Multiple writing projects

My final MSc assignment is in so I’ve got no university work until October. Though I couldn’t resist signing up for a bunch of free courses on Coursera* and I’ve got a pile of psychology text books out of the library just because they look interesting, I still want to make progress with my writing before I start my dissertation next year. But which project to choose?!

After 10 years of nanowrimo, plus the diary challenge, I’ve got a lot of novels and ideas in various states of completion. I probably should pick one project and give it all my attention, but where’s the fun in that? Instead I’m going to have four projects, each at a different stage of development, to enjoy the benefits of productive procrastination. Productive procrastination is great. I discovered it during my open university course. When I had an essay due but I didn’t feel like working on it I’d start reading for the next unit instead. I still had a last minute panic to meet deadlines but at least I was ahead on the next bit. Procrastinating with something you need to do can sometimes be a good thing!

So, with that in mind, four projects. One editing, one restructuring, one writing and one planning. Daily set writing periods. If I’m stuck on one book or stage, no problem. Procrastination on a different one is fine. Encouraged even 😀.

Project 1 (editing): Cold Spell

I just reread this after a very long break. Having forgotten most of it I was pleasantly surprised to discover it was a fun read! It’s in need of a good edit, but after being faced with two WIPs that need major rewrites having something that’s closer to the final version is a welcome relief! It’s might be worth noting that I used the snowflake method to plan this one, so it may have resulted in a stronger structure from the outset.

Project 2 (restructuring): Technomancer

Needs something more drastic than an ‘edit’. I’m currently working on a new outline that will hopefully fix the plot problems!

Project 3 (writing): Elderwood University

In a departure from my usual style I attempted to ‘pants’ a novel for camp nanowrimo. Pantsing is a delightful term from the community that refers to writing without a plan or outline. I wrote about 20,000 words for camp, in which an interesting world started to develop so I’m going to carry on and see where it goes.

Project 4 (outlining): Otherside (working title)

I have officially created my Scrivener file for what will be my 2015 NaNoWriMo effort. It’s something completely new. All I will say about it now is the idea came to me in a dream (yeah, sorry!) and I wrote a short piece for the diary challenge based on it. And it just might involve parallel universes….

I think that’s enough to be getting on with! Might even finish something one day :).

*who could resist computational neuroscience? Not me!

The Overlord’s Christmas

Merry Christmas! Have a silly little festive story from the pages of the diary:


It just appeared in the Castle of Doom that morning without explanation. Olgar the Feared and Terrible was highly suspicious of it. He poked one of the many shiny colourful balls that hung from the branches. Nothing happened.

“Danson!” he roared. His most trusted servant responded instantly.

“Yes, master?” he asked amiably, immune to Olgar’s tone.

“What is this tree doing in the throne room?”

“Why, it’s a Christmas tree, sir. It’s Christmas day.”

“Christmas day?” said Olgar, baffled. In all the stress of world domination he’d completely lost track of such minor things as holidays. “Are you sure, Danson?”

“Quite sure, master,” Danson replied with his usual pleasant smile.

“And there’s no chance this was sent by rebel forces as part of an ill-conceived plot to overthrow me?”

“None at all, master. I selected the tree myself.”

“Hmm, very well,” said Olgar. Satisfied, he settled himself onto the throne. The tree did brighten up the cold stone room. “Just ensure all the Christmas gifts are checked throughly before opening. I would not put it past my enemies to use this as an opportunity to infiltrate the castle.”

Danson shifted awkwardly. “Well, you need not worry about that, sir.”

“Danson, you cannot possibly be certain of the origin of every-”

“Forgive me, master,” he interjected. “What I meant to say was, there are no Christmas presents.”

“Oh,” said Olgar. The taste of disappointment was unfamiliar to him, and he didn’t like it one bit. “None at all? Did you check the pit trap? The postman could have fallen in again.”

“I did, master. Twice.”

“I see. What about the minions?”

“Oh, the minions, well they did want to, master, only…you don’t pay them. And before you ask, I’m afraid you don’t pay me either, sir. Perhaps for next year with a modest gift budget we could be instructed to-”

“Next year?” said Olgar. “We’re not waiting until next year. We must right this injustice at once. It’s time for a new law, Danson. From now on Christmas is illegal. Starting right now. Send the guards out to start arresting people and confiscating all contraband. And Danson?”

“Yes, master?”

“Send any gift-wrapped contraband directly to me for inspection.”

“As you wish, master.”