National Novel Writing Month: Progress, Dragon Age Inquisition and Computer Stuff


Hello out there in the real world! I say the real world because mine feels rather not real at the moment. I’m in the midst of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and I have to say, every year I forget how hard it is. 50,000 words, one month, and well, me being me I’m shooting for about 60,000 to 70,000 words, while not killing my health, diet or exercise regime (such as it is). I know from past experience that shooting ahead of target is great, but typically there’ll be a few days later in the month where I just can’t write—and just write a little bit of nothing (i.e. 200 to 300 words) or I just take the day off and feel both bad and relieved.

Actually, even though I’ve made a conscious decision to write this blog post, I can feel the weight of expectation pressing down on my shoulders—does this really count towards NaNo? The answer of course is ‘Yes it does because it’s writing and I say it does’. The next question is ‘Is it cheating?’ to which the answer is ‘Yes it is, but it’s my time and my month and I’m going to define it any way I bloody well please’. I guess I’ve always treated NaNo as a writing month, but now, for me, writing has become more than just putting words into a draft. Currently it also means blogging, which I do far too little of, updating the Queermance website, and sending out emails regarding Queermance 2015.

Speaking of, if I’ve just met you at Book Expo Australia earlier in the year (seriously it was only what, one or two months ago? Feels like a lifetime!), then expect an email from me about showing up at Queermance. The emails are on their way, I promise! Also, it’s not writing, but I am also going to be dedicating some time to video editing, both to bring you some of our recent fundraising Cabaret Get Your ROCS Off with the RMIT Occasional Choral Society, but also because Isabelle Rowan and I will be launching a Pozible Campaign very shortly in the hopes of turning our annual Anthology (Queermance Vol II) in this case, into a print book, as well as having it as an eBook. Hopefully with some amazing wrap around cover art! Our first goal, however, is to pay our authors, stay tuned for more info and pitch in if you can (either submit a story to us, support our Pozible Campaign or both), Izzy and I will love you forever if you do! If you want to see some images of the event itself or find out how it went you should have bought a ticket. But if you didn’t, you can check out the Queermance Blog over here.

In other news I just splurged on a new computer. Or at least, I splurged on the parts for a new computer, which I’ll probably pick up in a week or two, just in time to lose myself in Dragon Age: Inquisition for a month or so. I may have argued I was buying a new rig for decent video editing power (and I am), but part of me also wanted to get something to kick Inquisition into high gear. If you haven’t seen the gameplay videos yet, it looks amazing! I love the Bioware games, as they’re always trying to tell an amazing story, which is a cause dear to my heart. Sometimes I feel they sacrifice gameplay for story (see my review of Mass Effect 3), but I love what they do, what they try to do, and while I have issues with EA’s spyware Origin platform, I will very grudgingly allow it onto my PC for the purposes of getting awesome games. That said, EA, please expect me to buy fewer of your games on account of it. Plus the whole SimCity fiasco. Ugh. Waste of money, that one.

The thing about computers is that when I start looking at parts, I always want to get the best—the latest chipsets, the latest motherboards and top of the line graphics. When I looked at a new rig at the beginning of the year it was Intel’s Haswell CPUs that were top of the line, and I wanted those (but couldn’t afford them). Now, I’m lusting after the X99 systems, but…yeah. Can’t afford those. In the drive to want the best (and arguably do that little bit extra in terms of future proofing), it’s easy to get sucked into overspending and pushing out your budget. So I have to ask. Do I really need the Z99 chipset when I’m not a hardcore gamer? Do I need an i7 CPU with hypertheading just because it’s supposedly ‘more powerful’ than an i5? Do I really want 2400 Mhz RAM or will 1600 do?

Turns out the answer is, no, I don’t need the Z99, yes I do need hyperthreading for video editing, and no I can take the more economical 1600 MHz RAM and probably see little change in performance. Which is good, because it turned out that one of the cheapest RAM sets available to me had a better transfer rate than the more expensive sets, arguably making it a more efficient and effective bit of kit. My last PC was a beast, sucking it a lot of power (electricity bills, ouch), and running super hot despite having a case with six fans. As a case with six fans, it was (and is) super noisy. So my goal this time around was to find a quieter build. Unfortunately, some of what I’d want in a quiet build isn’t available in Australia, but I’ve done the best I can. It does mean I’ve had to splurge a bit and get a new case, Power Supply and my first CPU third party cooler, which has cost a few hundred dollars extra, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to reuse the case down the line (possibly replacing the fans when they wear out). I’m also hoping that only putting in a single, higher end graphics card rather than two lower end ones using crossfire or SLI will mean that the entire system will use less power (both in terms of inefficient fans and power draw) and lead to lower electricity bills. Hopefully it works and leaving the computer to render video will no longer take all night—or if it does take all night it won’t sound like there’s a spaceship taking off in the corner of my bedroom.

One day I’ll have a dedicated writing room. I have no idea when that will be, but one day! In any case, I’d better shut up about technology and get back to my NaNoNovel. If you’re writing as well, how are you going? On track to get to 50,000 words? If you’re in Melbourne hope to see you at the Night of Manuscripting Madly next weekend. I will be there with foccacia and I might even do pancakes in the morning if the donut run to the South Melbourne Markets is a bust again this year. You’d think the food truck would realise we show up once a year to buy a box or two of donuts, the same way that Mojo’s weird pizza have realised we place to orders in November for 30-40 pizzas and that it’s not a prank. I think they put on extra staff for Melbourne Cup day and our NOMM each year actually. Okay, Goodbye for now and hopefully I’ll be updating again soon when I next need a novel break!