Row 80!

I’m going to give this Row 80 thing a try!  Still trying to think of my goals….  Here’s what I’ve been up to in the (excessively) long time since I last posted.

Attempted and abandoned last year’s NaNoWriMo.  I don’t feel bad about this at all.  Here’s how it went down.

I was fresh off of finishing my first complete novel. (See below.) It’s working title is Mage Slave. I’d made a nice summary of revisions I needed to make, and I was torn between plowing through them, or giving it some time so that I read it freshly when I returned. I ended up going for NaNo and deciding to let my novel rest a bit, even though I suspected I wasn’t going to be very productive because I had no kind of plan at all for the overarching story structure. Like nada. This worked out great for a couple of reasons because it taught me several things:

  • I do need a bit of a plan.  Now that I’ve written to an ending and pushed all the way through to it, it feels to good!  I want to know where I’m going!  I am, apparently, a planner.  Also, index cards are awesome.
  • Science fiction is liberating! After having written so solidly and carefully in a fantasy setting for over a year, I was dying to stretch my legs. This taught me that I probably wouldn’t be happy writing 100% fantasy; fortunately that’s not terribly unusual. =)

I got a good start planning a new novel (a sci-fi romance). I used the pressure of NaNo to do a sprint of world building, research, characterization, and story building — but very little of it amounted to actual words that you could put towards a word count.  Then, as the holidays rolled around…

I started a company with my husband and a good friend of ours.

By day, I design software. I think about users and people and what they need and how to make that for them. But I do it for other people’s idea of who and what we should do. I want to make what I think people want, how I’d like to make it! ;-] Namely, we’re making games. We’re starting with a free game for iOS that will be fun to play completely for free but have some in-app purchases that can expand the experience (and thank the developers). Our first game is a fun little simulation game, but I’m hoping someday I can also write for one of our games that might be more action or RPG oriented. (But those are harder so we’re starting small. =)

This has taken up a lot of my time, but it’s the only thing I’ve every done that was almost as amazingly fun, fulfilling, and joyful as writing, so I can’t turn it down.  I also hope that it might be a quicker path to financial independence which might allow me to set aside a whole day a week for writing, or something like that.  Who knows.  The market is crowded, and many games flop, but when I’m with our team I’m overwhelmed with a feeling of, “Holy crap! We can actually do this!”  More on all this as we get it done…

Lastly, I’ve begun preparing to edit and revise Mage Slave.  I’m almost done reading Story Engineering, which has been a great book on craft.  I’m looking at my plot structure based on what I read. I’ve always thought I was kind of weak at plot, but actually my plot is standing up pretty well.  I’ve always thought I was pretty good at character, but I can see now my characters have some big holes in their backstory.  Well, I knew this all along, but now I see some opportunities to improve the story with it.  Man, knowing the ending is powerful!  Now that I know how the story has gone and turned out I actually feel great about going in to flesh out the details of their backstory to make the ending the most powerful ending it can be… =) woot!  So perhaps a little bit of pantsing is my style after all… (I wrote my first draft about 40% during crazed NaNoWriMo sprints… hence the need for a bit of revision hehe.)

So the ROW 80 goal of the week is…

  • Come up with better ROW 80 goals.

They’ll probably be something along the lines of…

  • Finish revising Mage Slave by the end of ROW 80.  Need to complete enough revisions to get it out to some friends to read.
  • Continue to go to the gym twice a week. Maybe add cardio once a week?  Maybe track calories every day?
  • Have all main screens for our game design by the end of this ROW?  Some kind of game-related goal.
  • Something about reading? I don’t read enough by any means.  Partially because I have a tendency to absorb whatever I’m reading and put it into my current WIP whether it makes sense or not…  We shall see.  The backlog of books I want to read is growing MASSIVE.

So that’s it!  If anyone has any advice on how to plan ROW80 goals when you’re primarily revising and editing, I’m open to ideas!