ROW80 Week 4: Apace

(Other ROW80 participants)

Travel Preparation

My aim this week was to finish off the things I needed appointments for. I did make a serious start on that, but the only one I’ve actually done so far is the doctors’ appointment.

This may have been superfluous for a trip to Europe; all I ended up getting was a flu shot. Still, it’s one more thing off the list.

Reading (a book every two weeks)

I read Ketchup Clouds, by Annabel Pitcher (her books page is out of date, but I imagine she’ll add it eventually). I didn’t plan to read the book — just picked it up in the library, and was hooked by the first few pages.

I’m not quite sure how that happened. Obviously the mystery of what terrible thing Zoe has done was a big part of it, but I think it must have taken more than that to get me so enthralled, so quickly.

Something to aspire to :-).

Writing (six days a week)

For once, I actually managed this; I’ve done six snippets of writing, including one-and-a-half sonnets.

This wasn’t a week of grand achievements, but that’s not what I’m aiming for this round.

Good luck and happy writing!

ROW80 Week 10: Onwards!

(Other writers’ ROW80 check-ins)

I’m pretty happy with my progress this week.

For one thing, I finished reading Titus Groan. The main thing that impressed me about it was the style of descriptions — Mervyn Peake uses vivid metaphorical descriptions, a bit like The Great Gatsby, but less abstract.

I spent most of the week on hobbies not listed here, which inspired two sonnets but not much progress on Conkers. It wasn’t until Sunday night that I actually sat down to work on it, but I did finish a high-level outline for it at that point.

That’s sorted out where the second draft is going; now I just need to put the time in to expand on it.

For this coming week, I’m aiming to expand on the outline, and read at least one book (as well as my standing word count/sonnets goal).

Good luck and happy writing!

ROW80 Week 9: Conclusions

(Other ROW80 Week 9 check-ins)

I’ve finally finished reading Writing the Fiction Series! I don’t think it was quite the book I needed right now, but it will probably be helpful later on.

Most of the text relates to publication (marketing, working with publishers, and writing a series that can be commercially successful), which would probably be more useful to a working writer.

The discussion of series organisation did help me get to grips with Conkers, since I’m currently outlining the second draft; but I think I’ll want to read up more on the word-by-word details of fiction writing once I finish the outline.

I did also make some progress on that second draft this week: I’ve sorted out an outline I’m reasonably happy with for the first half or so of the book, and I re-wrote one of the climactic scenes to try to get a better idea of one of the main villains.

My other goals are going pretty well. I’m happy with that 700 words, and one sonnet, as my writing for this week; and I’ve read another 24 pages of Gormenghast.

With one goal for the round done, I’m declaring a new goal for these last few weeks:

  • Write up a complete outline for Draft 2 (of Conkers).

Good luck and happy writing!

ROW80 Week 4: Parallelism

Week 4 of ROW80 has turned out fairly well.

The both-books-at-once strategy for my reading goals is working so far: I read two chapters in the writing book the day I got it, as well as exactly 20 pages of Titus Groan earlier in the week (94 pages are left).

At this rate, I’ll finish the main content of the craft book pretty soon — it only has six chapters. However, it’s got plenty of worksheets in the appendices, so there’ll be plenty to go on with once I’ve read the chapters.

My writing goal is also up to speed: two sonnets, and some miscellaneous prose.

I should probably increase my word count goals, but I’m reluctant to do that until I’ve got my overseas trip sorted out. Some of the bookings sorted out, but I’m hoping to finalize the rest of my accomodation in the next two weeks.

To keep that process moving, I’m making ‘progress on accomodation bookings’ an extra goal for this week.

Good luck and happy writing!

ROW80 Week 3

So far, I’m happy with my progress for this Round of Words in 80 Days:

I met both halves of my writing goal this week: two sonnets and a thousand words of prose. A lot of the prose was overly-wordy background details, but it’s still good to have written down.

As to reading: I haven’t got a book on writing yet, but I have ordered one, and it’s apparently supposed to arrive next week. So that goal is out of my hands for the moment.

In the meantime, I’ve read 20 pages of Titus Groan. There are another 114 to go, which will take me until Week 9 at this rate.

That’s while, but I don’t think I need to speed it up. Rather than trying to read more pages, which failed dismally last time, I think I’m better off making the two books separate goals and reading whichever one I feel like at the time.

Good luck and happy writing

ROW80 Goals (Round 2, 2014)

I’m toning down my goals a bit for Round 4 of ROW80 this year.

In particular, I’m not making my WIP, Conkers, an explicit goal this round.

Partly, that’s because I’m getting a bit tired of it, and would like to follow up on a few other ideas (some writing-related, some not). It’s also partly because I don’t know where to go from here; I need to read up on editing to achieve much with the draft.

A couple of people have suggested craft books to me; it’s at the point where I just need to buy and read one, which is my Conkers goal for this round.

Continue reading

A couple of books

I read two books last week — one for research, one for pleasure — but I ran out of space and time to talk about them in my ROW80 post yesterday.

The research book was The Crimean War, by James Barbary. It was much more readable than the French Revolution book I read last year, probably because it focussed more on specific people and events than statistics.

The chapter on Florence Nightingale even had me in tears, although that might be more a property of her story than Barbary’s writing. And I got plenty of useful historical details from the rest of the book.

The novel was Storm Front, by Jim Butcher. It’s the first in a long series, which I’ve been trying to start reading for a while.

However, I don’t have much to say about it. It was enjoyable, certainly; I especially liked some of the ways technology interacts with the magic (like dressing up a potion as a sports drink). But it hasn’t exactly left a strong impression on me.

Not that that’s a problem; I only read it for enjoyment in the first place.

ROW80 Week 12: Worth

I’ve been on holiday since the 20th (hence no Week 11 post). It wasn’t as conducive to writing as I expected, partly because I wanted to make the most of seeing relatives I don’t see any other time of year.

As such, I only wrote one day last week, and 3 days in Week 11. A total of 700 words went towards Conkers.

I did finish reading another book, though: Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson. I especially liked the way he created suspense.

Whereas Dracula just has a cycle of plans and counter-plans, Snow Crash has counter-plans the heroes don’t spot in time, so they have to take a lot of risks to recover. And not every risk pays off.

Round Summary

(Here’s the linky for other peoples’ summaries.)

While I wasn’t happy with my last few weeks, it looks like they’ve been nicely balanced out by my work early on.

Continue reading

#ROW80 Week 10: Sufficiency

In contrast to my last check-in, my progress this week was evenly distributed among my goals.

I did write five days out of seven — at least, if you count the one poem fragment I only recorded as audio :-). Most of that wasn’t Conkers, but it got 1,200 words on Saturday.

And to try and catch up on my reading goal, I finished two books this week. One was Steven Ericson’s Gardens of the Moon, which I’ve been reading for the past two weeks; the other was Agatha Christie’s first published novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

Both those books did a good job of confusing me about who the villain was:

The Affair at Styles had the web of clues I expected of a detective story, with each new one changing how all the previous ones fit together.
The facts were clearer in Gardens of the Moon; but it showed the perspective of characters from every group, so it was hard to think any specific one was in the wrong.

Oh, and here’s the linky for this week.

Good luck and happy writing!