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.


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!

ROW80 Round Summary — Round 1 2015

(other ROW80 participants)

I worked on a lot this round, but didn’t quite finish anything:


My main aim was to edit and post a short story. It isn’t ready yet, but it’s a lot further along now; and the attempt has been educational.

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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 12: Close

(other ROW80 participants)

Final check-in

This week, I read the anthology Steampunk!, edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant. It’s been a while since I read a proper short-story collection, and it reminded me just how much impact a short story can have.

My short story last week was partly inspired by it, but this week I wrote sonnets instead; nonetheless, I still managed to write three days out of these last four.

I’ve also done the computer setup I wanted to do before I left, although I haven’t got all the paperwork printed out yet.

Round Summary

On paper, I’m pretty close to my goals: I read six books in the 12 weeks or so of the round, wrote five or six days most weeks, and got most of my travel preparations done ahead of time.

However, I don’t feel very satisfied with my progress.

With the Europe trip, that’s probably just because I’m not actually there yet. I did just discover an issue with my luggage, but I’ve still got a week to sort that out.

More generally, I think I’m still getting used to some new patterns in my life.
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ROW80 Week 12: Ritardando

This is my (very late) check-in for the end of ROW80 Round 1 2014 (linky list). The lateness is about half procrastination, half running out of Internet bandwidth.

My goal last week was just “write every day”, and I did manage that. Most of that was keeping a journal — a bit of a change from my usual writing, and interesting, but it only lasted about a week.

I did also write a scene entirely in conversation, but that’s about all I’ve done towards editing.

Round Summary

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#ROW80 End of Round 3: Mediocre

I’m not really happy with my progress this round of #ROW80 (linky). I planned to focus on the harder things, but it seems like I just did fewer easy ones.

I had five goals for this round: write 1000 words of narrative weekly, write something non-narrative each week, do reflection weekly, enter a poetry competition, and read four books I hadn’t finished last round.

The writing goals, I did meet. I ended up writing 11,900 words of narrative in the 80 days — slightly more than a thousand every seven days. I also wrote something non-narrative almost every week, and entered three poems in a competition.

Reading wasn’t so lucky: I finished only one of my goal books, and half-finished two, then changed my goals and read one unrelated book. Overall, I did about half what I aimed for.

Reflection happened just under half the time. Not an improvement on last round, but not much worse, either.

I think my biggest mistake in this round was not keeping myself engaged with my goals. I aimed to write less, and to read fewer, less interesting books. That meant I was working on my goals less frequently, and losing focus on them in the intervening time.

The biggest success was probably Conkers. I feel like I’ve made meaningful progress with the characterisation, and the plot is starting to pick up speed.

Good luck, and see you next round!

#ROW80 Week 11: Pause

I didn’t make much progress towards #ROW80 (linky) this week.

That’s not so much not doing enough, as doing too much on other things. I actually wrote in excess of four thousand words this week; but they were on setting ideas, my research project, and a thing I found on the Internet rather than stories.

Similar to Worm last round, I was distracted this week by watching Avatar: The Last Airbender. While I certainly don’t regret watching it, it did overshadow my thoughts all week, and may have interfered with my writing.

Unlike Worm, though, I can’t claim it as a book. I did start reading a new book this week, but I’m not that confident I’ll finish it by the end of the round.

I’ve had a tendency to redefine my goals each time I’m unhappy with a week. It’s not worth it this late in the round, but I wonder if I need to declare that research project as an actual goal. The truth is, it’s as significant to me as Conkers is, and of a similar scale; it doesn’t really make sense to pretend it doesn’t exist for the purposes of #ROW80.

I’ve been worried it wasn’t mature enough to mention yet, but I have to talk about it at some point…

#ROW80 Week 6: Nadir

I’ve picked the word “nadir” (opposite of “zenith”) for this #ROW80 update (linky) for two reasons.

On the one hand, reaching a nadir means you’ve fallen a long way from what you were aiming for.

On the other hand, it’s the lowest possible point; so from here, things start to improve.

This week was certainly a low point; I only managed 500 words, on a new story idea. I’ve used an online-forum format, which I suspect might help with characterisation; time will tell.

I also sent The French Revolution back to the library, with a hundred pages still to go. I’d been pushing myself to get it finished before the time ran out, which was probably a mistake.

But with my work schedule getting back to normal, and a new book to dive into, I might even keep up to all my goals this week. :-)

Good luck and happy writing!

#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.

#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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