V37 Alternator Challenge

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czing
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V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby czing » Sat Oct 05, 2019 11:49 am

Hi all,

I know I'm pretty newbie here and so who knows if anyone would be interested in participating in this. But I was rambling in another thread and came up with an idea that balances my desire to write new stuff and my need to improve my revision abilities in particular my ability to "finish" pieces.

Challenge goes like this. For the duration of V37 (or whatever portion of it you wish to dedicate to such a venture) you will alternate weeks:
Week 1 - write a new story
Week 2 - complete revisions on a previously written piece so you can call it finished

Keep switching back and forth. Obviously make this the challenge that works for you. If you need to swap every two weeks instead of every week - do that. If you need to take a month off to focus on drafting a novel do that.

In this thread, if others are interested in participating, we can share some of our tips and tricks for meeting the weekly challenges.

I'm going to say I started on October 1. Which will give me until the 7th to finish the story I'm writing right now.

Any takers???
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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby Michael Kingswood » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:28 pm

Count me in. I'm doing my own challenge already, so happy to get and give encouragement to others on the way. :)
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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby czing » Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:31 pm

Sounds great and Welcome Michael.

I will point out that my own routine on this will probably never see me revising/finishing a story I wrote the previous week. I always need to give them time to rest first! Good thing I have a collection of stories just waiting for me to finish revising them to pick from for those first few alternated weeks :)
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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby AlexH » Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:38 pm

I'm planning something like this, so it'll be good to be accountable. I think fortnightly, one previously written piece a month plus one new one, is doable. I'll aim for over 2,000 words for each, as flash would be easier.
35: R R R | 36: R HM R ?

Probably free for critique swaps, but double-check in case I'm away.
If you're a new writer and concerned about giving a critique, you're welcome to send me something anyway. :)

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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby czing » Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:58 pm

That sounds like a great and reasonable goal!

I tend to write a lot of short fiction that is less than 2K words (either that or over 5K). Maybe I'll adjust my goal as I move through the year to challenge myself on different story lengths.
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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby AlexH » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:10 am

I wonder if word count is a better goal for me. I'm aiming for two 3,000+ word new stories a quarter with Wulf's challenge, so maybe I could allow myself a flash for the third story a quarter. Plus 5,000 words of revised stories a quarter, from a minimum of three stories.

That would fit a fornightly rotation.
35: R R R | 36: R HM R ?

Probably free for critique swaps, but double-check in case I'm away.
If you're a new writer and concerned about giving a critique, you're welcome to send me something anyway. :)

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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby czing » Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:33 pm

Nice option. Although I wonder now that I think on it a bit more whether it makes sense to constrain yourself by saying you need to write stories of a certain length (especially in the drafting phase). Some stories just don't need as much length as others - and forcing them longer is probably just adding padding that doesn't need to be there.

BUT I wonder this from my point of view as a pantser. I imagine a planner/plotter has a better idea of what kind of length a story needs and can probably plan in some extra arcs/components if they need to.
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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby AlexH » Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:04 am

I posted something similar in Wulf's challenge thread - I'm struggling to write a story of 1,000 words (if you're not following it, that then has to be cut to 500, then 250 for the challenge). I've written a lot of flash, but in most cases, I didn't know it was flash before it started or thought it'd end up between 500-1,500 words as a rough ball park. At least 3,000 words seems an easier goal, as then it can be well over. And stories around that length or longer are favoured in WotF. My stories do tend to increase in word count after critiques (for one revision, I remember turning about 50 words of telling into an extra couple of scenes totalling 3,000+ words).

I'm also a pantser, but I've managed to plot some of the first new story I'm writing for Q1. I have an ending in mind, which as far as I remember, is a first for me!

So I won't be rigid with the word counts of individual stories but aim an 'at least'.
35: R R R | 36: R HM R ?

Probably free for critique swaps, but double-check in case I'm away.
If you're a new writer and concerned about giving a critique, you're welcome to send me something anyway. :)

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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby GlibWizard » Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:38 am

I'd be excited to join you! I also feel that I'm at a stage where revising will be time well spent. I may take several weeks to alternate. My house is absolutely infested with small children right now so I set time-spent goals instead of word count goals for myself.

From returning to my own older writing, I think that themes and character arcs are two areas where I can most improve on my early-draft intuition. My subconscious is good at giving a story a general direction, but the final work ends up feeling mushy when scrutinized. My goal for November is to return to a story that's a good fit for an anthology prompt I saw, and polish those moments where my pov character changes direction to see if that's the push it needs.

czing, Michael, AlexH, how are your current projects coming along, old or new?

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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby czing » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:49 am

That sounds like a solid strategy - to work based on a time spent goal. Looking forward to hearing how your writing goes as you wrangle the child infestation!

I wish I could answer your last question with a bit more cheer but alas I have been caught in the writing doldrums. I've got some critiques waiting for me to review on two stories and I am writing a fresh ending for another story but it is in fits and starts (work is a bit of a brain drain right now). But I am going to set myself a goal of completing the new ending by the end of the month so I can start November fresh. I will dive into the edit week based on the critiques of my one story at the start of November.

Am trying to decide where my novel rewrite fits/lives in all of this. But I think it can wait until the new year (when I finally do it I will probably dedicate a month or two to it so there won't be any shorts during that span but it kind of qualifies as both editing and writing fresh because it is pretty much a whole scale rewrite, but also has the aspects of revising previous work). So, for the rest of this year I am going to be in Alternator Challenge mode.
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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby czing » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:00 am

Fulfilled my goal of finishing the new ending yesterday (not typed yet but written out in my notebook). Today I went through my critiques and jotted down notes about what I need to do in my revisions next week (letting them percolate for the day).

So I think today is going to feature some planning for the rewrite of my novel. I can do it all! I can fit in a full time job, rewriting a novel, writing new short stories, finishing older short stories. Right? One day of good progress means I'm back on track right? Right? Ha, I don't need any reassurances in the glow of current success :)
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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby GlibWizard » Mon Oct 28, 2019 7:55 pm

That's progress to be celebrated indeed! :) I've also chosen November 1st as my next date to alternate. I move slowly and forgive myself for missed personal deadlines frequently, but I think I'll have my fresh short story done on my schedule.

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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby aidanka » Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:08 am

IF it's still possible count me in wotf010 .
I always have problem with word count. I can't write story below 5k. Strange thing is I am usually super-lean writer on my novels. They barely reach 50k and then I have to add subplots.
czing wrote:Nice option. Although I wonder now that I think on it a bit more whether it makes sense to constrain yourself by saying you need to write stories of a certain length (especially in the drafting phase). Some stories just don't need as much length as others - and forcing them longer is probably just adding padding that doesn't need to be there.

BUT I wonder this from my point of view as a pantser. I imagine a planner/plotter has a better idea of what kind of length a story needs and can probably plan in some extra arcs/components if they need to.

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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby czing » Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:53 pm

Of course - it's never too late to join in.

That is interesting that you find yourself on the lean side for long formats and the long side on short ones. Always interesting to experiment with different goals whether word count or whatever - can reveal a lot in the learning process.

Glibwizard - I am also mostly very forgiving of missing my personal goals (or just wholesale adjusting them because I want to/didn't make them). It's pretty rare I get down on myself for goal misses - other stuff is a whole different story/different world. I almost immediately changed what I said I was going to do. I ended up working on the edits on my flash fiction piece (still struggling with how to flesh out one component and have it feel natural).

So novel rewrite planning gets back burnered again but that's okay. Gives it more time to percolate :) And it gives me more time to think about the process I was using and what might work better (I actually think one of the blockers on that rewrite is a process issue - the story is very interesting to me and I really want to dig back into it but going from that old and terrible first draft to a plan for the overhaul is feeling boggy and difficult).
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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby GlibWizard » Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:47 am

Welcome aidanka!

And happy November everyone. I'm alternating now and making some revising goals for this month.

I found an encouraging piece of trivia for revisions. I have often guiltily wondered if computers have changed the process of writing fiction for the worse and that's why I spend so much time moving sentences after the fact, but apparently in Jane Austen's time it was common to compose on a small fan of writing surfaces so that you could reorder your thoughts before committing them to paper, and that sounds a lot like the stage of editing I'm doing. (However I'm not going to do any googling that might challenge my mental image of Conan Doyle leaping off the ski slopes and banging out Sherlock Holmes stories on his typewriter in one go, because I need something to aspire to) wotf001

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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby czing » Sat Nov 02, 2019 11:09 am

Wow GlibWizard I love that! The interesting ways humans find to make things work and in particular to make the writing/editing process work is wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

I technically am also alternating but whoo doggy am I having a hard time really going on anything right now (either editing or writing fresh). Not enough sleep is the worst. Tomorrow I'm going to go out and sit somewhere so I can get out of my routine and work on the story I've started.
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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby AlexH » Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:33 pm

GlibWizard wrote:czing, Michael, AlexH, how are your current projects coming along, old or new?

Thanks for asking. It was going well until I took a last-minute trip overseas! I should get back into the swing of things next week.

I think character arcs and theme are two of my weaknesses too. I find K.M. Weiland articles very helpful:
https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors ... ory/theme/
https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors ... cter-arcs/
35: R R R | 36: R HM R ?

Probably free for critique swaps, but double-check in case I'm away.
If you're a new writer and concerned about giving a critique, you're welcome to send me something anyway. :)

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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby Michael Kingswood » Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:45 pm

GlibWizard wrote:czing, Michael, AlexH, how are your current projects coming along, old or new?


Going great still. 28 for 28, working on week 29 now.

Plus NaNoWriMo, I think. Fun! wotf013
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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby reigheena » Sat Nov 02, 2019 2:20 pm

AlexH wrote:
GlibWizard wrote:czing, Michael, AlexH, how are your current projects coming along, old or new?

Thanks for asking. It was going well until I took a last-minute trip overseas! I should get back into the swing of things next week.

I think character arcs and theme are two of my weaknesses too. I find K.M. Weiland articles very helpful:
https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors ... ory/theme/
https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors ... cter-arcs/

Ooh! Those are my weaknesses too. Looking forward to studying these resources.
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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby GlibWizard » Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:13 pm

AlexH wrote:I think character arcs and theme are two of my weaknesses too. I find K.M. Weiland articles very helpful:
https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors ... ory/theme/
https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors ... cter-arcs/


Excellent, thank you! And you've reminded me that I have one of her workbooks around here, but I have to confess I neglected it because it was too much planning before writing for me. Revision seems to be the right time in my personal process to crack it open. So far in reading through an older work I'm confirming my initial impression, and finding that this is where there's a large gap between what I imagined and what I actually got onto the page.

Michael, that's a truly impressive number of words on the page! wotf015

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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby czing » Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:39 pm

And I am forgiving myself because I am already pretty convinced I am going to be going on two week cycles instead of one week ones. I'm in a pretty new job and feeling a lot of fatigue so I'm pretty regularly feeling too exhausted to write or edit. So I know I need to leave myself a bit more breathing room.

Glib I'm also a post first draft planner.
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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby GlibWizard » Fri Nov 15, 2019 1:40 pm

I hope everyone's writing is going well! My daily writing has settled into a non-pattern of working on whichever of my projects has my interest (and a few days that I'm optimistically labeling "gathering writing prompts from life experience").

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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby czing » Fri Nov 15, 2019 2:56 pm

That sounds like me! Whichever grabs my interest gets some attention. But honestly most days haven't featured any writing at all :(
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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby Michael Kingswood » Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:47 am

GlibWizard wrote:I hope everyone's writing is going well! My daily writing has settled into a non-pattern of working on whichever of my projects has my interest (and a few days that I'm optimistically labeling "gathering writing prompts from life experience").


Patterns? Who needs patterns? wotf013

FWIW and in case anyone's wondering, things continue to go well on my end. Got my story for the week done yesterday and turned in - 31 weeks and running.
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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby GlibWizard » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:04 pm

Michael Kingswood wrote:FWIW and in case anyone's wondering, things continue to go well on my end. Got my story for the week done yesterday and turned in - 31 weeks and running.


wotf010

Congratulations! I am rooting for you to cross that final finish line!

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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby Michael Kingswood » Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:15 pm

GlibWizard wrote:
Michael Kingswood wrote:FWIW and in case anyone's wondering, things continue to go well on my end. Got my story for the week done yesterday and turned in - 31 weeks and running.


wotf010

Congratulations! I am rooting for you to cross that final finish line!


Thanks, GlibWizard. wotf009


Though I'm not sure there really is a finish line. Why stop at 52, once the habit is in place? wotf011
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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby AlexH » Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:39 pm

I'm struggling with the new stuff. I've revised these stories:
7,300 words (was previously 400 words shorter and is a new story in the sense I've never considered it finished)
2,700 words
1,200 words
1,000 words
1,000 words

New-wise, I've done:
1,000 words (cut to 500 for Wulf's challenge)
800 words (unfinished flash for Wulf's challenge)
500 words (the opening of my main new story for this quarter - it'll be much longer when I get there)
300 words of another flash that has an ending

So I have a lot of work to do!
35: R R R | 36: R HM R ?

Probably free for critique swaps, but double-check in case I'm away.
If you're a new writer and concerned about giving a critique, you're welcome to send me something anyway. :)

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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby czing » Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:28 pm

Well done Michael on keeping up that pace. Very impressive. Alex it sounds like you are doing a pretty solid job too with both revising and new writing.

Wish I could join in and say how well I'm doing but honestly I am in one of the biggest slumps I've been in for a long time. One of these days I'll get a few good nights of sleep in and I'll feel capable of putting words on paper (or editing words). In the meantime I'm here to cheer all of you on!
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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby AlexH » Fri Nov 22, 2019 1:45 pm

A lot of that revising (and some of the new stuff) has come in 15-minute spurts on train commutes. Sometimes I get more done in those commutes than I do in quadruple the time at home. Could something like that help pull you out of the slump? Just spend 15 minutes, no pressure, and see what happens?

And/or could you set a deadline with someone else to hold you accountable? I could offer you a critique, for example, but only if you send me a certain number of words by the end of November! Knowing I said I'd send a forum member or two something to critique helped get me over the line with that 7,000-word revision.
35: R R R | 36: R HM R ?

Probably free for critique swaps, but double-check in case I'm away.
If you're a new writer and concerned about giving a critique, you're welcome to send me something anyway. :)

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Re: V37 Alternator Challenge

Postby czing » Fri Nov 22, 2019 5:12 pm

Thank you for the suggestions. Honestly I feel like sleep is my biggest barrier (that and being distinctly NOT in love with my job). When I'm writing something new I do find my wait at the bus stop and ride on the bus quite productive sometimes. Maybe I just need to start taking my notebook with me again - despite it being pitch black out when I go to work these days. And your offer of a critique is generous too - maybe I'll take you up on it. But sleep needs to come first !
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