#ROW80 Week 6: “Almost”s

I’ve made plenty of progress this week of #ROW80 (linky), without quite having anything to show for it.

I had a really interesting philosophy book that I wanted to finish this weekend, but it took longer to read than I thought. And since it was so interesting, I didn’t pick up another book when I realised it would take too long.

I did finish editing my research blog post, but I wanted to have a reference list for all the books I scored, and that turned out to be more work than I thought.

And I wrote 800 words on Conkers; not quite what I’d hoped, but at least an improvement on last week.


Those 800 words ended up mostly old scenes in slightly different costumes. But in the process of re-reading the ‘old’ material, I think I got a better grip on what my stealthy character is doing.

Most of the people he’s been running away from (strangely enough, he wasn’t worried about fighting a lion) were only potentially dangerous; but the first-person narration, and his actions, were as though they were actually trying to attack him.

It’s not so much cowardice as some kind of insanity, imagining people are out to get him just because they are capable of ‘getting’ him. Not quite what I expected this character to be.

But now I know what’s going on, I can set up a situation where the character realises it; and once he knows he’s misunderstanding things, he’s in a position to do something about it.


I also suspect Kait Nolan’s sponsor post is something I should apply here. Invented or not, this character’s fear should still feel real, and to do that, I have to try to find real fear in myself. Hopefully I can keep that in mind in my writing this week.

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 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 8: Sideways Progress

I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished in my eighth week of #ROW80 (linky), but it hasn’t moved me much closer to my goals.

Most of my writing this week went towards my research project, instead of fiction: over 8,000 words of research notes, and about 300 words discussing results. The 300 words isn’t much, but it is the beginning of an actual report (as opposed to just notes).

It’s also an improvement on my last attempt at the report, which just turned into reflection on the project. I calculated my results first this time, which seems to have helped. :-)

As to my actual goals…

I kept to last week’s commitment, and my poetry competition entries now only need posting. I also read 20 pages of The Three Musketeers, and wrote about 600 words towards Conkers.

I had hoped to work more seriously on characterisation this week, but it hasn’t happened.

Rather than keep ignoring that, I’ll change my writing goal for Week 9: do at least one characterisation exercise each day, and other writing if time permits.

Good luck and happy writing!

Reflection (ROW80 Week 6)

Most of my writing for this week was recording a dream. I’m not completely certain what I expect to use it for, if anything, so I’m not sure how I can reflect on it. Instead, I’m reflecting on my latest attempt at those research notes.

That involved writing two fairly tight sections, then a long discussion about (ironically) being sidetracked from my main point. Since I want this document to be fairly concise, that’s a problem. Naturally, I can edit it out; but if I never needed it in the first place, why did I take the time to write it?

The whole thing seemed pointless, since the tangent discussion entirely dismissed the original point. But now I wonder if I would have realised that without writing about it. So this is still reflection on the research, and maybe I shouldn’t have been reflecting on it.

This is therefore a fairly meta post. Especially since thinking about writing clearly makes me worry about the clarity of this reflection.

And seeing myself held back by that worry reminds me, again, that I need to separate writing from editing. Which explains why I can’t get my research report right; there’s no point trying to make my writing clear until I have bad writing to clarify. And I am working on that.