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.
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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.

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!

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.