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Monday, August 8, 2011

West of Bathurst 918

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Saturday's marking comic has now joined the others of its ilk over on the Page of Marking Comics.

Donationmeter (for the Clarion Write-a-Thon)


It's more or less official: we have raised $1,121.66 in the Clarion Write-a-Thon. I say "more or less" because Clarion will continue to accept donations from stragglers, so if you still want to try for $1,200 and 42 extra comics (42, people: the geekiest number in the universe), you may.

The latest Clarion blog post confirms that Clarion has exceeded its goal, bringing in nearly $16,500. Something like $5,700 was raised just this week. For those who are curious: no, I don't currently know whether I'm still in third place. It's entirely possible that someone lower on the list had an extremely good week and left me in the dust. I'll probably eventually get some sort of e-mail on the subject, so we'll see.

Thank you all for your contributions and/or moral support. As you know, I figured back at the beginning that I would have a hard time raising $200, and the possibility of hitting $1,000 seemed pretty remote. You guys proved me really, really wrong. You also put me in the position of needing to produce thirty-five extra comics, a panel involving Casey being mildly diabolical, and a drawing of a steampunk Neil Gaiman. I'm going to have to mark for a bit now, but the extras will eventually appear.

Best of all, I have finally whipped one of my novels into shape. Lemme tell you about me and novel writing. I've been doing it since the age of 17 (technically, I wrote my first "big" work when I was 15 or so, but it was only about 40 pages long. The next one was something like 600 pages in longhand). However, while I can churn out a fantasy epic on my summer vacation, I find writing query letters nigh on impossible and can spend weeks agonising over a one-page synopsis. I sent out a mauscript to one publisher once when I was twenty or so. It was, of course, rejected, which I knew would happen, but I apparently decided that the emotional turmoil involved wasn't worth it, and subsequent manuscripts ended up hidden away forever. I'm also a perfectionist who can always find something wrong with my writing. I tend to like my stories for about three days after I'm finished writing them; then I start ferreting out the flaws. Most of the time, I decide that these flaws are huge and unfixable, and I let the story languish because I know it would be rejected if I sent it out.

This latest story is flawed because, let's face it, what isn't? However, I've persevered and pounded it into shape. And you know what? Even if it isn't good enough to be published--even if it's rejected by everyone and his dog--I'm proud of it. This time, I didn't take the easy way out and give up on it. I rewrote Chapter 1. I picked away at the other chapters until most of the plot holes were plugged and the protagonist's motivations were much clearer. I added stuff and took stuff away and got rid of a lot of unnecessary adverbs and most of the appearances of the word "realised." I wrote the bloody synopsis--twice--and wrestled with the page-numbering weirdnesses of WordPerfect. And I am going to send it out. I am not going to hide it away. So what if I get rejected? Everyone gets rejected. It's better than not trying at all.

End of Rant. I didn't actually mean to write a Rant there. It just happened.

This offer still stands: Clarion doesn't give us donor contact information, but if you would like me to send you a special WoB-themed thank-you card (with Marie on the front and a doodle inside), just e-mail your mailing address to kmaaren(at)gmail(dot)com. I may procrastinate on the thank-you cards because that is just the way I roll, but you will get yours eventually. If you're worried that you'll be the only person asking for a thank-you card, you should know that I've had six requests already. Think of it mostly as an opportunity to get a WoB doodle in the mail.

Give a Bunch of Americans Money While Forcing Me to Create Extra Comics

You may actually still contribute to the write-a-thon if you like, even though it's officially over, but this will be the last time this yellow square appears. I'll leave it on this page forevermore. Goodbye, yellow square. We'll miss you.

I like writing stuff, but I sometimes have a hard time motivating myself when it comes time to edit what I have written. My MO is: think of idea for novel...write novel...hide novel away forever...repeat. However, this year, I am determined to edit my latest novel, which I finished writing a few months ago, and eventually send it off to publishers. The tricky bit is the whole "forcing myself to sit down and whip this monster into shape" thingy.

So I have gone and joined the Clarion Write-a-Thon, a fundraiser in benefit of the Clarion Writers' Workshop at UCSD. Many writers' workshops exist, of course, but what is kind of cool about this one is that it is geared towards writers of fantasy and science fiction. Okay, it's not even in my country, but hey: fantasy and science fiction! Right? Right?

The idea is that between June 26th and August 6th, Write-a-Thon participants should, er, write stuff. You can pledge to do as much or as little as you like. My goal is to get my damn novel ready to be rejected by publishers. I'm looking for sponsors who, again, can pledge to give as little or as much as they like. A donation of even a dollar or two would be appreciated. The money goes to benefit the writing programme; the most I'll get out of this is a T-shirt, and that's only if a miracle happens and I raise over $150.

However...let's make things interesting. I'm posting this notice here because I have a little proposal of my own:

If donations somehow hit $200, I shall produce two full weeks' worth of daily comics (instead of theevery-other-day thing I usually do). If something truly bizarre happens and donations hit $400, that's another two weeks...and so on. I set the bar at $200 because I'm actually not sure I have time to do this; however, I'll keep my word, even if it drives me mad. $200 in donations--which, again, do not go to me but to a Worthy Cause--equals seven extra comics. (They will take you about two minutes to read, but they will take me hours upon hours upon hours to create, so there you go.)

If you would like to try for more comics--which I expect would appear during a rather interesting plot strand I am planning for this fall--please consider donating, which you can do by going here. Also feel free to taunt and nag me regarding the whole writing thing. It does occasionally help.

Monday, August 8, 2011
Panel 1: Marie is sitting on a couch, reading. Rahim approaches her, carrying an action figure.

Panel 2:

I brought you your little Doctor Who.

Marie [angrily]: He's the Doctor, not "Doctor Who." Don't you even know that?

Panel 3: They glare at each other.

Panel 4:

Marie: Could we just skip this bit and go straight to the hugging?

Rahim: Works for me.

Alt-Text: It's always better when you can go straight to the hugging.

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