Goals Summary 2020 – Wk #27

Hey-o Bloggos,

I didn’t formally set goals last week, but I did manage to write the following on my whiteboard:

  • Write every day
  • #aStoryaDay

Um… neither of those things happened. I did manage to read 5 stories over the weekend, and have two more to read today to get caught up. I did not write every day but I did get a lot of outlining done and started in on one branch of the story.

Weekly Word Count: 47

That’s an abysmal word count, but there was a lot of formatting, assessing bits and pieces from previous attempts at this story, and a LOT of outlining. Work was done, it’s just not the sort that’s quantifiable. Hopefully that can change.

What’s Next?

  • Write every day
  • #aStoryaDay

That’s it. That’s all I’m striving for. I have a lot of household chores to catch up on and a hike planned for tomorrow, so it’ll be a busy-ish week outside of writing. Hopefully I can focus up and get some work done too.

Talk at you all soon.

 

BZ

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

Summertime, and the livin’s… all right?

Heyo Bloggos,

Just wanted to let you all know that I am still around. The last couple weeks of work/the school year were pretty ding dang intense. I’m sure I mentioned it (here and here). Rightly so, I’ve taken this first week of summer break to breathe, chill, and come down from the frenzy that was closing down my library for the summer. I’ve watched a couple movies, way too much Jeopardy, read a bunch, and have generally just pretended I’m on vacation.

But, y’all know me. I don’t sit still well. A week in and I’m all ready getting antsy. But, I’m doing some writing (fanfic) and some outlining (new short story) and I’m still waiting to hear about some stories that are still out.

So, yeah. I’m here. Just give me some time.

 

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

 

Goals Summary 2020 – Wk #18

Hiya Blogland. Another blur of a week, another post to try and make some sense of it.

Last Week

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

How’d I do?

  • Tavi revisions
    • Ah, yiss. I finished my read-through and note-taking and am now making substantive changes. I’ve revised 9 chapters so far!
  • Make and post The Last Sun video
  • Finish Storm of Locustsstorm of locusts
    • Yep! As predicted I flew through this book. What I did not predict was that I would fly through the next book on my (literal) TBR pile The Wrath & the Dawn.
  • Write 800+ words
    • YES! I finally got some words down. Nothing too crazy, but enough to celebrate the small victory.

Weekly Word Count: 1,253

It was a good week. Productive in many (mostly writing) ways. I read a ton, made good food, edited a lot, and wrote a bit. I did not workout at all and I wasn’t very diligent with my household chores. Striking a balance in all of these things feels damn near impossible.

I’ve made a plan for revisions: 3 chapters a day, 5 days a week. If I follow it, I can take weekends off from revising and enjoy some free time. For instance, this weekend we made Hot Chicken Sandwiches, French Dips, watched lots of Bon Appétit, and played video games. It was quite chill.

I also attended a Zoom meeting for Willamette Writers on writing and publishing Flash Fiction. It was cool and nice to get face time with Oregon writers. Those are happening basically weekly, so I’ll be popping into more of those, to be sure.

So, What’s Next?

  • Tavi revisions cont’d
  • Post HQR episode
  • Finish Destroy All Monsters
  • Write 800+ words

I’m feeling pretty good going into this week. I have my Quarantine Reads video for this week more or less done already. Just needs a couple finishing touches. I’ll still make another one this week so that I have one in the hopper, since I read TWO books last week. I’m loving Destroy All Monsters so far. But, I’ve loved everything I’ve read from Sam J. Miller so this doesn’t surprise me.

I played a little bit of Spyro last week, then played all of What Remains of Edith Finch, a beautiful interactive narrative game. Then I started playing Vampyr. It’s a horror RPG about a London doctor during the Spanish Influenza (horrible timing on my part) who is attacked and left for dead, only to awaken as a vampire. I played a few hours last night and really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to more game-time in the evenings this week.

Revisions continue. I’m still feeling good about them, but this week will have me working on a couple of the “weak” scenes that need rewriting. We’ll see how I feel by the time those are done.

Submissions continue, as usual. And as usual, no news is good news.

no noose is good noose
I adore this movie.

Writing is a little all over the place right now. I’ve got fanfic to work on, but nothing terribly pressing. I wrote a 50 word story as an exercise in the Flash Fiction meeting. And I started writing a very experimental (for me) “mundane” fantasy story after a discussion on twitter with C.L. Polk. I’m approaching it COMPLETELY differently than I would another story. Handwriting in a notebook, first thing in the morning over coffee. It doesn’t come to me every day, and when it does come it’s just little snippets. We’ll see if it goes anywhere. Regardless, I have a quote from Kevin Hearne on my whiteboard that says, “Write more, write different, write better.” That’s exactly what this story is doing. I’m viewing it as more of an exercise than anything.

So, yeah, that’s what I’m up to. Reading, writing, and editing with some video games sprinkled in. And work. I mean, I still have responsibilities to the school, they’re just cut way back in comparison to my normal day-to-day.

I’ll be back soon to share another video and probably lament my idealism when it comes to revision.

Until then, Bloggarts.

 

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 #16

Another week gone by in the era of COVID-19. Even as they drag by they somehow slip through my fingers. Highlights included beating Ripto’s Rage, signing up for MasterClass, and eating lots of good food.

Last Week

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

How’d I do?

  • Tavi revisions
    • Yep! I edited 6 chapters last week and am actually enjoying the process so far, which is weird.
  • Read Finna
    • Yep! Finished it in a day.
  • Create and post Vengeful video review
    • Yarp. Had fun, struggled, learned some things. It was all good.
  • Write 800+ words
    • Nope. Not much writing at all. But hey, a little is better than zero!

Weekly Word Count: 228

I somehow forgot that, when I’m editing, I don’t write much. It’s hard for me to switch modes, I think. So, there wasn’t much writing, but oh man there was so much editing! Six whole chapters of Tavi and another draft of The Lament of Kivu Lacus. I’m just waiting to hear back from a couple more readers before I do any last polishing and send it out. Reactions so far have been very positive (and tearful), so that feels pretty ding dang good.

Reading is keeping a steady pace. I finished Finna and will probably finish The Last Sun in the next couple of days. And, despite a FAT stack of books (more like 6 fat stacks) I have no idea what to read next. I’m gonna just decide when the time comes.

I still have two short stories out. One is in a contest, which closes to submissions this week. I submitted it in… January? Yep. January. I’m looking forward to hearing back something soon(ish).

MasterClass was running a buy one subscription get a second one free special, and I found someone to split the cost with me! I’m very excited because I’ve always wanted to try MasterClass but was too cheap to do it, haha. So I have those to look forward to for the next year.

What’s Next?

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

You know the drill by now. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This routine is working (mostly), so why make any changes? At least, not right now. Not with all the weirdness in the world.

My big focus this week will be continuing Tavi revisions and polishing Lament. I’m looking forward to more reading and making another video and watching more MasterClasses.

That’s about all I got for you today Blogland. Short and sweet. Have a great week, y’all.

 

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

Goals Summary 2020 – Wk #13

Hey Blogland,

It was a busy week of Staying Home, and Staying Safe. I’m starting to get restless, and really want the sun to come out so I can at least take the dog for a walk. But, there’s a lot of writerly things happening, so let’s get to it!

Last Week

  • Edit The Lament of Kivu Lacus
  • Finish listening to Tunnel of Bones
  • Write 800+ words

How’d I do?

  • Edit The Lament of Kivu Lacus
    • Yep. This round was a bit more productive as I recognized some superfluous lines and tightened things up a bit.
  • Finish listening to Tunnel of BonesTunnel of bones
    • Yep! I didn’t expect to have so many feelings about a poltergeist, but I sure did.
  • Write 800+ words
    • Oh, yes. Without even really meaning to.

Weekly Word Count: 2,314 

This was a very bookish, writerly week. I worked on some fanfic, edited my short story, read a bunch of Ashlords and finished listening to Tunnel of Bones. I released two episodes of Mrs. Harlow’s Quarantine Reads! I discovered and listened to all of the Ask the Bards podcast. It’s Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne talking all things writing and publishing, which is rad. I started Wonderbook, which I’m treating as a sort of class. I’m reading a chapter or two each week and doing the associated Writing Challenges. It’s fun, challenging, and is really kicking my brain into “Craft” gear. Which is good because, well, I did a thing.

I finally read the Tavi rough draft. You know, that Urban Fantasy novel I finished last spring? I’ve been avoiding it because revising novels has been a highly unpleasant experience so far. I was terrified that it would be even worse than I imagined and so just kept glancing at the printed manuscript on my desk like it might reach out and bite me.

But, on Friday, I decided to dive in. And, you know what? I loved it! It’s fun, and there are a lot of elements that I’m incredibly proud of. The pacing is generally good, I kept reading, not out of a sense of duty, but because I was genuinely enjoying my story. In fact, I couldn’t put it down. I read the entire thing in basically one sitting. From about 9am to 7pm, and was absolutely thrilled with it.

That’s not to say it’s perfect. There is definitely work to be done, but nothing so daunting that I’m hesitant to get started. I’m actually looking forward to spending time in this world and with these characters again. Crazy, right?

What’s Next?

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

This looks familiar on purpose. It’s worked for the last two weeks, so why mess with it? Especially when polishing and submitting Lament is my top priority right now. Finishing the rough draft of The Shadowboxer is priority number two. Once both of those are done I’ll start revising Tavi. I’m hoping to have it “done” before July. We’ll see how that goes.

And then I have a new novel idea. Which is a dangerous thing, but also a very motivating one. I can’t work on the new idea until all of the above is complete. And I really want to write the new thing, so I’d best get to work.

Speaking of work, I start working remotely this week. I still have no idea what that’s going to look like, so who knows if I’ll be able to keep this routine I’ve just established. I’m trying not to think about that too much just yet.

Be on the lookout for a couple more Quarantine Reads this week. I’ll have Ep. 5 up either this evening or tomorrow and then Ep. 6 later this week.

Until later, Bloggos!

 

BZ