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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

2016 Challenge Wrap-Up


Right, I was going to push these through until December 16, but I’m going to call it now. Yes, it is, technically, a challenge fail, but it is also an important point on the learning curve. Put simply: there are other things I want to do. I could push this challenge through, and maybe catch up what I was supposed to have written during the challenge, or I could stop pfaffing about and get on with what I’ve decided I really need to do.

I don’t like failing, but I never was one for pfaffing.

So, I’m calling it now. Here’s what I achieved in spite of myself.

The Story-A-Week Catch-Up Challenge:


In the Story-A-Week Challenge, I wanted to try and write a story a week (originally from December 13, 2015, through December 17, 2016), hence the title. I didn’t manage to keep writing once the university semester started, so, in July, I thought I would try to catch up by writing two stories a week, beginning with one brand new story, coupled with completing the stories I’d started for last July’s Story Match challenge.


  • Week 1 (New): Road Trip became an urban fantasy story set in the world of pixie dust and the Paranormal Operations Squad. I started it on July 12 and completed it on July 16. It started life as the randomly rolled title: Berry Fairies, and came in at 6,979 words. Road Trip is scheduled for release on January 6, 2017.
  • Week 1: Men of Sand and Light was part of the 2015 Story Match Challenge. It was resumed on July 16, the same day I completed Road Trip, and completed on July 20, 2016. It ended up being 5, 137 words long. Men of Sand and Light is scheduled for release on January 20, 2017.
  • Week 2 (New): Banquet at Magic Mountain became a science fiction tale. It took from July 21 to July 24 to write, and ended up being 3,947 words long. Banquet at Magic Mountain is scheduled for release on February 17, 2017.
  • Week 2: White Pinnacle was part of the 2015 Story Match Challenge. It was started on July 16, 2015, and then resumed AND completed on July 20, 2016, and came in at 3,060 words. White Pinnacle is scheduled for release on February 3, 2017.
  • Week 3 (New): Memory’s Return was started on August 11, and completed the next day. It ended up being an urban fantasy set in the pixie dust world, of 6,364 words long. Memory’s Return is scheduled for release on March 17, 2017.
  • Week 3: The Medusa’s Starman was one of those stories I didn’t actually start in the Story Match Challenge, although I’d left a place-holder document. I started it on July 25, 2016, and didn’t get back to it until August 9, 2016. I completed it on August 11, and it ended up being an 8,753-word long blend of dark fantasy and science fiction. The Medusa’s Starman is scheduled for release on March 3, 2017.
  • Week 4 (New): Bid the Moon Goodbye was started and completed on August 13, 2016. It is 4,486 words long and was set in the Lunar Wolves universe. Bid the Moon Goodbye is scheduled for release on April 7, 2017.
  • Week 4: The Magicians and the Silk Road was a fantasy short story started on July 20, 2015, was part of the 2015 Story Match Challenge. It was but not resumed until August 12, 2016. It was completed on August 13, and came in at 4,760 words. The Magicians and the Silk Road is scheduled for release on March 31, 2017.
  • Week 5 (New): A Matter of Justice was started on August 9, 2016, and completed on October 1, 2016, after a busy semester start. It is set in the Australian bush in a world where pixie dust and unicorns have returned. It is 8,615 words long. A Matter of Justice is scheduled for release on May 5, 2017.
  • Week 5: Seeker from Havrala started life as The Plain Magician, as part of the 2015 Story Match Challenge. It is a fantasy short story of 2,900 words long, was started on July 21, 2016, and finished on August 14, 2016. Seeker from Havrala is scheduled for release on April 21, 2017.
  • Week 6 (New): The Stars to Guide is a science fiction short story about a child’s search for her father. It is linked to The Medusa’s Starman in a very distant way. It was written on October 3,2016, and ended up being 1,480 words long. The Stars to Guide is scheduled for release on June 2, 2017.
  • Week 6: Luck Amongst the Servants was a dark fantasy started on July 22, 2015, as part of the 2015 Story Match Challenge. It was resumed on October 2, 2016. Luck Amongst the Servants is scheduled for release on May 19, 2017.
  • Week 7 (New): Just a Dinosaur was started on October 17, 2016, and completed the next day. It is a dark rural urban fantasy set in Australia, that ended up being 8,429 words long. Just a Dinosaur is scheduled for release on June 30, 2017.
  • Week 7: This Year’s Starfish was a fantasy short story started on July 22, 2015, as part of the 2015 Story Match Challenge. It was not finished until October 17, 2016. It is 8,878 words long. This Year’s Starfish is scheduled for release on June 16, 2017.
  • Week 8: The Years of Voyage is a science fiction short story started on July24, 2015, as part of the 2015 Story Match Challenge. It was not finished until October 17, 2016, when it reached 5,931 words in length. The Years of Voyage is scheduled for release on July 14, 2017.
  • Weeks 8-23 incomplete.

Stories Already Completed for the Story-A-Week Challenge:


The aim of the Story-A-Week Challenge was to write a short story a week between December 13, 2015 and December 17, 2016. I was unable to keep up when the first semester of the 2016 university year started.

  • Week 1: The Sevarine Sidestep is a science fiction short story started on July 7, 2015, as part of the Story Match Challenge, and completed on December 22 that same year as part of the Story-A-Week Challenge. It is 5,392 words long, and was published on December 2, 2016.
  • Week 2: Rendezvous at the Raptor’s Rest is a dark steampunk short story set in Australia. It was started on July 9, 2015, as part of the Story Match Challenge, and completed on December 29, that same year as part of the Story-A-Week Challenge. It is a novella of 11,242 words long, and was published on November 4, 2016.
  • Week 3: Lord of the Vortex is a science fiction short story started on July10, 2015, as part of the Story Match Challenge, and completed on January 4, 2016 as part of the Story-A-Week Challenge. It is 4,053 words long, and was published on September 23, 2016.
  • Week 4: Headlines from the Starman is a science fiction short story started on July 12, 2015, as part of the Story Match Challenge, and completed on January 15, 2016, as part of the Story-A-Week Challenge. It is 3,669 words long, and was published on August 12, 2016.

Results: Of the 52 stories I hoped to complete by the end of the year, I have completed 15, 19, if you include the four done as part of the previous challenge. Not a great outcome, but it does take care of the fortnightly releases for the first six months, or a monthly release for the next 12, if I can get the rest of the publishing schedule tracking.






















The Holiday Extension Challenge:


This challenge was set aside, when the Story-A-Week Catch-Up challenge was taken up.

The Challenge: During the summer break, and the mid-semester break next year, write one Carlie Simonsen chapter book each week, and have it uploaded for pre-ordering within six weeks from completion. As you know, this didn’t happen, however, I did complete the following chapter books and they would have corresponded to the following dates of this challenge: 

Target: 21 books. 

2015 Summer Holiday Extension Challenge Start Date: December 13, 2015 
2015 Summer Holiday Extension Challenge End Date: February 15, 2016

  • Book 1: Rocky and the Starfarers’ Christmas, completed in December 2015, and published December 4, 2015.
  • Book 2: Rocky and the Great Teddybear Rescue, completed in January, 2016, and published January 15, 2016.
  • Book 3: Rocky Rides the Space Range, completed in February, 2016, and published February 19, 2016.
  • Book 4: Rocky Touches the Down, completed in April, 2016, and published May 10, 2016.
  • Book 5: Legacy of Hope, completed in May, 2016, and published 21 June, 2016.
  • Book 6: Legacy of Hearts, completed in May, 2016, and published 24 June, 2016.
  • Books 7-9: not completed

Mid-Semester Holiday Extension Challenge Start Date: May 28, 2016
Mid-Semester Holiday Extension Challenge End Date: July 16, 2016

  • Books 10-15: not completed

2016 Summer Holiday Extension Challenge Start Date: November 20, 2016
2016 Summer Holiday Extension Challenge End Date: December 31, 2016

  • Books 16-21: not completed

Results: 6 of the 21 anticipated titles completed, all of which are published.







































Moving Forward:


I am entering what I call the ‘transition phase’ part of the year. This phase is where I transition from being a full-time university student to being a writer-publisher-mother. I didn’t even know I had phases, until Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote a blog on defining yourself, and I was able to look at the changes I find myself facing during the year from this angle.

The challenges don’t work because how I am defined changes through the year, and what I can expect of myself in one part of the year, is not the same as what I can expect of myself in other parts of the year—and I have to adapt my writing schedules and expectations to that. Fine, now I get it. Now, I can try to work things out accordingly.

More on that next week.

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