Mutiny on the Bounty

After being home from University for just under a week now, I’ve only managed to write 1080 words. And those were all yesterday, when I finally made myself work instead of catching up on TV, playing Xbox or playing with my cats.

I feel a bit like the story of the HMS Bounty – the ship docked in Tahiti after 10 months at sea, and had to spend 5 further months on the island due to unexpected problems with their cargo. Those five months in a tropical paradise were enough to destroy the sailor’s discipline, and problems further arose due to the captain’s heavy handed punishments and routine humiliation of other sailors. Many mutinied.

While not a completely accurate comparison, when I arrived home – away from my usual workspace and my university mindset/work ethic – all discipline I had created in writing 1050 words every day was lost.

Thankfully I have nobody to blame but myself, and nobody to answer to but myself, so I’m not likely to be court martialled. Also, I’m not actually all that far behind on my wordcount, as I’ve organized my timetable for work until the 1st January, which will mean I am exactly on track for 48,000 words by the new year – just over half of my novel.

Now all that remains is to force myself to follow orders.

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Project Update #2

So today I realized that I’ve been writing on a tangent in my project.

Instead of focusing on the main plot and moving the action onwards, I’ve been stuck on one section for the past three/four chapters. I also discovered that wasting three days straight playing on a new xbox game and spamming acheivements isn’t particularly helpful in the long run for anything but my gamerscore on xbox live.

At this point in the story, I should be near, if not at, the point where Nate sets out on his quest. Instead, I’m still a long way from that. I’ve wasted about 10 – 15,000 words on trying to develop his relationships with EVERY character he’s met as well as introducing some others.

As Rick Riordan says, describe each character in a memorable way with as few words as possible, and they should make a more lasting impression than if you describe them down to how many freckles cover their nose. Great advice, shame I didn’t apply it to my character’s relationships as well as their appearance!

Rather than edit the story at this point and lose those 15,000 words (which would just make me feel like I was too far behind to catch up), I’m going to leave them as they are, and just write from where I feel the story should be heading, and then when I’ve finished the rest of the story, I’ll come back and write the section in between to join them together. Once that’s done, I’ll just have to read through the whole thing to ensure it works for sense, for style and for consistancy of theme and imagery.

Here’s hoping that I haven’t left myself too much work to do at the end of the project.

On a plus note though, I’ve managed scores of 68% and 78% in my two pieces of coursework so far this year which have been marked, and handed another in on friday. I’ve now got from now until February to focus on sorting out as much of my project as I can, and then I’ll focus on my coursework deadlines.

Happy writing,NK