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

 

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

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 #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