ROW80 Week 8: Measurable

(other participants)

This week I realised what my villain’s motive was, and started re-writing accordingly. As well as making more sense, the new draft lets me do away with most of the exposition-heavy intro I had before.

It definitely feels like the editing I’ve been doing is getting somewhere. :-)

However, I’ve still got to update the rest of the story to fit the changes. Provided I keep up my two days of editing a week, I should just about finish that this round.

As to my other goals: I wrote every day this week, but I’m behind on a blog post, which I let slide to focus on the short story.

Good luck and happy writing!

ROW80 Week 7: Scarce

Here’s my ROW80 Week 7 linky.

I wrote exactly five days this week. Although I worked on Conkers on four of them, my re-reading progress wasn’t much: only another twenty pages, leaving thirty more to go.

On the bright side, I did do a fair bit of re-writing on the scene I typed up. And while I haven’t read another book yet, that’s mainly because I’m trying to read two at once.

I’ve also got an idea to get more re-reading done:

Often, I read the draft late at night, after turning off my computer, and that means I don’t have time to do much. But if I accept that, there’s no reason I can’t read a paragraph or two every night.

As such, I’m making “re-read every day” an extra goal for this week. We’ll see how that goes.

Good luck and happy writing!

ROW80 Week 2: Echo

My progress this round of ROW80 (linky) matches the model I set last week.

Once again, I wrote two scenes from my outline for Conkers, one scene for a future arc, and poetry on the other two days of the week.

I have had some new plot elements pop up, which might lengthen the story a bit; but it doesn’t look like it’ll be enough to stop me finishing the draft this round.

I also finished reading a book I started last week. — Agatha Christie’s Taken at the Flood. I’ve said a lot about Christie books already; the only new thing I noticed was the amount of time it took to set up all the characters’ relationships before the murder could happen and make sense.

Continue reading

#ROW80 Week 6: “Almost”s

I’ve made plenty of progress this week of #ROW80 (linky), without quite having anything to show for it.

I had a really interesting philosophy book that I wanted to finish this weekend, but it took longer to read than I thought. And since it was so interesting, I didn’t pick up another book when I realised it would take too long.

I did finish editing my research blog post, but I wanted to have a reference list for all the books I scored, and that turned out to be more work than I thought.

And I wrote 800 words on Conkers; not quite what I’d hoped, but at least an improvement on last week.


Those 800 words ended up mostly old scenes in slightly different costumes. But in the process of re-reading the ‘old’ material, I think I got a better grip on what my stealthy character is doing.

Most of the people he’s been running away from (strangely enough, he wasn’t worried about fighting a lion) were only potentially dangerous; but the first-person narration, and his actions, were as though they were actually trying to attack him.

It’s not so much cowardice as some kind of insanity, imagining people are out to get him just because they are capable of ‘getting’ him. Not quite what I expected this character to be.

But now I know what’s going on, I can set up a situation where the character realises it; and once he knows he’s misunderstanding things, he’s in a position to do something about it.


I also suspect Kait Nolan’s sponsor post is something I should apply here. Invented or not, this character’s fear should still feel real, and to do that, I have to try to find real fear in myself. Hopefully I can keep that in mind in my writing this week.

Good luck and happy writing!

Characterisation (again…)

I was worrying about other things in my writing last week, and mostly forgot the character-related issues. I think the dialogue came out worse as a result, but I feel as though the characters have improved as I focussed less on them.

For the first story arc, I had very clear ideas of what each one was like: one squeamish, another almost revelling in gore, and so on. That broke in the next arc, when they had new problems and acted differently. And what I’ve written this week has characters acting quite differently to those first impressions.

However, I’m starting to think this isn’t actually a bad thing.

A character only defined by one trait is probably going to be one-dimensional. Since I expect Conkers to be bad, I didn’t think that was worth worrying about yet. But that seems to have led me to making the characters one-dimensional, forcing them to behave the same in all situations.

Maybe I have to let my characters grow a bit more, before I try and prune them again.

#ROW80 Week 9: From Afar

Here’s my #ROW80 linky for Week 9. Perhaps because I’m on holiday at the moment, it’s been a fairly good week.


I read about 70 pages of The Three Musketeers, and the last 100 pages of Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil.

I started reading Nietzsche’s book with a specific question in mind: how would ethics work in a story with distinct “heroes” and “normals”, such as a superhero setting?

The book had a broader focus than I thought, and didn’t really answer it.

It did, however, get me thinking about and finding examples of power as a motivation for things. I don’t think I ever understood how someone could want power “for its own sake” before.


This also went well (about 1000 words on Conkers, and a few hundred more on another WIP), although I didn’t keep up with my commitment to characterisation exercises.

Continue reading

#ROW80 Week 8: Sideways Progress

I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished in my eighth week of #ROW80 (linky), but it hasn’t moved me much closer to my goals.

Most of my writing this week went towards my research project, instead of fiction: over 8,000 words of research notes, and about 300 words discussing results. The 300 words isn’t much, but it is the beginning of an actual report (as opposed to just notes).

It’s also an improvement on my last attempt at the report, which just turned into reflection on the project. I calculated my results first this time, which seems to have helped. :-)

As to my actual goals…

I kept to last week’s commitment, and my poetry competition entries now only need posting. I also read 20 pages of The Three Musketeers, and wrote about 600 words towards Conkers.

I had hoped to work more seriously on characterisation this week, but it hasn’t happened.

Rather than keep ignoring that, I’ll change my writing goal for Week 9: do at least one characterisation exercise each day, and other writing if time permits.

Good luck and happy writing!

#ROW80 Week 7: Better…

This is my week 7 check-in for ROW80 (linky).

While I’m still busy at work, I did get back up to my previous level with ROW80. For writing, I did 1,500 words on Conkers, and worked on my entries to the poetry competition. With any luck, I’ll have those in by next week.

And my reading advanced another 50 pages, this time in Beyond Good and Evil. Nietzsche certainly makes a lot of interesting points, although I haven’t yet been able to find a coherent thread through it all.

That just leaves reflection. I’ve been complaining about my characters’ voices for the past few weeks, but I tried a few words and phrase structures I wouldn’t normally use this week, and it seems to have helped.

I didn’t do so well with character motivations, though.

Continue reading

Reflection (Week 10)

This week, I’m reflecting on the scene I wrote for Conkers on Tuesday.

Having read the Not to Be post on The Daily Prompt this week, I started out by looking for passive voice and other weak verbs I could remove. I didn’t find much I could change (although I did ignore dialogue), but I still felt the scene was lacking some punch.

I suspect a characterisation issue. Most of the scene is a character not quite explaining what she wants, but when she finally does, there’s no significance to it. She leaves the scene having achieved nothing, but somehow still completely calm and confident. The other character doesn’t attempt to encourage her to talk, either.

I’m also a bit concerned about Mary-Sueism. I imagine the narrator of the scene is involved in plenty of shady dealings, but that completely failed to come up. I probably should have given him something to hide, so he couldn’t just sit back and ignore the situation.

The general problem is that I’m not remembering the different characters’ personalities. I’m not sure what specific techniques I can use to remedy that. My best idea is to give them leitmotifs — pick a particular tune for each of them, to listen to when I’m writing that character; I’m sure there must be other techniques, though.