#ROW80 Week 9: Priorities

Last week, I made it a goal to write a draft climax for Conkers. That, I’m happy with. The 2,400 words I wrote isn’t a complete climax, but it’s more than I would have done otherwise.

However, other things fell behind. I only wrote four days out of seven, and put off my reading until the last minute — turns out the book was too long for that to work.

On the bright side, writing the climax has given me a clearer idea of where I am with the story. There’s a lot in it that I haven’t written the scenes to establish yet, but that will be a lot easier to do now I know what needs establishing.

My reflection this week was going to be about the combat scenes I wrote. But having seen Beth Camp’s post on the same topic, I think I’d better read through the fight-scene resources she linked to first.

For other writers’ #ROW80 progress, see the linky list.

#ROW80 Week 4: Less

Unlike many other ROWers (linky), I’m not starting NaNoWriMo this week. No sudden burst of effort here.

I did get 1,200 words written on Conkers, but I only wrote four days out of seven. I was still sick this week though; I should get more done now I’ve recovered.

On the bright side, I finished reading Pride and Prejudice. I’d expected it to be a good story — if not what I’d usually read — but the style of description surprised me. Unlike The Great Gatsby‘s vivid metaphors, Jane Austen names the actual emotions involved.

Admittedly, Gatsby is about a hundred years more recent, but they’re both good books; I’m sure there’s something to learn from both of them.

Good luck and happy writing!

#ROW80 R12, Week 2: Up to speed

Here’s my linky for this week.

Overall, the week went well: I wrote six days out of seven (although one day was only a haiku), and got 1,400 words done on Conkers — enough to make up for being behind last week. Plus, I finished reading Dash and Lilly’s Book of Dares.

That wasn’t what I’d planned to read; but I got the third Avatar: The Last Airbender series this week, and spent much of my evenings watching that instead.

It wasn’t a total loss, though. Several things in the series (especially the swordmaster Sokka studies under) gave me a new perspective on my other ideas; and I got a poem out of my reactions to the show.

It may also have helped to read a non-fantasy book; Book of Dares left me still wanting to write, but less focussed on the specifics of what I’d been watching.

Aside from that, I’m not sure what else I can say about the book. The main thing I enjoyed about it was the premise itself. I also liked the way the narrators were distinguished by vocabulary, but that’s probably because the authors wrote alternate chapters.

Good luck, and happy writing!

Goals for #ROW80, Round 4 (or 12)

The start-of-round post for this round tells us to focus on improving some aspect of our writing. This is probably a good idea, but I’m not sure how to choose a problem to focus on. For now, I’m just aiming to write more often, and trusting that a problem will show up in reflection, like characterisation did last round.

I take heart from the variety of goals the other participants have picked, which reminds me #ROW80 isn’t just for the people who already write daily.

So my goals this round (my 4th, the twelfth of #ROW80 itself):

  • Finish reading a book every two weeks.
  • Reflect on something in my writing each week.
  • Write 1000 words on a project each week — either a story, or my Mary-Sue research project (see below).
  • Write at least five days out of every seven (not counting work stuff or check-ins).

“Research Project”

The research project I’ve been working on is basically my attempt to make sense of the Universal Mary Sue Litmus Test.

I tend to believe everything I read, so my first impression was that the test was an eminently sensible idea. My second, contradictory impression was that it would needlessly forbid a lot of characters.

To see which was correct, I decided to score all the books I read, and see whether the test scores matched people’s opinions of them.

I’m not sure how well this will work, as good writing isn’t a particularly easy thing to measure. But working on it does mean I read a wide variety of different books, and I have got a few interesting measurements so far.

I’m in the process of setting up a new website to rant about this on, so it doesn’t get mixed up with what I post here.

Good luck and happy writing!

#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: Really, this time!

I somehow managed to forget about Week 2, making all my week counts this round out by one. So this is my real Week 11 linky.

That confusion actually had a positive effect: because I thought I only had half a week left, I hooked in this week and made meaningful progress. On Conkers, I wrote another 1,400 words, and I’ve also gone back to some of the alliterative poetry I’ve been working on.

For reading, I finished Ruth Rendell’s The Vault. I particularly liked the details and suspense in the opening narration leading up to the discovery of the body.

I still didn’t manage reflection, but I can live with that. Seeing as the round ends this week, I’ll make getting some reflection done by then a particular goal. Maybe that will help get me going again for next round.

Good luck, and happy writing!

#ROW80 Week 10: Away

This is my 10th check-in for this round of #ROW80 (linky).

My biggest progress was in reading: 139 pages of The Three Musketeers. That’s good progress, but I was on holiday; I’m not confident I can manage another 400 pages in the month I have left.

After reading Shan Jeniah’s post on work ethic, I suspect my reading goals this round may have been poorly thought out. I’m trying to force myself to read heavy books quickly, and it isn’t working.

Not to mention, I’ve missed out on entertainment reading for the sake of focussing on those books; and reading more for pleasure was part of my reason for setting reading goals to start with.

To try and make this less of a manacle, I’m going back to aiming for a set number of any books. I’ll try for a book every two weeks, or two more by the end of the round.

My writing was also productive on the holiday, although I didn’t stay focussed on Conkers. I wrote 800 words of narrative — half Conkers, half a scene that doesn’t belong to a plot yet — and at least as much again on miscellaneous non-story projects, many of them new ideas.

I did get a few new ideas for Conkers, though, which I might try and put into writing this week.

Good luck and happy writing!

#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 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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ROW80 Week 10.5: Refocusing

I’m making this Wednesday update to catch up after missing Sunday’s. (linky)

My grand plan for Week 10 was to finish two books, so that I could count Worm as one and not actually be behind in my reading. I did in fact finish both Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Jane Austen’s Lady Susan.

However, I fell behind in my writing, managing only 1,200 words. It was all the kind of writing I set out to do, though: about 100 words were from the sonnet I posted last Monday, and the other 1100 were all on Conkers.
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