#ROW80 Check-in and #WIPpet Wednesday – May 6, 2015

So, um. You know how my main goal for this week was to finish that history essay I had due? Well. I kind of maybe withdrew from the course because everything was getting a bit too hard. Here is the thought process:

  • I was honestly not sure I was going to finish this essay to a satisfactory standard.
  • I would have to be doing an assignment on my way to Sydney next weekend.
  • The final assignment (another essay) is due on June 9. My Fair Lady opens June 5 and between May 31 and June 7, I am in the theatre every night (and during the days on the weekend). Yes, I’m taking three days off work during this period, but I’m going to be really tired.
  • This course was simply an elective as far as my degree goes, it has nothing to do with my specialisation or anything.
  • I’m enrolled in a winter course in the middle of the year, and while it would have been nice for that to mean one less subject at the end of degree, it will at least mean dropping this subject won’t make the degree any longer. I’ll still have done four courses by December.
  • It was still at the point where I incur no academic penalty (my “grade” is “withdrawn without fail”). Even though I still have to pay for the course, in the Australian system, the government pays for your tertiary education, and we pay it back through our tax. Sure, it means I’ll get paid less for a bit longer, but you don’t miss money you never actually see in your bank account. It’ll be a nice surprise when I finally have it all paid off and start getting paid a little more. That’s not going to be for some time, though.

So, yes. I’ve now only got one course to concentrate on, and I’ll have handed in the final paper for that one two full weeks before My Fair Lady opens. I do feel like all the hours I spent working on this silly essay have now been in vain, but they’re in the past, and I had to consider my sanity in the near future.

It also means that I’ve had some time to write, and that means that I will only have had to avoid WIPpet Wednesday for one week rather than the seven or eight I was expecting. Camp NaNoWriMo is now over, so I’m making sense of all the brainstorming I did. The story took a couple of unexpected turns throughout the month, so I’m working out where to go with that. I’m also developing the structure for the story a bit more. It’s fun to explore. So now I can actually start sharing from the story, rather than the back story scenes. This one is from… well, I hesitate to say “prologue” but that’s essentially what it is. In this scene, Grace (formerly known as Rosa; I have another MC named Laura and two characters with names ending in A was bugging me) has gone to visit a Seer she trusts before she heads back to her home country. Six paragraphs for the sixth of May. Grace has stated that she doesn’t intend to return to Merrowford, her home town.

Densey held out her hand and Grace took it in one of her own. The old woman closed her eyes and bent her head, stroking Grace’s hand with her thumb. Grace waited.

When Densey opened her eyes again, there was a sparkle in the corner of one. “I think Merrowford might be in your sights. An old lover of yours will return. You’re going to have a run in with him.”

“I think you’re mistaken. I’ve never had a lover in Merrowford. I’ve kept clear of any more emotional attachment to that town.”

“‘Any more’. Where did it start?”

“Do you mean…” Densey raised an eyebrow. Grace shook her head. “That’s impossible, Densey, that man is long dead.”

“And you’re one hundred and twenty-nine years old. Also impossible, wouldn’t you say, my dear?”

I feel like she has a good point. With that, I have only left to say that you should join WIPpet Wednesday over here (just post an excerpt of your WIP that somehow relates to the date), and ROW80 over here. I am going to see out this game of Words With Friends that I’m playing with my partner (he is thrashing me) and then head to bed. It’s been a long day. ~ Emily

#ROW80 Check-in and #WIPpet Wednesday – April 22

This week I had a little trouble keeping up with my goals. I’m not way behind, but I’m not quite where I would have liked to be.

  • Stay on track with Camp NaNo – ehhh, I’m a couple of days behind at the moment. I have been writing every day, but only between 100 and 200 words. I can’t give exact figures at the moment because it’s all still handwritten.
  • Write 1000 words of history essay pending response from course convener – at time of posting, I only have about 799 however, I wrote a plan last night with estimated word counts for each section and I think that will help. I’m aiming to hit 1000 tonight.
  • Write a new forum response for history – I’ve just got to finish it off and post it.
  • Read half an hour a day – I expect it averaged out. I finished Jackaby by William Ritter.
  • Visit 50% of WIPpet Wednesday posts – done!
  • Visit 5 ROW80 blogs – yes!
  • Read over lecture slides for three MUSC8017 lectures – I did this, and it didn’t enlighten me about either of the remaining assignments in the slightest. I’m just glad the next assignment is based on an external document that has nothing to do with the course, though there are aspects of that I’m also confused about.

There are still maybe eight weeks left of semester (my final assignment is due June 9) but I’m basically at a point where uni work has to take precedence. I have discovered that doing a musical where the performances are around the same time as final papers are due is a terrible idea. However, it is too late now to back out of either thing, so I’m just going to have to do the best I can. I was doing a Wednesday night casual sport thing with some friends, but I’ve told them I will rejoin in June, as I have too much on my plate at the moment and need those evenings for studying. I did have my first little Masters-related cry yesterday. It wasn’t a cry, really, just a bit of a stress out about things.

I have come to the conclusion that Camp NaNoWriMo has not been so much a month of planning but of brainstorming. The story I set out to plan has taken at least two turns and is now very different. In a good way. Good guys have become bad guys and vice versa, magical police procedural has become more the story of two characters (not police-types) out to stop the nasty magical character before everything goes completely downhill, all the while having to deal with the issues they have with each other… It’s a much more personal story for all the characters.

On that note, since my characters have all swapped their character arcs in the past few days and have new back stories, very little of what I’ve written up until now is still relevant. For today’s WIPpet, I’m going to have to take you right back to when Rosa and Frederick Merrow first met, or at least, properly interacted. I’ve got 4 paragraphs because it’s the 22nd and 2 + 2 = 4. And it’s also the fourth month and all that. It’s a hot day and Rosa thinks she’s wandered far enough from the house to not be disturbed on her afternoon off.

She had been dozing off when a crack of twigs behind her made her jump and spring awake. The figure of Frederick Merrow emerged through the trees, a large dog by his side. Rosa had taken off her shoes and stockings, and now she scrambled to try to at least replace her boots, as her skirt would possibly disguise the fact that her legs were otherwise bare.

Her movements attracted Frederick Merrow’s attention, and he stopped walking, looking over at her. His expression was initially bemused, but it quickly transformed into a grin and he chuckled at her efforts.

“Please, don’t feel you ought to cover up for my benefit.”

Rosa’s cheeks turned a dark scarlet, and she felt as though she were completely naked, not just stocking-less, in front of him.

Given that I’ve turned him into the villain, and he’s more “total jerkwad” than “roguish charmer”, this scene now feels a whole lot sleazier.

If you are wondering what on earth this WIPpet thing I keep referring to is, wonder no longer! WIPpet is a portmanteau of the acronym WIP (work in progress) and the word snippet, and every Wednesdsay, we share a snippet from our WIPs that somehow relates to the date. The linky is here; do join in! The fabulous K. L. Schwengel is our host and many thanks go to her for keeping us all in line.

Now I return to ROW80 and my goals for the coming week. I have this 2500 word history essay due Thursday of next week, and a museum significance report due the following week. Thus, I really need to get the essay out of the way this weekend. I do have a birthday party to go to on Sunday, but I’ll probably excuse myself after a couple of hours. My Fair Lady chorus members are all a little annoyed when today we were informed we now have a rehearsal on Monday, where we didn’t before. It would have been handy having that extra spare night.

  • Complete essay by Sunday night
  • Polish essay on the following couple of days
  • Write a review of Jackaby and schedule the post
  • Finish forum response
  • Decide on item for significance report. Email course convener and also have chat to people at work about it.
  • Visit 50% of WIPpet Wednesday posts
  • Visit 5 ROW80 blogs
  • Reply to comments on this post

Doesn’t seem like much, but watch me fall apart in a quivering heap in next Wednesday’s post. I’m going to leave it here, but be sure to check out other ROW80 posts. I’ll see you soon!~ Emily

#WIPpet Wednesday April 8

I’ve managed to be pretty productive in the last week! Hurray! I perhaps should have done a bit more studying over my time off, but I decided to enjoy the time instead. I head back to work tomorrow and I can get to work on the next essay then as well.

row80

      • Read 1 hour a day and finish A Wicked Thing – I just spent Friday reading and finished it then.
      • Complete text-to-speech run-through of AMCF (8 chapters, so maybe 2 a day?) – done! Though I did it all yesterday, because I procrastinated up until then. But this means the interiors are all done and I just to worry about the exterior. Exciting times!
      • Finish review of Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – done!
      • Write review of Cress by Marissa Meyer – done!
      • Write review of A Wicked Thing once finished reading – done!
      • Make a list of books in uni libraries that may be useful for history essay – sort of? I initially chose an essay question that was a comparative question, and I could find lots of books on one aspect of the topic but not the other. So I’ve changed topics, and stocked up on books for the new topic today.
      • Spend an hour each day doing uni readings – haha. Yeah. Well.
      • Try to dot-point an essay plan – see previous couple of points.
      • Remain on target for Camp NaNoWriMo (approx. 334 words a day = 2333 words by the end of Tuesday) – yes! More on that below.

It  would seem that no matter what I set out to write, some kind of epic and/or tragic romance always manages to make its way in there. This has happened with my Camp NaNoWriMo plans. I was supposed to be revamping and planning in more detail my WIP from last November’s NaNo (you know, the one with Armand and Bianca, and Josephine who was turned into a statue for 500 years and finally escaped?). I’ve accidentally ended up with a sympathetic antagonist, when I was going for “evil for the sake of evil” (almost – she did still have her own motivations). In her case, the romance is more on the tragic end of things.

As part of the Camp NaNo stuff, I’ve written some important scenes from this antagonist’s back story. It’s from this that I’m taking today’s WIPpet. I need you to imagine a large homestead on a farm out in middle-of-nowhere Australia, around the end of the nineteenth century. If you need an example, I have the Monte Cristo homestead, which is purportedly the most haunted house in Australia, in mind. Rosa is young and naive, and a member of the household staff. Frederick Merrow is the head of the household, and has been teaching Rosa magic in their spare time (there’s a pretty extensive back story for him as well, how he got into magic, etc, but I’ll go into that at a later date). My WIPpet maths is eight paragraphs for the 8th of April.

“It’s all about the right mind-set, you see.” Frederick put his index and middle fingers against Rosa’s temples. She felt herself blushing from the contact. “You have to believe you can do it or it won’t work.”

She glanced up at him. “I believe I can do it. It’s just… well… I still feel like I shouldn’t.”

“If God was going to smite people for performing magic, Rosa, he’d have got me years ago. You’ve got nothing to fear.”

He removed his fingers from her head, and stood, moving around to Rosa’s side of the table. He squatted down next to her and put an arm across the back of her chair to balance himself.

“You can do this,” he breathed in her ear.

smurf-vela-candleShe wanted to do this. She wanted to prove to Frederick that she was a worthy student. He believed she could do it, so she had no reason not to believe it herself. She stared at the unlit candle between them, willing it to light. In her mind, she saw the same candle, a flame flickering at its top. She closed her eyes, focusing on that image until her head was pounding.

There was a faint whooshing sound, and then Frederick’s hands clasped her shoulders. She opened her eyes and saw the flickering candlelight.

“Was that me? Did I do that?”

I haven’t actually figured out yet whether they would be on first name terms yet (particularly Rosa calling Frederick that), but given that this is unlikely to be in the actual finished work and is mostly just for my benefit, I figure it doesn’t really matter. I’m also yet to entirely figure out the magic system, so I’m just rolling with what comes to me right now.

I am actually loving Rosa more the more I write of her, and I have a feeling it’s going to be much like when I played Abigail in The Crucible last year. Everyone else was like, “Wow, what a bitch” and I was all “YOU JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND.” Which is still how I feel about Abigail.

WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by the very fabulous K. L. Schwengel. All you need to do to participate is post an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date (eg. 8 paragraphs for the 8th of April. I went simple, but encourage creativity). Then link up with us here. And on that subject, you can learn more about ROW80 here.

Anyway, time for this week’s goals.

  • continue with ROW80 goal of 250 words a day/keep on track with Camp NaNo.
  • Read for half an hour a day
  • Read uni readings for at least one hour a day
  • Make a bullet-pointed plan for the essay and email it to the course convener for feedback
  • Reply to all comments received on this post
  • Visit at least 50% of fellow WIPpet Wednesday post
  • Visit at least 5 ROW80 posts

I think that’s all I need to work on this week. If anything else comes to mind, I’ll add it in later. I’m going to go now and consider reading about Britain’s involvement in the Seven Years War, though its more likely I’m going to watch something on Netflix. (Netflix is still new in Australia. For those of us who didn’t know there are free VPNs out there, anyway. Don’t judge.). See you later!

~ Emily