19/02/2019: shit I counted it as part of last week’s writing
So, technically, 4261, even though I won’t count it because it’s already been counted as part of last week’s count BUT!
This isn’t how we’re doing things for the next two weeks! I need a new format, and for the time being it will go a little something like this:
- Project Progress (writing)
- Project Progress (revision)
- Other (writing)
It’s a bit clunky, but fuck it that’s how we’re rolling for the next couple of weeks. So today’s entry, if properly formatted due to me having planned this out before starting to write this down, would look something like this:
- Project Progress (writing): 0
- Project progress (revision): [insert blog post shit here]
- Other (writing): 4261
Yeah it’s clunky and I don’t really like it. Maybe …
And then I’d write a bit about it here, summing up both the “real” writing and the “other” writing …
… followed by more writing here, enshrining my experiences of revision progress in immortal blog prose for all time.
Ugh. It’s still really clunky.
But hell, this is my kind of fun.
I love developing systems; I have mentioned a few times how I have spent inordinate amounts of time developing magic systems for stories that will, honestly, probably never be told; messing around with the ranger class from D&D 5E was a big part of my downtime in 2017; and now that I have the opportunity to expand Weekly Words’ capacity to help me get and keep my shit together as a writer, trying to figure out what categories I need, how to present them, how to keep the clutter to a minimum …
This might have been a terrible idea. This blog will become a blog about how I run this blog.
Well fuck it, it’s my blog, it’ll be about whatever the fuck I want it to be about.
I do think having sections to break down what I’ve done over the week is a good idea, just maybe not the day – but then again, what happens in a day makes sense in context of everything else that happens that day, so it seems silly to not mush it all together.
I guess I do have an example to work with, so let’s try it out.
It feels annoying to not have those 4k words “counted” this week, but oh well, that’s what you get for being hasty. I can still talk about them, because I wrote them this week.
The Witcher 3 is a game that has a lot of lessons for storytelling, and for writing – particularly in terms of characterisation and tone, and how they affect each other. I’ll just come out and say this now: The Witcher 3 has a tone problem. To be fair, it has a number of problems, but the issue of tone and characterisation affects every other issue that the game has. On the one hand, this is one of those “gritty realism” worlds that just so happens to be a high fantasy setting – it’s sort of “low fantasy”, but I’d say it’s more high fantasy than The Lord of the Rings just given how prevalent magic and supernatural beings are; it just has the general tone of a low-fantasy world, something more akin to Game of Thrones …
At other times, it has a tone more akin to a particularly amateurish Harlequin romance novel – specifically, when it comes to the romance. There is a term thrown around in some areas of the gamersphere, “hand-holding”, use to refer to a game that is perceived to treat its players like incompetent, mindless niusances who need to be guided every step of the way through their gameplay experience lest they make a wrong decision. I would like to introduce a new term based on this one to describe The Witcher 3 and its tone problem, which is also often a gender problem: cock-holding. Cock-holding is when a game treats its players like insecure, needy, life-inexperienced straight adolescent males who have never had a real romantic or sexual relationship in their lives and are turning to this game for compensation in the form of soothing emotional validation, delivered through the various “romance” options available over the course of the game.
Harsh? A little, maybe. I could and perhaps one day will write an essay/thesis chapter on the tonal dissonance throughout The Witcher 3, but this will not be that piece of writing. Without going into a ton of detail, this game is basically two different games depending on which aspect of the game you’re currently engaging with: action or romance. It’s jarring. It’s pretty sexist in a lot of places. And most of all, it just doesn’t make a ton of sense given how Geralt as a character is introduced and established: a stone-cold badass who has trouble connecting on an emotional level. It’s nothing deal-breaking; I’ve sunk over 170 hours into this freaking game, it’s a great game – but that’s despite its faults, and tone dissonance, I think, has to be the biggest fault of all.
And that’s what I spend over 4k words ranting about. I wonder what will come next?
Project Work: 0
Other Writing: 1481
Turns out what’s next is me making sure to note down all the Places of Power locations on the world map for my inevitable The Witcher 3 New Game Plus playthrough … maybe sometime next year. I’ve played this game a lot, as I noted a couple of paragraphs ago – to be fair, it’s not boring yet; but I feel like treading through all of the quests I’ve already done, even if I do aim to change a lot of my decisions for them, will dive me insane at this point. At the very least, it’s time to find a new recreational pasttime.
Also I think my panic over not doing much writing for the past couple of months is maybe a bit of an overreaction, because people need breaks. And I did a lot of writing last year. Like, probably well over half a million words fully told; I’m just counting the writing that “counted”. And I did a lot of that writing too, over 300k words’ worth. I think I’m entitled to a little burnout.
But with that said, I do still want to move on from the time-vampire that has been my gaming habit. Part of the weekly word count thing was not just to make sure I was staying on-task with my writing habits; it was also to push me to actually try writing things that I’m afraid of fucking up by not “getting it right” when I make the attempt. That’s always been valuable when I’ve done it in the past, and I need to keep doing it, even if it’s 1 word a day. I mean I’d like to think I can manage better than that, but as it stands 1 word a day is a bar I have not yet been able to clear this year, so, baby steps.
I had an idea today: a Writing Wheel. I don’t have an actual wheel so I’m using a d6 instead, assigning myself a writing project to each number and then writing that project for up to 30 minutes – at which point that’s all folks, show’s over, and the writing will cease.
I didn’t time it this time, because I’m lazy, but hey, got some writing done. I like this method; I think I’ll keep it in reserve. Good for a shake-up when I need it. The “wheel” landed me on my “high urban fantasy” project that I keep having thoughts about, and the world-building is the part that keeps holding me back – I keep wanting things to happen, but every time I get started I have to think “wait would this actually work in this world”, and get so easily distracted by logistics that the actual writing more often than not comes to a grinding halt. I guess this is one reason why urban fantasy sticks so close to reality and often doesn’t have a super complicated magic system: it allows the writers to actually fucking get their shit written.
Though it’s not so much having a complex magic system in this case; it’s just that I don’t actually know what it is, and haven’t really thought about it. But a lot of this stuff can be done on the fly – in fact, after tonight’s little writing session, I think the best way for me to go about it is to write it first and make it make sense later. I mean, I’m the one making this shit up, right? I can make it work however the hell I want it to. And the most important thing is just to get it written.
So, co-writing revision notes are going … well, they’re going. I’m up to page 16 out of 75 so far, and this has taken me two weeks. The issue, as I have mentioned before, is that I keep having too many goddamn ideas about how things could be changed, in ways that, in the moment at least, I feel would make things better. This slows me down considerably. This is the same issue I’ve been having with my Mark and Jessie read-through (except in this case I don’t also hate the project and wish it would die every time I read it), and if there’s a lesson to be learnt here I don’t know what it is, it’s just fucking annoying. Maybe that’s the lesson: it’s just fucking annoying, all you can do is persevere and manage your expectations.
I do think it’s good to note down your thoughts at this stage, even if they are distracting you. I may be wrong, but it’s what I’m doing, and that’s where the other 632 words came from. No, I’m not counting the words that I wrote as revision notes; I did say I would count everything for this week and next, but no, that’s just silly. Not to mention awkward. I don’t think there’s even a function to count the words written as comments on a Google document, so I’m going to save myself some grief and say that revision words do not count.
My co-writing friend has a much more sensible approach: she is looking at our screenplay assuming that this is pretty much what we want it to be, and given that just looking at what could be tidied up, fleshed out, made clearer, etc. This is the approach that I took with Tallulah when I revised it, and it worked – well, it worked as well as it could with a story as indecisive as Tallulah. And having said that, it actually highlighted the core issues with the story anyway, so yeah, it worked. I know it works.
I just don’t wanna.
But I do also want to actually get my goddamn revision notes done – and here’s a new dynamic for me to get to grips with: making revision notes on a co-writing project. We’re each making our own set of notes for this first pass, and will come back together when we’ve made notes on everything and see where we stand. I don’t know if this is a good or horrible idea, but it was my decision and it’s what we’ve agreed to, so if it fucks things up it is entirely my fault.
I have to wonder, too, if part of the reason why I feel so, I dunno, safe writing my big blathering “what if” notes (separate from my revision notes) is because I’m only one half of the writing team, and I feel like I have a lot more room to just spread out and take up imaginative space, because these are my notes. On the other hand – I mean, I want to pull my weight. So I’ll have to keep thinking about how I want to approach this revision-note-making process, what it is that I actually want to get out of it by the end … and I guess just hope that I don’t get swallowed by my own hypothetical conjecturing along the way.
More revision rant word-count plussage to artificially increase my already meaningless weekly word-count total. There are times in life where everything seems unbearably shallow and meaningless, the scope of possibilities mind-crushingly limited and predictable, and you realise that there is no point in even going on, because you’re never going to get what you want, because it doesn’t exist.
But hey, I guess I did some writing.
Weekly Total (12079)
Wow I was jaded the other day. I guess I can’t say my weeks don’t have variety.
The “writing wheel” strategy working so nicely the one time I did it ever has given me a newfound perspective that makes me want to write a huge long post about how my entire life’s philosophy is going to change, starting right now, things are going to be better, yes we can, and then I didn’t post it right away and instead got bored and did something else for a while and here I am now, thinking about how nice life is when you don’t make huge impassioned mission statements based on a short sequence of emotional highs and lows.
Writing is just hard sometimes. The discipline of it, the habit, the commitment; sometimes it’s just fucking unappetising and, more importantly, unfulfilling. You want to be doing something else – and at these times, I think you should. I also think that building a strong writing habit is essential for anyone who wants to Be A Writer, for self-explanatory reasons – but seriously, do anything for long enough without any variance and you’ll get sick of it, and even if you do keep hammering away it’ll suffer, and so will you. We need to take breaks. We need to stay on our grind. We need to find a balance that works for us, and right now that’s my rut. I’m trying to find a balance that I feel proud of or at least content with, and I haven’t.
Well, perhaps I actually just need to try harder. So along with documenting every trivial piece of writing for this next final week of February, I will be brainstorming some potential strategies for balancing my goal of having lots of writing done regularly and writing books through to conclusion and shit with my other desires that come with being a human being who needs to be doing more than just one goddamn thing all the goddamn time. I do think I have too many ready-to-hand distractions in my life that carry me away from my priorities and plans; I think distractions are a useful tool, but very easily over-indulged in. And if I learnt anything from my traumatic-yet-life-affirming experience marking the comics paper last year, it’s that when you have a whole bunch of shit to do, you just gotta pick one piece from the pile and get to work.
So, it’s distractions for me this week. How to manage them, when I’m most likely to fall back on them, what I can do to make it a better habit that helps me get where I want to go. And I’ll try to do some writing-writing, too.
Wish me luck!