ROW80 Week 3: Average

Here’s my linky for this week.

I kept pretty close to my goals this week, neither running ahead nor falling behind. My 1,500 words took the form of research notes for a non-fiction project. I got slightly ahead by writing a sonnet, but then put up my reflection slightly later than I’d planned. So all that more or less evened out.

As to my other two goals (make progress on Conkers, and read a book a week): not behind yet, but I do need to focus on these a bit more. With three weeks past and nothing at all written towards Conkers, finishing the arc by the end of Round 2 is starting to look less than certain. I did at least look at it again this weekend, but that won’t mean anything if I don’t follow it up.

Accordingly, I’m setting an extra goal for this coming week: Write something towards Conkers, even if only something short.

Reading isn’t so much ‘behind’ as poorly balanced. I did finish a book — a whole book, this time! — on Saturday, but only because I made an effort to catch up on it after falling behind during the week. That isn’t the way I wanted my reading to work. The idea was to add reading to the list of things I normally do in the evening, not to make it a box to tick when I had the energy. I did get started on several other interesting books this week, though, so it may just be a matter of time.

As to what I actually read: it was The Traitor Queen, by Trudi Canavan. The thing I liked most in it was the way scenes were cut to create suspense. There are a few points where a scene ends with a problem of some kind, and by the time we catch up with characters again, they’ve somehow fixed it. The thing is, we don’t find out what the solution was until its consequences start to matter, which lets the suspense of the scene last (I assume) longer than it otherwise would.

Reflection (ROW80 Week 3)

Most of the writing I did this week was notes on research for a non-fiction project. I tried reflecting on it, but it seemed like a lot of it was already reflection on the research, so I’m not sure how useful that would be.

Instead, I’m reflecting on a sonnet.

I was trying to write a poem that sounds like it’s talking about an evil overlord, but turns out to be a metaphor for something else. That meant I was a lot more analytical about writing it than I usually am, since I wanted all the lines to make sense both ways around. My usual experience is that being analytical doesn’t help my writing, so I’m worried I’ve not written it all that well.

Reading through it, I can spot several points where the phrasing doesn’t really work. In trying to come up with something that fits the literal meaning, the metaphor, the rhyme scheme, and iambic pentameter, I’ve stuck words together in ways that aren’t really very grammatical. That actually looks like the sort of thing I could fix in editing. However, “apply your left brain” doesn’t seem likely to fix errors caused by being too left-brained.

On the other hand, I tried editing it a bit while writing this, and I think I did fix most of the more glaring flaws.

While I’ll reserve judgement on the poem itself — I usually leave them a few weeks before deciding wether they’re worth posting — there is one definite good point to all of this. So long as I’m attempting things I can’t do easily, I’m hopefully learning how to write better poetry.

ROW80 Week 2: Rethinking (my) Reflection

This is my second ROW80 update for the second round (linky). Again, I’m pretty happy with my progress this week. I wrote around 3,300 words: four sonnets, over two thousand words on a short story, and part of a dialogue tree for my computer-game project. In terms of strict word count, I’m well and truly up to speed.

I’m also up to speed with my reading goal, albeit due to a bit of tricky wording. While I did finish Anne Bishop’s novel Heir to the Shadows this week, I actually read half of it last round. That ambiguity is in my goals deliberately, though: if I had to read a new book each week, I’d have no reason to finish things I started earlier.

I wouldn’t say that I’m a raving fan of Heir to the Shadows, but I do admire the way Bishop integrates what her characters do at home into the stories — we don’t only see them in danger and out doing things. Partly, this just involves starting and ending the trips into danger at home, but I think it’s also because she finds more drama in the characters’ relationships. I suppose this is to do with the book being not strictly heroic fiction; if I want to emulate it, I need to be more familiar with non-fantasy genres.

My other two goals are making progress on Conkers, and reflection. I didn’t do any more writing on Conkers this week, but the short story is at least in the same setting. It’s also something of an epilogue for one character, so I might be able to use it to work backwards into the main story. So, better than last week.

However, I think I have to admit it’s too late to get reflection done this week. My problem is that I usually write reflection at the same time as my ROW80 update, so if I run late on the update, I tend to lose sleep writing the reflection. I might be better off setting up a specific time for reflection, and then just posting an update without it if I miss that deadline. For now, I’ll say reflection is due at midnight on Saturdays — no staying up late to finish it then, either.

The Aftermath

Apparently today is the 101st anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. I wanted to post something matching that, but the closest thing I had ready was this.

Of late this land by evil hand was scarred,
Turned grey with ash and tramped by booted foot.
The farmers' fields were yielded scant regard.
The trees were warped and blackened by the soot.

The taint has gone, but still we mourn its mark.
There yet remains what good cannot undo.
The house rebuilt by bloodied silt still dark,
The twisted oak — they'll never be as new.

In its due turn this land will learn to heal;
Though never as before, all will be well.
Our new-crowned king will changes bring for real.
Clean rain will fall on fields as once it fell.

But that's to come. For now, we face our fate,
Resign ourselves to bear rebuilding's weight.

ROW80 Week 1: Better with Practice

This is my first ROW80 check-in for the new round (linky). So far, it’s going well. My progress this week almost exactly matched my goals: I read one book, and wrote just over 1000 words.

The book was Super Crunchers, a non-fiction book arguing that statistics are better than humans at almost everything. I’m still not sure whether I agree with that idea or not, but it has given me some interesting ideas about prophecy-based societies.

The writing came about in a slightly interesting way: I spent most of my free time this week playing a computer game, to the point where I wanted to make a game myself once I reached the weekend. With that as my motivation, I wrote some letters intended to be part of the story of that hypothetical game.

This isn’t quite what I’d planned; I was intending to read fiction, and to write on one of my existing projects. However, I did spend most of the week playing computer games, and was away on Sunday — circumstances that usually make me fall behind. If this was a bad week, I should probably be able to do 1,500 words per week after all.
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ROW80: Ending Round 1, Starting Round 2

This is my final post for my first round of ROW80 (linky), and also my first post of the new round (Round 2 linky).

I only worked on my new WIP this week, so the old one’s still just short of my 18,000-word goal. But I did at least meet it if you count both WIP’s together, and I well and truly did if you count everything else as well. My total word count for this round was around 23,520 words: 17,100 my old WIP, 2,225 on the new one, 18 sonnets averaging 100 words each, 100 words or so of miscellaneous poetry, and 2,300 words of other writing. This doesn’t include my ROW80 blog posts.

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