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.

Reflection

Once again, I’m not entirely sure what to call the thing I want to reflect on this week. Basically, I wanted to communicate a general feeling of despair to the player; the idea that everything that could save the land has been tried, and it hasn’t worked. I don’t feel like my writing really does this, but after re-reading it a few times, I think I can pick out what bits are causing the problem.

It seems like I’m being too technical, explaining the details of problems as though I was a scientist writing a report. A scene I was happy with last round had a character hardly able to say something because it was important; maybe this would work better if it seemed less articulate.

On the other hand, the writing I’m doing for the game is all letters between characters, and I’m not sure how being lost for words should work in a letter. I know the trope of a character with a difficult letter to write tearing up lots of drafts, but I don’t know what they end up actually sending.

Also, making a character inarticulate only makes sense if they care how they sound. One of the letters is complaining about the monsters that are about to kill the writer, and I can’t really imagine someone trying to be circumspect in that position. But they certainly wouldn’t be dispassionate.

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