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

Goals Summary 2020 – Wk #17

I know we’re all experiencing this “Stay Home, Save Lives” business differently, but I’m really not digging how the days are beginning to blur. What did I do last week? I dunno, when even was last week? What are the boundaries? How do I delineate time beyond archaic alarms and a white board?

Last Week

  • Tavi revisions
  • Finish The Last Sun
  • Make and post Finna video
  • Write 800+ words

How’d I do?

  • Tavi revisions
    • Yep! I only have 8 chapters left on this pass through.
  • Finish The Last Sunthe last sun
    • Yep!
  • Make and post Finna video
    • Sure enough.
  • Write 800+ words
    • Ha.

Weekly Word Count: 336

I’m in a weird spot this morning. Emotionally I’m feeling pretty good, until I try to break down last week into something I can talk about. Then I feel sort of foggy and glum.

I edited pages. I read a lot. I played Spyro and watched another MasterClass. We made good food over the weekend, braved a trip to the grocery store. I talked with students, worked my two days in the building prepping print packets and accepting returns from graduated seniors. I worked out a bit.

But that’s it. Just bullet points, not even a highlight reel. Nothing stands out as particularly interesting or worth sharing. I was here. I did things and did my darnedest to stay sane. But, I’m not eating PopTarts yet, so I’m not doing THAT poorly.

What’s Next?

  • Tavi revisions
  • Make and post The Last Sun video
  • Finish Storm of Locusts
  • Write 800+ words

Yep. Lather, rinse, repeat. You know this drill. This to-do list is working (mostly), so why change it?

I’m curious to see how the revision process changes this week. So far I’ve been working with a paper copy, noting where changes need made and scribbling ideas and little rewrites. The REAL revision happens once this stage is done. This is the first book that I’ve liked enough to not completely rewrite it. I think it largely works and I just need to create some stronger through-lines and iron out a few wrinkly bits.  But I have no idea how long that will take. But I still don’t feel daunted. Maybe not quite as excited as I was a week or so ago, but no less determined.

Videos will continue as long as we’re Staying Home™ and as long as I’m reading. I’m almost done with Storm of Locusts — I’ll probably finish it today — and I have no idea what I’ll read next. There’s no shortage of choices, which sort of makes the indecision worse. But I’ll figure it out. I always do.

The writing… well. It is what it is. I’ve got some fanfic I’ve been fiddling with, and my shadow-boxer short story is still alive up in my brain, it’s just percolating. There are a lot of considerations and weirdness where that’s story concerned and it’ll make itself known when it’s ready.

Submissions continue to continue, so much so that I forget to update anyone when a rejection comes in and another submission goes out. I hardly react to rejections anymore, which is really nice. The process feels much less personal now, even though I still get that wave of excitement with each new submission.

So, yeah. That’s good. This is getting a bit ramble-y despite my claims of having nothing to say. That’s the quarantine for ya. I’ll be back this week with another video.

‘Til then, Blogland.

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2020 – Wk #15

Hey-o Blogland,

It’s Monday. The sun is shining. And I haven’t had my coffee yet…

I’ll be right back.

 

*Jeopardy theme plays softly, as if from a distance*

 

Ahhhhh. That’s better. Nothing kicks a sunny day off quite like a glass of iced coffee.

School starts back up today in our new Distance Learning model. I technically have students, my Library Aides who get elective credit for helping me out in the library, but we aren’t expected/required to do anything for those teacher’s aides classes. I still want to connect with them, and maintain some sort of routine myself, so I made a google classroom where they can pop in and say “hi”, at least once a week. We’ll see if anyone shows up today.

While I wait for students to “arrive”, let’s talk about goals!

Last Week

  • Tavi revisions
  • Finish reading Vengeful
  • Make and post The Ocean at the End of the Lane video review
  • Write 800+ words

How’d I do?

  • Tavi revisions
    • Nope. I thought about it on Friday, and then avoided it like the plag — Well, you know.
  • Finish reading Vengeful
    • Yep. It took longer than I thought, but it still went pretty quick.
  • Make and post The Ocean at the End of the Lane video review
    • Yep! It’s up now.
  • Write 800+ words
    • Nope. Not even a little bit. Not even at all.

Weekly Word Count: 0

Putting a zero next to my word count tracker never feels good, but I don’t feel as bad about it as I would expect. Last week was… crazy. There was a lot of work to be done to prepare for school to start back up this week. We handed out almost 300 chromebooks in two 7 hour sessions. I worked two different shifts building printed packets for students who don’t have internet access. I largely ignored my diet and barely worked out and probably drank a little too much.

Basically, I was a mess this last week. And that’s okay. We’re living through unprecedented times, adapting to work in situations we never thought we would have to. I’m not gonna beat myself up about not writing or ignoring my manuscript right now.

The good news is that today brings a return to structure. And with structure comes routines. And you all know how much I love routines! I’m already feeling calmer and more centered as I sit here, waiting for ten o’clock to roll around so “class” can begin.

What’s Next?

  • Tavi revisions
  • Read FinnaFinna
  • Create and post Vengeful video review
  • Write 800+ words

So, there you have it. Lather, rinse, repeat. I have some ideas about where to start on my revisions now, so that’s an improvement. I still have no idea how to finish this fanfic oneshot I’ve been working on for weeks now. I may have to scrap it and start over at this point. It isn’t making sense for some reason.

Reading and video-making seem to be my two favorite things right now. Although, I played quite a few games over the weekend. I returned to Spyro Reignited, played the demo for the Final Fantasy VII Remake, and played Wizard of Legend with the husband. So, yeah. Lots of screen time this weekend.

I also have a new episode of Ask the Bards to listen to today, which is super exciting. I love this podcast so much! I’ll probably listen to it during lunch.

So, yeah. That’s the week behind and the day ahead. We’ll see where it takes me.

Until later, Bloggarts.

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2020 – Wk #14

Last week was… intense. There was a lot of work to be done in a very small amount of time to get students ready to transition to distance learning. Add in a migraine and I honestly don’t have many details on the week.

Last Week

  • Edit The Lament of Kivu Lacus
  • Finish reading Ashlordsashlords
  • Write 800+ words

How’d I do?

  • Edit The Lament of Kivu Lacus
    • Yep! Sent it out to some friends to get feedback.
  • Finish reading Ashlords
    • Yes. The last 100 pages or so would not let go.
  • Write 800+ words
    • Yes, barely.

Weekly Word Count: 952

I don’t have a lot to say about this week. I finished reading Ashlords, immediately started Vengeful, and then listened to The Ocean at the End of the Lane over the weekend while I was down with a migraine. So, a productive reading week, at least.

I did get another revision on the short story done, and sent it off to a handful of friends for feedback. So, that’s good. Once I hear back from them I’ll make any final tweaks and then start the submission process. Which is kind of crazy to think about. Every time I start a new story, submission quality seems so far away. And then one day… it’s just ready.

It’s wack.

I did a little bit of writing on some fanfic, but not a ton. I’m really struggling with this oneshot, and I’ll admit it hasn’t had much of my attention lately. Hopefully now that school will fall into some sort of routine again I’ll be able to hunker down at the keyboard and get some words down.

What’s Next?

  • Tavi revisions
  • Finish reading Vengefulvengeful
  • Make and post The Ocean at the End of the Lane video review
  • Write 800+ words

It’s pretty straightforward again. I’m over halfway through Vengeful already (because V.E. Schwab owns bones). I have a good chunk of time tomorrow to work on the next episode of Mrs. Harlow’s Quarantine Reads!, and I want to finish this oneshot.

The big question mark is the novel. Revisions suck. I can’t help but feel that way for a project this big. I’m not even 100% sure where to start, even though I just read the thing two weeks ago.

I think I need to just read through it again and let myself make the edits that come to me. I had some questions and notes on the first read through, so I should just make the changes and answer the questions. I need to sprinkle in some foreshadowing, get the main character’s emotional struggle on the page sooner, and iron out some details in the ending.

… Okay. Maybe I do know where to start? I might have thought about this more than I realized.

So, yeah. That’s the big project on the docket this week. And I’ll be honest, I’m not expecting huge strides here. It’s a big, super daunting task, and I need to take it piece by piece or I’ll get startled and run and hide.

But, I’ve been listening to the playlist again, which is always the first step in any writing project. I’ve been thinking about the book, about the characters, and wondering how to make every moment shine. I think I’m just about ready to try.

So, yeah. That’s where I’m at. Feeling good, if a little nervous. I’ll be back later this week with a video book review to share.

Until then, Bloggarts!

 

BZ

The Recap – March 2020

How do I talk about March? What will I expect to find in this blog post this time next year? Five years from now? How do I capture the way normalcy was utterly shredded in what felt like two days, and then pasted back together in a totally new pattern? The start of March was one world, the end of March is another. Which is only weirder, because I didn’t pick goals until mid-March, when I realized I was going to be home more than usual.

March Goals

  • Edit The Lament of Kivu Lacus
  • Keep Reading!
  • Write 2000 words

How’d I do?

  • Edit The Lament of Kivu Lacus
    • Yep! I’ve sent it to a few people for a beta read. Once I hear back I’ll make some more adjustments and then start submitting.
  • Keep Reading!
    • Oh, yeah. That’s pretty much all I’ve been doing.  I read 6 titles in March.
  • Write 2000 words
    • Yarp. Actually, a bit more than that.

Total Word Count: 6,956

This month has been so long. I know we all feel the same way about this. I initially embraced the order to stay home, looking forward to gaming and reading time. But it only took about three weeks of limited outside interaction to realize I was feeling pent up. Trapped. Thank goodness I’ve been out of the house for work these last couple of days.

Lots of reading, quality Dragon Age time, a bit of editing, and making videos for my students got me through the last half of March. I still have two short stories out on submissions right now, as per usual. I’ll be sure to let you all know if that should change.

April Goals

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

As it sits right now, I’m feeling good about Lament. Well, not really. It’s horribly depressing, and I don’t know if anyone will want such a deeply sad story (especially right now) but craft-wise I think it’s pretty well done. I like the changes I made, the risks I took. I think the story pays off and is the best I can make it without outside opinions. Which means I’m playing the stage 1 waiting game: waiting for beta readers to tell me their thoughts!

Tavi edits is a big job. Not because the book is in bad shape, I actually think it’s the most cohesive first draft I’ve ever written, but because it’s almost 90k words that I have to read and sculpt over and over again until I feel about it the way I feel about Lament. I’m guessing that’s about a three month project, at best.

There’s no shortage of reading material in this house. I still have two more books from the public library to read, and then I’ll start tucking into all those books I bought over the years but never read.

I’m not so sure about the writing goal this month. I don’t have any writing planned, other than fanfic, which has been giving me some trouble this last week. We’ll see how much output I have while I’m revising and back at work, at least in some capacity. I did have a short story I was working on, but I decided to pause on that because it’s one of those cases where my writing hasn’t quite leveled up enough. I want to play around with the timeline and experiment with it a bit, but I don’t even know where to start. Something to read of/about, and then try again at a later date.

So, yeah. Reading, writing, editing. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I’ll be back on Monday to talk goals, and hopefully with another review video, if I can get either Vengeful or The Ocean at the End of the Lane finished up over the weekend.

Until then, Bloggarts!

 

BZ