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 Fanfiction.net 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. 

Swag
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 returned...in 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!

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