(For more about The Sunday Circle, check out Peter M. Ball’s blog here.)

A little late this week, but figured I should still sound in! Last week, I managed to stay on track, despite a few very unfocused days. The end of the year is looming, and I’m starting to think goals and plans and dreams and career paths and reading lists and a whole slew of other things, which has been fairly distracting.

What I’m working on this week: This week, I’m hoping to just hold on to the lead I’ve got on my step-by-step deadlines for the short story edit. Hosting Thanksgiving for the first time ever is going to rob me of a lot of time, so just holding on would be great!

What’s inspiring me this week: It’s been a rather scattered week, which hasn’t lent itself well to thoughtful partaking of outside media. But after a get together with one of my best pals today, I’m definitely feeling energized to get a jump on this upcoming year and to try tackling challenges that scare me. She’s been under a lot of stress this past year, but her enthusiasm to change what she can for the better is absolutely contagious, and I want a piece of that for myself.

Oh! But we did just watch Finding Dory, and it really has me considering the challenges of story structure and how simply giving a character a goal to work towards and complicating their path doesn’t inherently make for a good or interesting story. It’s kind of emphasized how important resonance and those clear plot beats are to creating a satisfying story that holds together. I’m pretty sure my husband is sick of me talking about all the various ways I’d want to clarify and/or fix the story (Why doesn’t the octopus just stow away on the truck? Nobody ever seems to come close to catching him. If he’s so good at faking his appearance, why doesn’t he just fake the appearance of a tag on his tentacle? What’s his backstory? Why would he rather live in a tank (other than the generic: the ocean’s dangerous!)? Why doesn’t he just find a hole in the massive tank in the aquarium and just hide there, given how hard it’d be for anyone to get him out and/or even find him? If he’s so good at escaping, why hasn’t he escaped before? Why now (other than to aid the plot)?). It also emphasized the challenge of pacing and the complexities of creating a functional, split POV that doesn’t feel simply like filling screen time.

What I’m avoiding: Well, I’m deliberately trying to avoid getting too caught up in thinking about the upcoming year and what I want to accomplish in 2017. It’s so exciting to think about new, shiny challenges and stories that the old, threadbare WiP just feels blah. But I’ve done pretty well reminding myself that I still need to get the WiP finished by the end of this year, so none of that shiny new work can start until then, anyway. :)

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