ROW80 Week 8: Beating distraction the stupid way

I tried to avoid reading Worm so I could focus on my ROW80 goals, but wasn’t very successful. In the end I gave in and spent the entire weekend reading all of it that’s been published, so there was nothing left to consume my time.

That feels like enough of an accomplishment that I’m happy with what I did this week, even though I didn’t achieve much more than last week goal-wise.

While I didn’t write more for Conkers, I balanced it by getting some reflection done. I also didn’t make progress on my reading goal, but again, Worm does give me a kind of excuse.

I did get plenty of writing done, partly due to attending a poetry slam this week: three-and-a-bit sonnets (I ran out of time to finish one), two other poems, 1700 words expanding on what I wrote had last week, and 350 words of background on another topic. That makes around 2,600 words all told for the week.

Now I think about it, the poetry slam is a big part of what I’m happy with. Not only was good for writing, but hearing other poets work and taking topics from the audience gave me a better perspective of the variety of poetry that I could attempt.

Good luck and happy writing!

(ROW80 linky)

Reflection (ROW80 Week 8)

The most significant writing I’ve done this week was participating in a poetry slam: we had four rounds, writing a poem on a phrase given by the audience each round.

Mostly, I just used my usual iambic pentameter, but I did try an alliterative poem in one of the rounds. It didn’t really work that well.
Continue reading

ROW80 Week 7: Distraction

Here’s my linky for this week.

Although perhaps I should be, I can’t say I’m happy with my progress. I spent most of it reading an online superhero novel called Worm, which was the digital equivalent of unputdownable — I got so wrapped up in that that I didn’t get anywhere with any of the physical books I’m reading, or get my reflection done.

I could arguably count it as my reading for the week, but part of the point of that goal was to spend time away from the Internet. And I haven’t finished reading it yet, anyway.

However, I did try to examine how the story kept me enthralled, as I have been with books. Like The Traitor Queen, Worm cuts away from scenes at moments of suspense, using extra viewpoints and timeskips to break up the first-person narrative. This even applies to the long-term plot: the characters never get a real chance to relax, so I could never go away from the screen and imagine they were safe.

Consequently, I spent most of the time I wasn’t reading thinking about situations in the story. A lot of those raise questions about the place of supernatural powers in society, which particularly interests me. It’s also enough a part of my WIP’s that I was reluctant to work on them, but it did give me a new perspective on one of my other ideas, which I wrote about 1,200 words of background for.

I also managed 470 words on Conkers (before I started reading Worm), and four or five hundred words of miscellaneous poetry (two sonnets, two other poems). That makes a total of 2,100 words for this week, putting me at a total of 12,400 for the round so far. I may yet equal my word count from last round.

So, really, this isn’t that much worse than other weeks from a ROW80 perspective. I’m just frustrated because reading Worm took up all my non-ROW80 free time. Not that it isn’t worth reading, mind you! I just would have preferred to go through it more slowly.

Good luck and happy writing!

The Fourth Age

Perhaps the truest heroes are the ones who don’t believe in them.

The final knight is fallen on the field.
The last great wizard living is laid low,
And everywhere do all Good's forces yield.
Without their will to guide, where might we go?

The souls that set the standard for an age
Are, each and every one, entombed and gone.
No more shall Light and Darkness battles wage.
No more shall fallen heroes be reborn.

What kind of horrors can be yet to come,
When all is gone that made the future bright?
What kind of people must we now become,
Now no-one's proud to stand for what is right?

The heroes of the past will not return.
The heroes of the future, we must earn.

ROW80 Week 6: Reading horror at midnight

Week 6 (linky) was another fairly average week. I wrote about 1,600 words: 500 on research, 1000 recording a dream (it might be useful … :-] ), and a 100-word alliterative poem.

I’ve wanted to learn alliterative poetry for some time now, but I always seem to end up tacking alliteration onto a metre it’s not supposed to go with. This poem was closer than I’ve got before, but I’m still a long way from having any sort of fluency with the format.

I also got my reflection posted, and on time for once; this time it was reading that got relegated to the last few hours of Sunday.

I have now finished a book — Dracula, by Bram Stoker — but I put it down after midnight last night, and finished it today. Apropos of this posts’ title, I’m not sure whether being afraid to sleep or just up late was more of a problem.

There were a few things about the book that surprised me, but I particularly liked the way the fortunes of the characters were constantly changing. Half the time they were clearly on top of the situation and ready to defeat Dracula, then something unexpected would happen and they would be suddenly losing again, and vice versa.

Partly because of this, partly because I overestimated the complexity of Dracula’s plans, and partly because I’d picked up a wrong idea about the plot from somewhere, the ending managed to be completely unexpected.

Hopefully I can learn something from this about writing suspense.

Good luck and happy writing!

Reflection (ROW80 Week 6)

Most of my writing for this week was recording a dream. I’m not completely certain what I expect to use it for, if anything, so I’m not sure how I can reflect on it. Instead, I’m reflecting on my latest attempt at those research notes.

That involved writing two fairly tight sections, then a long discussion about (ironically) being sidetracked from my main point. Since I want this document to be fairly concise, that’s a problem. Naturally, I can edit it out; but if I never needed it in the first place, why did I take the time to write it?

The whole thing seemed pointless, since the tangent discussion entirely dismissed the original point. But now I wonder if I would have realised that without writing about it. So this is still reflection on the research, and maybe I shouldn’t have been reflecting on it.

This is therefore a fairly meta post. Especially since thinking about writing clearly makes me worry about the clarity of this reflection.

And seeing myself held back by that worry reminds me, again, that I need to separate writing from editing. Which explains why I can’t get my research report right; there’s no point trying to make my writing clear until I have bad writing to clarify. And I am working on that.

Freedom to Fall

Some villains are born evil, some are forced into it, and some embrace it wholeheartedly.

It is by choice I take an evil path;
By choice I'll pay my price when it falls due.
Until that day, I'll not forget to laugh,
And live the more because my days are few.

I worry not about my coming fate.
Perhaps I'll die; I'd go without regret.
Perhaps for death I'll years in boredom wait.
I only know I'll honour what is set.

Until that day, I'll show the world I'm mad.
I'll paint the cities pink! I'll weave the roads!
I'll start a truly stupid clothing fad;
Fill every thirteenth mailbox with toads.

I'll stories leave, for those who do not die,
And all who come to read them will ask "Why?!"

ROW80 Weeks 4 & 5: I missed a week :-(

Since I didn’t manage to post an update last week, I’m writing this to cover for both Week 4 and Week 5. I’ll be away on Sunday, so it’s unlikely I’ll get much more done for this week. Consequently, I’m using the Wednesday linky.

Except for missing reflection and the update proper, I’m actually pretty happy with my progress for Week 4. I wrote another 1,500 words on Conkers, plus five or so sonnets (hard to count, because I write them on whatever I have to hand).

I still ended up rushing through my reading on Sunday night, but not for lack of trying; I had three books on the go during the week, didn’t quite make any progress on any of them, and then got drawn in by The Long Earth that evening. Since I was reading throughout the week, I’ll count that as good enough.

As to this week (Week 5): I was away due to work, which meant I didn’t have personal Internet access. The lack of distractions certainly helped my reading goals — I finished China Miéville’s Railsea during the week — but didn’t do as much for writing. I managed two sonnets over , and about 700 words on Conkers today, for a total of only 900 words.


While the things I wrote these last two weeks seem fine in isolation, I’m not really happy with how the Conkers scenes fit together with the larger story. My current arc involves the characters having an argument and splitting up, and then encountering the same lion (which they were supposed to be hunting) in different contexts.

Unfortunately, I didn’t think all that much about how the various scenes are occurring in relation to each other (since they can’t just be in chronological order any more), and I think it’s made the arc rather disjointed. I may be able to improve this in editing, but I think I’ll need a better idea of who’s where and doing what to make it more coherent.

I can think of two consequences from this. On the one hand, I’m worried that planning these sorts of thing will distract me from the actual story; several of my previous ideas got lost in daydream ‘planning’. On the other hand, I’m now in a position to try some of the cutting-between-scenes things I noticed in The Traitor Queen last week.

Good luck and happy writing!