Category: Author Ramblings


Dragon Interim

As you might have guessed by the lack of activity on here, things are being a bit hectic in real life. I’ve handed in my dissertation proposal and had the marks back (68%, woot!) so now I’m moving onto the actual dissertation itself, and I still have two other bits of coursework due in at the end of the month that I’m working on. That alongside work and the social/gaming events that keep me sane is keeping me busy. Also less sane then I would like, but that’s stress for you.

I did, however, find a very cute picture that I wanted to share. Credit to Fiona Hsieh, whose deviant art account you should definitely check out since it has Pokemon on there as well.

I have a vague idea to go around my flat and photograph all the dragons I find at some point in the nearish future. So if I ever get so stressed I need a break, lots of photos might suddenly appear here. Or I’ll finish Zelda. So close to killing Ganon, so very close.

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Not Writing

not-writingIt’s weird. I’ve haven’t really written anything since the start of the year. Well, that’s not technically true – I haven’t written any fiction since that start of the year. I have been writing a lot, mostly masters work, as I mentioned in the first post of the year. Two pieces of work were handed in in January, I’ve got an essay on Open Access due in this month, the dissertation is ongoing and I’m just starting to sink my teeth into the literature review, and the other piece of coursework is ongoing, ending with a 3,000 words reflective report that is going to reference and build on weekly exercises we’re doing alongside the lectures. So, actually, there is a lot of writing, but none of it has been fiction.

It’s kind of weird so far. And, yes, there is something of a feeling that I am less of a writer than I was last year because I am not writing at the moment. But, on the other hand, it’s a conscious decision because I have something which I consider more important at the moment, and it’s not like I’m giving up writing forever – I’m just not engaging with it at the moment in favour of something else. But brains and feelings are funny places, and just because I know that I will pick it back up towards the end of the year when all this masters work is done and out the way, doesn’t stop me from feeling a little bit remorseful about it.

It’s not like I can’t write either, but a lot of my spare time and almost all of my energy is going on the masters, and energy is something that I have in short supply (stupid anaemia -_-) so even if I do find a spare half hour here or there, my brain usually isn’t in the mood to do anything other than spacing out. And yes, you should force yourself to write even when you don’t want to, but I also need to not burn out, so I am making sure that when I’m not working on the masters, the time is spent wisely, either just relaxing or napping or doing something that doesn’t require brain power because I’ve spent it all. Me rambling on like this is mostly just me trying to convince myself that I shouldn’t feel guilty for not writing. Also partly because a lot of my short fiction ends up on here, and if I don’t write then there is a slight lack of things to post here. Although I do have an idea to photograph all the dragons in my study and show them to you, which is something that won’t take a lot of time, but since there are a lot of them, would probably need to be spread out over several posts. I should really work on that. And I vaguely have the idea of finding another theme challenge to do flash fiction with, as those don’t tend to take a lot of time, and they are good for just keeping up with it on the side.

Also I do have to admit, right now everything is competing against the new Nintendo Switch and Zelda: Breath of the Wild game for my attention. It came out on Friday in the UK, and I am in love with the console and the game. I don’t even care how many times I’ve died, it is a beautiful game and I am so in love with it and all I want to do is play it and play it some more. I really didn’t get much coursework done over the weekend, I’ll confess.

zelda

Princess 2017

My usual apologies for the lack of posting. This time it was a combination of coursework being due in on the 16th (got both pieces in before they were due, score me) and as soon as I had handed them in, I came down with that rather nasty cold/plague that’s been doing the rounds. Two weeks later and I’m still coughing and sniffling, and I do wish my lungs would start working properly sometimes soon.

However, it has been a busy year so far. Mostly coursework and gaming, with extra gaming since the coursework got handed in (I’ve been playing a lot more video games since then, there was this kind of cool indie one called Stories: Paths of Destiny, and I’ve started Skyrim for the first time ever rather than just watching other people play). Including a Princess crossover game where the two groups actually got to meet up and tackle a really big problem that was kind of threatening to literally rain monsters down on our cities. We tackled it, although it wasn’t easy – I play a front line fighter who has such good defences they are near impossible to badly hurt, and I nearly ended up bleeding out. Although the giant monster did eat me a little bit.

d10-diceI really love this tabletop game (and there’s another session tonight, hooray!), and a lot of stuff has happened since we started playing. I’ve gotten a much better handle on my character, they’ve gone through a court change, and a name change associate with that, and they are currently exploring their own gender identity, transitioning from female to non-binary as I explore them and how they actually act and feel about that area. It’s something that I might have mentioned before, but I see a lot of parallels to writing, because it is telling a story, and telling it over such an extended period of time actually helps to build in these character arcs as I get to build on them with each game rather that it just happening all at once. That, and I love this character so much, it’s really nice to just sit down and play them and have all the terrible things that our GM loves to throw at us happen – the biggest external plot they’ve got going on right now is that someone from a past life (probably past lives, they seem to have encountered each other quite a lot) has shown up again and is being a bit weird around Aegis, who isn’t exactly sure she can trust anything they say given which court they are in. It’s beautiful drama.

And because I love it so much, I’ve started writing fan fiction about it. I call it fan fiction, but since it’s my character in a game I play in, I’m not sure that’s an entirely accurate term, but you know what I mean. So, here’s a little extract of that.

***

 “Come on,” Aegis held their hand out to Keres, looking down at the other princess as they detransformed, their shirt corners settling down over slightly worn out jeans.

Keres sniffed as she looked up, a slightly confused look on her face as she gazed at the hand that was still extended out to her. Aegis wiggled their fingers, obviously expecting the hand to be taken. There were a few more moments of hesitation, as if Keres couldn’t quite believe that it was suddenly this simple, after so much resistance, but then she reached out, and Aegis pulled her to her feet.

Keeping the hand in their own, Aegis started walking down the street.

“Where are we going?”

“Back to my place. Just a small diversion first.”

There was a tiny frown still on her face as they walked through the city, eventually coming up to a school just as the bell rang out. Soon after floods of kids poured out of the doors, joining the various parents who were waiting outside for them.

“Luca!” The last ‘a’ was elongated as a short person with a long flying ponytail came blasting out of the door and leapt at Aegis.

Aegis easily caught her in their arms and lifted them up in a big hug, “Hey small one. Good day?”

“We got to play with keyboards in music class! Who’s that?”

“That?” Aegis followed the glance to look over at Keres, “That’s one of my friends whose coming to dinner tonight.”

Imogen looked at Aegis and blinked, “You never have friends over.”

“First time for everything.”

“Can we still have fish fingers?”

Aegis looked back over their shoulder again, “You like fish fingers?”

Keres opened her mouth and then shrugged, “Sure.”

“Yay!” Imogen wriggled out of Aegis’ arms and dropped to the floor, immediately going over and inserting her hand into Keres’ as she struck up conversation about her day.

Aegis came the other side of her and took the other hand, walking out of the school with an easy smile on their face as they listened, occasionally commenting, on the small one’s school day.

The flat was on the third floor of the block, as Aegis took out a key and unlocked the front door.

“Who’s home?”

“Me,” A slightly apathetic voice came from the sofa, and Aegis walked over and smiled.

“You go to sleep now and you’ll never get any rest tonight.”

“But I’m exhausted! My P.E. teacher effing sucks.”

“Language.”

“I didn’t swear!”

“Effing is hardly enough of a diversion from the word you were going to say. Come on, up. You’ll need to share the sofa tonight.”

Jake rolled up and over, his uniform rumpled from where he had collapsed on the sofa, and blinked in surprised as he spotted the other person in the flat.

“Whatever,” he grumbled, but shuffling over to free up some space on the sofa.

“Have you got homework?”

“No.”

“The only person who gets punished by your incomplete homework is you.”

He grumbled again, then pulled his bag towards him and flipped out a book onto the table, pen in hand as he slumped over and started scrawling.

Time passed them by, food was cooked and then demolished, even if there was a tiny incident with peas. Soon enough the evening had gone, without a call from Aegis’ fellow princesses for once, and they came out of the bedroom which they had just ushered their siblings into, closing the door quietly.

Keres looked at them, like she was expecting them to say something, but they didn’t as they walked over and sat down on the floor, leaning back on the sofa before dragging a pad towards them and flipping to a new page of paper.

There was a few minutes of scratching, before Keres broke the silence.

“So what was this?”

“Hm? It was dinner. Admittedly simple, I’m not the best cook in the world.”

“No, I mean. You’ve never given any indication that you trust me, and suddenly, you’re letting me into your home? Letting me meet your siblings? I mean, I guess you had some, but you’ve never given anything away about them, and suddenly here I am.”

Aegis continued to write as they looked down at the paper, “You needed it.”

“What makes you think that?”

Their lips twitched up into that trademark not-quite-a-smile, “The collapsing and sobbing wasn’t enough?”

“I was not sob- wait,” she looked at the back of their head, the short blond hairs still in disarray, “You remember, don’t you?”

There was a pause from them this time, “More than I’ve been letting on. Not as much as you claim to. But some things, like how you could sometimes lose your grip.”

“On what?”

Aegis finally turned their head to look at her, “Reality. Tonight was supposed to help ground you. Remind you that’s it’s not all princess business and there is a world here. Sometimes I think you forget that.”

Keres reached out, stretching her fingers out to gently touch Aegis’ cheek.

“Do you trust me?”

Aegis looked at her, those grey eyes boring into her, “I hope I can.”

She sighed, and let herself fall over on the sofa, hand trailing around to the back of Aegis’ head, playing with the short hairs at the nape of their neck.

“I’ll take it.”

She could almost hear the lips twitch up again.

fantasy-shield

2016 Accountability Post

So, another year come and gone. In wider world news, not a particularly good year considering. Close to home in my own little world bubble, things look much better. But, the new year is a good time for reflection, and I did have some goals for last year, so let’s see how I got on with those.

Reading

Reading Resolution #1 – Read a book a week, or rather 52 in a year. How far did I get? 11/52.

Reading Resolution #2 – A 12 item reading challenge. Of the 11 books I did read, I hit four of the challenges I would say. After deciding that one book can only count for one challenge. (If you’re interested, the four I managed were: A book published this year; A book I can finish in a day; A book chosen by my BFF; and A book I’ve read once before)

Yeah, I realise that it’s not many considering what I set out to do. Honestly, it sort of all came to a stop pretty early on in the year. I set out to do the Reading Ahead Challenge (rainbow style), but only got about halfway through the green book before things petered out and I never finished that book, let alone the challenges I had set myself.

Why? Busy year. I’ve got a job, a masters, a social/gaming life, but most of all, I think I didn’t read so much because I was concentrating on writing. Quite a lot actually. Which leads on to the other resolution/challenge I was trying to accomplish in 2016.

Writing

I joined a 365K club, which meant writing 1,000 words every day, or rather 365,000 in the year. How did I end up doing on that? 356,000 words.

Yeah, I know. Considering how little away from the goal I was, and the fact that I didn’t actually do much writing over the Christmas break, it is a tiny bit disappointing. Entirely my own fault, but, actually, I did learn a lot from doing it.

2016-summary

I managed to write every day from January 1st to June 4th. June 5th was the first day I didn’t write a word, and that’s pretty good going. But as you can see from the summary, I was a bit up and down after April (and April was largely boosted by taking part in the A to Z challenge). NaNoWriMo in November also helped, but about halfway through the year I sort of lost the steam a little bit.

Half of the point of the challenge is to write every day, and I’ve sort of learnt, that although I write a lot more now than I did at the start of the year, it’s not always writing itself that I do. I mean, of course that’s the aim, but I often do a lot of re-reading, thinking up new plots, re-imagining chapters and sections, and of course editing. All of which I think are part of the writing process, but don’t exactly lend themselves to a word count. (For instance, right now I’m trying to work out whether an alternate idea I had for Archmage is better than the one I’ve got currently. Major edits are so much fun to play around with, this one could change the entire third part/book.)

I’m also bad at habit forming. I wrote every day for 5 months, yet come the end of the year, I certainly think about my writing everyday. Opening up the document and putting the words down? Not so much. Especially when most of my free time is being devoted to the master’s degree, and that’s a heck of a lot of work.

But, focusing on writing so much was fun. And I certainly have a lot more words now that I did at the start of the year. It was good, even if it was challenging. But I have learnt a bit more about myself, and how I write, and that’s very useful information I can use going forward.

2017

So, what challenges am I doing this year? None. I’m not promising to read a certain amount of books, or write a certain amount each day. I am officially divesting myself of any and all obligations/challenges.

Why? The masters degree. This year I have to do a dissertation. We’ve already started thinking about it (and the initial proposal is due in the next couple of weeks) so there’s already a fair amount of internal screaming going on. That is only going to get more stressful, and since I want to do well in the degree, I’m prioritising that over everything else this year.

I would like to read more than I did last year, and I certainly plan to keep on writing, if not daily then certainly multiple times a week. What I’m not doing is setting any goals to do with those hobbies, because then I won’t feel obligated to spend time on them when I should be doing my masters work (if I end up doing them instead of the masters work then that’s procrastination and is an entirely different problem).

Hopefully by cooling off everything else, all the stress that comes from the masters will be somewhat balanced out, and I can look forward to a really free end of the year, since I hand in my dissertation in September, get the results back in October, just in time for NaNoWriMo in November! I’ll probably have calmed down by then. Maybe.

So that’s my 2017 – the year of the degree. I hope that whatever you are planning for the next year is off to a good start. Mine could be better, I managed to leave the book I need to read round a friend’s house!

 

Bastion

Another Christmas come and gone. And it was alright, got some really good presents, lot of dragons. But the thing that has brought me most joy is the present I bought myself.

I say present. I’ve been planning this for over two years now.

Meet Bastion.

He’s my gorgeous little Hermanns tortoise. He’s 5.2cm, and 5 months old. I’ve barely stopped grinning since I picked him up Christmas eve. He’s absolutely my new distraction/reason for not doing anything 😀

Time Sinks

Guiltily, I’ve realised it’s been almost a month since I last posted. My bad, I keep saying I have no time, but really I could have more time if I just organised things a little better. Unfortunately, that takes energy, and that’s something I don’t have a lot of at the moment.

Sort of brings me onto the title of today. Everyone has a limited amount of time and energy, and sometimes (like it has been for the past while) my cap is lowered due to my anaemia. And whilst naps are delicious, it means that I’m not doing other things.

So what have I been up to lately?

Well World of Warcraft: Legion got released on the 30th August. After waiting in all day for amazon to deliver my collectors edition (I’m a sucker for the art books), I got it, and I haven’t really stopped playing it since. Well, there’s been food and sleeping, but I took a week off work so that I could play it, and it was so worth it.

legion-illidan

Trying not to spoil anything whilst still enthusing: This expansion is about the return of the burning legion to Azeroth, and so we’ve gone back to the Broken Isles where they first invaded 10,000 years ago, and that’s the home place of the Highborn (elves) and druidism. As someone who plays a Night Elf druid, I have been hyper about this for a while, and playing it has absolutely lived up to my expectations. The lore and the quests have had me amazed and tearful at times, but really, it’s an amazing expansion, and the first raid is going to be The Emerald Nightmare, something I have been waiting YEARS for. That, and the artefact weapons are really, really cool. I love how they’ve implemented them.

So that took up a week. And then I managed to pick up an infection, so I was ill for some days, got dragged to the doctor by my boyfriend (i’m one of those people who’s really resistant to going to doctors, although I have no idea why, they’re actually quite lovely), diagnosed and given antibiotics, and then I spent a week off work being ill and having side effects. I mean, I could still play Legion, but that was about the only good thing. And I watched a lot of daytime TV.

One bad thing, because the illness took a lot out of me, I didn’t end up going to the last Empire of the year. It was the right decision, and I know that I feel a lot better for having had a weekend of nothing rather than trying to push myself when I had no energy left, but still, it is the first time I’ve ever missed one.

Basically, now I’m back at work, and trying to pick up on all the things I’ve been ignoring (registered for my new uni year, paid my fees and chose my optional module yesterday, which felt good to have gotten done), and I’ve been reflecting on the last couple of weeks a bit.

Yes, I spent a lot of time on WoW, and no I don’t regret that, (being ill sucked, but what can you really do about it) but it does make you think – when you only have so much time and energy, how is it that we choose what to spend it on? I had a lot of things I could be doing, but mostly I want to play the new expansion, so I did, to the exclusion of a lot of other things. It is a huge time sink. I also find that when I watch TV, I end up watching more than I planned to, and suddenly three hours have gone by. I’ll be listening to a new tune I’ve just put on my music player, and then suddenly it’s 1am and I should have gone to bed an hour ago. Stuff like that.

sand-tiem

Maybe it’s because I know I was ignoring a lot of things that I’m having a bit of a weird brain loop thinking day today, but it is just something that strikes me. I have a lot of things to do, and I don’t always make time for them all.

In better news, I’ve managed to write 7,000 words over the last few days, so I’m catching up where I should be with the 365K challenge! Although I think I would do much better with everything if this hot weather would go away. Honestly, it’s an English September, it really shouldn’t be 27 degrees out.

August Life

First of all, apologies for a couple of weeks absence. Empire as always was fun, but draining and there was so much politics going on this time that I was busy the entire weekend despite planning on having a more relaxed weekend, but that’s always how it goes.

Since then, I’ve hit an energy low, culminating in being ill and off work yesterday. It was one of those things where you have low level background illness, but you have a full weekend of stuff lined up, so you just ignore the illness, and then as soon as you stop it catches up to you and slams into you.

On the other hand, I have been doing a lot of cool things, so I’ll just catch you up with some of them.

Empire Forest

Photo Credit – Charlotte Moss

Empire

So, only a three day event but that just meant everything was packed into a shorter time frame:

  • Started the weekend with a combat linear for my mages. Got to beat up an ice giant, and we rocked it!
  • Got invited to a banquet in the summer realm (which was really tasty roast)
  • Found out there what the linear had allowed an Eternal to do and caused drama – whoops!
  • Culminated in one of the Eternals getting super mad (that part wasn’t me) and flipped her food across the entire table!
  • Record length conclave sessions
  • Didn’t die during battle
  • Attempted to join mage coven and was prevented by yet more drama
  • A meteor is crashing into the Empire and one of my nation persuaded conclave to vote to crash it on our territory, striaght onto the Vallorn – TERRIBLE IDEA
  • Spent a good day running around undoing that decisions
  • Got that decision undone and it is now crashing somewhere much more sensible

So yeah, that was an interesting weekend. Bring on event 4. See above for a really cool photo taken by the brilliant Charlotte Moss of me striding through the forest. As far as I remember this was at the start of the battle on Saturday and the guy that you can just see under the tree tripped and hurt his ankle so I was making sure he was okay before going back to join in the battle.

Adara Cropped

Adara

Long Weekend

So I had a five day weekend the next weekend. I was supposed to be going somewhere, but due to drama and funding issues, cancelled those plans and had a lovely five day weekend just relaxing at home. Boyfriend was also off, which was nice, although his cats were a nightmare, bless their little derp faces.

Mostly what happened then was a lot of roleplaying. Monday was Princess, and Princess continues to be great. The GM is encouraging me to write a lot of fan fiction about it and my character, and I am happy to supply him with that. I have my special snowflake thing and a friend who’s visiting for the entire month came in and played a DPC (directed player character, somewhere between an NPC and PC) to help us with plot. It was fun!

Friday we then started up D&D again!!! The last time we played that was in January sometime, and we had the break because we hit level 11 and changed tiers. Admittedly we filled the gap with a Star Wars game, which was fun, but I had missed D&D so! Playing my hot-headed Ardent, making the bad decisions, getting talked down and round into the sensible thing and then running off straight into the terrible mist of death was so much fun. That, and our paragon path powers are amazing!

Orange Belt

NAMA August Graders

Last Weekend

So, Saturday during the day I clean the flat because people will be coming round and I’ve been putting it off for weeks and weeks. That was exhausting, but did mean that I didn’t have to stress about it when I went to my party in the evening. We saw Suicide Squad – enjoyable but messy is my official verdict – and then went for Nandos which is always fun in a large group. then back to mine for board games.

Sunday had to get up early so that I could go and grade for my next Taekwondo belt. As you can see from the photo above, I passed – First Class Pass! Although I was so nervous (and this is the ill as well) that I didn’t sleep the night before and my instructor said that she could tell I was practically terrified because when I did my Kata (set routine of moves) I was so wooden. Admittedly, I was, because brain weasels kept telling me I was failing. Silly brain weasels, I did fine. I now have an orange belt.

Straight after that I went to IoD to roleplay my changeling and werewolf. I was so tired I gave the last game of the day, Mage, a skip. And since I was grading I turned up late to the first game. But that was fine, that character’s a bitch so I can be exhausted in character and just avoid responsibility and doing things. Werewolf was the issue as the STs once again find new and interesting ways to cause my character feelings and yank her chain around. She went from confused to lamenting to lust to terror to rage to determined to full on lethal damage and hurt to extraordinarily upset and convinced that she’s got to break up with her boyfriend. Seriously. All in one game. I love the STs. And hate them. Mostly love though.

Birthday Dragon

Birthday Dragon

This Week

Of course because I was putting off my ill when I did all that, waking up on Monday was fun and after calling in ill I spent most of the day sleeping. Sleeping is great. Eating not so much. Back in work today but my boss has said if I feel particularly bad I can probably go home. Hooray for summer holidays and college being so quiet it could be called dead.

Tomorrow I do have the day off though because it’s my birthday! Hoping that if I take it really easy today then I can enjoy myself tomorrow, but actually I don’t have to leave the flat and I have some presents to open and I can have a super chill day, which’ll be nice. The legion pre-patch is live and awesome and I suspect that my partner is upgrading my computer with a couple of new bits as my present so I’ll probably play that. Might also see if I can get the N64 working and blast from the past with Pokemon Snap. Maybe some sushi. It’ll be chill and great.

I also have some fun things lined up for this weekend, so as long as this illness starts going away, I should be having a pretty good week overall 🙂

Writing Projects

Right. So. Been having a tiny bit of trouble with the writing lately, as I have mentioned. Flash fiction challenges are going some way to getting me back into the swing of things, however, flash fiction is not my novels, and I probably should be working on those.

In the continuing interests of picking back up writing in a proper fashion, I am going to list (read: ramble on a bit) about my current writing projects, which are all my novel projects. I do this in the hope that actually listing out what I could be working on will help my brain to transition back onto working on them. That, and given that I have quite a few projects on the go, this isn’t a terrible thing to do from an organising point of view either.

 

LightningArchmage

1st Draft – Completed.

Story has been split into 3 parts (It might turn out to be a trilogy, it is getting to that length)

2nd Draft – Part 1 Completed. Part 2 Started. Part 3 As yet untouched.

So, Archmage. It’s a beast of a thing at the moment, and I did a lot of work on it during the first couple of months of the year, but then I finished re-writing the first part, and sort of never got into the swing of re-writing the second. Well, there’s like 5,000 words in there. What I think I need is to find a suitable beta reader (or poke my beta reader into actually reading the first part) and then so some blocking out of what happens in scenes and then tweak them so rather than just editing each chapter as I come to it, I edit the higher level structures of the book. I’m pretty sure Part 1 is going to need another re-write, so that seems like the sensible idea. It’s just hard since I’m a pantser, not a planner, but the story will be better for it.

 

black wingsBlack Dawn

1st Draft – So terrible it was abandoned

1st Draft (Take 2) – Started

So Black Dawn was the novel I wrote for my first ever NaNoWriMo. I’ve learnt a lot since then, and I can safely say that what I wrote back in, 2011 (man, old feeling) is a pile of crap. But, the characters were there, and the setting had something, so it went into the drawer for a while, and now I’ve got a shiny new plot and setting tweaks and I think it can work now, I just need to write it. I’m, let’s see, a couple of chapters into starting this. It’s been a very on off sort of project.

 

magnificent_mazeEidetic

1st Draft – In Progress

This was last years (2015) NaNoWriMo project. And it was going well, I got to 75K words, it wasn’t too hard to write. Except, then November finished, and I haven’t even really looked at it since. Not entirely sure why, but, I think I started to see holes. I know what I want to happen in the second half/ending, but, there’s a few holes between where I got up to and that point, and I’m not sure if it’s a satisfying story, and I just seemed to lose the point of it a little. I’m certain that actually it’s not as bad as I think it is, and there is life in the novel, I probably just need to re-read it, and then think about the plot in a little more depth before I continue writing it.

 

MechanicaMechanica Awakening

1st Draft – Completed

1st Edit – In Progress

Another NaNoWriMo book. To be fair, I do a lot of writing in NaNo, it’s only this year that I have seriously started to concentrate on stuff outside of that month, from editing to new material. This one, I wrote the first draft and it’s the first one where I feel like the 1st draft isn’t going to be a million miles from the last draft. It felt complete, rounded, and sure it needs some editing, but the story is there. (Personally, I have a distinction: Re-writing is when there are still plot holes and major writing left to do; Editing is for when the story is there and only minor tweaks need to happen. Mostly at the moment I am re-writing rather than editing, but, that’s because I know most of my stories aren’t finished yet) I did start, was working on it last summer, but again, fallen on a back burner a little bit. I was also doing this editing by hand, which was probably a mistake. I think it’d be easy enough to pick up again.

 

fantasy-pharmacyQuiet Poison

1st Draft – In Progress

One of the few novels I have not written in NaNo. Actually, I only had the idea for this one at the start of the year, so it’s the newest idea that’s actually been written down. It’s going in scenes at the moment. So I find a bit of the book I want to write, write that particular scene, and then when I’ve got enough of them I’ll work out how to string them all together. It’s a very fun project, with intrigue, assassins, relationships, death, and an awesome setting I’ve been crafting with my sounding board. He’s great. This is the one I should be writing, or at least the one I feel I should be writing, because there’s a kickstarter I backed where you can have your words printed on a scarf and this is the project that might actually come in under the limit of 40K (I’m a fantasy writer, novels run long for me typically) but I do actually have to write it up to that much. It’s on about 25K at the moment.

 

Supernatural

Draft – ???

Bit of an odd project this one. It’s the first novel I ever wrote, when I was 14. It was, complete trash, as might be expected of a first ever novel attempt, let alone one written at a young age. But, the main character never went away. There’s, well, there’s ideas and scenes, but nothing that I would call a solid plot, so it’s hard to count this as anything resembling an active project, but she’s always there, in the back of my brain.

 

And that’s it for active projects. Or, you know, projects on the backburner. I have a lot of other ideas for novels (Court of Ice, Firebird, Shapechangers) and other projects that keep me writing but aren’t novels (mainly fanfiction type things, or me fluff writing about my characters in various games. Werewolf, princess, D&D). It’s been good to remind myself of them. Maybe now I can actually go and write something on one of them.

Yearly Challenges

So, generally this year I am undertaking two challenges. And now that it’s coming up to halfway through the year, or at least, it will be after this month, I thought I’d take a moment to see where I am with those.

Reading Challenge

Book shelfThe challenge – Read a book a week aka read 52 books in the year.

The last time I updated you on this progress was early March. Since then, there has been barely and reading done. So, this is going worse than poorly. I have read six books this year, and I should be on twenty two. That’s sixteen books difference, which is a lot.

So what’s going wrong? Time mostly. I seem to have a heck of a lot going on, between work, masters, writing, and social/gaming schedules, making time for reading is hard, especially when I do have downtime, I prioritise other things. Like a nap (because anaemia means I want to nap all the time) or writing, and reading is an effort to accomplish some of the time.

So, am I giving up? Of course not. What I plan to do is to read some graphic novels I’ve got on the side, because those take less time than a pure words novel, and hopefully if I just get a couple more books added onto the challenge, then I’ll start picking it up again. It’s not like I don’t have books to read, just haven’t been finding the time.

Writing Challenge

The challenge – Write 1,000 a day aka write 365,000 words in the year.

This is going better. January, February and March were basically on track. April was an immense month of epic words. May…not so good. I wrote about half of what I should have been, only 16,600 words. However, because of all the words I wrote in April, this does mean that overall for the year I’m at 168,000 words and I should be at 157,000. So in the grand scheme of things, I am ahead, however, the last month I only hit 1,000 words on five days, in the first half of the month.

So what went wrong? Scening. In one of the games that I am playing, my character has started a relationship with another character, and we are emailing each other in a back and forth to scene out their dates. It’s awesome, I’m loving it BUT it doesn’t count towards my word count total for the year, because it’s just for the two of it, and it’s connected to a game rather than writing. Which is a shame, because between the two of us, the scenes came to 133,000 words in the month. Yeah, we wrote a lot.

Hence, that’s taken up a lot of my time and energy. I wouldn’t have changed it, because it made me very happy and was awesome character development, however, this month we plan to be a little more relaxed about it, and I’ll be looking at my time management a little more, trying to find the delicate balance between everything I want to do.

It also helps that I have rediscovered enthusiasm for a couple of stories, it does come and go. I backed a kickstarter that will print custom text on a scarf for you (up to 40,000 words) so I’m going to be finished up a short version of Quiet Poison and get that printed up, so I’ve got to write a few more scenes, then tidy it up and send it off. Hopefully, if I get everything back on track, I can do that by the end of the month.

writer

So the general gist of the last couple of months is keep going, don’t give up even if you fall off the rails a little bit. So I hope to come back to you all in another month or so with better reports. That, and I will be examining what I post on this blog and trying to come up with a semi-regular schedule, because I should be posting here more. Hope your projects are going well!

So, now that I’ve finished with the 100 theme challenge, I find myself at a bit of a loss for go to posts when I notice I haven’t posted anything in a while. Bear with me for a little while whilst I work out what kind of things to post up on here and work out some sort of schedule for it all. And yes, I will be trying for more dragons on Thursdays.

What have I been up to with my time? Still trying to get through more books for reading. Slow but steady is how I would describe that, but getting there. Yellow book is now done and finished, so green is next on the list. And after those three, I’ve got several more on the list to read. Deciding what to read next is often as hard as finding the time to sit down and read them!

Mostly, I have been working on two things. 1 – My Master’s degree. This is not what this blog is about, but I am just going to say that I am loving my database module. 2 – Writing

JanFebMar

Yes, I have a spreadsheet. Spreadsheets are awesome.

At the start of the year I signed up to a 365K club. This means that I have signed up to write 1,000 every day, or, as it more usually goes with these things, 365,000 words in the year because some days you write more, some less, but it all averages out. There are quite a few of us in the club, which is a sub-section of a bigger writing group and is internet based which is highly convenient, and we have chats, motivations, question times, it’s all a big support group for writers, and I have to say, it is excellent.

And signing up for this challenge, to really push myself and get that daily habit of writing, is probably one of my better decisions. If you look on my spreadsheets, you can see that so far I haven’t missed a day. Sure, one day I only wrote 27 words, but that’s still two more sentences than I had at the start of the day. Right now I am approximately a day behind, so less than 1,000 words behind my target. And that is counting today, which means that I still have the rest of this afternoon and this evening to catch up on that. And, overall, I’ve written ~72,000 words since Jan 1st. Some new stuff, some editing stuff, but the point is I am writing. Last year, I basically only wrote when it came around to NaNo, so this? This is a HUGE improvement, and I’m loving it.

What am I working on? I’m the kind of person who likes to have several projects on the go at once, so, currently I am working on:

  • Archmage – This is my epic (Maybe a trilogy? It’s certainly looking long enough for that) fantasy novel that I am currently editing. It’s developing along quite nicely, although part 2 is going to need a major overhaul, and part 3 definitely needs work. It’s probably more like re-working it than it is editing, since there’s tons of plot holes to fill, arcs to develop, characters to delete or add, all the high level stuff. It’s fun, but it is a lot of hard work. The blurb for the book(s?) is that in a world where magic is regulated and structured, an underage girl bursts onto the scene with magic, wild magic, unlike anything that’s ever been seen before. Can Rana prove that her magic is just as valid as the old ways, or will society always treat her as an outcast?
  • Quiet Poison – This is relatively new. I had the idea late Jan/early Feb, and it has been so insistent and prominent in my mind, that I’ve been writing it out. It’s a story about a new guild of assassins, trying to carve out their territory against the bigger, more established guild. Lots of politics, intrigue, assassinations (of course), and all sorts of seedy underground things. Magic is around in the setting, but very much in the background. It’s a break apart from my usual genre, but I am loving the characters and what they are getting up to, and it’s quite nice to write something down and dirty, as it were.

Typed-Writer

Those two are my active projects. But I certainly have others which may or may not come up:

  • Black Dawn – This is novel I wrote for the first year I ever participated in NaNoWriMo. It is, in a word, terrible. So, I’ve given it a shiny new plot, and it’s sitting there with it’s first chapter salvaged, looking at me, biding it’s time, just waiting until the time is right to spring back into my head and get written. It’s there, I’m not ignoring it, but at the moment other novels are in front of it. Basic premise: Angels and Demons have been warring since time immemorial, with Earth as the battle ground, seeded with their human descendants, the Cambions and the Nephilim. However, a threat is rising, one they wish to stop before it ever happens, and it might just be enough to make them forget about their own war. Unless the threat is already more than just a threat, and she’s been waiting to wage her own war on them.
  • Mechanica Awkaening – This really is a book that just needs editing. I really think it’s the cleanest first draft I’ve ever written, and I was working on it last summer. But, like most ideas, it’s hit a bit of a lull, and whilst it’s still there and I’m not ignoring it, other things are in front. But it really doesn’t need as much as any of my other projects. So maybe it’ll come round soon. this is the one about Rose, who can talk to machine spirits, and her family trying to prevent another civil war.
  • Eidetic – Still working on the first draft. Sad to say, I haven’t actually touched it since NaNo last year. I just, got a bit stuck. I think I can get unstuck, but I do need to sit down and have a think through and work out where it’s going. Still got, I would say, about a third of it to write? Labyrinths and ancient magic and trying to get away from a society that doesn’t let Sage be the person she is because she’s a women. Need to work on it.
  • Other Ideas – There’s a few of them hanging around. Old ones, new ones. ones that still need time to brew whilst they work themselves out. Willow is an old one, actually she’s the MC from the first ever novel I wrote (novel as opposed to short story, fan-fiction, etc) which, again, is terrible, but she’s not. She just needs the right plot and setting, and I’m getting closer to that. Very slowly. Firebird is a new one, lots of aztec/shaman magic crossed with vampire hunters. It’s a good idea, but it need ‘brewing time’ as it were. There’s a fan-fiction in my head as well, which I might write when I really want to indulge myself.

There is never just one project. But that’s how I work. And I do like flitting about, it’s just how my brain works. They’ll all get there in the end, as long as I am working on one of them, then that’s a step towards the goal of being an author.

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