Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #43

Another quick week. I feel like I got a ton of work done, both in the library and in writing, and I had an awesome weekend celebrating my BFF’s 30th birthday.  A whirlwind week to be sure.

Last Week:

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Revise two chapters of Exodus
  • Read a short story

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Nope.
  • Revise two chapters of Exodus
    • Yes! And then some. More on that below.
  • Read a short stor
    • Yep. I read a few out of Kameron Hurley’s new collection before I had to return it.

Weekly Word Count: 119

That’s more words than I expected since I was editing, but I feel good about the changes made. So good, in fact, that I kept revising until suddenly there were no chapters left to edit. I submitted the story to my preferred market for it last night!

Social activities took up the bulk of my weekend, which for once was exactly what I wanted. We sang karaoke, went to a pumpkin patch, and played video games with friends. It was a nice, relaxing fall weekend.

I’m not reading as much as I ought to these days, but I’ve been playing some video games and catching up on Letterkenny and the Great British Bake Off.

But, the big news, the news I’ve been skirting around this whole blog post is… The Cost of Rain has been ACCEPTED! I’ve signed the contract so now it’s just a waiting game until it’s published. I’ll have more details the closer we get to the publication date, I pinky promise.

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Begin outlining/brainstorming for Nanowrimo
  • Read something!

Keeping it simple this week. I’m ahead of my goals for this month, writing-wise, so I have every excuse to take it a little easier this week. Besides, I can use this “down-time” to let my Nano project marinate and start coming together. I’ve built the playlist, which is always a great first step. Now to see where that takes me.

I read a graphic novel last night, and have two more I’m in various stages with. I’d like to get them each done this week, plus start my book club book and read at least one short story. I’m WAY behind on my reading goal, but that’s no excuse not to read as much as I can.

I’m battling some serious Dragon Age cravings right now, which is why I’m reading the graphic novels and eyeballing the novel tie-ins right now. I think another announcement about the next game will be coming out in the next month or so and I am so freaking excited it’s ridiculous. So I read things and wildly theorize and wait.

So, you know. Reading, writing, gaming, lather. rinse. repeat. I don’t know if I’ll be back on the blog this week. I don’t have a book review for you, but if I think of anything else to chat about, I’ll be here.

Til then, Bloggos.

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 52

Can you believe it, Blogland? 2018 has come and gone, and that means there’s a lot to talk about. However, this post isn’t meant for that. I have to talk about the last week of 2018 before I can start making plans for 2019!

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish any last minute reading
  • Write something

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yep. Nothing too important or dense, but I made an effort to show up!
  • Finish any last minute reading
    • Yes! I finished reading Dragon Age: The World of Thedas vol. 1, just like I planned!
  • Write something
    • Yes! I wrote a little oneshot for a tumblr prompt! Hurray!

Weekly Word Count: 592

This week was really just a matter of tying up loose ends. I finished my lingering tumblr prompts, caught up on some reading, and made an effort to relax. I also picked up some stray hours between both jobs, so I worked a little more than I originally intended.

The really big question mark is, what the hell comes next?

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish listening to Spying on Whalesspying on whales
  • Write 1k on Tavi
  • Outline/Brainstorm for Santa Sarita

I’ll be honest, I haven’t really nailed down my yearly goals for 2019, which means I don’t have any idea of what my monthly goals should be, which in turn means… I have NO CLUE what I’m supposed to do this week. I’m gonna fake it ’til I make it!

I spent December decompressing my the marathon of November’s Nanowrimo. I won’t lie, I’d followed my story pretty much blindly until it took me to a scene I didn’t know how to get out of. I’d started to think I’d written myself into a corner, and then on my drive home last night my brain decided to notify me that we could proceed with the novel at my earliest convenience.

So, that’s nice.

For now I’m really marinating on what really worked in 2018. What were my successes? What were my obstacles? How can I learn from each of these in order to make the most out of 2019?

Tune in on Tuesday to find out, and for the traditional blog renovation!

 

BZ

So, That was Christmas

I don’t actually have much to say, but just wanted to shout a little bit about the awesome holiday I had!

I spent the morning drinking coffee on a videocall with my dad and my young siblings. Their ages range from seven to thirteen, so there’s never a dull moment when I talk with them. Add in the adrenaline rush of Christmas morning and boy oh boy was that a blast. I chatted with my baby sister while we listened to our dad fight with the new technology as he tried to set up my brother’s shiny new iPad. My stepmom made breakfast, my middle brother showed me how to Floss™ (spoiler alert: he’s WAY better at it than me), and my oldest brother actually stopped playing Fortnite long enough to come say hi. I was honored.

Then Trev woke up and we gave the dog his gifts. While Simon chomped away on a rawhide alternative “bone” we opened our gifts. Trevor loved his slippers (UGG for Men, which gave me a good chuckle) and I got a sweet haul of books and manatee socks. I have a weak spot for the tubby sea cows, so the socks brought a big grin to my face.

Image may contain: 1 person

I spent a large chunk of the day talking with my mom’s side of the family, including my closest cousin that lives in California. Then I read the remaining fifty pages of The World of Thedas vol. 1 and we watched Christmas Chronicle. Kurt Russell has no business making Santa so attractive…

It was a wonderful, relaxing day filled with comfort foods and hot cocoa doing some of my favorite things; reading, eating, and cuddling my two favorite boys.

I’ll start reading World of Thedas vol. 2 tonight, and hopefully spend another year marinating in Dragon Age lore. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday if you celebrated!

It’ll probably be quiet here through the end of the week, but next week I’ll be back for the Goals Summary, the Recap, and the annual New Year, New Look! So, Busy busy busy.

Until then, Bloggos!

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 51

Oh Blogland,

It’s Christmas Eve! I’m looking forward to a quiet and cozy holiday spent with the husbando and the pooch, curled up on the couch with cocoa and a slew of Christmas movies. There will be the traditional (at least in our household) Mexican food tonight, and probably leftovers tomorrow.  What’s not to love?

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish listening to Traitor’s Blade
  • Write something

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog poststraitor
    • Yarp.
  • Finish listening to Traitor’s BladeYes! The review is up now!
  • Write something
    • Yep, another little Dragon Age oneshot. So there’s that.

Weekly Word Count: 1,724

This was another calm week. There’s nothing quite like a migraine to get me invested in an audiobook, let me tell you. And, thankfully, I really enjoyed Traitor’s Blade.

Writing so far this month has really just been whatever strikes my fancy. I’m letting my creative muscle relax after the marathon of Nanowrimo, and just doing the occasional fanfic sprint when I feel up to it. I think it’s a successful approach, because over the weekend I had my first itch to get back to my novel. I think I’m going to take this next week off as well, and come back refreshed and ready to work in January.

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish any last minute reading
  • Write something

Again, keeping things low-key this week. I’m not sure what else I’ll have to talk about on the blog this week, but if I think of anything, I’ll be sure to let you know. I plan on finishing World of Thedas vol. 1 as a sort of fun, “I-read-this-over-the-course-of-the-whole-year” kind of thing. That’ll put me at 67 books this year! And if my hunch is right, I might unwrap vol. 2 tomorrow and continue the tradition.

I don’t know if they’re will be any writing this week. I have more free time in the next few days than I’ve had in months, and I fully expect Red Dead Redemption to make a comeback and keep me glued to the couch in my spare time. But, if I get any ideas for a oneshot, or figure out where the heck this scene in my novel is going, I’ll be sure to write it down.

Image result for spying on whales

I’m still in the early stages of Knight’s Shadow, and I’m listening to a nonfiction book in short bursts. I don’t expect either of them to be complete before the end of the year, but at least my 2019 reading list is off to a good start! I’ll have more on that subject next week, when I break down 2018 and lay down the foundations for 2019.

Until later, Bloggos,

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 17

Blogland,

It’s Monday, which means it’s time to talk about goals!

 

Last Week

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Edit 3 chapters of The Steel Armada
  • Write 500 words of Sanctuary
  • Research more short story markets
  • Review Madhu’s pages

How’d I do?

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Edit 3 chapter of The Steel Armada
    • Nope. 1.5 were done. I have more to say about this in a forthcoming post.
  • Write 500 words of Sanctuary
    • Done. Got a whoppin’ 1,476 on this chapter. Feels good.
  • Research more short story markets
    • Yep. I still haven’t heard back from either Fireside nor Flash Fiction Online, so that’s good. But, I’m ready with a whole list of magazines to submit to if/when the time comes.
  • Review Madhu’s pages
    • Duh-doy. It’s the one thing you know I’ll do!

Weekly Word Count: 5,164

This week was a bit of a struggle, editing-wise. I was also in denial for a lot of that struggle, which really only made things more difficult. Again, I’ll get into the details in  post later on this week. That being said, I did write about 1500 words of rewrites on The Steel Armada this week, so nothing to sneeze at.

I also wrote a nice big chunk of chapter 3 of Sanctuary, about half of it, actually. So that feels super good too. I also accepted some last minute Tumblr prompts, and wrote one of them in one session. At just over 2000 words, that felt really good. It’s not related to anything, just a little Dragon Age oneshot, but it was fun to write.

I’ve done a bit of solid research on short story markets, both pro-rate and semi-pro. I’ve got a list and couple websites bookmarked to use as resources. Once I hear back from the two I’ve submitted to, I’ll probably do a “Submissions check-in” post to talk about all of this.

Now What?

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
  • Finish chapter 3 of Sanctuary
  • Finish ma-sulevin Tumblr prompt
  • Get halfway through Blackfish Cityblackfish city

So, that looks super straightforward. Five bullet points? And one of them is just reading? Pffffft. Easy peasy! Oh, except I’m going to write at least 3,500 words this week? What? What’s that all about? Well, Madhu and I have challenged one another to daily word count goals on our respective projects. I couldn’t bring myself to agree to her 1k/day, but I can commit to 500 words. So… I’m doing it.

Someone send help! What have I done?

I’ll be back this week with the April Recap and my Editing Check-in. Until then, Bloggos!

 

BZ

Fanfiction – Pros and Cons

Hi Blogland,

When people hear the word ‘Fanfiction’, one of two things usually happens. Either, they roll their eyes, shake their head, and suddenly get very angry on the behalf of content creators. Or, their eyes light up, they grin, and probably blush as they rush to ask what fandoms you’re a part of.

I am an avid fan of Fanfiction. I’ve been reading Fanfiction since I was a teen, in the early days of fanfiction.net (or ff.net as it was to be known). It was a wondrous time, with hours spent searching out the perfect stories that would expand upon settings, plot points, and characters I had come to love so much. Like many in my generation, my gateway fandom (per urban dictionary, the community that surrounds a particular movie/tv show/book etc.,) was Harry Potter. Specifically, stories where Hermione and Draco were romantic interests for one another.

Draco disapproves
You’re not fooling anyone, Draco, we know the truth.

Over the last 15 years or so, my interests and tastes have grown and changed, as they do. Over the years I read not only Harry Potter stories, but Pirates of the Caribbean stories, Pride and Prejudice stories, Pitch Black stories, as well as Moonlight (the ill-fated vampire crime show of 2008), Veronica Mars, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age stories.

There are so many stories that I still remember to this day. Swashbuckling tales following a young Jack Sparrow, sprawling narratives that explored Elizabeth and Darcy as husband and wife, stories that ventured to guess how Riddick would overcome the  threat of the Necromongers. Fanfiction was a place for fans to let their imaginations play with the characters and settings they already loved. And it was an outlet for budding writers to learn their craft by mimicking the style and tone of the original author, or by tweaking the established elements into their own voices.

I dabbled with writing fanfic as a teen, and though I was courageous in sharing my early work, I never really committed to it. There are a slew of unfinished stories loitering on my ff.net profile, and so they shall remain, a testament to where I started and who I was when I was 15 and finding my legs. And though my writing was riddled with false starts, I never truly stopped reading.

Now, so many years and much more writing experience later, I’m not only a reader but an author on the much more navigable Archive of Our Own (or, AO3).

This leap, from quiet fan camouflaged in the anonymity of the internet, to active participant and creator was a daring one. I was terrified to share my first completed story, but I was proud of it too. Plus, there was a serious need in the community.

andromeda

Mass Effect Andromeda had just released in March, and by mid-April most of us had finished the game and were desperate for more. There was a wealth of settings and characters that we couldn’t wait to explore further, and certain developments in the game were left dangling for future sequels.

But, fandom is rarely patient.

I scoured AO3 and ff.net for anything that would satisfy my craving for more time in the world of Andromeda. And while I found several that were to my liking, it still wasn’t enough. I found myself thinking up my own scenarios and before long I was writing them. And then I was sharing them. And then, the craziest thing happened.

People responded. Like, a lot. And the responses were overwhelmingly positive.

After years of writing fiction in a vacuum, where the only feedback was found in classroom workshops, reading comments on my fic felt like stepping out into the first rays of summer sun.

Not only did people like what I wrote, but they liked it enough to leave detailed comments and to reply when I responded to them. When I admitted short-comings, readers would offer to help me through them, and one such offer led me to Tumblr.

My whole internet life changed with the decision to create a Tumblr account. Not only did most of my readers/reviewers have Tumblrs of their own, but I was able to share links to my work that they would then share with their followers. My readers could ask me questions, tag me in games, and gift me with art and creations of their own. Suddenly, I went from the solitary writer, alone in her study, to a content creator people within the fandom recognized and enjoyed interacting with.

Now, this all happened on a relatively small scale. There are fanfic series that have thousands and thousands of hits, with hundreds of bookmarks. I am not that writer. My fandom is relatively small, but it is fierce and devoted, and frequently overlaps into other mutual fandoms.

This led me to branch out from Mass Effect Andromeda, and to experiment writing other characters in other worlds like Dragon Age and the original Mass Effect trilogy. When I reached over 5000 hits on my longest fic I hosted a giveaway, and wrote stories that really challenged me. Stories that involved other people’s original characters (OCs in fandom parlance) in situations and relationships that I wouldn’t have necessarily put them in.

Fanart 1
artist credit, top left: secondarysidecharacter, bottom left: vixilancia, middle left: chatnoir-art right side: blacksheep33512

By posting my fanfic and sharing it in an active community I was able to interact directly with my readers. I answered reader questions, took prompts for flash pieces (known as drabbles), and my personal favorite, I received fanart of my series. People who read my story liked it enough to draw scenes or moments from it and share them with me. Waking up to a notice that one of your followers has drawn something for you, completely unsolicited is probably one of the best feelings ever.

So, obviously, I tend to view fanfiction very positively. But, there are some negatives to being an active fanfic author.

For instance, it can be very time consuming. This last year I wrote 264,850 words of fanfiction. That includes every plotted installment of my large series, every random drabble that was prompted on Tumblr, and the occasional themed weeks of stories for various holidays and fandom celebrations. I still have another fic planned in my series and another Dragon Age story I want to write. The possibilities seem to be endless when it comes to fanfic, and I honestly think it’s because writing in an active community is so social.

Writing my own original content is a labor of love, devotion, and solitary obsession. It’s something I do alone, for myself alone, until such a time I think it’s good enough to share with someone else. My experience with fanfiction has been a very positive one, full of encouragement and mutual obsession. I’ve made friends online because of our shared interests. And that makes it hard to walk away and devote less time to fandom and more time to my own content.

What started out as a small, four chapter story turned into a giant series with more than five installments, including a short story collection. I was obsessed, and had the most output I’ve ever had in any writing capacity. But, I also didn’t get anything done on my own content hardly at all last year. It’s a difficult balance to maintain.

fanart 2
Artist credit, all: jozstanko-art

Another potential pitfall of fanfiction is getting pulled into fandom disputes. Fans are just that, fanatics. We feel very strongly about the various ships (short for relationships) and characters. We have opinions, lots of them, and they don’t always jive with everyone else’s. So, occasionally there’s drama within the community, and I’ve seen the fallout be quite harsh. Luckily I’ve avoided most of the conflicts, and have yet to be the source of anyone’s ire. Thank goodness.

To me, the benefits of my fanfic experience far outweigh the possible dilemmas. This past year taught me how to interact with a fanbase in a direct and genuine way, and to contribute quality content consistently. Now, as I continue my long series I’m also editing my first novel, teaching myself how to juggle the two projects and keep my output on a reliable schedule.

2017 was a very educational year, one I hope to expand on this year by continuing to interact with my fandom while pursuing my writing and editing goals. With lots of hard work, and even more luck, I hope I’ll be able to use my newfound skills interacting with readers of my own original work someday soon.

Best,

 

BZ

 

 

Emergency

Hi Blogland.

This summer has been a very trying one. My husband lost his State job in June, I was passed over for a full-time position at the library yet again, my aunts came to stay with us, and then my best friend was hospitalized this week after a nearly fatal car crash.

She was extremely lucky and suffered no broken bones, but a concussion, seven staples on the left side of her head, a small puncture in her lung, and a large liver laceration found her in the ICU. She’s home now, and resting, but it could have gone the other way so easily. I’ve been pretty shaken up over it all, and I’m still reeling if I give myself too much down time.

But, it’s getting better. I’m just exhausted.

I made a writing friend, and we’re going to exchange chapters to workshop for one another. I’m nervous, but really excited to have someone in my town that I can share writing experiences with. Wish us both luck!

Anyway, I’m exhausted and battling some sciatic nerve pain right now. My plan is to do some laundry, play Dragon Age, and get lots of sleep.

I’ll see you soon with a book review of The Glass Magician because I am flying through it, it’s so good!

Until then Blogland,

 

BZ