Q4 Week 5:

My focus this week was my new roleplaying project — or more accurately, on preparing to work on my roleplaying project.

The Side Project Grows

I spent the better part of two days’ holiday trying to buy a non-reproducible blue pencil, which I thought would be handy to make notes on paper maps.

Maybe it would be, but I couldn’t find a shop that had one to sell.

When I finally admitted defeat and sat down to work on the dungeon, I realised I had no idea how to structure something like this. I’ve written adventures before, but this one is build on very different principles to those.

That meant several evenings reading blogs and rulebooks to get my ideas to crystallise.

Then I decided I needed an adventure analysis program to check my work against these new principles.

Today, I finally got a couple of hours work in on the dungeon itself.

That was enough to realise that this is actually a substantial project. I thought I was cutting out a lot by just doing the first level, but even that might take a whole week’s worth of spare time to finish.

Progress

While I did write a couple of sonnets amongst all that, I did next to nothing on the Mary-Sue project. Aeldardin Rooms got nothing at all (although the tools I did write are a step towards my long-term goals for Rooms).

Goals For Next Week

Given how big my roleplaying project is turning out to be, doing it in bits and bobs of spare time isn’t going to work. It needs serious focus, and I can’t give it that without taking the time away from the webcomic Mary Sue project.

And while I’m getting bored of scoring webcomics, I really don’t want to abandon what I’ve done. Not only is the way to finishing it relatively clear (unlike my half-finished stories), I suspect giving up will compromise what little scientific integrity the project has.

If I don’t finish this, I’ll always wonder what the results might have been; and if I look into Mary Sue tests further, I’ll have to ask myself whether I’d have found different conclusions if I had finished the first time around.

For that reason, my goal for the next two weeks is to catch up with Mary-Sue scoring. I’d still like to do some writing, but I’m happy to let programming slide if it will get the Mary-Sue work done.

Good luck and happy writing!

The Centre of the Underworld

From under-fortress ancient
And spawning pit yet young,
From ship upon a sunken sea
And hollow crypt, they come:

The orc before a surface door,
The elf of deep below,
The thing erased from ancient lore
Are all compelled to go.

Through secret passage shallow
Or smoky fissure deep,
Dwarf-road long in ruins,
Or calcite cave, they creep.

An open cavern mile.
A dome of cut black stone.
A sea of blood-red tile.
A ready, leaden throne.

ROW80 Week 1: Divided

(other ROW80 participants)

I’ve been busy on several fronts this week. As well as my editing goals, I started looking into buying a house, and that in turn reminded me of various other financial things I needed to sort out.

Fortunately, I came back from the holidays with plenty of energy. I got editing done on three days (out of the five left when I joined), and I can’t do much more house-wise until I spot one I want to buy.

After all that rushing, I’m hoping I can focus just on editing this week, and not tire myself out.

Good luck and happy writing!

ROW80 Week 9: Incidental

(other participants)

This has been a good week for things that weren’t goals:

My best progress was with memorising poetry, which I managed to fit in at least six days this week.

Writing wasn’t so successful: five days out of seven, but nothing very long, and nothing towards Conkers.

Hopefully I can change that this week — work has got me looking into mindfulness and ways of avoiding distraction when programming, and I suspect writing requires a similar kind of focus.

While I don’t have a reading goal at the moment, I’ve still been reading. Both these stories got me thinking about how to write alien perspectives:

China Miéville’s Perdido Street Station has a monster that only very inhuman minds can fight.

Bravemule, by “Kevin Snow + collaborators”, is a story based on a Dwarf Fortress game. The characters have strange personalities to match the sometimes-strange decisions the game AI makes.

Good luck and happy writing!

ROW80 Week 8: Elsewhere

(other participants)

I spent this weekend at a programming event, a “hackathon” which challenges you to write a useful program in two days. While I didn’t quite manage that, I did get a lot more done than I usually do over the weekend; the whole experience has got me reconsidering how I organise my writing time.

Beyond that, I just kept up with my usual goals: writing on five days, memorising poetry on five days, and writing Conkers (about 300 words).

Good luck and happy writing!

ROW80 Week 8: When Things Work

(other ROW80 participants)

This week has been tiring, but I’m happy to call it a success. I wrote five days out of seven (or it may even have been six), started to catch up on my reading goals, and got a vastly clearer understanding of my travel plans.

Except for Sunday, I started my free time each day by working on my goals. I don’t know that this got any more done than the last-minute strategy, but it has been much lower stress.

Reading

I finished Greg Egan’s The Eternal Flame this week. This series (Orthogonal) is the most science-heavy science fiction I’ve ever read — the way the quantum physics of light works in the setting is a major part of the plot.

Despite that obvious difference, I think the book has a lot in common with Agatha Christie’s work. There’s a mystery (albeit scientific), a complex social situation, and a threat that is deadly but not particularly tense.

Travel Plans

I spent a lot of time this week talking to my family (who’ve all been overseas before) about what I needed to bring to Europe. With their help, I’ve sorted out the phone issue. They also pointed out a lot of things that I was overcomplicating or trying to get too early.

As a result, I now have a much clearer idea of what I need to get done. For this week, that’s making backup copies of documents.

Good luck and happy writing!