Posted in Legwork Wednesday, life, writing

Legwork Wednesday for April 26, 2017

Legwork Wednesday is a weekly writing/reading/general life update. By recounting my week’s activities, I can chart my progress, update any of you who might be interested, and keep myself accountable. You’ve got to do a lot of legwork to solve the puzzle and reach your goal.

Writing: My short story for the OBPO What’s Your Story? contest is finally done and edited. It took a lot out of me! Finding the balance between description and emotion, and trying to convey something actually happening to someone I hope the reader cares about in the space of 1400 words was not easy. Now I’m working on a draft for the Malahat Review Far Horizons short fiction contest (3500 words, deadline May 1). It’s a story that came out of nowhere, the first thousand words dropping fully-formed from my brain in twenty minutes of typing. Figuring out what happened next was something of a challenge, but I like where this strange little story is going. Ideally I’d also like to finish something for the Cosmonauts Non-Fiction Prize, mostly because it’s judged by the glorious Roxane Gay, but I don’t think I’ll have time. It’s also due May 1st. We’ll see how the weekend goes…

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Legwork Wednesday for April 19th, 2017

Legwork Wednesday is a weekly writing/reading/general life update. By recounting my week’s activities, I can chart my progress, update any of you who might be interested, and keep myself accountable. You’ve got to do a lot of legwork to solve the puzzle and reach your goal.

Life: I was on vacation last week in the nation’s capital. I love Ottawa. It’s a beautiful city, lots of museums and points of interest, very walkable, and great restaurants and cafes for lounging. The trip was a combination anniversary gift to ourselves and much-needed break. Ottawa is just far enough by comfy train ride from Toronto to feel like you’re genuinely away while also being cost effective. We checked out the Alex Janvier exhibit at the National Gallery of Canada, Parliament, Rideau Hall, the Byward Market, Chinatown, and many other places. We ate poutine and strolled along the Rideau River. We even walked by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his way in to work! I did a lot of reading, napping, relaxing, and…

Writing: This has been a rewarding couple of weeks. I completed and submitted a short piece to Paper Darts’ microfiction contest on the theme of cleanliness and a draft for the OBPO’s What’s Your Story? contest. One thing I’m really focusing on is plot: it’s great to have an image of X as a starting point, but that setting or character sketch isn’t often enough. I ask myself all the time now: “Why is this something someone would want to read? What is interesting here? What keeps someone from putting down a book or closing a tab?” From that focus on “but what happens, and why is that interesting?” I’m finding more depth to characterization. The OBPO story needs a lot of refinement, but at least it’s down on the page.

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Legwork Wednesday for April 5, 2017

Legwork Wednesday is a weekly writing/reading/general life update. By recounting my week’s activities, I can chart my progress, update any of you who might be interested, and keep myself accountable. You’ve got to do a lot of legwork to solve the puzzle and reach your goal.

Writing: I’m hard at work on a short story for the Ontario Book Publishers Organization’s 2nd annual What’s Your Story? Short Prose and Poetry Competition for Emerging Writers (deadline: May 1st, 2017, 1300 to 1500 words). The very short word limit and the setting (one of four main Toronto neighbourhoods) makes for a unique challenge. As a new(er)comer to Toronto (I’ve been here about a decade and lived in two of the four neighbourhoods), I’m thinking a lot about authenticity and what story I want to tell. My goal is a workable draft finished by Friday. I’ve also set up a calendar of interesting story competition deadlines for May. Having returned to writing after a five-year hiatus, I want to build up a new portfolio of work, so writing a new story for a number of deadlines creates a helpful schedule and structure. Finally, I’m planning some site research for my novel, visiting a few places that I can walk through and take in to help the setting for my mystery novel come to better life in my head.

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Legwork Wednesday for March 29, 2017

Legwork Wednesday is a weekly writing/reading/general life update. By recounting my week’s activities, I can chart my progress, update any of you who might be interested, and keep myself accountable. You’ve got to do a lot of legwork to solve the puzzle and reach your goal.

General writing: I’ve officially sent off my short story for the Alice Munro Short Story Competition! I’m really excited about this. It’s the first completed-and-sent story I’ve worked on since returning to fiction writing after a five-year hiatus. Now I’m doing some research for the Ontario Book Publishers Organization’s 2nd annual What’s Your Story? Short Prose and Poetry Competition for Emerging Writers (deadline: May 1st, 2017, 1300 to 1500 words). This is a neat one, as the story needs to set within one of four defined Toronto neighbourhoods. I have the germ of an idea and the faintest whiff of a main character, so I’ll be spending some time teasing out what kind of plot might come out of the germ.

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Legwork Wednesday for March 22, 2017

Legwork Wednesday is a weekly writing/reading/general life update. By recounting my week’s activities, I can chart my progress, update any of you who might be interested, and keep myself accountable. You’ve got to do a lot of legwork to solve the puzzle and reach your goal.

General writing: I finished a short story draft for the Alice Munro Short Story Competition. I’d been having some trouble with it because I could see where it started and why, but not how it ended. I spent some time thinking about GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. That really helped me think about what was going on. I knew my character’s goal, but I hadn’t worked out the motivation or conflict. Thinking about those brought the other main character to life and fundamentally changed the thrust of the story, turning it from something sort of meditative to something sort of weird. The weird is okay with me! I’m planning to edit, get some feedback, and polish over the next couple of days, and maybe even send it in early for that April 1st deadline.

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Legwork Wednesday: a weekly reading and writing roundup

Starting this blog is part of a healthy writing habit I’m cultivating. By recounting my week’s activities, I’ll give myself a way to chart my progress, update any of you who might be interested, and keep myself accountable! I’ll cover my general writing, my novel, what I’m reading, any mystery-related news, and what else I’m working on.

Why Legwork Wednesday? Because like the great detectives, you’ve got to do a lot of legwork to solve the puzzle and reach your goal.

 

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