#ROW80 Week 5: Within Limits

A short ROW80 check-in (linky) this week, because I don’t have much to report:

I was hoping to get 1000 words on Conkers done this week, and intended to consider anything else a bonus. I managed 700 words, quite a bit of miscellaneous writing, and about 20 pages of The French Revolution. I did nothing towards the poetry competition or reflection.

With the extra time I’m spending at work, maybe I can’t hope for much more than that. But I didn’t fall too far from 1000 words, and I wrote more than that in non-WIP writing. Overall, I think my goals for this week were reasonable ones, which I’ll keep unchanged for next week.

On the Island

The smell of chemicals is in the air;
The antiseptic fumes assault the nose.
The gleaming benches, polished, are left bare.
The knives stay neatly placed in perfect rows.

I pace the room with stethoscope and lamp,
Or pause, and hear the faint, fluorescent hum,
And only move so that I do not cramp.
And still I wait; and still they do not come.

The things I'd do, were I allowed my tools!
I know the stitch to mend a broken heart,
The gentlest words to best admonish fools.
No mortal hurt should be beyond my art!

I weep for those whose lives I could not change.
I'd make them more than human, rich and strange.

#ROW80 Week 4: Limited

I’ve been happy with my progress for the previous weeks of this round of #ROW80 (linky). I’m still happy with what I did this week, but not as optimistic. There’s a work deadline looming, and I’m having to find time from elsewhere to put towards that.

Even so, I managed quite a bit of writing during the week: almost 2000 words towards Conkers, and over 1000 on a new scene for Jenkins Rising, as well as the usual sonnets and miscellany. I had hoped to post the Jenkins Rising scene here, but it ended up depending on things I haven’t established yet.

Other goals went less well; I read about 60 pages of The French Revolution, made a half-hearted attempt to organise poems for the competition, and didn’t manage to do reflection.

I take heart from the fact I’m still exceeding my writing goal. Even if I can’t manage other goals when work needs me, I should at least get my 1000 words in.

Good luck and happy writing!

#ROW80 Week 2: Small Victories

I’m not quite where I wanted to be at this #ROW80 check-in (linky), but I’m making progress.

For writing, I wrote just over a thousand words for Conkers, and another 400 or so on background for a new story idea. I also managed to get my reflection in on time. :-)

My other goals are also showing some improvement: I read another 80 pages of The French Revolution — not quite enough, but getting closer — and I did manage to get my printer working for poetry entries.

I don’t know whether it’s the tighter goals or the start of a the new round, but I’m feeling quite enthused about writing at the moment. I’m even thinking about getting back to the “Jenkins Rising” story, the one I originally started this blog for.

The coming week will show whether that’s daydreaming or actual motivation.

Good luck and happy writing!


The scene I wrote for Conkers this week was supposed to be a political debate about the sudden appearance of “adventurers” in a previously more sedate society. I enjoyed using different styles of language to differentiate the speakers, but I’m not happy with the way their scene fits into the plot.

On the one hand, it seems like too many words and no action; on the other, I feel as though it doesn’t build up nearly enough to end as dramatically as I want.

There are things that might fix this: I could break up the dialogue with actions of the speakers and the crowd, and I could focus more on the events leading up to it. But all that assumes the characters have a reason to care about it, which they don’t.

So I suppose the real problem is a lack of context. If events built up to this scene over time, and the characters started running into the problems and the arguments about fixing them, the debate could count for something.

#ROW80 Round 3, Week 1

This is my first check-in for #ROW80 Round 3 (linky).

My writing goals, at least, I’ve achieved. I wrote 1,200 words on minor scenes for Conkers; while they weren’t exactly vital scenes, they have helped me get an idea of what I know about the characters, and what needs more investigation. I also wrote a sonnet, and made my first attempt at writing a concrete poem.

Reading hasn’t progressed so well. I managed about fifty pages on The French Revolution; OK, but not enough to finish it in the three weeks I have.

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#ROW80 Round 3 Goals


My biggest concern with what I did in Round 2 is that it was too “diffuse”; the goals I was successful on were all relatively easy things, and I worry that my other goals suffered for focussing on them.

To avoid that this round, I want to make all my goals more focussed on finishing what I started. For writing, I’ll aim for 1,000 words a week on Conkers or another narrative WIP, and to work on something non-narrative (sonnets, research, etc.) at least one day a week. That should keep me on track to finishing something.

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The Lesser Tragedy

The miasma of grief, the woe, the hate;
The space that's left when you've run out of tears.
The wedding dress that will forever wait;
The nursery door jammed shut for scores of years.

The signs upon the bridge you always change
To bear your name, which they will change to theirs;
The useless trinkets sent in mean exchange
So you can talk of trade, and not of heirs.

The houses, grey as warships, ringed with walls,
Their gardens fertilised with ash and bones.
The silent dances, faking ancient balls.
For fallen foes, a cairn of tiny stones.

Two households old, whose dignity doth fade;
Their lovers each a separate marriage made.