#ROW80 – The First Update

The Row 80 Logo

I got a head start on the next round pf ROW80 which is supposed to begin April 7. I don’t like to think of myself as being too late for the game. I put in goals for the next week, forgetting it would be better to do things for the half week. So, aside from goal #2, everything should be halved. I should really have had no problem meeting my goals during Spring Break, right? /whistles innocently. Lets see how I did on my goals.

My ROW80 Goals beginning this week:

  • I will work on editing my novels. I have neglected editing for too long. I will spend at least 5 hours this week on editing.
    • I should have gotten in 2.5 hours editing. I got in, at most, 45 minutes to an hour. Excuses will be made later.
  • Limit Blog Time. I have already given up Facebook for Lent in order to work on promoting my blogs. I will limit that work to 90 minutes or less per day.
    • I did pretty good at limiting my blog time. I would say I was at about 90 minutes per day – after Wednesday. (But see excuses for not making my goals that will explain this.)
  • New writing. I will engage in 2 hours this week of new writing. New writing may be anything from #5MinuteFiction to song writing to work on a novel or prep work for Nano 2014. (I won’t count editing the other books as prep work even if it is a series and I am doing my world building!)
    • If sitting and staring at a blank spot on the file where the new writing is supposed to be counts I came close to the half way mark on this goal. I had almost an hour of new writing and trying to write – but did not get a lot down on paper. Songs/poems are a lot harder to write. Especially the third verse! 

Excuses – I told you they were coming. As my pastor noted this morning in his sermon, the excuses may be good excuses, but they are still excuses.

  1. Grading. I had all kinds of grading I needed to get done this week, so that took away some of the time I would have spent on writing. That, however, is not a blanket excuse because I didn’t get all my grading done.
  2. My photography hobby. I spent a lot of time working on my photography and editing. I should have spent some of that time writing. I love bird photography and had an amazing time at the local bird sanctuary the day before I started. Lots of editing that needed to be done! (And that kind of editing I REALLY enjoy!) (A new goal is being created for this.)
  3. Family time. Some days, the family needs time together. For a variety of reasons, that became an issue this week. My wife deserved some of my best time. That will happen again.

Accomplishments – Even with the excuses I did accomplish a few things.

  1. I did get a little more written on the new song I am working on. Poetry is not my normal forte, but I am enjoying the work.
  2. I did see more traffic on my Devotional Blog. I don’t count the new writing I do every day for that in the above goal. I write about 15-20 minutes every day for that blog and I began building traffic and meeting some new people this week. I also met a number of new people on this writing blog. (Thanks to all of you who stopped by!)
  3. Lots of photo editing/categorizing.
  4. I actually opened up the NANO 2012 novel and got some editing/rewriting done. I have been working on editing/rewriting the opening. I’ll put the original and the beginning of the rewrite here. Please feel free to criticize and or make suggestions

All in all, #ROW80 gave me a kick start to get back to what I really want to do. Thanks for that!

Writing excerpt:

Original Rewrite
Seppe’s nose wrinkled as he looked at the body lying in the dark alley. He couldn’t remember  seeing any other victim hacked up as bad as this one. It was gruesome and he recoiled a little in disgust. Seppe looked at his partner, Aiden, and shook his head. Aiden was a twenty-five cycle veteran of the Wesdanian Police Force and was looking at retirement before the disbanding process had started. Aiden, veteran that he was, was still very queasy. Seppe wasn’t doing much better himself and wondered how the crowd might react if he let his stomach take control. He silently fought back against the waves of nausea as they continued to survey the scene.

The stiff’s head had been severed from the body and had been thrown violently against the wall under the fire escape on the west side of the alley. The main part of the torso was splayed against the trash cans belonging to the Kroll Rader Bar and Grill. Both legs were cut off at the knees: one foot was about ten meters south of the body; the other foot was close to the fire escape as if it had been used to dropkick his own head. The left arm was partly severed and the body lay on top of it. His right arm was extended as if he had seen the attack coming at the last minute and had been surprised by his attacker. Blood was spattered everywhere.

 

Seppe looked to the eastern sky as Darwinda rose over the Wesdanian skyline. The silver light from the second moon combined with the golden glow from Granset, the first moon, and made navigation around the streets of Wesdania simple. Seppe loved this time of night and took in all the beauty as he absent-mindedly moved his hand up to stroke his tendrils. Then he sighed. The smell reminded him that it was time to get to the ugliness of his work. The body waited.He turned his gaze back towards the waiting body. And the blood. Blood was spattered everywhere just like the body parts were. Seppe had never seen a body in such a wretched condition. That and the overwhelming smell of the fresh kill made him gag. He fought back the urge before his partner could see him. It wouldn’t do to wretch before a 25 cycle veteran.He needn’t have worried. When he looked over at Aiden, Seppe noted that Aiden looked a little queasy himself.  Seppe wondered how the crowd might react if he let his stomach lose control. He didn’t like the idea and silently fought back against the waves of nausea as he and Aiden continued to survey the scene.

The stiff’s head had been severed. Someone had thrown it violently against the wall under the fire escape on the west side of the alley. The main part of the torso was splayed against the trash cans belonging to the Kroll Rader Bar and Grill. Both legs were cut off at the knees: one foot was about ten meters south of the body; the other foot was close to the fire escape as if it had been used to dropkick its own head. The left arm was partly severed and the body lay on top of it. His right arm was extended as if he had been surprised by his attacker and had only seen the attack coming at the last minute.

And then, just for grins – one of my photos:

Taken at Hans Suter Park and Bird Sanctuary

Taken at Hans Suter Park and Bird Sanctuary

I post my bird pics on my tumblr blog.

While all other goals remain the same, I am adding a Photography Goal – I will categorize (star and label) at least 100 pictures per week. I will fully edit at least 5 pics per week. (Some pics I categorize so I can find them later. I only edit the pics I really like.)

Here is the “Linky” site for other blogs in the #ROW80 challenge.

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7 thoughts on “#ROW80 – The First Update

  1. I don’t know if I should encourage your hobby when it’s taking away from your writing goals, but I like to look at pictures of birds/nature photography in general, and I like your photograph!

  2. Adding a photography goal (and a time with family goal) sound like excellent supplements to your goals for the round. Yes, they will detract some from the time spent writing, but… your writing will be stronger for their inclusion in your day even if you end up reducing editing time.
    BTW, what camera are you using, and what software are you using for your edits? I’m only starting to get the hang of basic edits in PS CS6; so much of the program is like trying to translate hieroglyphs. I still use an old Canon G5, so point and shoot but with the ability to do some lens adaptations.
    BTW, nice samples. I see good things in both to consider. The first was a bit to “telling”, but the second took a long time to draw me in.

    • Thanks for the support, Eden! I’m using a Canon Rebel XS. Usually a 50-250mm lens. I used PS CC. I just added a Brightness layer and a Vibrance layer. I’m still just doing basic edits right now. Any suggestions on grabbing attention with the rewrite?

      • Unsure if it was the layout (having to read columns side to side for me is distracting), or the strong, early emphasis you placed on the imagery of the surroundings. I’m fairly sure you added that in to give us a sense of contrast and to add a sense of how jarring our MC finds his job.
        Thing is, I, as a reader, haven’t had a chance to invest in the character or the world yet. It’s new and alien to me, and your opening line introduces three fully alien names (our MC’s, the rising “body” [ie, is Darwinda a space ship, the sun, a moon, etc.?], and the “city” [which is only revealed as that in the second sentence]). Not necessarily a bad thing, but the second sentence is slower. The third is slower still as our MC becomes absent-minded and day-dreamy…
        I think you’re trying to set a mood and offer some characterization for the story, but with all the books out there to call readers’ attention, you don’t want a reader to feel absent-mined or drowsy in the first three sentences.
        Now if this section is slightly later in the book (even the next page in), I suspect it will offer a wonderful counterpoint to the suspense of the story.
        Just my (not-so) humble opinion, of course.

      • Some great comments! I hadn’t thought of the drawn out aspect of the opening. I was challenged by another author to look at doing something like that – but the descriptive side of writing is not a strength. I usually get right into the action. I wanted to try the contrast with the beautiful scenery and the ugliness of death. I can work to make it tighter and seek to draw people in more. Thanks.

      • Sounds like you were so worried about “doing it right” as far as a descriptive scene that you swung the pendulum all the way toward the other direction. (I do that too, btw. I think that’s why I noticed it… I tend to see stuff in other people’s work I should notice in mine…but often don’t.)
        Good luck with it.

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