A Day in the Writing Life: Robot Dreams (April 2nd 2016)

Screenshot 2016-04-02 at 14.21.40 I always love reading ‘a day in the life’ posts by writers I admire, as well as those whose work I have yet to read. It’s an interesting proposition, to consider how you write, so I’ve decided to give it a go.

I’ll be working on my Camp NaNoWriMo novel today, which has the fill-in title of Robot Dreams until I can think of a real title for it. For those who are unfamiliar with one of the best things about NaNoWriMo, I encourage you to take a look at the word wars forums on their website.

They are fantastic fun and I’ve just spotted a new one that, if I’d noticed it way back in November, might have led to even greater writing success. It’s called the ‘Can you solve a murder?’ writing crawl and it transforms writing into a game like Clue. Looks fun, so I’m going to try it.

I’ll add updates about my writing to this post and hopefully we’ll see some fun new scenes from it. Rather than follow it the way it says to, with number of words to write I think I’ll translate that into minutes writing; as that’s much easier and more fun. So 100 words = 5 minutes.

The italicised sections are quotes from the writing crawl, taken from the forums, and are the work of N1ghtwolf89 (http://nanowrimo.org/forums/word-wars-prompts-sprints/threads/263127).

  1. ‘Roll a dice to see how quick you get there’
    I rolled a 6, which was basically the worst possible score for this section, meaning I don’t receive any of the coffee that would have made my task easier. My beginning target is to write 500 words. Simple enough!
    500 words = 25 minutes in my way of running the crawl.
    Starting time: 9.46pm
    Finish time: 10.13pm
    Words written: 1127 words.
    Words per minute: 45 wpm
  2.  ‘You find a scrap of paper with a Fifty-Headed Hydra on it’.
    This is a challenge that will be familiar to anyone who loves NaNoWriMo, and it is one I have found quite hard. While writing at 50wpm is easy enough even when in the flow of story, it’s the having to start at a good momentum that is a little trickier. Being in the middle of a scene when I start this challenge should make it a little easier.
    Edit: I just realised why this challenge is actually a challenge. It’s 500 words in five minutes. Oh. That explains the consistent frustration the hydra challenge causes me every November. Well, I’m set up with a song that is 5 minutes and 4 seconds long, so here goes!
    500 words in 10 minutes = 500 words in 10 minutes
    Starting time: 11.02pm
    Finish time: 11.07pm
    Words written: [subtract 74 words from the current total in document]: 269 words
    Words per minute: 53.8wpm
    Unsurprisingly, I didn’t manage to complete this challenge, as it is one that requires quite a lot of mindless typing. I’m trying to make this first draft into something ready for reshaping and word vomit isn’t exactly the best way of doing that!

    Time to see what my penalty is…

  3. Write another 100 words while you listen to a lecture on evidence contamination.
    Well, 100 words = 1 minute, so here goes.
    Starting time: 11.13pm
    Finish time: 11.14pm
    Words written: 33 words
    Words per minute: 33wpm
    Writing for just a minute is pretty tricky, especially when you are just getting back into a scene. That is one of the flaws with word wars, while they can be extra encouraging and fun they also draw you out of the world you are creating at odd intervals.

    I now get to look at the information for two of the ‘suspects’ in the murder mystery game that the crawl creates. I chose the wife and the best friend. Intrigued to find out some more clues. Everyone looks so guilty! This reminds me of the Doctor Who Agatha Christie episode, which was wonderful.

  4. Write for fifteen minutes while you relay your findings to your boss.
    Start time: 11.20pm [approx]
    Finish time: 11.35pm [approx]
    Words written: [subtract 376] 1071 – 376 = 685
    Words per minute: 46 wpm
    Additional words: I was really into the scene at this point so I continued writing, making a note of where I was word count wise and then continued. That gives me an additional 374 words.
  5. I got to pick a Suspect card on the game and now have the task of ‘sprint to the next thousand words’. As I don’t quite know my current word count, and kind of want it to be a surprise, I’ll use what I just had. That was 1375 words, which means the next thousand word mark is 625 words away, which equates to around half an hour of writing. It’s getting late, so I’ll take a quick break (perhaps I will have some Easter egg chocolate!) and will return…
    Edit: I’m at a perfect part in my scene to continue in the morning so will stop there for the night, with an additional 101 words from writing while I prepped some music for the next stage.


So there it is, one quite good day in the writing life! As you’ll be able to see, I write best on the evenings. There’s something about those last few hours before you go to bed that help create new worlds in my mind.
Daily word count: 2589 words 🙂


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