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!

ROW80 Week 10.5: Collapse

(other ROW80 participants)

Since finishing my second draft last week, I haven’t made any further progress; travel, the flu, and generally being sick of the story have combined to put me off doing any more.

At this point, I suspect the best thing I can do is to start working on something else. I’m going to need more roleplaying material soon, and several other ideas have been growing in the background, so I won’t be short of things to work on.

However, this does mean my goal of posting a story this round is probably a failure. It’s not been a total loss, by any means — I’ve learned a lot about editing, and I’ll very likely get back to this story at some point — but it’s still frustrating to keep missing these goals.

On the other hand, if I wasn’t failing, I wouldn’t be pushing myself hard enough.

New goal for this coming week: write five days out of seven, and find a new project to focus on.

Good luck and happy writing!

ROW80 Week 2: Something Had to Change

(Other ROW80 participants)

This week, I picked up three different projects that all need editing or summarising. Then I set them all aside because I couldn’t count words of progress on them.

It seems I’m scared I won’t do enough editing, and word count feels like a safer choice. So I need a goal I can’t fool.

That will be: edit five scenes (one per writing day).
For this week, word count is irrelevant.

(I also haven’t done any programming, putting me a bit behind on that goal).

Good luck and happy writing!

ROW80 Week 1: Fearful

(other ROW80 participants)

Aiming for writing and sleep together has worked, more or less. I began this week doing no writing and not getting much sleep, but caught up with both goals by the end.

Final word count: 3,800 over 4 days.

I also met my programming goal: I’ve now got a short to-do list for this project, which I can use to measure future progress. My new goal for this is to tick off two features by the end of April.

As to posting a story: I looked through my archives for a draft to edit. This resulted in plenty of inspiration for unfinished projects, but I couldn’t convince myself to start editing anything.

Why not?

Partly, I’m reluctant to edit when I have a word-count goal to keep. That should be an easy fix: I’ll try counting words edited the same as words written, and see if that helps.

Partly, though, I’m just somewhat afraid of editing — possibly as a side effect of some other things that have been stressing me lately. I’m not sure what to do about this, other than just diving into editing it anyway.

Good luck and happy writing!

ROW80 Week 10: Bearings

(other participants)

This was a fairly busy week, mainly due to unexpected things at work.

Despite that, it was good for poetry; as well as reciting poems five days this week, I wrote five of my own, and made some progress editing one I’d given up on.

Conkers didn’t do quite so well; I only wrote 270 words of the 300 I was aiming for. However, I’ve had some insights into why I’m not getting anywhere:

Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

ROW80 Week 7: Limitations

(Other ROW80 participants)

This has been a week for reconsidering things.

The roleplaying group was on again this week, and the preparation I originally did for it has now run out. That wouldn’t have been a problem if I’d done more in the meantime; but as things were, I ended up pushing myself to stay up late each night to finish it.

After Tammy J Rizzo suggested I should reconsider my goals, I realised I wasn’t going to have anything ready. That got me to make alternate plans, and took a lot of the stress off.

In the meantime, though, my other goals fell behind.

On the travel front, I started researching phone options, and got a travel card half-organised. While I didn’t finish anything, I’m still making progress; even if I have to do some things (like get a coat) after I arrive in Europe, I should manage to have everything sorted out.

I did actually manage to write six days, mainly because I count the roleplaying stuff towards that goal.

Reading didn’t do so well. Partly, this is because I realised I should be focussing on library books, and saving the book I’d bought to take on the Europe trip; but it didn’t help that I’d been resting on my laurels a bit for the past two weeks.

I think the underlying problem is that I’m not pacing myself properly — even on a daily scale, if I’d started writing as soon as I got home rather than playing video games for most of the evening, I probably could have got more done with less stress.

As an extra six-days-out-of-seven goal in the coming week, I’m aiming to make progress on my goals before I start playing computer games or browsing the web.

Good luck and happy writing!

ROW80 Week 11 (really 12): Uncharted

(Other ROW80ers)

This wasn’t a momentous week.

I wrote two sonnets, and typed up my existing notes from the re-read of Conkers. And those still aren’t as organised as I would like.
While I did get some new insights into the characters, I didn’t get the clear lists of character possibilities and story issues I was aiming for.

Maybe I wasn’t going to.

I did start Conkers to be a learning experience, and that implies mistakes along the way — omelettes and eggs and all that.

With that in mind, I’ll use the last few days of the Round to focus on my next best option: try writing some stories in only dialogue (or with none at all), to get a better feel for how actions and dialogue fit together.

My concrete goal for the rest of the round is just to write each day.

Good luck and happy writing.

Update: The numbering actually is right (i.e. this is the Week 11 post). I got confused by the fact that I post my week summary on Monday of the following week, so my Week 11 post comes out on the first day of Week 12.