Sunday, January 30, 2011

Jolly January!

Or was it? The month is almost up and it's time to boast about your wordage - or atone for your slacking! Have you made me happy or should I be packing my claws and heading your way? Report your totals in the comments and claim your badges

Reporting Example: Myself

One point for taking part in the introductions post
8000 words written - so one point for the first 4000 and one for each of the next 2000. Three points total here.
One point for submitting a short story this month.

Five points for The Koala!

Check up on the rules here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Start totting up the pointage...

...for The Koala is coming!

Results post will be up at the end of the month, but I usually post a prod around this time, just to get you focused. When I put up the results post, please post a quick summary of the writing activities that you've achieved this month, plus your total points.* Yes, I do conduct random spot checks at times, so keep it honest. There's no shame in a lower badge...well, not much...well, OK, so I'm just saying that, because I'm hovering between two and three points so far...the month isn't over...The Koala is inspired...

If you need a little inspiration, don't forget Phoenix is looking for stories along the theme of Extinction for a little e-publishing project. Click here for more information:

*Smackdownees - I'm wiping the slate clean for the start of the year, if that helps. Although I will have no qualms about re-smackdowning you if necessary.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New #1

To save you the scrolling... up to nine books for the year and a new #1: Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Helen Simonson. Here's why: Wonderful portrait of English village life with all its petty biases, plus a sharper undercurrent of racism. A beautiful story of love in the older generation, and it's funny too! The best thing, though, and the element that really made this story sing for me, was the strength of characters.

Friday, January 14, 2011

New feature...

Right under the challenge - McK's top ten books of 2011 - as in books read, rather than books published. I read an eclectic range of books at very expensive speed - so I'm more of a library user than a book buyer for budget and groaning floorboard reasons. I'll read almost anything. Almost. I kind of like it to be good. I thought it might be interesting to keep track of the good 'uns. I will tactfully not mention the bad 'uns. Or the disappointing ones (Mr K, what were you thinking...).

I'm reading like a mad thing at the moment, because for various reasons I'm on a little writing hiatus. Yes my stats will be miserable this month, but they should rocket up in due course. Trust me. Don't you?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Why look what we have here...

I thought you might like to know that two of our very own Koala Challenge participants offer query critiques.

The first is the lovely Phoenix, who has only permitted me to nibble upon her extremities, being mighty diligent with her wordage. Curses. Find her here.

The other is the generous Goblin, whose artwork graces the Koala Challenge and who is a whizz with the toenail pliers. Oh, yes, and she writes too. Her new critique cave is here

Both are smart cookies, and witty too.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Introduction time!

Sign up for the challenge below - or just go ahead and do it in this thread!

The Koala is feeling quite smug about all her new victims, sorry, friends. And so many of my old favourites are back on blood, sorry, board.

So I thought it was time for some introductions. And points! Yes, the Koala is feeling all fluffy and loving for the start of the year (this will not last). One point to everybody who posts an introduction - no more than 100 words about your sweet self and your writing.

I'll even do it myself...

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Koala Challenge 2011!

Welcome to 2011 - The Business of Writing!

The 2010 challenge worked very well for many people, with its focus on submission. This year I want to continue that, but I also want to put some emphasis back on the writing itself (which for many of you was the main activity), and I'd also like to start looking at marketing your writing. So, while submission will still be a good way to gain points, it's not going to be a short cut to Approves.

First, the basics... Again, every month we all start on zero and gain points by meeting Koala targets. Each point will raise you up a notch in The Koala's estimation and take you up a challenge level. Depending on the number of points, you earn a badge, created by The Koala's semi-tame goblin, JJ de Benedictis, to display on your blog.

This is how the points can be earned this year:

One point for every short story, poem or other short fiction submission to a competition or magazine. This is one point per publication, so check out the ones that allow multiples, and race up the Koala Love charts. Your blog does not count as a submission. However, blog competitions such as Jason Evans' Clarity of Night do count as a submission.

*Change for 2011* You can earn a point for a blog article submitted to other blogs (public blogs, not private) - if your article is of a good length and shows the type of accuracy/effort devoted to a magazine article, then it's point-worthy. (I'm still not allowing your own blog entries, so I remain fairly evil.)

One point for every article submitted to print or online magazine. *Change for 2011* Now one point per publication as per the short story submissions outlined above.

One point for achieving The Koala's perfectly reasonable writing/editing target of 4000 words a month.

One point for each 2000 words of original writing (not editing) over and above the basic 4000.

One point for each 5000 words of editing over and above the basic 4000.

One point for beta reading a fellow writer's novel and providing feedback. (Nothing shorter than a novel is eligible for this category).

One point for completing and publishing a new author website (not amendments - this is a one-off point for the first time you put it up). *Change for 2011* - I'll consider significant changes/updates to a web site for a point - as a rule of thumb, completely redesigning/rewriting four or more pages - not just adding a new picture or short story.

One point for writing a query (one-off point for each novel)

One point for writing your synopsis (again, a one-off point for each novel)

*Biggest change for 2011* One point for a novel submission (no more straight to Approves for a single submission!)

*Another change* Let us know what you've been doing in the way of marketing yourself and/or your books and I may award bonus points.

Bonus points may also be awarded for entering particular flash story competitions, as we did occasionally this year.

Report in at the end of every month, with your point totals and what you did to get there - as you have been. Points cannot be held over for a following month. The Koala wants consistent effort. The Koala is always right.

Each person is allowed one month off in the year - you decide if you want a summer holiday or a Christmas break or to have a baby or get your appendix out.

Go, go, go - January counts!

In for 2011 so far:

PD Singer (the writer formerly known as Pam...)
Sarah Laurenson

And please welcome a new victim, heh heh, Laurel K!

And more new victims, Jenna, Stevie and Daniela! And more - Mar Durango and Sempra!

More people should be signing up/re-signing up, so I'll wait a few days before I put the links up in the sidebar. It also gives you a few more days for December updates...

Remember to support one another in your attempts to avoid a Koala Shredding.

Spread the word, all welcome!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

2010 Koala Challenge Awards!

Award for the Best Manners
Including such fine character traits as faithful reporting and no sassing Your Great Master.
Shared between Sarah and Sylvia

The 'I Know It's Nothing to be Proud of but I got There First' Smackdown Award

The 'I Know it's Nothing to be Proud of but I Spent the Longest Time on' Smackdown Award

The 'I Know it's Nothing to be Proud of, and I Was So Enthusiastic But Stuff Got in the Way' Smackdown Award
Stacy (smacked down the month she joined in)

High Five Award
Aniket – who obeyed every rule, most months achieved only one or two points – but finished the year on a high of five!

Award for the Finest Poetry
For this little gem:
"There once was a fearsome koala,
came over sabbaticalala.
'Phew,' said her chums,
removed armour from bums.
In Oz — a marsupial ha ha..."

Award for Best Excuse for Not Accruing Pointage
Merry (she floated away with this one - it's hard to beat a flood)

Most Humiliating Smackdown
Me (Yes, I won this one last year too. I have a horrible feeling I'll be winning it every year. Unless some famous writer joins us. Then I'll find some way of awarding it to them…)

Award for the Most Points in a Single Month
Shared between Travis and JJ de Benedictis (both on 20 points, in different months)

In and Out Award for Most Inconsistent Reporting
Travis, were you all happy with your last award? Well, you get this one too… One month you appeared…the next you disappeared…the next you appeared… (This award takes the form of a lettuce leaf.)

And the top award…the person who spent the most time on Approves/Almost Happy… McKoala's Most Consistent Writer and Submitter for 2010 is…well, I thought Robin was going to take this one again, but when I analysed the statistics with more care….

In third place… Robin!
In second place… Sylvia!
In first place, my star of the year, is…. Pam!!! Eight months on approved, one on almost happy – that's hard to beat.

Or is it? 2011 awaits you my pretties… Rules will be up soon, in the meantime keep on writing.

Once again, thank you to JJ de Benedictis for the wonderful artwork that brings the challenge to life. (Ah, my pet...I'll get you some more tasty toenails in 2011, I promise.)