Monthly Archives: December 2015

Progress report: One Million Words, week 24

This week’s total is 5,917 words. In spite of Christmas I still managed to write every day. Christmas Day isn’t a good enough excuse to not write. Having said that, I’m not so sure about what I have written this week. More on that later.

My total is now 108,582/1,000,000, or 10.86%.

I have written for 162 consecutive days now.

Day by day summary

Monday: 367 words (Horrible Monster)

Tuesday: 1019 words (Horrible Monster)

Wednesday: 594 words (Time travel prompt)

Thursday: 1,560 words (Time travel prompt)

Friday: 1,120 words (Horrible Monster)

Saturday: 438 words (Horrible Monster)

Sunday: 819 words (Coronation cloak story)

Continue reading Progress report: One Million Words, week 24

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Progress Report: One Million Words, week 23

I think I might just have managed to nail consistency in wordcount output. This week’s total is 5,395, just five words more than last week, with an average of 771 words per day.

I have now written for 155 consecutive days without missing a day.

My total is now 102,665/1,000,000, which means I’ve reached the 10% mark (10.27%). So if it takes 23 weeks to reach 10%, if I maintain the same average rate, it should take about another 4 years from now to reach the million words – taking me to the eve of a new decade.

Day by day summary

Monday: 952 words (Dragonbane)

Tuesday: 286 words (Dragonbane)

Wednesday: 997 words (Horrible Monster)

Thursday: 629 words (Horrible Monster)

Friday: 784 words (Minecraft Adventures)

Saturday: 985 words (Horrible Monster)

Sunday: 762 words (Horrible Monster)

Continue reading Progress Report: One Million Words, week 23

Fridge logic of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (SPOILER WARNING)

Today I went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And while it was an enjoyable film, full of pretty much exactly the sorts of things a Star Wars film should have – space battles, lightsabre fights, and so on – there were some things that really stood out when I’d had a little time to think about it, which undermined the story quite significantly.

This post contains major spoilers, so if you don’t want the film spoiled, do not read.

Continue reading Fridge logic of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (SPOILER WARNING)

Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (no spoilers)

We’ve been waiting a while for this one. When Disney bought the Star Wars franchise a few years ago we knew there would be more films. I was never quite sure what to expect, though. Would they be better or worse than the prequels? Would they be Disneyfied? Which beloved elements would be kept true to form – and which exploited for cheap recognisability? Would the creators have learned lessons from the prequels?

Star Wars the force awakens

Continue reading Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (no spoilers)

Progress report: One Million Words, week 22

I realise that my updates have slipped to Mondays in recent weeks. Often I’m too tired on Sunday after writing to stay up any later for a blog post. Monday makes for a better option, I think – less pressure on a Sunday to finish writing quickly.

Anyway, in week 22 I wrote a total of 5,390 words, for an average of 770 per day.

My total now stands at 97,270/1,000,000 words, or 9.73%.

I am getting very close to that first one hundred thousand, the first ten percent – certainly within reach of hitting it in the next week. This is tremendous achievement. I have written more in the last 22 weeks than I did in the four years or so prior.

Day by day summary

Monday: 1,096 words (Spirit doorway)

Tuesday: 698 words (Horrible Monster)

Wednesday: 536 words (Horrible Monster)

Thursday: 905 words (Horrible Monster)

Friday: 529 words (Horrible Monster)

Saturday: 588 words (Horrible Monster)

Sunday: 1,038 words (The Sun goes out)

Continue reading Progress report: One Million Words, week 22

Progress report: One Million Words, week 21

This week’s total is 6,055 words, for an average of 865 words per day. I’ve been working on a few different stories this week, taking a break from Kell’s Adventures now that NaNoWriMo is over.

My total is now 91,880/1,000,000, or or 9.2%. So I’m closing on the 10% mark now.

My final total for NaNoWriMo was 31,485.

Day by day summary

Monday: 623 words (Kell’s Adventures)

Tuesday: 1347 words (Counting ships)

Wednesday: 1550 words (Counting ships version 2)

Thursday: 560 (Defended cottage)

Friday: 422 words (Defended cottage)

Saturday: 719 words (Horrible Monster scene)

Sunday: 834 words (Horrible Monster scene)

Continue reading Progress report: One Million Words, week 21

Review: Iron Winter by Stephen Baxter

Iron Winter is the third book in the alternate history Northland trilogy by Stephen Baxter, set in a world where the prehistoric peoples of Doggerland, a region of land which once linked Britain to the rest of Europe, built an immense wall to hold back the sea, and with it a powerful civilisation. Iron Winter follows the stories of several Northlanders and others, millennia after the wall was built, as they struggle to survive amidst the start of an ice age – with glaciers advancing, huge numbers of people migrating and great empires going to war. Pyxeas is a scholar in search of answers; Rina, once an Annid, a leader of Northland seeks to protect her family by migrating to Carthage. Her son Nelo likes nothing more than drawing and painting the people and landscapes that inspire him, but finds himself witness at the heart of the big events of the world.

iron winter

With the multiple perspectives of characters experiencing different facets of the disaster, Baxter creates a depth to the story that grounds it in humanity. Each character has unique experiences of the advancing winter, and drives their own story – and influences those of others – through their desires, wants and flaws. This is not merely the story of climate change, mass migrations, plague, and empires in conflict, it is the story of individuals battling to survive, to understand, to record and to prosper under circumstances they are not prepared for and could never have predicted.

The weakness, with regards the characters, is emotional depth. While each character has goals and motivations, flaws and skills, they lack emotional depth. The sheer number of characters cannot be blamed for this, I think, since other facets of their personalities are clear. The result is that the emotional moments – the moments of loss and grief, of fear and revelation – don’t have much impact.

Iron Winter is quite a long book, dense with story and action. There are perhaps some scenes which could have been cut without much lost, and others which dragged, but overall the story is well-paced, with strong if emotionally shallow characters and plot lines which pull the reader onwards. The story feels organic, the plot developing naturally on the basis of the decisions of the characters.

I rate Iron Winter 8/10. It is a powerful and dramatic story with varied characters giving unique perspectives, but lacks emotional depth. It’s a good read, and a strong conclusion to a fascinating trilogy.