Looking Back On NaNoWriMo

This time five years ago I was halfway through my inaugural attempt at NaNoWriMo, and halfway through writing my first ever novel-length writing project. It was the culmination of a few weeks of late-night planning of something great, and ultimately what I would say is the first big “event” that signposted my taking “this writing thing” as a serious endeavour.

I’ve attempted and completed NaNoWriMo three times; each successive time I learned something I didn’t know from the previous effort – to break my work into chapters, to have an outline prepared, and to be absolutely committed and have a rough roadmap of my story before November 1st. I really think that, as an event, it’s a great way to jumpstart one’s creativity, and to turn those eminently-latent thoughts of that novel you always wanted to write into something material. There’s also an awesome, supportive community that breaks down that barrier of writing being a solitary and exclusionary practise.

I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year; I’ve always been a proponent of business being an actual help to the writing process, but my university studies are quite intensive at the moment as I’m still fully transitioning to full-time education after years away, so I can’t really pillage time from my schedule for NaNoWriMo this year; at any rate, I want to write my post-apocalyptic novel The Thaw and my outline is nowhere near ready for the actual drafting to begin. I want to really harness that frenetic, creative energy to get the project off to a good start.

I always see NaNoWriMo as an opportunity, too, to tweak and further optimise one’s workflow, as productivity is key. The one aspect of NaNoWriMo that I found the most motivating was updating my spreadsheet to see my progress claw toward the goal of 50,000 words, and in a way, I find having such a crazy deadline brings about the most unexpected, and enjoyable, bouts of creativity.

I’m working right now on some ideas and plans for next year; I want to also reflect on this year as a whole – looking back on my resolutions, I’ve not kept to them particularly well, so I want to reflect on why that is and how I can look to better my outlook in 2016, and this will include the questions as to what is ultimately going to happen to my three partially-completed manuscripts that I wrote in those three heady Novembers. Happy writing!

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The SimCity Post

I’ve watched the launch of the new SimCity game over the last week with a strange feeling of both amazement and utter despair. It’s been like a massive, exploding car crash that I’ve strangely enjoyed watching get worse and worse. The words “total failure” don’t quite seem to cut it, but adding superlatives would just needlessly inflate my wordcount.

SimCity 2013

I’ve grown up with SimCity, playing it on my venerable SNES to countless different PC systems. Interestingly, I played the different versions in a funny order, each game enticing me to see the gameplay differences in a different or earlier version. Nonetheless, I’ve lost countless hours to SimCity, and it’s a game that quite deservedly is very close to my heart.

Imagine last year when I heard about the first new game in the series proper for ten years. My heart skipped a beat. Then I read the details, to which my heart sank.

“Always on multiplayer”… “DRM”… “Origin”… no, this couldn’t be!

As a SimCity player for years, this wasn’t what I wanted at all. It was refreshing also to see many other longtime fans as disappointed at the choices made, however, there was always a loathing feeling that our complaints would fall on deaf ears. Which is exactly what happened.

The launch last week has exemplified what we all feared – that our game will be literally unplayable if there’s any server issues. What makes it worse is that SimCity is a game that doesn’t need multiplayer at all. A social, connected multiplayer region experience is probably at the bottom of all fan wishlists, but it’s what we got, at the expense of city size and accessibility.

SimCity 4I’ve not played the new SimCity, and have no intention to. DRM/multiplayer aside, I’m quite unimpressed with several game design choices – small city size, dead space between regions, no local saves, and “plugging in” to an arbitrary highway connection to name but a few. The game however looks extremely nice graphically and the simulation engine intriguing, but… it just seems to fall flat once you dig in. Essentially as it stands, it’s a £40 Facebook game.

Thinking about how SimCity has failed in such a spectacular way is upsetting, and the ramifications and damage done to the brand are even more so. Worse still is that Maxis/EA are refusing to accept that the online-only model has just proved its fallibility.

But screw that, for there’s a bigger task at hand here. Fairview needs me!

SC4 - Fairview (my region)

First Month Review

My new blog has been active a whole month now, and I’m really glad I bit the bullet and started afresh. It’s been a lovely chance to regroup and reorganise my efforts online.

Brief thoughts:

  • I am absolutely loving Wordpress; it’s just so much more powerful, capable and easier to manage than Blogger! It’s also nice to not have a backdrop of old, irrelevant legacy content to deal with, and I can really keep organised.
  • For the first time in a long while, I find myself eager to have something to add here, so it spurs me on to write more so I can have more stuff to talk about. I’m looking forward very soon to having some new work to show you all, and then I can stop telling you all what I plan to do and show what I’ve done.
  • Had a ton of ideas to flesh out the blog and add new, original content that I’m sure you’re going to love!

Stay tuned! :-)