Progress Report: One Million Words, week 14

I have written 2,208 words this week, which is low compared to other weeks, but still something. This has included some haiku, which I have continued to practice since Wednesday’s workshop.

My total is 47,576/1,000,000, or 4.76%.

Day by day summary

Monday: 481 words (Damnatio Memoriae)

Tuesday: 445 words (Damnatio Memoriae)

Wednesday: 211 words (27 on haiku, 184 on Damnaio Memoriae)

Thursday: 33 words (haiku)

Friday: 153 words (Damnatio Memoriae)

Saturday: 406 words (Kell ch2 storm)

Sunday: 479 words (Kell ch2 storm)


On Monday I started a new story, to give myself a bit of time away from Kell for a while. I’m not happy with it. I like the concept behind it – someone working to attempt to get credit for their part in a revolution, after they were subjected to a practice much like the Roman practice of damnaio memoriae, the obliteration of a person’s legacy from public memory (by removing their name from records, their face from family portraits, and so on). But the character feels a bit vindictive and unpleasant, and I’m really struggling with her. Maybe if I were to get a stronger grasp on her character, make her a bit more sympathetic, and also knew what I was doing with the world, I could make it work, but this version is a dead end.

I worked on that for four days, Monday through Wednesday then Friday. I’ve included the haiku I wrote at the workshop on Wednesday in that day’s count – only the final versions.

On Thursday I thought it might be useful to have a go at writing haiku based in the Kell story, so I made notes about three scenarios and came up with five haiku about them. This took longer than my usual writing sessions, so that was all I ended up doing on Thursday. I was happy with some of them, less so with others. Here are the two I like the most, both about the very start of the story when Kell enters Waytown during the funeral procession of their king:

city watches

king descends

tomb grows


beneath grass mound

stone passage welcomes

silenced king

Next week I think I might try to compose one haiku per day, as well as continuing to write on other projects.

For yesterday and today, I got an idea for the new version of chapter 2 of the Kell story. I was having a browse of the NaNoWriMo forums, and there was a dare thread in the fantasy section of the forums. One of the dares was to include a multi-day storm. I figured this might give me a good scenario for a chapter where I’m trying to get a better grasp on my characters and the group dynamics. I’m not totally convinced by what I’ve written so far, and perhaps I might need to spend some time tomorrow on some character sheets or backstories, but it seems to be what I needed to get back where I needed to be.

I am beginning to wonder if just writing, without much in the way of planning, is perhaps not for me. When I did “write every day” type challenges in the past, I did tend to at least make notes for 5 minutes before I started writing to give myself an idea of what I’m trying to achieve in this writing session, so I think maybe picking that one up again might be a good idea here.

Take away points

  1. Next week I’ll set aside time each day to compose a haiku, and keep an eye out for starting points I can use. The trees are every colour they can be at the moment, so at least I’ve got the seasonal side of things covered.
  2. Getting a grasp on my characters is a real struggle for me. I’ll have to research some methods of working on this, try some exercises and study some good examples.
  3. From now on, I’ll make sure I spend 5 minutes working out what I’ll be writing before I start writing. I’m rather lost without that trick.

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