The Recap – May/June 2020

All right. I’m not gonna waste time pretending I know what the hell happened in June. There were a couple of frantic work weeks and even more emotions. I numbed out with some serious video game bingeing and reading. So, instead of breaking down the goals from May, lemme just sum up where various projects are at.

  • Tavi is on pause. I have a lot to think about with this book. My mindset in regards to the entire project has done a 180 and I don’t really know what to do about that. So, until I’m feeling a little less shreddy toward it, I’m going to work on other things.
  • The Shadowboxer is back on the front burner. It’s an extremely ambitious story and it’s demanding a lot from me. I’ve maintained for a while now that every story requires something different from me, some more than others. This one wants me to basically re-invent the wheel when it comes to my “process” and I’m struggling with that. I’m going slow, climbing this story mountain one rock at a time and doing A LOT of outlining. The joys of non-linear narratives!
  • The Bahn Hexe has reappeared in my imagination, so maybe that will come next. I dunno and it’s silly to even think of “next” when I’m still hip deep in the rough draft of something else.
  • I also have a new novel idea (I may have mentioned that) and I think that will be my Nanowrimo project this year. It’s percolating.
  • Three short stories are currently out on submission. Fingers-crossed, as usual.
  • The Cost of Rain is OUT NOW at Corvid Queen! It’s a Speculative Western(ish) that has some serious Folklore vibes. I hope you like it!
  • I’m reading #aStoryaDay in July and tweeting about them as a little challenge to myself. If you have any recommendations, please share them in the comments or @me on twitter.

The fact that I’m here, talking about projects and thinking about goals for July is a win in my book. This is the most work I’ve done since school “ended”, which I shouldn’t feel so bad about, considering it was only like two weeks of vacation. I seriously need to learn to chill.

But, since I obviously don’t know how to chill (yet), let’s talk about July!

July Goals

  • Write every day
  • Read a short story a day
  • Keep reading (novels)!

So, yeah. That’s where I’m at. The Shadowboxer is my main focus this month. I’d love to get the rough draft finished before August, but I don’t feel very hopeful about that. I’m grappling with it a little too much at the moment to feel confident about a completion date. It’ll get done when it’s done and not a moment sooner.

I’m reading The Stolen Throne right now, but think I’m going to put it down in favor of the mountain of new books I got from curbside pickup at the library. There’s some really good titles in that stack that I’m much more interested in reading. Besides, The Stolen Throne is a reread and it did not age well.

I’ll be back on Monday to talk a little more formally about goals and progress. Until then, Bloggos.

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2020 – Wk #23

Work has been crazy as we’re heading into summer. It’s my first school year and I had no idea what these last two weeks would look like. There’s a lot to do in a normal year, let alone one that was disrupted by a global pandemic.

Last Week

  • Tavi Revisions
  • HQR video
  • Read something
  • Write 800+ words

How’d I do?

  • Tavi Revisions
    • Nope. I’ve decided to press pause on this project.
  • HQR video
    • Nope. No time.
  • Read something
    • Yep. Over 100 pages of Priory.
  • Write 800+ words
    • Yes! My fanfic is moving forward. Finally!

Weekly Word Count: 880

So… Tavi. Here’s the thing. My main character is a cop. Her two best friends work for the Police Department. And she loves her job, but due to the events of the book, her job is in peril. Right now… it is very hard to work on a book that has any sort of positive outlook on police departments in America. It feels incredibly tone deaf at the moment and my feelings on the subject are incredibly tumultuous at the moment. If I continue revising the book I will gut it in fury. I need to cool down and think about how to more authentically handle the police as an entity in my book.

I’ve been working on fanfic while I simmer on all these feelings. We’ll see how long it takes to come back around to a place where I can work on the novel again. Regardless, it’s unlikely to be in the next two weeks.

What’s Next?

  • HQR episode
  • Read 100+pgs of Priory
  • Write 800+ words

That’s where I’m at. Right now, my library work is taking up pretty much every ounce of my brain so I’ll be happy to get anything on this list done. I also need to get my monthly recap post done. But… I don’t see that happening this week. Just sayin’.

I’ll be around. Eventually.

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2020 – Wk #21

I’m running out of ways to introduce this post every week. So, let’s just get on with it.

Last Week

  • Tavi revisions cont’d
  • Post another episode of Mrs. Harlow’s Quarantine Reads!
  • Read 100+ pages of The Priory of the Orange Tree
  • Write 800+ words

How’d I Do?

  • Tavi revisions cont’d
    • YEP! This was a major success for the week.
  • Post another episode of Mrs. Harlow’s Quarantine Reads!
    • Yarp. I hope you enjoyed it.
  • Read 100+ pages of The Priory of the Orange Tree
    • Yes! It’s moving along and pulling me in. I just forgot how… slow Epic Fantasy can be.
  • Write 800+ words
    • Maybe? Technically, I think yes, because of rewrites. But I don’t track those word counts… so no?

Weekly Word Count: ?/0

It was a very productive week. I finished the first round of revisions on Tavi, made a video, read a bit, and binged two seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender. So yeah. Life’s good.

Oh, and we’re still sheltering in place, despite the state entering Phase One of reopening. My husband and I agree that it’s a mistake to behave as if we’ve “beaten” this virus and are dreading that second wave in the coming months. But people can’t handle being cooped up for this long, apparently. After the restlessness of the first few weeks we’ve settled into an easy routine. I think it will take a long time to feel comfortable in large groups again.

So, What’s Next?

  • Tavi revisions
  • Post another HQR video
  • Read 100pgs of The Priory of the Orange Tree
  • Write 800+ words

I’ll be reading Tavi pretty much all day — ironing out the timeline, assessing pacing and structure, and continuing line edits. Barring any major revisions/rewrites, this round of edits should take no more than two weeks to get through. I’m feeling hopeful so far.

I’ve got another video ready to make tomorrow, one I’m pretty excited to talk about. So that’s good. I think Priory will be a slow and steady wins the race situation. If I read ~100 pages a week, I’ll be done in July. Probably. I should probably bump up that page count if I want to get through it… damn.

Writing is… what it is, right now. My focus is on Tavi and consuming media in my down time. I did play a little Dragon Age last week, so maybe I’ll get back to writing some fic, but the summers are typically a writing dry season for me. We’ll see if the pandemic has any effect on that. Or the whole not-working-in-the-summer, thing. Because that’s new.

Anyway, I’m off to eat something and start reading my book. Again.

Until next time, Bloggarts!

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2020 – Wk #20

Helloooooooo Blogland!

It was another amorphous, intangible sort of week. The sun rose, rain fell, and the sun eventually set. Work was done, or not, and I floated through time and space ignoring it all.

Last Week

  • Tavi revisions cont’d
  • Post 2 videos
  • Read 100+ pgs of Priory
  • Write 800+ words

How’d I do?

  • Tavi revisions cont’d
    • Nope. I did brainstorm some titles, but still did not land on one. I wrote a (very) rough draft of my query letter, which was a fun exercise. So… progress?
  • Post 2 videos
    • Yep!
  • Read 100+ pgs of Priorynetwork effect
    • … No. However. I did read Network Effect front to back in about 24 hours. So, I’m calling that a win.
  • Write 800+ words
    • No.

Weekly Word Count: 324

There’s been an article floating around the internet explaining that COVID-19 closures have put us all into a state of grief. I read the article early into the lockdown and thought, “well that makes sense”. I didn’t particularly feel as if I was grieving, I was just a weird combo of bored and frustrated and vaguely anxious. But the last couple of weeks have been different.

First I was very restless, then I got some news that ratcheted my anxiety WAY up. Add that to all the people protesting to reopen and the general lack of consideration shown in public spaces and well… I was angry. I didn’t realize I was angry until a fairly routine Friday night conversation with my husband spiraled out into a mutual bitch session about the state of the world. I realized that this feeling, this anger and growing ennui was what my husband had been feeling for weeks (he has a public facing job and it sapped his limited optimism quite quickly). It made me feel bad for him, and for not recognizing it sooner, but it also made us both feel better, because we were finally on the same page.

We were in the same stages of grief.

The weekend was much better. I finished my second watch of Schitt’s Creek, read a book, made yummy food and helped bake cookies. I even snuck in a workout! It was very relaxing.

So, today I’m feeling better. Not 100%. I don’t think I’ll be 100% again until we’re back to “normal” — whatever that looks like in the post-COVID era.

So, What’s Next?

  • Tavi revisions cont’d
  • Post another episode of Mrs. Harlow’s Quarantine Reads!
  • Read 100+ pages of The Priory of the Orange Tree
  • Write 800+ words

Obviously I’ve fallen WAY behind on my proposed revision schedule. The good news is, I planned for this, and I still have time to get this rough draft wrapped by the end of the month. I only have 11 chapters to go and only 2 of those need major rewriting. If I can get back to my ~3 chapters a day routine, I’ll be done this week! And even if I don’t get back to that routine, I still have two weeks to do 11 chapters. Totally doable.

Wednesday morning are my video making time, and for once I actually have an idea of what I want to talk about! WHAT?! That never happens!

I picked up Priory again after I finished Network Effect last night. It reminded me that, while I love Epic Fantasy, it is such a different animal than the books I’ve been reading lately. I’m enjoying Priory so far; the prose is lovely, the characters and world are interesting, and I’m hooked into the political intrigue so far. But, man, there is so much foundational work that HAS to be done in the front half of books like this. No matter how much I want to read it, or how “fast” I read, it still feels slow. Not in a boring way, either. I’m still here, ready and willing to read, but the pacing is intentionally slow because there’s simply SO. MUCH. to talk about. The opposite of the Murderbot books in almost every possible way.

Writing is still slow. I’m wondering if that’s because I haven’t been playing Dragon Age… With this franchise, being distant from the original work doesn’t really matter for me. I’m pretty well immersed in it no matter what. I’ve spent too much time in the world to be anything else. But the motivation is… lacking at the moment. I’m avoiding some big feelings on the fictional horizon and I don’t think being mid-COVID is helping that.

Which is fine. Revisions need to be the focus right now anyway. Speaking of, I have shit to do.

Talk soon, Bloggarts.

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2020 – Wk #19

So… huh. I just discovered that, apparently, my Goals Summary post for last week never actually went live. So this is awkward. I’m here to talk about goals you didn’t get a chance to read about — hurray!

Last Week

  • Tavi revisions cont’d
  • Post bloopers video
  • Finish Destroy All Monsters
  • Write 800+ words

How’d I do?

  • Tavi revisions cont’d
    • Yes? I didn’t get as much done as I wanted, but I did get three more chapters revised.
  • Post bloopers video
    • Nope. So now I’m a week behind. Cool. Coolcoolcool.
  • Finish Destroy All Monstersdestory all monsters
    • Yep!
  • Write 800+ words
    • Not even close.

Weekly Word Count: 0

So, yeah. As you can see, things sort of went off the rails last week. My energy levels are down, I haven’t been working out, and all I really want to do is watch Schitt’s Creek until I am fused to the couch.

Full disclosure, I have been rendered utterly useless by this show. I love it so much. In fact, I don’t plan on being very useful for a few days because I need to inhale the remaining episodes and avoid these revisions. I’m at a chapter that requires pretty major rewriting and I don’t have the attention span for it right now. I’m accepting that at the moment and trying to treat myself with some grace.

So, What’s Next

  • Tavi revisions cont’d
  • Post 2 videos
  • Read 100+ pgs of Priory
  • Write 800+ words

Yep. More of the same. Just like the days. Maybe that’s part of the problem… I dunno. I’m feeling pretty distracted and uninterested at the moment. I think this is about all the juice I’ve got for today. Not a great omen for the how this week is going to go.

Wish me luck Bloggos.

 

BZ

 

The Recap – April 2020

March felt long, but April felt… like a single long day. Not actually that much time, and yet exhausting. I am an introvert. I enjoy my alone time and staying home. I read and play video games and entertain myself pretty well.

… I miss my, albeit small, social circle. Tomorrow would have been Cinco de Micro. We would have convened at the convention center and enjoyed sampling microbrews and listened to dubious cover bands and ate lots of tacos. We would laugh and joke and tell all kinds of stories. We would have had fun.

Instead, we’re home. Again. And I know why and I deeply believe in the need to stay home and save lives. But man. It isn’t easy. The only thing getting me through is my work.

April Goals

  • Submit The Lament of Kivu Lacus
  • Begin Tavi revisions
  • Keep Reading!
  • Write 4000 words

How’d I do?

  • Submit The Lament of Kivu Lacus
    • Yes! I got some great feedback from my first round of readers and was able to make the final tweaks I felt it needed. It went out on Monday.
  • Begin Tavi revisions
    • YES! I did the read-through and note-taking and have now started really digging in and making changes. This meatier round of revisions is going well so far.
  • Keep Reading!
    • Oh yeah. I read another 6 titles in April, and a couple short story tie-ins. On a recent FaceTime chat with my dad I gave him a tour of my TBR piles, literally. There are PILES of books all over my house, waiting for me. There is no shortage of reading material here.
  • Write 4000 words
    • … No. But, I knew going into it that writing would be slow. Revision takes up parts of my brain that draft new content. My output is pretty much halved when I’m revising.

Total Word Count: 2,162

I don’t really know what else to say about April. I’ve been reading lots, making more videos, and working on my writing projects. I finally made some headway on my fanfic which accounts for the 2k words, and I’ve outlined subsequent stories through to where I’ve played the game so far. It’s looking good, and oh so close to the heartbreaking ending.

Which means I have an excuse to play more Dragon Age, haha! Like I need one.

Revisions are going very well. I’m really pleased with the direction I’m taking this book and the clarity of vision I have to guide my decisions. There’s a lot of work to be done, but I’m not daunted and I’m confident in the choices I’m making. That feels real freaking good, I tell ya what.

May Goals

  • Tavi Revision #1
  • Keep reading!
  • Write 4,000 words

I have 31 days to revise 20 more chapters. I’ve already revised the first six in the last two days. I’m feeling really good about my progress and my grip on the project. I’ve broken it down into Revision Phases, each with its own goal. I could probably write an entire blog post about that. Hmm…

Anyway, I know where I’m headed and what I want to accomplish and I’m really excited about that. It’s going well.

Again, there’s reading aplenty in this house. I started Destroy All Monsters last night and am in awe of it already. Yet again, Sam J. Miller proves he is a top-notch storyteller. I love his work.

We’ll see if there’s an uptick in writing this month. I’m feeling good about it, mainly because I got over a weird emotional hump in the story and now there’s just some fluff before the angst train comes barreling through. But, if revision continues at this pace, I might not have much gas in the writing tank. Which is fine. I’d much rather focus on the novel than the fanfic. Obviously.

So, yeah. That’s where I’m at. That’s what I’m working on. I hope you’re all doing well, keeping safe and sane, and finding a little bit of joy in your day-to-day. If not joy, maybe just peace.

I’ll be back on Monday to discuss the week. Until then, Blogland!

 

BZ