My Challenges as a Queer Female Time Traveller: 6,406 words

Let’s not beat around it; I should’ve gained a few thousand words, but I’ve gone and lost nearly 700 since last week instead.

Oh, bother.

My Challenges as a Queer Female Time Traveller - Ulysses project, week 4
My Challenges as a Queer Female Time Traveller – Ulysses project, week 4

Excuses & work ethics

I’ll boil it down to two reasons:

  • I’ve been more sick than I have in years.
  • I have a day job.

Cold and flu season always hits me hard. I just don’t have the constitution for it. I eat healthily, I stay hydrated, and I take my vitamin pills — but every time those germs come rolling around, I’m a wreck.

This week, though… oh boy. I’ll spare you the gory details. Suffice to say, I had to buy new bedding because I was vomming faster than my washing machine could keep up. And I don’t think I’ve ever been so dehydrated in my life. Sweat has been dripping off me constantly, and my body has ached for water, but my stomach couldn’t keep it down.

So I’ve had some time away from my day job, curled up on the sofa and trying to hold myself together.

I know some of you are thinking how awesome it would be to have some time at home with a laptop and a story to work on. Well, I have a rule for balancing my day job and personal projects: if I’m too sick to work, then I’m too sick to work.

If I find myself too sick to go to the office, but not too sick to work on personal projects, then that’s not sick; that’s avoidance. That’s an ethical boundary I refuse to cross.

So I’ve been hands-off for most of this week, and focussed on feeling better. A little orange juice and meditation can go a long way.

Okay, but that negative word count…

Between Saturday night and Sunday morning, I spent a few hours reviewing my outline and brainstorming new mind maps to fill in gaps.

I ended up trashing pretty much all my notes for the third act, and replacing them with a mind map which describes a bunch of try/fail cycles for my heroes to work through before their final confrontation with the villain. The race to the climax was rather muddy last week, but it’s much clearer now.

I also brainstormed some of the connections between the villain’s desires and actions. One of his solutions to a problem is massive overkill, but it needs to happen for something else to make sense later. I threw down some ideas for other things which could be going on for that intense course of action to make sense, and I ended up refining them into one really solid idea which has now become a fairly significant part of the story. This is cool!

All this refinement and brainstorming is movement in the right direction, but it did result in about 700 words being culled — and I’ve just been too sick to replace them.

And I’ll admit, none of what I fixed was actually in my challenge to myself for this week:

By this time next week, I want to have my second act outline tightened up, and the villain’s reveal planned. I don’t think I’ll have time to get the mental string and glue out for the third act, but I’ll be happy enough if the second act is more robust.

The truth is, I had to be smart about how I spent my energy this weekend. I was inspired to look at the third act, so it made sense to crawl through that rather than push myself to do anything else. It’s all forward motion anyway, so no regrets!

This week’s goals

I’m going to set the bar low this week, since I’m still sick and I’ll be prioritising energy to my day job.

So, my two goals are to just:

  1. Get the third act scenes summarised, and:
  2. Add enough detail to those summaries to bring the word count up to 8,000.

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