Saturday, November 26, 2011

NaNoWriMo Failed; other stuff

Quite frankly, I think that I have too much on my plate right now. So this month was a 5k word exercise in failure. Which is quite okay, because one of the reasons I had trouble writing was because I wasn't happy with the story. On the other hand, I've written more on the novel I've been trying to write all year, which is good.

I've been checking with myself, and quite frankly, I don't have the ability to do school work, regular work during the busiest time of year, and be a father while writing. So instead, I'll continue things at my snail pace until I get to January, where regular work will slow down.

Speaking of January, I'm making plans to attend the LA GGJ, so if you're going to be there, introduce yourself! I'll be introducing myself as Pangoria. GGJ or Global Game Jam, is a 48 hour lockdown of game making. I'm really excited for it. One cool thing is that this month's class, Design Project, is a culmination of this year's classes. The goal is to make a board game as a team. We've had three meetings so far at about 2 hours to 3 hours each, and I must say, I'm loving the progress we are making.

I went out tonight and bought some materials, and I'll probably spend tomorrow working on a practical board for the game. Though we have a game mat that we could easily use for the game, I want to experiment with different design patterns. To do this, I got a foam board, and some sticky notes. I use the notes to arrange the "tiles" on the board. In this way, I can easily try different layouts.

This will be the second board game that I'll be making since I started Fullsail, and considering the team I'm working with, it is quite a bit more ambitious than Milk Money, my first board game. We don't exactly have a name for the game yet, since we want to finalize more features and game mechanics before we start in on it.

There is quite a bit of news that came out during November, and I'm sure you have all been reading and keeping up on it. I'll instead focus on any news that comes out lately, and if there is something really interesting to talk about from it, though some subjects that came up would be interesting to explore in more depth, it would be old news by the time I get around to writing about it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Week 4 - Wrap-up and Result Dissonance

Well, I've managed to complete about 10% of my novel so far. I have to wrap up for my assignment, which means looking at what I've done so far. Some key things about the novel is that I was exploring the idea of paradigm-shifts, cognitive dissonance, and how people express their feelings.

So far in the story, we have seen the sister's actions not match her thoughts, the difference in how she and her brother view the world, their reactions to suddenly finding themselves in each other's bodies, their in ability to let go of the fact that someone else is in their body, and I focus repeatedly on how each interprets the other's expressions, instead of saying what the other person is thinking.

Facial expressions is one of those things that I often tend to misread. Because of this, shows like Lie To Me are really interesting. I've tried to study other people's facial expressions, but I tend to only understand the faces of people I've been around a while with. I took an Empathy Quotient test over at and scored an 18 (people with Asperger Syndrome and high functioning Autism score and average of 20). As a counter to that, I actually scored lower on my Systemizing Quotient with a 14. I'm not sure if this says more about me, or about the quizzes. This really confused me since EQ and SQ tend to be opposites. Either way, it means that I think rather equally with both sides of my brain and that in both cases, I just don't do so very well.

Part of what I'm trying to explore with this story is not only how to write expressions and reactions, but also to learn and understand them a bit more myself. Also, the story is about two kinds of people that I've never been myself. In this sense I'm trying to create the lives of an outgoing person and a highly emotional person, and trying to find a way to make the imitation not only into reality but as a way of understanding why people like them behave the way they do.

As for how organized I've been with this project, I must say that I really wish I had less demands on my time. Even the one week I had less work to do at school, I ended up having over-time at work. So even then, I could not have the time I felt I needed. Instead my writing was gorilla style, typing in hundreds of words when I could. In the end I've probably only spent a few hours actually writing, when I had wanted to spend tens of hours.

At the rate I'm writing I would probably need another 27 weeks to finish my novel. Regardless, I'm planning to use this weekend, and next weekend to get as close to the end as I can. If I can beat last year's word count of 30,000 words, I will be very happy.

I'll be posting up my word counts, including my word counts of today and tomorrow, by tomorrow evening, and I'll post a final wrap up at the end of the month.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Week 3 - Time Management and Self-Accountability

Wow, three weeks have passed already. In fact, I am on the home stretch for my school project, but... I am far behind in my writing. I have a graph of all the work I have done. Four days worth. That is one day out of every week, where I have worked on this project. That is a literal definition of 20% (or close enough to it). The thing is, that it is nowhere near enough to be done with the novel by the 20th. Doesn't mean I won't keep writing even after the class is over. I still have until the end of the month. Instead the issue is whether I spent the appropriate amount of time on my project.

My goal to write a novel this month is not something that I could accomplish with 20% effort. In fact, 20% effort would get me to about 10,000 words, which is about what I will write by the end of the month at my current pace. Most of my work for this class is done, and I've spent every night writing. I must say that my very hands are tired from the exertion.

I tackled the weekly, time sensitive material first. Even this blog post, which is part of my project, took priority over the actual act of my 20% effort. Which is why I'm typing this over the novel currently. Lucky for me, all I have left is this week of writing, and a concluding post this weekend, as well as an analysis of the whole concept.

In that case, my focus has been accurate. Thought I may or may not complete NaNoWriMo this month, it will not stop me from continuing to write throughout the year. It also will not prevent me from trying to finish the project after the due date.

One issue I have is Self-Accountability. I seem to be more productive when I'm accountable to other people. When I work by myself, it becomes almost guaranteed that I will goof off instead.

Part of the question is, whether I'm happy with how the story is going or whether I think that it is any good. Quite honestly, though this is based on an idea that I had, the execution is altering the concept repeatedly. Part of it comes from writing for writings sake. At some point the story gets lost in babble.

Quite honestly, this project has helped me focus on things about myself that I thought I understood, but that in the end was only a surface understanding. I still believe that I can write a novel, but I'm not sure that I can do so in such short a time.

Part of it is also how I'm thinking about the novel. Thinking in word count can make it difficult to focus. Instead, I want to be able to focus on 2k blocks of story. Short stories that tie into a overall narrative might make it easier for me to write. I will try to apply that concept to this final week to see if I'm able to observe any difference.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Week 2 - Continued Low Self Efficacy

I started this writing project with a high sense of self efficacy. I believed I could write 50,000 words in one month. After 2 weeks, and only being 1k words into the project, I'm quaking in fear. Though I may have 25 days in NaNoWriMo, I have only 14 days to finish up this project. That is 3,500 words a day. Between work and school work, this feels entirely impossible.

Part of the problem is my own fault. Every time I feel I should write, I play instead. I am sabotaging myself. I'm not exactly sure why. Either way, my current self-efficacy is low for completing NaNoWriMo this month.

I'm currently experiencing cognitive dissonance. I'm trying to justify it somehow, but all I have, is that my own actions were poorly chosen, and that I have placed more work and stress on myself instead. This made it even harder for me to tackle the issue. Instead, what I did to reduce the dissonance, is to accept that I have a larger workload, and plan to schedule harder set times to write.