destruction?

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“Okay, okay, but listen to me,” Ilaeth scooted closer to Kali, a mischievous smile played on his lips. “We can surprise her. Get her something nice, have a little celebration going on,” he said.
“She won’t like it. She said she wants nothing,” Kali said, and folded her arms.
“She says she doesn’t want anything, that doesn’t mean she actually doesn’t,” Ilaeth said. “You know how much she likes surprises.”
Kali put her hands on her hips. “Look, you’ll just get us in trouble. Actually, no. You won’t be in trouble, I’ll be. So no. Just stay put,” she said.
“You are no fun. I’ll go by myself,” Ilaeth said.
The younger elf threw her arms up in the air, with a pleading look at the sky. “You go by yourself, you end up in a ditch somehow, and then I’m in trouble again.”
Ilaeth grinned and flicked one of her horns. “Then come with me. I could use a woman’s perspective.”
“What are you even getting her?” Kali asked and walked behind him. “Flowers? Feathers? Pretty rocks?”
He put a hand over his heart. “I feel like you are mocking me.”
“Oh my. That was never my intention. How could this happen?”
“I’ll ignore that,” he said. “We can make her a pretty flower crown, or you know how she likes to decorate her spear with lil things… so I got her spear.”
“You got her spear?”
“Yes. So we can make it pretty,” Ilaeth said, and grinned at her.
“We should give it back,” Kali said, and her eyes went wide with terror when he pulled the spear from behind a tree. “We should definitely give it back. Like now. This isn’t smart.”
“Oh come on. It’ll be fine,” he said, and felt the weight of the spear in his hand.
Kali reached out to snatch it, but he held it up, out of her reach. She kicked his leg, and jumped high enough to grab it. Ilaeth didn’t let go, and she didn’t surrender. She yanked as hard as she could, and when she couldn’t take it from him, she kicked him again.
“Stop that!” he shouted at her.
“Then give me the spear!”
“No. I need it,” he said.
“You’ll just get us in trouble,” she shouted at him, as the two pulled the spear back and forth.
There was a loud crack as the wood gave way and broke in two. Kali and Ilaeth dropped back and landed hard on the ground.
“Oh… fuck…” Ilaeth said, staring at his half of the spear.
“I told you!” Kali shouted, and threw the other half at his head. “I told you! Now I’m gonna be in trouble!”
“Well yeah, you broke it.”
“No, you did.”
“You did.”
“How did I break it? Huh?” Kali snapped.
“I’m not the one who grabbed it,” Ilaeth pointed out.
Kali huffed and folded her arms. “You are stupid,” she muttered and threw a pebble at him. “You always get me in trouble.”

 

WordBound: Wed, Feb 1

If I’m embarrassed, why on earth would I say? Because prompt? Fine. FINE. Buckle up. This is going to be a wild ride.
*clears throat*
I was nine. Yes. I was young and innocent and I had no limits. My idea had no limits. I had a group of chosen ones in my story, as one would.
But they were birds.
And they had magic powers.
And they went on adventures together.

There. I’ve come out. Are you happy to know? Does this somehow make your life better? No, it doesn’t 😛

Was it inspired by pokemon? Maybe. Maybe not. You’ll never know. The world will never know, and my chosen ones will stay where they belong. In my childhood memories. (I was going to say trash-can, but I don’t want to be that cruel to them. They tried. Nine-year-old me tried too.)

Fantasy has truth in it.

Fantasy is not easy to write. There are so many things that can go wrong, so few things that can go right.

Fantasy isn’t just epic quests, an adventure to save the world, or kingdoms at war. Fantasy comes alive in the little details that the writer weaves into the story, the fine threads that make up the world and the people.

It’s that kid who goes on a quest because he wants to make something of himself, because he wants to grow and explore the world around him. It’s that mother who lost her children in the war, it’s the burden that weighs down on the hero’s shoulders every time they have to make an important decision.

Because they can save the world, or they can be the reason why it crumbles and burns.

Things are not black and white in fantasy. At least they are not for me. Magic isn’t bad, the same way a gun doesn’t kill people. But the abuse of power, the misuse of a tool, that’s what’s bad. It’s a king that can be good and benevolent to his people, or turn into a tyrant after the loss of someone he loved. It’s the grief, the pain, but also the joy and happiness that people experience.

Does it matter that they experience those things in a land with dragons and sword-fights? Does it make any real difference if the protagonist is not human, but an elf?

For me, fantasy gets to explore every day things like friendships, discrimination, racism, but in a bigger, larger, and more magical environment. It gets to present things that people don’t usually want to talk about, things they want to hide away, because people expect things in a fantasy story to go crazy.

But it’s not going crazy.

It’s being honest.

Nanowrimo

What to do when the month of Nanowrimo comes around.

Nanowrimo is almost here!

It’s that time of the month again when everything is painted in the colours of the Autumn and everyone is getting cosy in their sweaters and their fuzzy shocks with a mug of hot chocolate or tea.

And then there are the crazy people who get their laptops out, lock the doors, forsake any kind of social life and buckle down for a whole month of writerly abandon.

Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) is a yearly worldwide event where people commit to writing fifty thousand words in a month, or just 1.666 words per day. It doesn’t sound so bad now, does it? It doesn’t sound so difficult for one thing. And it’s not. What is difficult is setting yourself a daily habit that you have to follow through.

Why should you do Nanowrimo?

Why not? Everyone has a story to tell, then why not tell it? That aside, Nanowrimo is a great way to connect with people who are also writers, that also love stories and characters and maybe they are just a bit too invested on fictional situations.

But remember, Nanowrimo is not for everyone and that is alright. Different strokes for different folks. It’s okay if Nanowrimo isn’t for you. Maybe you can only write every few days, or you have work or school or university. Maybe your life just decided to flip upside down or the crazy pace of Nanowrimo just doesn’t float your boat. Or as I like to say, it doesn’t float your goat**.

What to do to succeed in Nanowrimo:

a. Don’t lose your sanity: You have multiple people in your head. Just make sure to safeguard whatever is left of your brain.

b. Put together a writer’s survival kit: this is the time to buy that notebook and those fancy pens you wanted. Nanowrimo gives you the perfect excuse! You need all these things just so you can survive the month. Whether it is snacks, or coffee or a USB to back up your work, everything is essential.
For more ideas, just follow the link above.

c. Warm your pet humans about November: You are invested, you’ve decided you ARE doing this. The only thing that is getting between you and your goal are all those normal people who just don’t get it. Just warn them in advance. Make sure they know what you want to do and how important this is for you.

d. Join a writing community: Nanowrimo is all about that community and the internet is full of groups that can help you and keep you motivated throughout the month. Whether that is on the official Nanowrimo site, or it’s in a facebook writing group, find people who are like you and watch your imagination grow.

e. Have fun: Last but not least, remember that this is something that had you all excited, something that should warm your insides like a sip from your favourite hot coffee. This is you expressing your creativity and giving your ideas form, this your making a story out of nothing. Having characters that hardly ever listen to you is tough enough, so do not forget to have fun!

~ Harris

**( Disclaimer: no actual goats were harmed in the writing of this sentence)