Saturday, November 30, 2013

[Geekly + NaNoWriMo Weekly Report] I WON! (and other stuff)

I won! Yay, go me! YAAAAAAY!

NaNoWriMo: Week 4
Yes, sometime last night I crossed the 50,000 word finish line and won NaNoWriMo for the second time in five years of participating. Some days the words just flew from my fingers to the keyboard and other days I could barely string a sentence together, but I made it. As mentioned in my last post during week 2, I finished my second 'episode' of the Doctor Who/Evangelion fanfic and was struggling to write the third, so I mostly spent the remainder of my time writing bits and pieces for later episodes.

But in the last few days I finally got some forward movement going on episode 3, so I think I'll be able to finish it. And then I'll take a break and work on my own projects for a month or two, while editing what I've got done for the fanfic so far. My hope is that I'll be ready to start posting it on sometime mid-2014, and that I'll be able to get through seven to eight 'episodes' before next November, at which point I'll start work on the second half of the 'season'.

Things I've learned from NaNoWriMo this year: 
- Outlining helps a lot. Having a plan for the first three or four days worth of writing got me through the first week, and I got more written than I had estimated. When I reached the end of my outline for the first story, I didn't hit a brick wall right away, since I had gained some momentum by then, but when I reached the point where I had to write the next story I screeched to a halt. So, even if I didn't outline the whole story in advance, having a good chunk of the beginning planned out is helpful. In short, I need to get better at outlining. 
- 2000 words a day is not me. Don't get me wrong, on a good day, I can churn out 500 words every half hour, which will give me 2000 words in as little as two hours. But that's on a good day. Half the time during NaNo, I found my writing speed was closer to 500 words per hour, which meant it took four hours to write 2000 words. The lesson I'm going to take away from this is that, rather than aiming for a specific word count every day, I should aim to write for a set period of time (say 2 hours) during the day. 
- I'm more productive when I'm not using my desktop PC. The main reason for that is probably that there's less stuff on my laptop (or library computers), so there's less opportunity for procrastination. 
- My laptop isn't in quite as bad shape as I thought. To be fair, I haven't been using it for anything too intensive over the past month, but it's still held up surprisingly well through NaNo. I still wouldn't dare use it for stuff like watching videos or playing games too often, as this has led to the power cutting out (which is why I haven't been using it as much). However, after this past month, I think I might start using it in place of my desktop when it's time to get some writing done. 
- I still suck at characterisation. And I really need to work on that, because it's going to be a big problem if I want to write something worth publishing. 
- I'm still a writer. I've been worried for a while that I had lost the spark that I had back in high school that made me want to be a writer, but this past month has made me realise that it's still there. I still enjoy writing. My problem is that I still haven't learned to let myself suck in the first draft. Even during NaNo, I've been unable to completely silence my Inner Editor. He was still there, nudging me to correct this spelling mistake, or delete that sentence and retype it to make it flow better and, worst of all, telling me that the scene I'm writing doesn't work and it needs to be scrapped. With the help of Mur Lafferty's I Should Be Writing podcast (and the threat of my copy of Pandemic being held hostage) though, I managed to shrug him off enough to get on with things. 

I ordered the NaNoWriMo 2013 Power-Up mug, because I liked the whole 8-bit retro gaming theme of this year's NaNo and having a coffee mug with a videogame style 'caffiene level' indicator on it amuses me.

Then, after attending Mono and finding nobody else there for the write-in on Sunday, I stopped by Static Games and bought a copy of Forbidden Island as an early birthday/Christmas gift to myself. Yes, I know, I lack willpower. Leave me alone.

My mother also ordered the Nightvale Community Radio Intern T-shirt for my birthday, which will probably arrive sometime in January given that we took the cheapest postage option and its past the recommended order date for that postage type. Still, thanks mum! 

Achievements Unlocked
(Since I've missed a week, this summary of my geeky exploits will not necessarily be in chronological order, or complete.)
Me, Heather and a few others from GUGS gathered at her flat on the night of the 23rd to watch the 50th anniversary special on iPlayer after it aired. We had fish fingers and custard (which was okay), and we watched An Unearthly Child while waiting for the anniversary episode to finish airing. Then we sat down to watch The Day of the Doctor, and it was awesome. I sat down, expecting to be disappointed (because Steven Moffat) and found myself pleasantly surprised. Of course, the episode was a massive fan-wank, but that's kind of what you want from an anniversary special. There were loads of references both to classic Who and nuWho, we got to see the Time War, David Tennant was back as the Tenth Doctor and sharing screentime with Matt Smith's Eleventh, the Zygons short, it was everything the hype had me hoping for, but which I didn't expect to have delivered.

Yes, there were still problems, including at least one glaring plot hole that I didn't have the heart to point out on the night, but I was willing to let those slide for the general epicness of the episode as a whole. And yes, Steven Moffat employed a Big Reset Button yet again, but for once I'm interested in seeing what unfolds from that. Also, we got a teaser for the Christmas episode which...well, I'm sceptical about, once again. Because having four different recurring villains in one episode seems a bit like overkill to me. But we'll see. 

Having bought Forbidden Island, I played my first game of it with my mum after I got home from the write-in that wasn't. Mum wasn't quite sure about the game at first, but after a while she got the hang of it and we had a good time. We lost, but just barely, with three treasures captured, five tiles remaining and the water level at five. I played it another couple of times on Tuesday night, lost one game, but won the next with my group of players from the Doctor Who campaign. 

During the first session of our new Board Games League at Saturday GUGS, I also got to play two games I've never tried before (Alhambra and Nuts) and one which gave me a feeling of deja vu, so I might have played it before (Carcassone). These were all fun, though Carcassone took a few rounds to get the hang of. There's a copy of Alhambra in the GUGS locker that barely gets used, and since myself and several other players really enjoyed it, maybe that will change in future. 

The Doctor Who campaign has been on a bit of a break the last couple of weeks. The first week I did a very short, very silly improv session involving the characters trying to escape a prison on a world populated by dragonfolk, after Malik foolishly decided to tickle a sleeping dragon. I decided to do a comedy short because a) it was the week after Children in Need, and b) I felt I needed to concentrate on doing a census of what RPGs were running in my new capacity as RPG convenor. 
The second week we played board games instead, and I can only attribute that to GM burnout. I only have two more sessions (and possibly a Christmas special) to go before Christmas break, though, so I'll try and fight through the burnout and get the season completed. If the players still want to continue after that, then I've got a good few weeks (and plenty of character background, etc) to put together a whole second season's worth of episodes. 

Now I'm off to Saturday GUGS, where I'll hopefully (finally) be able to run my Monster of the Week one-shot I've been trying to run for about a month now. I'll also hopefully get my copy of Pandemic back. ;) See you later folks!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

[Geekly + NaNoWriMo Weekly Report] The Week 2 Crash, Night of the Doctor and other stuff...

Wasn't expecting a lot of geekiness in this week's report, as there was no Doctor Who session on Tuesday due to the GUGS AGM, but I did manage to squeeze in some geeky activities nonetheless. I can also report that, as of Tuesday, I have been elected as GUGS's new RPG Convenor. So, yay me!

NaNoWriMo: Week 2
Gaaaaaaaah! It's week 2 and, as my fellow WriMos will know, week 2 is hell. Week 2 is the point where people tend to hit a wall and things start to slow down a bit as people hit what Chuck Wendig described as 'the mushy middle' of their story. In my case, it's less a case of reaching the midpoint, and more that I've wrapped up the first of the series of stories I was planning to write. And now I'm just trying to get started on the next story. Without having got around to planning it at all.

The only real way forward is just to write and keep writing, even if I'm not happy with what I'm putting down in Scrivener. At some point, hopefully, something will spark my imagination again and I'll be blazing a trail towards 50,000 words. At the moment though, finding words to type is like pulling teeth.

To be honest, I'm not doing too bad, word count wise. The official target for today is 26,666 words, and I'm sitting on 25,319 words. I just need to write another 1500 words to stay on par. As I'm writing this on Friday night, hopefully I'll have churned out another bunch of words by the time you read this and still be on track.

No new purchases this week, though I did start reading The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. It's a young adult novel - but I don't let that stop me reading books, since YA can still appeal to older readers -  and the first book in the 'Chaos Walking' series. The story is set on New World, where - as we are told by the protagonist, Todd Hewitt - a 'germ' released by an indigenous alien race called the Spackles killed all the women and half the male population, and also left the surviving men with the ability to hear each others thoughts, which is referred to as Noise. Then, within a few chapters, Todd's life is turned upside down. He's forced to run from his town by his guardians for his own safety, and told that what he thinks he knows about the world - what he's been taught to believe - is false. So far, apart from the intentional misspelling of certain words - meant to reflect the protagonist's own lack of education - and the talking animals, it's looking like it'll be an interesting read.

Achievements Unlocked
Before the student politics got underway on Tuesday, we had another short game of The Resistance. I was one of the spies again - I hate being a spy - along with Martin, and we played with Heather, Lauren and another girl whose name I seem to have forgotten. The spies won, and I managed to maintain doubt as to whether I was a spy or not, so I guess I'm getting better at that. I still prefer being a loyal Resistance member and trying to deduce who the spies in the group actually are though.

On Thursday, there was a nice little surprise for Doctor Who fans in the latest minisode leading into the 50th anniversary special. It's probably been thoroughly spoiled by the internet already, but if you haven't seen it, or heard anything about it yet, then you should go to the BBC's Doctor Who website and check out The Night of the Doctor. Since the new cover image on the video itself now spoils this upfront, I might as well tell you that it features Paul McGann, reprising his role as the Eighth Doctor for the first time onscreen since his debut in the 1996 TV movie. That's all I'm saying though, go watch it to find out more.

Later that evening, we had our first meeting of the new GUGS committee, after which some of us sat down in Jim's Bar to play a game of Pandemic, which Heather had brought along with her. We actually won, though I'm not sure we didn't accidentally cheat a bit to get there. Also, we had the Quarantine Specialist - one of two new role cards for the 2nd edition - which has a really powerful role ability allowing the player to just sit on a city and say, 'No, no new disease cubes or Outbreaks here, or on connected cities. Not on my watch.' It seemed a little bit broken, to be honest. I really want to just sit down with the instruction booklet at some point and fully familiarize myself with the rules, to be sure we're playing it properly in future.

There was a new episode of Tabletop this week, so I watched that. This time Wil and friends were playing Takenoko, which is a quirky point-buying game about the emperor of Japan, the panda gifted to him as a gesture of peace by the Emperor of China, and the gardener who has to tend the Emperor's garden despite this huge monochrome furry beast roaming around and eating all the bamboo. I had to watch it twice before I got the gist of how the game works and, honestly, it's another one that hasn't really gripped me with a burning desire to buy it. However, I felt that way about Ticket to Ride as well, until I'd actually played it myself, so we'll see. If someone happens to have a copy at GUGS sometime, and I get a chance to play, maybe I'll change my mind. Right now, I'm just a bit meh about it.

Since I think it's unlikely I'll be able to hang out with Heather after GUGS tonight, I went ahead and watched the latest episode of Agents of SHIELD as it aired last night.
'The Hub' was both a character development piece - with Ward and Fitz teaming up on a top-secret op, allowing them a chance to interact a bit more - and sowing some more seeds of distrust regarding the larger SHIELD organisation. Coulson is now committed to finding out the truth about his revival after the Battle of New York, and he and May are going to look into what really happened to Skye's parents, so I'm hopeful that there's going to be some more arc progression from here on.

That's all for now, I'll be setting off shortly to go and run my Monster of the Week playtest one-shot, so hopefully that'll finally happen this weekend. See you later!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

[Geekly + NaNoWriMo Weekly Report] NaNoWriMo Week 1, Pandemic and other stuff...

I'm a bit later with this report than I intended, but here's how the last week and a bit have gone.

NaNoWriMo: Week 1
As of about 6pm today, I have reached 21,534 words, so I'm already well over a third of the way towards the month's goal. I've just about finished writing the first 'episode' of the story. Some aspects of what I've written will definitely need fixing in a rewrite. There need to be a few more complications than I've included so far. And one of the scenes will need to be altered to leave things more ambiguous, so that it can be resolved in the next one. I haven't plotted out the next episode yet, so I'm going to need to figure things out as I go.

Now that I'm ahead on my word count, I'm going to try writing at a reduced pace for the rest of the month: 2000 words a day, perhaps pushing it to 3000 words on Mondays and Fridays to make up for reduced word counts on Tuesday. It's going to be tricky, since I don't have the next part of the story outlined, but I'll keep at it and just work out the story as I go.

Pandemic arrived on Tuesday (coincidentally the very same day I started suffering from a bit of a cold), so I took it into GUGS with me, where Heather Williams and I did a quick unboxing to check that all of the pieces were accounted for. Apart from having one more research station than the instruction book said there should be, everything seemed to be in order, so I have now placed the box in Heather's care until such time as I reach the 50,000 word goal for NaNoWriMo.

Achievements Unlocked
On Saturday 2nd, we did character creation for the Monster of the Week one-shot I've been intending to run for a while now. It took longer than I expected, so by the time we were done, there were only a couple of hours of Saturday GUGS left, so we opted to play some board/card games and play the one-shot next week.

So, instead of playing MotW, we played some more Chez Greek - and I now realise that it's called Chez Greek because it's about university students living in fraternity/sorority houses - and then we had another game of Settlers of Catan, complete with obligatory innuendo jokes about 'getting wood'. I'd definitely like to give the Star Trek version a try, and may put that at the top of my 'As Seen on Tabletop' list on Amazon.

You may have noticed there was no GM report about Tuesday's DWAiTAS session. That's partly because I've been hard at work keeping my word count above par, but also because I haven't really had much to report in the previous entries other than grumble over what I felt went wrong with them. So, instead I'll be doing GM reports if and when a particular session raises an interesting topic related to GMing games.

That said, Tuesday's session went okay. The Exiles managed to rebuild the Dimensional Pathfinder, and figured out that they could close off the tear that let the Shattering infiltrate the mirror dimension and send them back into the Void in one swift move. But to do so, they had to widen the tear, so that everything that had been exposed to the background radiation of the Void would be sucked back through. Which would include most of them, because their stay in the Liminus had exposed them to the Void radiation. The only two who could safely carry out the task were Aru (who, as far as the PCs know, has never been through the Void) and the Daughter of Blood (who had wandered off somewhere).

Unfortunately Aru's player was absent with the flu and the others didn't want to take such a risk with her character without her consent. Using the PA system the Exiles call out to Daughter of Mine, asking her for her help in closing the tear in exchange for putting in a good word for her with the Doctor when they find him. After fleeing the sentient crack as it chases them through the mirror dimension, they rendezvous with Daughter of Mine and give her the Dimensional Pathfinder (having rigged it to cease functioning after she's used it to seal the breach). She agrees to stay behind and seal the breach, and they head back to their own dimension where Captain Baker of UNIT greets them, noting that the real scientific advisor has arrived. A few minutes later the cracks visible on their side recede, and there's a flash of light. As the situation seems to be contained thanks to the Exiles, Baker decides he'll look the other way. This time.

Before leaving, Robyn is reunited with her old friend Malcolm Taylor, who happens to be the scientific advisor brought in by UNIT. Except...he doesn't recognise her. And it's not because they haven't met yet - she knows they would be working together on a top secret project at this point in time - and Aru is able to tell with her psychic abilities that his memory hasn't been tampered with. So what gives? And, as they're leaving in the TARDIS, Pan has a vision of herself apparently fighting to the death against Malik. There was another thing that happened, but that was between Malik's player and myself. Suffice to say, character arcs are starting to emerge now, so yay!

Then yesterday was Saturday GUGS again, and as I mentioned I had been planning to run my one-shot of Monster of the Week, but one of the players was taken ill and I felt it wouldn't be fair on him to run without him, since they'd all made characters together the week before. So it was more of the same this Saturday, playing Chez Greek, Cthulhu Fluxx and Monty Python Fluxx. We also played a bit of Liar's Dice. After GUGS, Heather and I played a short two-player game of Pandemic, which ended badly for us when the outbreak counter reached the maximum.

We also watched the last couple of episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and there's been a bit more development on the main season arc as well as Skye's character arc. I was also really concerned that one of the main characters who I've grown to like was going to die; despite Joss Whedon not being as involved in the creative process, I still expected his usual habit of killing off loveable characters to surface. I suppose the fact that I was worried about the fate of one of the main characters means I'm now invested in the series, despite earlier misgivings.

We also watched up to episode 21 of Attack On Titan which once again demonstrated its ability to keep us hooked with cliffhanger after cliffhanger, as well as its trend for introducing likeable characters before brutally killing them off. I did feel the assumptions the military and Armin make about the intelligent Titans were a bit of a leap; sure, they're saying what the audience is thinking, but would the characters jump to those conclusions as well? I'm not so sure. Despite that though, I am still enjoying the series. Episode 21 ended on a nasty cliffhanger, but we had to stop there because we were falling asleep on the couch. So, I'll just have to wait until our next TV/film night to see what happens next.

So that's everything that I've been up to since the start of the month, I'll try and be on time with the update next time. See you later!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

[Geekly Weekly + NaNoWriMo Report] NaNoWriMo Day 1, Chez Greek, Catan and other stuff...

It's been a week or two since I posted a Geekly Weekly Report, and I'm posting it today instead of Sunday because I'll be combining these reports with my NaNoWriMo updates, which I'm going to be posting on Saturdays because the last day of November is a Saturday. So that means I'll be posting my last update on the last day of NaNoWriMo, which works out quite nicely. I'll be writing these combined reports on Friday evenings, after I've filled my NaNo writing quota for the day, so it will cover geekiness from the previous Saturday up until Friday. Anyway, enough rambling about how I'm going to schedule these posts, lets talk about my NaNo progress, and what geeky stuff I've been up to since last Saturday.

NaNoWriMo: Day 1
As of about 11pm last night, I'm sitting on 4020 words, and it turns out I've exceeded the word count estimates for the scenes I've written. For the number of scenes I wrote last night, I expected to have written 2250; I actually finished up with almost double that, so that's a great start to the month's writing, I think.

I bought some more books on my Kindle: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (which is next in my A to Z reading challenge list) and The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, which I'd heard of via the Writing Excuse podcast (and it was on sale for less than £1, so I figured, why not?).
I also ordered the copy of Pandemic 2nd Edition that I'll be putting on the line in my wager for this year's NaNoWriMo. Hasn't arrived yet, but when it does I'll be passing it on to Heather for safekeeping until I win.

Achievements Unlocked
First of all, I showed up at Saturday GUGS all prepared to run the pre-written scenario I want to playtest for Monster of the Week. Unfortunately, GUGS was pretty quiet on Saturday, and a lot of the people who were there had their own stuff to do. So instead of running MotW, I ended up playing some board and card games with Heather and Sandy. We started out playing Chez Greek - which is supposed to be a variant of Chez Geek, but I failed to see where the 'Greek' part came in - and that was more fun than I thought it would be going in. 

The idea is that you're a student at university, trying to slack off as much as you possibly can. You get a Major - which is basically like your Class card from Munchkin - which determines how much free time and income you have, and how much slacking off you need to do to win. The Major card also gives you a special ability that will help you out during the game. You have a hand of cards which you can play during your turn. There are People (who you can roll a dice to 'call' and ask to hang out, or play against other players if that person gives negative Slack), Activities (you can play as many of these as you have Free Time and if your Income allows you to afford the cost), Things (which you can buy if you have the Income and use some of your Free Time for shopping), and Whenever cards which can be used anytime to aid you or hinder other players. There are also special Whenever cards called Week cards, which affect everyone and remain in play until a new one replaces them. (So if it's midterms you have less Free Time because you've got coursework to get on with.) It was a lot of fun, even if some parts of it did give me some bad university flashbacks.

 After Chez Greek, we decided to play some Settlers of Catan. I'd only ever played Catan once, back when I first started roleplaying, and didn't really enjoy it all that much, but I decided to give it another shot after seeing it on Tabletop and thinking it looked more fun than I remember it being. I don't know why exactly, but after playing it a second time I found I actually enjoyed it a bit more than I did the first time. It was a bit of a slow starter, what with us trying to get to grips with the rules, but once we knew what we were doing I found I really enjoyed it. Even though it's a competitive game, there's less of a competitive feel about it than there is in other games. Sure, there are opportunities to screw over the other players when you move the Robber - but that's something you have to do, and if there's no unoccupied territory to move him to...well, nothing you can do about that, right? - and play certain Development cards, but you still need to trade with the other players, so you still want to stay on their good side to some degree. I probably won't buy the original Settlers of Catan, but I might pick up the Star Trek edition, because a) it's Star Trek and b) there's no wood in that version, so that will cut down on the dirty jokes, which got a little old after the first hour.

Moving on to Tuesday, I ran my game of Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space and it became our first two-parter of the season when we ran out of time and I had to end on a cliffhanger. This week, an alarm on the TARDIS warned the party of an imminent 'reflection collapse' forcing them to land near an old-fashioned boarding school in modern day Britain and find a way into the dimension that exists on the other side of every mirror. Once there, they encountered a living crack which was infesting peoples' reflections and taking control of them (the reflections, that is, not the people), and a little girl who was imprisoned here by the Doctor to act as the dimension's guardian for her heinous crimes. They also found that when they crossed over into the mirror dimension their reflections crossed over into their own dimension. And the gadget they used to crossover got destroyed during a clash with the Shattered Reflections. Also, the living crack - which named itself the Shattering, merely for the convenience of the PCs limited tongue - intends to find a way to cross over into the primary dimension, which would probably be bad. And then the session ended with half the party trapped in a science lab while looking for parts to rebuild their Dimensional Pathfinder, with one of the Shattered Reflections, and the others left outside the room after the door was slammed on them. So, yeah, fun times were had by all. Well, I hope it was fun for all. 

Then, on Wednesday, I attended the NaNoWriMo kickoff party in Glasgow. There was the usual 'pimp-my-plot' game, where everybody wrote down their plot ideas for NaNo and then they got passed around the table for everybody to add their own ideas. I also met up with one of my old RP buddies and we discussed some of our plans for our respective games. Shona didn't reveal too much about her own Laundry campaign - because there's a chance she might have space for me in it, and I'm going to work out if I can afford an extra bus (and possibly subway) trip to Glasgow for it - but she did point me towards a rather intriguing (and disturbing) link which I might try and use for my own campaign. I also ran some of my ideas for season arc stuff in my Doctor Who game, and she seemed to approve, so YAY. 

We had to leave at about ten because the power went out for the block that the cafe venue was in, and I decided to just catch my bus rather than joining the others at an alternative venue, but it was great seeing people and discussing the month of insanity which lies ahead of us.

Friday, November 1, 2013

[NaNoWriMo] The Plan (such as it is)

Hi folks. I have good news and I have bad news.

You may have noticed that the regularity of my blog posts has dropped again recently. Part of that is because I've been focusing - or trying to focus - on getting prep done for my DWAiTAS campaign. The other part is that I've been working on outlining for my NaNoWriMo project. And that's on top of other stuff that I have to do as part of day-to-day life. My blogging will most likely remain at this reduced level as we move forward into November. I'll try and merge my geekly weekly reports with weekly progress reports on how I'm getting on with NaNo. I'll also try and keep posting GM reports about the DWAiTAS campaign as it continues. But a lot of my scheduled (and unscheduled) writing time for the month of November will be dedicated to reaching the 50,000 word goal by the end of the month, so I'm going to be a bit more of an internet hermit for a while. So, the bad news is I won't be posting a lot this month.

The good news is that I'm more excited about getting started with NaNoWriMo than I have been in the past couple of years, and a large part of that is down to the fact that I actually - GASP! - have a plan for it. Well, sort of. At the time I'm writing this (Monday afternoon) I've only managed to outline for about the first four days worth of writing so far, but I'm feeling psyched about writing the scenes that I have planned out already, and I'm sure more scenes will snowball forth from imagination as I forge onward with the writing.

As I mentioned earlier last month, I've decided to set aside my issues with writing fanfiction to get some work done on the Doctor Who/Evangelion crossover story that's been nagging away at the back of my brain for years now. I wrote 'episode 1' of the fanfic as my NaNoWriMo story back in 2010 and that got me to 50,000 words just on its own. So, for NaNo 2013, I'm going to work on writing episodes 2 through 13 of my DW/Eva 'season'. Hopefully I'll be able to keep the individual episodes much shorter this time (as it is, episode 1 needs significant editing to shorten it down a bit) and I'll be able to get through at least two or three more episodes before NaNo ends. With any luck, that'll get me to the 50k word target at least, but I'm hoping for much more.

Beyond my decision to work on the fanfic for NaNo, I've also been planning ahead by writing a scene-by-scene outline, with word count estimates for each scene, organised into days of the month. I also plan to do a writing binge today, using the '7500 word one-day catchup' method mentioned by many times NaNo winner Simon Haynes on his website. That should give me a decent buffer to fall back on over the weeks to come. My daily word count target will be 1700 words, which is a little more than the official NaNo daily target, but it's a bit more of a round number than 1667. I'll also aim to have weekly 'word binge' days, with a target of at least 4000 words and an upper limit of 5000 words. I know that sounds like a tall order, and it probably will be, but even if this plan doesn't work in practice, I'm sure I'll find some other method that works better.

This year, in addition to having more of an idea what I'm going to write ahead of time, I've also made something of a wager on my successful completion of NaNoWriMo. I'm going to get a copy of Pandemic 2nd Edition at the start of month and leave it in the care of a trusted friend. If I successfully hit the 50k mark before December 1st, I will get it back. If I don't, it will instead be donated to Glasgow University Gaming Society for their games locker. Now, I don't begrudge GUGS having the game for their collection, but I kinda want it for myself so I can play it with my friends down on the Clyde coast. So I'm gonna work hard to win this year, so I'll be able to share this incredibly fun game with them.

As this post appears on my blog, November will have already started and I'll either be burning the midnight oil trying to get some words down before I head to bed, or I'll have gone to bed already so I can wake up bright and early in the morning to get started writing. One way or another, I'll be working hard to make sure that I get a good head start. Because this year, I'M GONNA WIN!

Wish me luck everybody (yes, even the GUGS members who are coveting that Pandemic box already), and I'll be back with a progress report soon!