Week One: Clarion West Write-a-Thon Report

The Clarion West Write-a-Thon officially started last Sunday. Now that we’re nearing the end of the first week, I figured I’d update my progress so far. I’ll probably do this every Friday for the next six weeks, barring any unforeseen complications, like alien abduction or the inexplicable disappearance of my thumbs.

To remind you: my Write-a-Thon goal was to write 2,000 (preferably good) words a week which, I don’t mind admitting, is kind of a lame sauce goal. I know writers who easily do twice that in a day. But truth be told, 2,000 words a week is definitely more than I have been writing in a consistent fashion over the past couple of months, at least in regards to original fiction. In regards to movie reviews, TV commentary, and shameless fanfiction, sure, I might hit a few thousand a week. But those aren’t exactly getting me paid.

See, I don’t really think of myself as suffering from Writer’s Block. A lot of writers I know don’t really seem to like that term. Writer’s Apathy, that hits sometimes. Writer’s Attention Span of a Crack-Addicted Beagle, that hits a lot. But I’m always writing something — the goal, at this point, is to stop cheating on my current project with six other fine looking ideas who are just looking for a good time.

To that end, I thought I’d tell you a little about my current project and how it’s going before I begged more money off of you. I know. That’s going to get old after six weeks right? Would it help if I posted a picture of my totally adorable woobie face?


Okay, so my woobie face needs work. It’s not easy being adorable, I’ll have you know.

The project I’m currently working on for the Write-a-Thon is tentatively titled “Short Mercy” — which I still don’t particularly like as a title, but seems more concise (and realistic) than my original name: “Story That Will Garner Me Bazillions of Awards and Love”. I’m anticipating it being a novelette, which — if you don’t know — is basically a long-ass short story. The cut-off between the two sort of depends on who you ask, but I generally go with the idea that a novelette is somewhere between 7,500 and 17,500 words.

“Short Mercy” is a western and also a second-world fantasy, which means it takes place somewhere that is Not Here. (Again, definition of second-world fantasy varies by who you ask. Writers are an inconsistent bunch, so maybe my commitment problems shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.) The plot goes like so: Em is abducted by the townspeople of Fools Abandon. Fools Abandon’s a hidden and odd sort of place where the citizens are very literal about their ideals, in particular that of blind justice. Strangers are taken and blinded by the town witch to serve as the judge and jury for the period of one year. Then they’re released back to their homes, not that Em — who’s not without some magic ability of her own — plans to just sit around and wait it out.

If that sounds at all interesting to you — well, first I’d like full disclosure: while coming up with stories has never really been my problem (kind of the opposite, as a matter of fact), the original idea for this novelette didn’t start in my head. Mekaela is actually the one who first came up with the idea of a town that kidnapped people in order for them to serve as impartial judges. When she told me about it, my brain kind of lit on fire, and she readily granted me permission to play in her sandbox. I expect that, by the time it’s done, my story will be hell and gone from where she would have taken it, but that’s kind of the fun of writing, isn’t it?

You can read an (admittedly brief) excerpt of “Short Mercy” on my page for the Write-a-Thon. This is also the place where you can donate money to Clarion West, should you have the desire and ability to do so. I’m incredibly grateful for the pledges I’ve received thus far — they’ve been hugely instrumental in kicking my ass out of that Writer’s Apathy I mentioned before because, you know, if people are actually willing to spend their hard-earned money on your cause, well, you better stop whining and fucking write. That’s how I figure it, anyway.

So, my good news is that, as of today, I’ve made my goal of 2,000 words for the first week. The actual current word count of “Short Mercy” is 3,521, with about 1300 hundred or so of those words written before the Write-a-Thon began. At this rate, the story will be somewhere around 13,500 words at Week Six, assuming it doesn’t finish up before then. If it does, I’ll move onto my next project, which — as I wrote about last week — will be chosen by my sponsors.

Insider Info: there is definitely an early lead in the Next Project of Carlie St. George Bidding War, so if you’re intrigued by Sleeping Beauty noir, a mystery that takes place inside a set of high school lockers, or murdered girls made out of love letters, well, you should consider donating five dollars because those stories, currently, do not have Immunity from the terrible, “Yeah, maybe I’ll get to that idea eventually, which we all know means never heard from again” fate. Also, your five dollars will go to a good cause and will make me smile immensely.

But if you can’t do it for me or for a non-profits arts foundation . . . do it for the kittens, people. DONATE FOR THE KITTENS.


My cats totally care about the Write-a-Thon. They’re deep, okay? And let’s be honest: they’re way more adorable than I am.

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