Alexandra Duncan

Science Fiction. Fantasy. Feminism.


I know summer doesn't officially end until later this month, but summer as I define it -- school's out, pools are open, vacations are afoot -- is over. Labor Day is here and library school is back in session, which means the luxury of having my evenings and weekends free for writing is gone again, too. Not that that will stop me. I'll still be tapping away on my lunch breaks and probably neglecting my homework in favor of a writing project at some point, but now seems like a good point to declare an end to the Summer Y.A. Novel Writing Challenge and look back on how it went.

I set a goal for myself of finishing 45,000 words in three months, but more importantly, to stay sane and keep the joy of writing in my work. What's the point of driving yourself crazy writing 45,000 words you ultimately hate? I didn't hit my word count goal -- as of today I have 26,050 words -- and in the past, this would have been cause to beat myself up and mope around eating Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia Frozen Yogurt, wallowing in the certain knowledge that I was doomed to never succeed at anything. But this summer, I managed to stay sane, and more importantly, maintain my enthusiasm for the project I've started. So what if my pacing is more deliberate? 26,000 words is a respectable start, and right now, I don't have any editors looking over my shoulder, except the ones in my own head. Why not enjoy the process or writing, rather than hounding myself over results?
Something to be proud of

The best part of this challenge, though, has been having the opportunity to meet with Nathan Ballingrud and Theodora Goss for critique exchanges. They are both wonderful critique partners, and I'm so excited to see what their current projects eventually turn out to be.

So, what's next? I'm definitely going to keep working on the novel I've started, but I'd like to intersperse it with other projects. I haven't finished a short story since this spring, and I'd like to have at least one more out there in the world by the end of this year. You'll notice that I've changed the SUMMER Y.A. NOVEL CHALLENGE tab on my blog to Y.A. NOVEL CHALLENGE, and I've changed the goal to 90,000 words. I'll still blog about it occasionally, but not as often as I have this summer. In short, I'm going to keep going. Wish me luck!

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