Category Archives: Clarion West

Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #6

This is a wrap up for week #5. The workshop is starting week #6.

I have, just 5 minutes ago, sent off the finished manuscript to editor. My brain is ruined. I am a little dismayed by how exhausted I am right before I start the work week.

I wish I were more excited about it. At the very end I was still messing around with things and my computer froze during a save so I lost a little bit. I think I’m too tired to be a good judge of what I did. It’s done. Mission accomplished.

This week I will work on the blurb and otherwise give myself a break before I hammer on the promotion stuff. I might try to finalize the prequel story as well.

I made another fail loaf. I had the same problem last week and figured the sourdough was weak. Now I think the kitchen is much warmer than when I usually bake and I’m letting it sit too long. Haven’t had time to research properly. Homemade fail loaf is still better than store bought bread.

(Nice arty reflection shot) Also, RIP Black and Decker toaster. My parents gave this to me when I moved into my Lake Oswego apartment in 1992. I’ve been with this toaster oven longer than I’ve been married. We’re guessing the heat shield failed because Bob put in some bread to toast and minutes later black smoke and a smell like Satan’s butthole came pouring out of it. It’s in the backyard. We’re afraid to stand too close to it.

Last I checked the write-a-thon raised over $13,000. It’s not too late to donate. Even a few bucks is appreciated. You can sponsor any of these wonderful writers:

Christopher
Owen
Eden
Carol
Shane
Maggie
Raj
An
Theresa
Pritpaul
Kira
Tracy
Douglas
Me

And huge thanks to everyone who’s participated.

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #5

Clarion West is starting week 5 today. I am reporting on my write-a-thon progress from Week #4.

I did all the things I said I’d do. A draft of the blurb/bleargh exists and I am finalizing the manuscript like a champ. I’m sending it off one week from today and I need every minute to work on it.

This week is a quick garden report:

Remember this? This is one of the tomato plants about a week after I planted it Memorial Day weekend. I wish I had a photo from when I first put them in the ground because they were about as big as my thumb.

There will be an update at the end of this post.

This was the first dahlia this yard. I have a yellow one and a few red and a couple of big pink ones out front. There are more on the way.

Check out that franken flower in the middle. It’s a head taller than the others. What’s up with that? And yes, I realize I have way too many for that tiny patch. They volunteer and I yank tons of them out but I always underestimate them. There’s one little tomato planted back there that is overrun with sunflowers and pumpkin leaves.

This is a backyard tomato that I grew from a seed. I think it’s a Stupice which is an early tomato. Probably helps if you plant it earlier which I did not.

Backyard pumpkin. In the early days the best pumpkins grew out front. This year the backyard is where the cool squash are hanging out.

Here they are – the huge tomatoes out front and growing like crazy.

Thanks again to everyone contributing to the write-a-thon. The last report said $9631 raised so far (not me, for the whole thing). Small donations are welcome. If you’re still considering a donation, please sponsor one of my great Clarion West classmates:

Christopher
Owen
Eden
Carol
Shane
Maggie
Raj
An
Theresa
Pritpaul
Kira
Tracy
Douglas
Me

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #4

Klamath River upriver from Orleans, July 2017

So to clarify, I am updating my progress for week #3. We are starting week #4 today.

My work flow was out of whack due to a my trip to California. But I did the following:

1. I finished the teaser story for the romance series. It’s shorter than expected but a clean draft so shouldn’t be too much work to get it ready for distribution.

2. I worked on polish and fixing on the romance manuscript. I also figured out a fix to some of the things that were bothering me about the ending.

3. I didn’t do the blurb. I can’t help it, I keep avoiding the blurb. I did epic administrivia and worked in the yard during the hottest part of the day. I found all sorts of things to do instead of work on the blurb. I’ve got 2 more weeks.

I am going to abandon the idea of revisions to the spec fic short story that I have been submitting. I only have 2 more weekends to get the manuscript finished so all my attention will be devoted to that.

Same general area. Klamath River upriver from Orleans, March 2017

The rental house next door is empty again. I am assuming it will be rented again. That will make the 9th tenants in 15 years. We’ve been lucky the last couple of times. We’ll see how our luck holds out.

We also had baby raccoons in the yard this morning. It was daylight so I was a little worried about them. We have a big hedge and no one is next door so I hope they found a safe place to hide. They make a cute chittery sound, like Tribbles.

Here’s all my classmates again if you’ve considered donating but haven’t gotten around to it yet:

Christopher
Owen
Eden
Carol
Shane
Maggie
Raj
An
Theresa
Pritpaul
Kira
Tracy
Douglas
Me

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #3

The sleepless trend continues although now I’m sleepless in Orleans. We don’t have a schedule here so I can stay in bed as long as I want if I fall asleep again. But still, by afternoon I have a fuzzy head.

At the last minute I decided to go to California for Fourth of July since it’s my Dad’s birthday and we wanted some family time. My sister is here, too. Here’s Summer. I was trying to get her to do her silly face.

I think I’m numbering these posts goofy because today is starting week #3 but I’m reporting on week #2.

I worked on the story, the blurb and the draft but made little meaningful progress. I don’t get a lot done on the weekdays anyway and then Friday I was in the car all day driving here. I listened to S-Town Podcast on the way which was fantastic for a long drive with heavy traffic. Yesterday I read some commentary on it — this could be a whole other post but I’m not up for it right now — let’s just say I had similarly complex reactions about the story.

Highly recommend.

Back to my write-a-thon progress. I have plenty of time in Orleans but I’m not always inclined to work. I like to be outside and listen to the river and relax.

Here’s the view:

My goal for week #3 is to keep on doing what I’m doing but more. I have a couple of days when I get back home when I can be productive.

If you’re thinking about donating but haven’t yet, I strongly recommend sponsoring Raj because he is giving away prizes. Here’s his post with all the details.

Here’s the list of my classmates who are participating. Go hug a writer.

Christopher
Owen
Eden
Carol
Shane
Maggie
Raj
An
Theresa
Pritpaul
Kira
Tracy
Douglas
Me

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #2

You know what loves this hot weather we’re having? The garden. This morning I wandered through and you could practically measure how much taller the tomatoes are today. Things are blossoming. It’s nice out there if you don’t mind the heat.

My writing goals do not slot easily into 6 week bits but this week I accomplished the following:

–> In early drafts I tend to use repetitive phrases and words. When I put together the early reader draft, I made a list of items to go back and look for. I did that and while doing that identified some others to work on this week.
–> I worked on the blurb. It’s not done but I have a start to work with.
–> I worked on the prequel story which I am spending way too much time on but I love these characters. I wrote about 700 words.

The plan is to continue on this course except maybe more faster on the prequel story.

As of this minute – these are my classmates who are doing the write-a-thon. The folks not listed are surprisingly strong at resisting my powers of persuasion. I think this is it. Fourteen out of eighteen is still pretty good. If you are inclined to donate, please pick any one of them. They would all love it.

Christopher
Owen
Eden
Carol
Shane
Maggie
Raj
An
Theresa
Pritpaul
Kira
Tracy
Douglas
Me

This is the main garden and looks like a mess because, as always, I didn’t pull enough of the sunflowers out. Colleague gave me some heirloom seeds that they handed out at a national tribal event, I can’t remember which one, and I have a couple of stalks of corn in there, too.

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon 2017 Week 1

Try to tell from looking at this photo, which two married couples came out of this group. Extra credit: can you find Neile?

Howdy Friends!

It’s that time again. Somewhere in Seattle a new group is getting started on their 6 week writing workshop. Sadly, the rest of us are not and we get to hang out and write at home.

These are my posts from the workshop: Overview, Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4 part 1, Week 4 part 2, Week 5 and Week 6.

I have been harassing all my classmates to sign up for the write-a-thon this year and here’s where we’re at so far. Consider sponsoring some of these incredible human beings who are all terrific writers and wonderful friends. They would love it and all donations are appreciated.

Christopher
Owen
Eden
Carol
Shane
Maggie
Raj
An
Theresa
Pritpaul
Kira

My sponsor page is here. This year I’m mainly working on activities related to getting pen name’s next romance novel finished and all the promotions set up.

I do have one spec fiction story that was out on submission and I’m going to make a few revisions and resubmit during the write-a-thon.

Updates every week.

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Beg-A-Thon Week #3 Progress Report

This week I did just over 11,000 words. I remain on target for my goals.

From here on out it makes no sense to measure by word count. I need to tidy up about 24K per week to get the draft to the beta readers by July 28th.

Now that I look at it like that, it seems impossible. Oh well. I’ll do my best.

So I wrote a complete (not pretty) draft since starting on May 20th. That’s pretty incredible. I’ve always considered myself to be a slow writer.

I had a fairly substantial outline to work from but I need to remember not to let myself get too gummed up at the beginning because I figure out a lot of stuff as I go along.

One of the things that makes this possible, like I said before, is letting everything else slide. This is agonizing for me but when you want one thing you have to sacrifice something else. Bob is out of school so he picks up more of the chores. I also (oh so painful) gave up about 90% of my reading time. I had time to power skim the New Yorker and that was it. I used my time on the bus to work out the next bits I wanted to write.

So if my outline says “woman discovers she’s really an alien.” Then while I’m on the bus I’ll write notes about how she figures out her craving for raw meat and the strange appendages she has growing out from behind her knees aren’t normal so she goes to the science library to do research but realizes she’s being followed by a purple Cadillac…

And so on like that so when I sit at the computer I’m ready to roll.

I try to preserve my back and neck and wrists by regular breaks.

I do any number of these things:

Shoulder Stretches with a belt.

Wrist and forearm work (This is a class preview. It might sound technical but watch the demo. These are great.)

Foundation training back exercises. I am generally the type to be put off by branded exercise systems but I’ve been doing the basic exercises regularly as part of my recovery from the back debacle of 2015 and I think it’s helped a lot.

Those are my secrets to writing a whole bunch in a short time. Although to be honest I’m not as confident in this manuscript as I was in the last one.

Thanks again to all my terrific sponsors. My report showed over $10K in donations already. Not for me but for the whole thing.

It’s not to late to donate.

This is what the tomatoes are doing. I’m going to put the cages up this afternoon. I did a half-assed job of throwing them out there and have ignored them ever since so probably not going to be a big tomato year. (Again.)

A couple more links.

I’m not a big pork eater but I’ve been anxious to try out a new recipe and this Cuban Roast Pork caught my eye. Right now the house smells amazing.

For a huge portion of my career I worked with the Metlakatla Indian Community in SE Alaska. This is a terrific article and photo essay about basketball in the Community.

That’s this week’s update.

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Beg-A-Thon Week #2 Progress Report

It’s hard to believe that I’m disappointed with 15,209 words this week but I had a little blip yesterday and pooped out my productivity streak. A blip meaning I had trouble writing. I was here with the butt in the chair most of the day.

I had hoped to finish out the 1st draft yesterday. I’m hoping I can do that tomorrow. I’m behind my schedule but I built in some padding so I’m not in a full panic yet. Today went much better but still no first draft.

What? Oh, yeah. That was 15,209 words this week. They weren’t pretty but I’m getting the work done.

In other news, the cough is down to an occasional gurgle and I can finally exercise again. I also learned from the full body coughing that my back is at about 98% at this point, too. It took a year but that’s better than never.

The flip side of 15K words a week is I have let everything else slide including my personal relationships. Sorry!

Thanks again to all my fantastic donors. I continue to promise to send you a love note soon.

And it’s never too late to donate. Even a few bucks is appreciated:

Click here to donate!

Current progress:

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Beg-A-Thon Week #1 Progress Report

Week #6 2008 — This is my Clarion West class with Chuck Palahniuk

I wrote 9,723 words this week. I should sit here and work until I hit 10,000 but I also tidied up my entire manuscript and I have shocked even myself with my capacity to sit here and work all day long on a weekend.

Time for a break. Tomorrow is another day and I want to beat that work count next week.

Here are my rock star classmates participating in the Write-A-Thon:

Maggie Croft

Christopher Reynaga

Carol Ryles

Kira Walsh

Rajan Khanna

Caren Gussoff

Me again

And our workshop administrators

Neile Graham

Les Howle

Here’s the status of the project of August:

I need to pay attention to my poor neglected husband.

Super huge thanks to everyone who has donated so far. I will send you a personal love note soon.

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It’s Beg-A-Thon Time!

I found this photo from the Squirrel circus of 2016. Action shot of squirrel number one fleeing the premises. (I typo’d that as “feeling the premises” and almost left it.)

I started writing at 7am this morning and I did take a number of breaks but I’ve been working almost all day.

The Chicago trip was fantastic but I got home Monday night and then Tuesday I had a soccer game (Yes, I know, poor me) so I didn’t get home until 10pm. I woke up Wednesday morning with the crud.

I’m not feeling terrible today but I still have major coughing fits and I had just put a cough drop in my mouth when my husband came in here and set a frosty glass filled with strawberry colored frozen beverage in front of me.

He just finished school yesterday and he is in “OMG, I have the whole summer to play” mode. I am still working and I have a first draft to finish by the end of the month. I’m not quite in the same head space.

So, back to the drink, I looked at and said: I just put a cough drop in my mouth.

But it was pretty and smelled good.

How much booze is in this? I asked.

He said: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, about a shot and a half.

I gave it back to him. If I spend the entire day writing that means I did not do anything else and I have chores to do before I can get fuzzy on a fruity drink.

I last did the Clarion West Write-A-Thon in 2011. I wrote an excellent introductory post about it then.

My stated goal is to write 1000 words a day although it’s not going to work exactly like that. I need to try to have a draft ready for beta readers at the beginning of August so I need to write about 17,500 a week for the next two weeks (That’s about 10 pages a day). Then I’ll have a first draft and for the last 4 weeks of the Write-A-Thon I will need to spin my first draft of poop into a readable draft of gold.

This would be much easier if I didn’t have a husband, a job, a soccer team, a vacation, cooking, cleaning and a never-ending pile of administrivia to contend with. But I’m going to try to make it happen anyway.

If you are rooting me on during this insanity – please consider throwing a few bucks to Clarion West. Small donations are very happily welcome. My donation page is here and there are tons of other writers to support if you don’t like me. There are other ways to donate here.

I hate making blanket dramatic statements like this, but the workshop really and truly changed my life and I am so grateful that I was able to attend.

Here is the progress on the project of August:

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