#ROW80 Check-in: Week 4

Is it week 4? I think it is. Something like that. Leaving the heading that way now. For those who I have no idea what I’m on about, click to learn more about ROW80, the writing challenge that knows you have a life.

I returned from my weekend birthday retreat feeling both relaxed and very sore (that’s what massages AND bush walking will do to you), and back to the humdrum of every day life. Though I did get my hair cut (see Instagram widget in the sidebar)! And work was kind of interesting/weird on Friday, when we had to pack up our entire office in preparation of them moving all our stuff to our new workspace over the weekend. I think I strained my wrist, but I’ll be all right. For the most part, I did pretty well on my goals. Even though I missed last week’s check-in, I’m just going to focus on the last week in my check-in, because otherwise it’ll get confusing. And I’ve forgotten the week before last anyway.

  • Write one page in my notebook every day

I missed a day! For the first time since the beginning of the round. And it was Wednesday, too, the day when I was home, but off work, and had absolutely nothing better to do with my time.

deancries

However, I am sure I can cope with missing one day out of the last 28.

(Incidentally, it was hilarious how many Supernatural gifs like this one came up when I searched “crying gif”).

  • Type up stuff in notebook on Sunday afternoons

Well… eh. I haven’t done it yet, because I spent today brainstorming, and may be scrapping a character. Most of what I wrote this week was that character’s introduction, but now that I’ve redeveloped a lot of Grace and Frederick’s back story, I’m not really sure that this other character will really fit in. There is one particular plot detail that was specific to her, but I’m thinking I may actually be able to transfer it to Grace. I’m not going to force it, though. I’m thinking I’m going to spend the next week writing more on this back story, possibly from both Frederick and Grace’s POV. There’s a lot going on with Frederick in the main plot that harks back to things he did a long time ago, and I need to really solidify that.

  • Read for half an hour every day. Keep on track for 52 books in the year.

I read so much on my retreat it makes up for the couple of days I didn’t read during the week. I finished Dorothy Must Die while I was away and For Darkness Shows the Stars on Friday night. Wasn’t too fussed on Dorothy Must Die, but For Darkness… was lovely. GoodReads informs me I am currently two books ahead of schedule.

  • Write one book review per week, and queue them up so I don’t miss another post

I wrote two yesterday, and started another one.

  • Spend Tuesday and Thursday nights, and Saturday afternoons working on assignments.

I tried to spend Friday night at the library, but due to my sore wrist, could only do so much. I have now completed 50% of one course’s work, and need to decide what I’m going to write my essay on for the other 50%. There are also two 10% exercises for my second course due during August. I think I’ve decided on how to approach the first one. Also, I think I might change the wording of this goal, since I do actually try to spread my uni work over every night of the week.

  • Ride bike to work/walk from work into the city after work at least three days a week.

On my retreat I did two ninety minute bush walks, a fitball class and attempted archery. This is why I was so sore by the time I got home. Soreness extended for the rest of the week. Today was the first day I didn’t wake up with aching arms.

However! I finally got my bike tyre fixed! I can start riding again. The mornings have been pretty cold, but I’m actually quite looking forward to getting back on the bike. By the time I get to work, I’ve woken up properly, and then I have a shower and I’m ready to start the day.

  • Devise fortnightly meal plans in the couple of nights before pay day.

I didn’t really get a chance to do this as I only got home the day before payday. I bought a pie-maker, and we made pies yesterday! Vegetable curry ones. Delicious! I’m also going through the soup in the freezer, so I’ve had to buy fewer groceries.

checklistSo! How to go about this week:

Monday: check for emails from lecturer regarding essay topic and respond based on what she says; decide on article to examine for Writing Exercise #1; comment on at least 5 ROW80 blogs.

Tuesday: begin and preferably complete Writing Exercise #1

Wednesday: sport and Wednesday blog post

Thursday: brainstorm essay topic (adapt this if I am not yet decided on topic) and make a list of potential resources; finish For Darkness Shows The Stars review.

Friday: Visit at least half of the WIPpet Wednesday and WWW Wednesday posts. Return comments on my own Wednesday post.

Saturday: will be taken up with a short play festival I’m taking part in.

Sunday: Essay work.

That’s it from me for tonight, check back tomorrow for Mirth and Music Monday!

~ Emily

#ROW80 Round 3 Goal-setting

row80I fell off the Round 2 bandwagon about halfway through the round. I was so busy with uni work and rehearsals that I didn’t really have time for blogging, and since I also wasn’t writing anything of note during this time, there didn’t seem much point. However, I don’t plan on auditioning for anything else until September(ish), so that does give me some time to get back on track for a while. As such, here are my goals for round 3:

  • Write one page in my notebook every day, be it brainstorming, prose, whatever. Even if I were to write on every line of each page, this would probably only equate to 150 words at most, but I’m setting tiny goals deliberately.
  • Type up stuff in notebook on Sunday afternoons
  • Read for half an hour every day. Keep on track for 52 books in the year.
  • Write one book review per week, and queue them up so I don’t miss another post.
  • Spend Tuesday and Thursday nights, and Saturday afternoons working on assignments. (Amend slightly if aforementioned audition is successful and I need to work around rehearsals)
  • Ride bike to work at least three days a week, or if it’s too foggy in the morning, walk from work into the city after work. Yes, it’s cold. Stop being a wuss. Rug up.
  • Devise fortnightly meal plans in the couple of nights before pay day. This is something I’ve had grand intentions to do for months, so maybe having it on here will encourage me.

I’m posting my goals separate to my usual Monday post, but after this week, I will post Mirth and Music Monday and a ROW80 check-in in the same post (I’ll schedule it for early Monday morning here, which will still be Sunday in a lot of places). Then I’ll have WIPpet Wednesday and WWW Wednesday on, well, Wednesdays. It was going to be getting a bit crowded if I also did a ROW80 check-in there like I have in the past.

I’m going to head off now and make my other post for tonight, and I’ll see you all around the blogosphere.

~ Emily

#WIPpet Wednesday – “We were just…!”

I almost decided not to post a WIPpet this week, since I’ve done very little writing, but I changed my mind. I might have got more done if the write-in I showed up to with a couple of writing friends last night had actually turned out to be a write-in, and not just a “let’s moan about how we’ve done no writing and we’re so uninspired” session. I had turned up with some ideas in my head that I wanted to get down on paper, so I was kinda cranky when that didn’t happen. And tonight I’ve had a few other things on my mind, plus a really inconvenient cut on the top of my right index finger which is making both writing and typing painful, so it still hasn’t happened. But I did find a bit that I had written during April that I can share today.

You may remember this scene from a few weeks ago where I started setting up some sexual tension between Grace (then known as Rosa) and Frederick Merrow… at the time, I neglected to mention that Frederick really ought not be doing that because he’s married to another woman. In the original plan, Frederick tried ending the affair and Grace freaked out, causing some magical havoc, but in the new version, it’s the other way around. Anyway, this bit still works either way and will probably stay very similar. Five paragraphs for the fifth month.

“So it’s you, is it?” she hissed. “I knew there was someone.”

“Mrs Merrow, I…”

“Did you think I was blind? That you could sneak around with my husband behind my back and I wouldn’t notice?”

“You don’t understand, we were –”

“Don’t lie to me!” Mrs Merrow shook her. “I saw you just now!”

The fun starts when Grace and Laura Merrow have to work together to stop Frederick from wreaking more havoc than usual. You can probably see why this idea might be met with little enthusiasm from either of them.

I gave myself a week off uni work this past week, but I do now have two weeks in which to research, draft and polish a 3000 word final paper. So some quick goals for the week:

  • Decide on an essay topic
  • Email lecturer with initial choice of essay question and plans of approach
  • Find five books and five journal articles relevant to the topic
  • Write something resembling an essay plan
  • Reach at least 1500 words
  • Read for half an hour a day (on average)
  • Write for half an hour a day (on average)
  • Visit at least 50% of WIPpeteers

Please feel free to join in on WIPpet Wednesday at the linky. All you need to do is post an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. I’m going to rush off now because I’m rather sleepy, but I’ll see you all soon!

~ 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

#ROW80 Round 1 Final Update

My goodness, it’s the end of Round 1 already. That certainly snuck up on me. In fact, most dates seem to sneak up on me these days. Is that what it’s like, being a grownup? Either way, I feel I’ve participated in this round far more than I have the past few I’ve tried to make a go at, so that’s good. Figuring out that weekly goals instead of round-long goals were what worked best for me has been a breakthrough.

First up in my last update for the round: I got the essay done! It was a hard slog, and I didn’t exactly follow the day-by-day goals I set for myself, but I got there. It helped that I ended up not having a rehearsal on Monday night, so that gave me some extra library time. It did get to a point where I was doing a bit of word-bashing, and thinking all the while, “This is really not a good essay” however, when I got to proof-reading last night, that changed to “This essay is kind of okay, I guess.” Certainly not my best work, but I’m quite certain I won’t fail. P’s make degrees, after all, as we say in institutions where grades are P (pass, 50-59%), C (credit, 60-69%), D (distinction, 70-79%) and HD (high distinction, 80-100%). Those percentages vary from uni to uni, but the terminology remains.

All that sitting at the library meant that my back was killing me by yesterday, so I called in for a massage on the way home. I got my favourite of the guys who work there, so that was good. And I’m now up to my free massage on my loyalty card! 😀

I also found the time to rework the ending of Unicorn Love when I had just arrived at the library and then my computer decided to give me no choice in whether or not it would restart to complete the Windows update. I wanted it to end on a punchy note, and getting the dialogue just right was a challenge, but I made it work. 😀 I’m actually quite proud of that story. It began during Camp NaNoWriMo last July, and has sort of evolved and devolved to the point where it’s now only around 3000 words and rather more philosophical than I ever expected it to be, but I don’t see anything wrong with that. I’m going to submit it for the Writer’s Digest Annual Short Story Competition, as I think I have mentioned in previous blog posts. This will be the first time I’ve ever submitted any of my writing anywhere, so I’m a bit excited!

So! There’s now nearly a fortnight until the second round of ROW80 begins, but I’m going to be busy in that time. Shan Jeniah Burton inspired me to sign up for Camp NaNoWriMo, which I intend to use to start my world-building notes for a revamp of last year’s NaNoWriMo story. I’m only aiming for 300 words a day (or a little over, my goal for the month is 10k) because I have other things, too, but this will at least give me a good start.

In light of that, goals for the next week (I’ll still do a post like this next Wednesday, even though it’s not officially ROW80 time):

  • Write review of Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
  • Write review of The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
  • Write review of Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park.
  • Type up the end of Unicorn Love and send it out to my writing group for their consideration before submitting.
  • Spend an hour continuing to format AMCF and compare two files with text-to-speech software.
  • Research and write Module 3 750-word response for HIST8015
  • Research and write Module 5 750-word response for HIST8015
  • Decide which essay questions I will use before meeting with lecturer on Monday (also HIST8015)
  • Decide on an object to use for my significance report (MUSC8017)

It looks like a lot, but I’ll be able to knock over quite a few of them quickly. I’m going to leave this post here because I’m out tomorrow night and I’m having people over Friday, so I really need to clean my kitchen and lounge room. See you soon!

~ Emily

#WIPpet Wednesday – “Make no mistake” + #ROW80 Update

cupidI’m going to start my post with WIPpet Wednesday, so that those who are only visiting for that don’t have to scroll through all my lists in my ROW80 update. For those who don’t know WIPpet Wednesday is a weekly blog hop where writers come together and share excerpts from their WIPs. The only rule is that it has to somehow relate to the date. The linky is here. I’ve got three paragraphs from Unicorn Love. After Aphrodite informs Lydia that she was responsible for Lydia and her (now ex-)boyfriend, David, coming together in the first place, she drops another bombshell: David is moving back to town.

“He’s been offered a job here, and he’s hoping that enough time has passed that he can deal with the return.”

“Then I imagine he’ll be trying to avoid me at all costs.”

“I wouldn’t say that.” Lydia tilted her head at her boss. “Five years later and he’s still got your number on his phone. His fingers have hovered over it more than once in the past few weeks, though he’s talked himself out of calling you every time. Make no mistake, Lydia, you are certainly on his mind.”

As you’ll see below, I have basically finished Unicorn Love. The whole story is there, I just need to polish some of it up.

Onto a ROW80 update. ROW80 is the Writing Challenge That Knows You Have Life. Last week I decided to try setting myself some weekly goals to see if it helped with my time management. I think it was really beneficial and I’m definitely going to keep doing it. Here’s how the last week went:

  • Complete readings for critical exhibition review for MUSC8017 – completed Monday night
  • Get first draft of critical exhibition review up to 750/1500 words for MUSC8017 – I got it to 736 words, which is close enough.
  • Complete Module 2 forum discussion response for HIST8015 – I wanted to do this last night, but ended up being too tired. Howeverm Module 2 runs for this week as well, so I’m okay.
  • Do 50% of readings for Module 2 online exercise (HIST8015) – ditto
  • Write a review of Cinder to go up on here on Friday – done and done!
  • Finish second draft of Unicorn Love. – also done! Though the final scene is awful and basically needs a complete do-over. But I’m having some away time for a little while before I do that.
  • Visit 5 ROW80 blogs and at least 50% of the WIPpet Wednesday blogs – while I only got to maybe 30% of the WIPpet blogs, I did visit some ROW80 blogs after the Sunday check-in (even though I don’t actually participate in that one myself).

row80Additionally to everything above, I also brainstormed a new short story on my lunch break on Monday. I wrote a little of it during a meeting on Monday afternoon but I think I will wait until I’m on a computer to really start it in earnest. I’m quite enjoying the short story writing, even though I don’t know what I’m really going to do with them later.

So, goals for this week. We have a long weekend in my state this week, so an extra day for doing things! 😀 (though that day will probably be reserved for housework, as my other half is working anyway, so I’ll have the house to myself)

  • Write review of Redshirts by John Scalzi
  • Spend an hour each day reading
  • Write 500-1000 words on First Christmas*
  • Complete A Day In My Life post for LiveJournal.
  • Visit 50% of WIPpet posts and at least 5 ROW80 blogs
  • Complete Critical Exhibition Review for MUSC8017
  • Plan 750-word response for HIST8015

*I actually have no idea how long this story will be, but this will be a good start on it.

This is how I’ll achieve these goals:

  • Write Redshirts review tonight
  • Spend an hour writing tonight with the Internet turned off
  • Organise photos and post ADIML post tomorrow
  • Spend an hour tomorrow finding sources for history assignment
  • Dedicate Saturday to critical exhibition review. Ask Edy to assist with structure, as well as making sure what I think is critical analysis is in fact critical analysis.
  • Spend two hours on Sunday doing reading for 750-word response. Make notes.
  • Spend an hour (or two if necessary) on Sunday dot-pointing a plan for response.
  • Spread out blog visits over the weekend.

If some of the weekend tasks spill over into Monday, that’s okay, but I’d like to have one full day of the long weekend to enjoy if I can manage it. (I know what you’re thinking: “Enjoy? But you said you were doing housework.” Yes, well, I’m one of those people who gets immeasurable pleasure and satisfaction from cleaning).

We’re waiting for dinner to be delivered right now, but I think I will go start on my Redshirts review. I’ll catch up with you all soon!

~ Emily

#WIPpet Wednesday and#ROW80 Update: Drastic Measures

I’m unexpectedly at home today, after falling off my bike halfway to work. I think I’m okay, though I have two rather large bruises on my right thigh. Earlier, my ankle was also causing me grief and my head was swimming when I walked, but that seems to have cleared up. The lovely folks at work have told me in no uncertain terms to not come back tomorrow unless I am feeling completely 100%, so we’ll see how I’m going.

I finished the first draft of Unicorn Love on Saturday. It only needed another 300 words or so, which goes to show just how lazy I had been in the week and a half prior. But anyway. Somewhat fitting that a story in which the main character is a cupid, and which explores the idea of true love, was finished on Valentine’s Day. That was the only Valentine’s Day-related thing that happened on Saturday, since the partner and I tend to ignore the day usually (though it is also International Give A Book day, which is something I can get behind).

The first draft ended up being just under 9000 words. However… I am not entirely sure if I am going to keep more than the first 2700-odd. It works really well up until the time travel happens, at which point it practically becomes a different story. At first, I was just trying to figure out ways to bring in aspects from the first part and tie it all together better, but my other problem was that I was having trouble coming up with an ending that was neither too easy nor too unrealistic (both of which were the case in the first version). I was driving a friend home after a theatre outing on Saturday evening and bounced some ideas off him. He has given me something to work with, though it will require deleting some stuff I’m quite partial to… I’ll have to see if I can work that in elsewhere. Either way, just as with AMCF, it sounds like the second draft of Unicorn Love will be drastically different to the first.

cupidOnto WIPpet Wednesday, and this scene follows the one I posted three weeks ago. Lydia is surprised that the Chinese boy and the girl in the bookstore are already together when she and Aphrodite spot them the next morning.

Lydia narrowed her eyes at Aphrodite. “Did you do something?”

“Lydia! I’m surprised you’d even suggest such a thing!” Lydia arched an eyebrow. “All right, maybe I gave them a little push.”

“I knew it.”

“But look at the boy! He’s beaming! And she is clearly smitten.”

“And how much of that is thanks to you?”

“Lydia, you’re not thinking about this in the right way. No wonder you’ve become disillusioned.” Aphrodite motioned for Lydia to follow and they continued past shops towards a crowded food court. “We are partly responsible for so many couples being brought together. Does that make their love any less legitimate?”

“I guess not. But why can’t you let it run its own course, once we’ve set it on its way?”

“Well, after today, I will. But while your job is simply to give prospective couples the push they need to come together, mine is far more complicated than that. I have to make decisions about which relationships should continue and which ones should end. I intervene a lot more than you know. But that doesn’t mean the rest of the work that couple does to stay together isn’t any less important, or that the tears that are cried when it doesn’t work out are less justified, just because I nudged it in one direction or another.”

“But the tears might have been avoided if you didn’t meddle.”

I realised while reading through the whole thing the other day that Lydia does an awful lot of eyebrow-arching. Something else for the second draft.

WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by K. L. Schwengel and you can find out linky here. To participate, simply post an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. I posted 9 paragraphs because I added together the one and the eight from the eighteenth. A Round of Words in 80 Days is hosted by Kait Nolan, and you can check out the blog for more info. Now I’m off to do some uni work!

~ Emily

#ROW80 Update – the part where I have a little bit of a freak out

row80I’m going to skip WIPpet Wednesday this week, for reasons I’ll get onto in a minute, but you should totally go and check out the linky and read lots of cool excerpts from people who are taking part this week.

I haven’t written anything since I checked in last week. I had things on from Monday – Thursday nights, and I spent Saturday with a friend. Other than that, I was just bloody exhausted. And this week I just haven’t bothered.

But what I wanted to talk about is the fact that as of next week, my time is going to disappear before my eyes and that’s going to be upsetting. I’m starting my Masters degree, which would be fine, but I’ve got rehearsals for My Fair Lady twice a week as well, and working out when to fit everything in is proving a bit of a challenge. I know that I will spend Saturdays at work (the National Library) because they have a lot of the text books and I can take them out on staff official loan (but that means I can’t take them out of the building).  I think I will need to also spend probably two nights a week studying (given that I am supposed to allow 10 hours a week per course and I’m doing two courses). I can apply for study leave at work because the degree is relevant to my job, but that only gives me three hours a week.

This is going to mean that writing goals are unfortunately going to take a back seat, probably for this whole semester. I had figured that doing a show while studying wouldn’t be much of a problem, but those two nights a week feel like more than that when I actually start to account for my time. And makes me feel rather relieved that the play I was going to be doing after this has been postponed until next year because the

I do not have a solution for this yet. I imagine I’m going to be many tables and Gantt charts and things. I feel organised when I have those sorts of things. I need to un-enroll from one course and enroll in another so I’m not entirely sure what my workload will be, but as long as I get my act together, my student account should be updated by the weekend.

That’s it from me. You can visit other ROW80 check-ins at the linky here.

~ Emily

#WIPpet Wednesday and #ROW80 Update:

I have to admit, I’ve been rather lax with my participation in ROW80 this round. And that keeps happening. But now that my holidays are officially over and I’m into more of a routine, I’ll be able to really make a crack at it. I hope.

On that note, while I was on holidays, I didn’t take my laptop with me, but I did take my notebook, and I wrote maybe 500 words on at least three different evenings. As my goal is work for an hour or write at least 500 words on Tuesdays and Fridays, I call that a win. I also wrote a few pages at work on Monday, and then I spent my writing group’s meet-up last night typing all of that up. It took forever, and I actually ended up leaving some notes to myself in big red letters where I decided to completely change things. The exciting thing is that at nearly 10k, the first draft of Unicorn Love is just about finished. It does need some good revising, though. I need Aphrodite to be more interfering throughout the story, and the ending is far too convenient (it’s a literal deus ex machina, actually). But! It’s a first draft. That should be done by next Wednesday with any luck.

wippetwednesdayThe problem with a WIP so short, of course, is that after a few weeks it’s getting rather hard to find a WIPpet that doesn’t spoil the entire story. I have some nice bits of dialogue from the end, but they do give away everything. I was going to get you guys’ advice on the back cover copy I have written for AMCF, but I will do that next week when I’m not typing this at my writing group’s Tuesday night meeting because I’m seeing a play on Wednesday night (this week is awful; stuff on every week night). I did find this bit though. Six paragraphs, which I got from adding the month to the day.

In this scene, Lydia has gone back in time to before she became a cupid. She is poor and living as part of a little street gang who do what they can to look after for one another and scrape by. The person she is talking to is David. The real one, this time, not the fake version Aphrodite created in this scene.

“Hey, sleepyhead,” he greeted her when she opened her eyes. “Today’s the big day. Are you ready?”

“No,” she replied, sitting up again and yawning. “Oh, good lord,” she said, the worrying thought suddenly occurring to her. “There’s no coffee here.”

“What?”

“Um. Nothing. Ignore me. Just tired.”

“You don’t like coffee. You tried it once, when the nuns were handing out food and drink.”

“I know I… I had a strange dream, that’s all. I liked coffee in the dream.”

Feel free to join us for WIPpet Wednesday! All you need to do is post an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date (eg. 4+2 paragraphs). Then link up with us here. Many thanks to K. L. Schwengel for hosting us.

In other news, we have all heard about Harper Lee agreeing to publish a sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird, right? I honestly can’t decide quite how I feel about it. I studied TKAM in school, like everyone else, and it was probably more difficult to appreciate as a non-American 16-year-old, but I did appreciate it much more later on (confession: not that I have ever actually re-read it. I just, um, watched the movie a great deal. Come on, you guys, Gregory Peck.). I’m going to copy and paste my boyfriend’s response from Facebook, because he basically sums it up:

Yes, like anyone else with literary inclinations, I relish the idea of being able to read Harper Lee’s sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird. But before you start to place your pre-order, consider reading between the lines. Lee has always been known as a recluse, she was always protected by her lawyer sister in her business dealings, her sister has been dead for only three months, and Harper is by all accounts in the throes of senility, not always understanding the documents she signs. If she is genuinely (as the press releases say) “humbled and amazed that this will now be published”, that’s fantastic. With so many signs pointing to exploitation of a frail old woman, though, I’m a little more suspicious.

There is also the fact that it doesn’t sound so much like a sequel, as the book that ended up becoming TKAM in the first place. Not that I’m saying it can’t work because it was written first, but it sounds like one of those situations where you write the book you think you want to write, only to discover it was just the hiding place for an even more amazing book. Anyway, I suppose it remains to be seen.

I’m going to head off now, and I’ll see you around on your own blogs!

~ Emily