So, it's Graduation Week for the University, my favourite week of the year - work-wise at least.  Everyone is doing their best, and everyone is smiley and happy.  Lots of girls in too-short skirts and too-high heels; lots of boys in three-piece suits. And mums in fascinators and dads in ties they don't usually wear.  It's great fun.

My line-manager is on leave this week but he's told me to get in touch if I need anything as he's at home decorating.  He's still the best line-manager I've ever had.  Of course, at some point, he's going to do something that doesn't suit me but, for now, everything's good.

I've been through Death of an Ice Cream Seller and added some bits to beef up what is now the main secondary plot - the security around the exchange of the jewel.  McNeal is going to be getting in Langley's face A LOT and that is really going to wind her up.  Today, I've begun writing the history of the trading post because I need to understand the political boundaries - what are the Chancellor's areas of responsibility? what are Langley's?  Why has a human been appointed?

And I'm pretty much done with Witcher 3, at least for now.  I've spent the last few days doing some random sidequests (including finding a missing hairdresser - LOL) and exploring question marks on the maps.  It doesn't really feel like I've finished - but tomorrow is all about FFXII:ZA.  I am going to download it as soon as I get up in the morning, after my experiences with FFXV.  It probably won't take nearly as long to install but I'm out on Wednesday night, and I don't want to have to wait until Thursday to play.  Yes, I'm VERY excited.  Leave me alone.

We had a nice quiet weekend as the grandson was at some family do on his dad's side.  I did want to try to get to Despicable Me 3 next weekend but my mum and stepdad are coming down.  So, the weekend after...

OK, that's all for now.
 Made some progress with B&W last night. I'm TERRIBLE at the time trial - can't even stay on the bloody track! Still, the important thing is helping Vivienne - and I did get a nifty new crossbow.

I've been compiling a wish list for the remake of FF8 - if it ever materialises.

Things to keep
- story (I know there are HUGE plot holes in it but that's part of its charm)
- drawing and junctioning systems

Things to lose
- random battles, although I think they'd go anyway
- other than that, I can't think of anything I'd ditch

Things to add
- proper camping, like FFXV
- drawing from environment, like FFXV
- clothes for different weather conditions - surely we can do this, now?!
- a specialism for each character, eg, Irvine - fishing; Squall - cooking

Hopefully Square Enix will pick up on this!

I've begun working my way through DOAICS, chapter-by-chapter, to update my plot matrix. Some of my initial planning is sooo far out! When I've captured the 'as is', I'll work out what I want to add/lose for the rewrite. Feels like progress is being made!

Also making a little progress at work. I really hate days when I have to find stuff to do, but the new project application process still needs work, so there's that.

And that's all for now. Toodles, DW!

 I've been watching the Britain's Got Talent semi-finals this week, so no W3:B&W, other than what I played on Monday. But it is time spent with husband, so that is a Good Thing.

We're both getting excited about our trip to Cardiff in August. I really need some 'nice' nightwear... Yes, I said 'need' and I meant it! I also need some nice maxi-dresses so that I can stay cool and comfortable.

It's raining today, which means digging out a pair of boots. WTF? It's JUNE!!!

And yes, work is slow - lots of people are off due to the school half-term. And even when I tried to make progress on a thing yesterday, I couldn't because other people need to do something first. Le sigh.

The latest practice (how did we get to #7 already?!) in Leo Babauta's 44 days challenge is 'Loving Kindness'. You begin by wishing yourself happiness, peace and freedom from trouble, then someone you love in an uncomplicated way, then someone you feel neutral about, then someone you REALLY don't like, then your group (family, country, something in between), then all living things. I'm finding it a helpful way to meditate because I'm thinking of something rather than trying to keep my mind empty. And doing it first thing in the morning before I do anything else means it gets done!

The new character sheets also continue apace. I think I only have two more to do, then I can get on with the plot!

I have spent the morning so far sneezing and blowing my nose. Hope I'm not coming down with something...

Planning to swing by the doctor's this morning and book a smear appointment. Yay...

Well, that's all for now. Time to get this day started!
 I'm currently writing the character sheets I didn't bother with when I was prepping for DOAIS but which I have felt the need for since doing the flash pieces. It's amazing what you learn about characters!

Work is ticking along. Looking forward to the CRM meeting today - they're usually interesting, and I feel a sense of 'YAY!!!' whenever we shuffle half a step further along with some element. It has to be said that there is quite often an accompanying sense of 'NOO-OO-OO!!!' when someone tries to introduce something new to the mix.

Our room at the Angel, Cardiff is booked. Had a minor panic when I realised I'd booked the train tickets BEFORE securing the room - and without being sure I could change them. But it's all fine. I also bought a Visitor Card that gives you discounts on all sorts of goodies around Cardiff - then realised it's only valid for a month. So, I'll have to buy another one nearer the time - doh!

OK, time to get this day started properly. Toodles.
 I'm steadily working my way through the flash vignettes for the DOAIS characters. I'm finding it a really worthwhile experience. Delving into their pasts is a) making them more real to me and b) giving me insights into them as people, which will c) make them more rounded in the novel. One of the things (and there are many!) I love about FFXII is that the characters feel like they have REAL pasts, lives that happened before the story begins. It makes them so much more interesting.

Another suggestion I came across this week was to write down 20 things about a character that the reader will never know. The idea being that some of the sense (and potentially the things themselves) will seep into the writing. I already have pretty detailed character sheets but it's something to keep in mind.

Anyway, I have 7 more vignettes to do, which will take me nicely to the end of the month. I'll give myself the final couple of days off from actual writing but I will have a think about how I tackle the next step, which involves replotting the whole thing. Which is, of course, the thing that I've been putting off in the name of 'getting to know my characters better'!

The other discipline I've applied the last few weeks is Leo Barbauto's 44 day challenge. He's introducing readers to 11 practices designed to help one become more Zen - starting with breathing and body awareness, and moving on to managing the thoughts that will intrude when one is meditating. On a personal level, it's about quieting the monkey brain and just being more present. On a wider level, it's about being more in control of one's emotions and recognising that people don't always behave the way we want them to - and that's OK. Well, unless it isn't - it's not a free pass to abuse.

Anyway, although I haven't ever managed to meditate on a regular basis before, the first few practices are all things I have experience of. I am also familiar with letting things go, managing the stories I tell myself about my own and others' behaviour. As well as my daily (almost!) Chi Qong practice, I am now managing a few minutes of meditation most mornings. It hasn't (yet) changed my life but I appreciate the way he's layering the practices, and I expect to hit something new further down the line.

Work-wise, in contrast,  I've been allowing myself a bit more slack! But I'm still getting the stuff done that needs to be done.

Doctor Who tonight, following some cleaning and possible DS9. Saturday's are always fun.

I also need to have a conversation with my mother about her house. And I need to have a conversation with my son about behaving like a home-owner and not a squatter.

Fingers crossed they go well!
 So, the cast list for DOAICS is pretty long, even though the story only focusses on a few of them. But that's going to change now that Brad has such a pivotal role in the revised version. And Susaal seems to want in on the action - just not sure how to manage him. Hmmm... need to think about that.

Anyway, using the writing.com flash fiction prompts is really interesting. They are totally random (today's was 'write a story including the words window, whistle, pin') but the selection of the character isn't - it's just whoever is next in the list. Of course, the list was compiled rather randomly in the first place - it was just whichever character I thought of, rather than their importance to the plot! So, Susaal and his father appear before Brad, even though Brad was arguably more important to the story (certainly as far as Langley's state of mind went) even in the original version. But, Brad is now going to have a much more prominent role.

But I am finding out some interesting stuff about them. With flash fiction pieces, I don't usually have much of an idea of where the story is going. I pick a character, a location, and a bit of a scenario - and see where it goes. So far, they have all turned out pretty coherent and, as I say, interesting.

The plan is: finish the flash fiction pieces for each character; rewrite the plot sheet; insert the new words; smooth it all out; do a plot edit (does this REALLY make sense?); do an edit per character (or, at least, for each major character); possibly do a tech edit; do a final smoothing out edit. This is going to take a while!

Work-wise, I'm actually getting into this quality stuff. It is definitely 'what we do' but we aren't explicit about it. At the very least, tracking it for myself will a) give me something to do and b) boost my skill set.

It's Quantico on the telly tonight, so finishing FFXV will probably happen tomorrow. Then it's W3 DLCs, here I come!
 So, a lot of my week-day habits (like 4 minutes of Chi Qong as soon as I get out of bed) go by the wayside at the weekend. But I am rather proud of myself for keeping up the writing habit this morning. It has also provided some food for thought on how best to utilise Harris, a sketchy character at best in the original draft. In fact, I'm not even sure she makes an appearance!

I didn't get to FFXV last night (family games followed by TV game shows), so Chapter 13 will have to wait until tomorrow. But depending on how much I get done today (hang out washing, hoover house, clean bathroom) I might get both playthroughs done.

And there's the fourth episode of Doctor Who tonight *squeals with excitement* Can't believe we're up to the fourth episode already!

One of the downsides to writing in here every (or almost every) day is that I don't have much to record. But if I leave it too long, I forget everything. Oh, the perils of middle-age.

Well, time to get this day properly started. Toodles, DW.
 At the end of each little flash fiction I'm adding a line describing what I've learned about that character that I didn't know before. Which is the point of the exercise. It's really interesting what shakes loose. And it's really interesting to see what my initial thoughts about them were when I was writing the character sheet and that have proved to be completely wrong. Yeah - people. Strange creatures - I struggle with all of them, even the ones that only exist in my head.

I've added an extra line against each character on the plot sheet. We now have 'Main Plot' and 'Personal Journey'. I love being able to do so much work to a story without actually getting into the manuscript. Of course, at some point I am going to have to do that... But that's quite a ways off.

Tonight, I plan to tackle Noct's playthrough of Chapter 13. I probably won't get to Gladio and Iggy until Sunday, but that's OK.

And tomorrow there's The Doctor to look forward to. Can't believe we're up to Episode 4 already!

Well, time to get today started.

And at some point I will find a userpic...

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