I’ve joined Peter M. Ball’s Sunday Circle to help keep my writing on track. Follow along here or join in the fun over at Peter’s blog, Man Versus Bear.

What am I working on this week?

Finally got through the 2nd draft of my novel-in-progress this week, plus I reached my goal word count so I’m pretty happy about that. I’ll put it aside now for 5-6 months so I can tackle it again with clear eyes. There is still a lot of work to do but it’s a long haul project, so that’s okay.

I also took a sneak peak at my first draft of the Rat City sequel today. Working on the next draft for the sequel is my next major project, and I’m excited to be getting back to it. Mid-week I’ve also been tackling short story rewrites. I find with every rewrite I add more depth: my characters and their stories tend to unfold over time rather than revealing themselves to me all at once. Often, I find the story I thought I was writing isn’t the real story at all, and I have to dig much deeper.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I was excited to receive a really lovely review for Rat City this week. I’d submitted the novel for a review more than 6 months ago and forgotten all about it, so it was an excellent surprise. It’s easy to be down on yourself as a writer and doubt your work. When someone connects with your work and gives a positive review, it’s a great feeling.

I’m also being inspired by a short story collection I picked up from the local library: What I didn’t see and other stories by Karen Joy Fowler. She’s best known for The Jane Austen Book Club, which I’ve never read but from what I know of it is straight contemporary fiction. A review on the inside cover of What I didn’t see describes it as “genre-busting…[an] engrossing and thought provoking set of short stories that mix history, sci-fi and fantasy elements with a strong literary voice.” Three stories in, I’m pretty damn impressed. There’s a lot for me to learn from the way Fowler puts her short stories together, particularly in terms of structure, which I often struggle with.

What part of my project am I avoiding?

Nothing. Really happy with my progress this week and excited to be moving forward with the Rat City project.