The Grand Editing Adventure, Day 6

After my previous, rather jubilant update, this one is more… meh. In other words: I haven’t written a thing. And that means, people, that I need to write 10k today. I’ve been more optimistic in the past, and I’m not sure I’ll manage to catch up today.

On one hand, I do write very fast, and 10k days are usually no problem at all if I have the day off from work. Besides, I know (mostly) what I’m writing and some sections won’t need much of a rewrite this time around. On the other hand the list of reasons why it might not be possible to catch up today is a bit more extensive:

  1. I really need to clean my apartment today. It sounds like a bad excuse, but it’s gone past the scope of the word “hot mess” and moved into “catastrophic”. And when I’m already stressed out and exhausted, a messy apartment makes it ten times worse. Not a good thing.
  2. I’m a bit more than a week into my huge translation job and it’s taking a toll. Even if I try to take enough breaks, that many hours of the same type of content is very, very exhausting. I’m not actually sure my brain will cooperate today.
  3. My poor wrists. I’ve had several large translations in a row without breaks in between, and that many words for that many hours for that many days… hurt. They feel better today than yesterday, but if they start acting up I might have to stop, just in case.
  4. My neck. My posture is abysmal when I’m in front of a computer, and since I’m in front of a computer most of the day, and the bad habits have started to carry over into other situations, my neck has begun to act up too. Besides, I tense up when I’m stressed, so the muscles are really stiff. I’m working on it, but I will have to take more breaks than I usually would.
  5. “No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished” (book 3 in the Heartstriker series) by Rachel Aaron came out yesterday, and is already in my Kindle app. I’m not even sure I’ll feel bad about reading it instead of writing. Well, OK, maybe a little.

Today’s original quota was 5k. I will definitely have to write that today, and if I can’t catch up today I’ll have to do it tomorrow. If I start next week by being behind, I’ll definitely not be optimistic.

Still, to be fair, I haven’t reached the “I hate my story” point yet, so that’s good.

Writing progress! Woohoo!

Well! It’s finally under way! As you may remember, the editing/third draft for Rogue Sorcery kept being postponed, but finally. It’s being written.

I decided to take the NaNoWriMo approach to it, since Cicilie will have to get the entire draft at the end of August anyway and that’s less than a month away. So I found my trusty statistics spreadsheets again, and customised the different goals (you can have several different goals, and you can also adjust them so that you have a small daily quota on very hectic days, but a far larger one on days when you’re not working, for example)

Technically I’m a bit behind schedule. BUT: That’s because I didn’t technically finish the plan before day 2, and day 1’s quote was written the day before. But the stats don’t capture that, unfortunately, and I can’t be bothered to change the spreadsheet. It’s not nearly important enough, and I’ll catch up soon anyway.

So far the entire story is 12k, approximately, (2k written yesterday) and I expect it will be around 100-120k. I also have a feeling I will be wrong, in which case I will be lucky if I can give Cicilie a finished draft. Even if I have changed (but not actually written) the ending since she read it last.

On the other hand, it is a third draft. There will be sections where I don’t have to rewrite very much. I always write better when things get a bit more tense. The beginning takes time, mostly because there’s a lot of things I have to add as it was a bit too rushed and choppy.

Anyway. I hope I can report being back on track very soon 🙂

Getting things done

I feel like a bit of a hypocrite, writing a post with this title. While I can be quite good (at times) at getting things done, and getting them done fast, I am even better at not getting them done. *ehem*Rogue Sorcery’s third draft*cough* I am hopeful that things are about to change, though.

As I’ve probably mentioned before, I am a huge fan of Rachel Aaron’s blog, and in a recent entry either she or her husband mentioned managing your time as a writer and/or freelancer. I cannot remember the exact topic or title, because I had an epiphany halfway through and started googling “project management for writers” and similar variations instead. And then I realised I needed a plan for getting through all my translations as well, and continued my search the day after. I plowed through websites and forum posts and software and whatnot, and here I am, with a brand new plan and a brand new strategy. Here are some of the things I realised.

First, you need to treat your writing as a job even if it technically isn’t yet. I’m not thinking about how seriously you take it, or how much time you dedicate to it, but treating it like you would a huge task at work. For example, when we host our two-day AGMs at work, we can’t just figure out what to do as we go along, or we’ll end up with the wrong amount of gifts, too little control over registration and participant lists, and so on. We need to write down every single thing that needs to be done, when it needs to be done (for example, the papers must be sent to the delegates a certain amount of days in advance), which tasks are most important/urgent and who is responsible for doing each. It’s not enough to know what week or days you’ll work on it, but I often feel like that’s what I’m doing with my writing or painting. I focus less on what I’m going to achieve, and more on just getting the quantity down. You can do a whole lot of writing without getting anywhere.

Because of that, you really need a plan. I’m not necessarily talking about outlining or knowing what you need to edit – those should be a given – but making a reasonable estimate of when you will be finished, while making sure you can fit your writing and your goal into your daily life.

For me, that has entailed making similar plans not only for my writing, but for my other projects. I’m not willing to sacrifice everything else to get my novel done, but I’m not willing to wait for years before it’s finished or to burn myself out (again) either. Since I’ve had quite a bit of translation work lately, I’ve needed to factor that in as well.

Point one on my agenda was to find project management software that could work for a freelancer/writer who is only one person. It needed to be free, it needed to be able to group tasks into different projects/groups, and preferrably have subtasks as well, the possibility to set repeating tasks, and a calendar. I ended up with Asana, which does all the above, but there were several good candidates.

I have made each story a separate project, and I also have projects for pretty much every other major thing I do that’s not related to work or just daily life. I have projects for organising my photography, revising the website, for my translation, for my conlangs, and a Project Flexibility for my dancing. Most of these have specific end goals and specific deadlines, and those that don’t, are projects I haven’t quite managed to fit in with the others yet, such as my conlang projects.

The first thing I did was to make a list over every step I needed to do to reach my goal, which was finishing the main project goal. The first goal for the Sorcery Duology project is to finish my third draft, which is broken down into one subtask per chapter. The next task is to give the draft to Cicilie, and so on. I listed every single thing I could think of, but of course there’s always something you haven’t thought of. Perhaps it will need an additional round of revision, and then I need to adjust the project for that. No biggie.

The other thing I did was to make sure that every task/subtask was manageable. It’s impossible to tackle the whole iceberg at once if you only have an icepick. Take off one piece at a time. Make sure that you don’t, when seeing the task in your calendar, dread starting it. Make it small enough that it won’t feel impossible to do; after all you can do tomorrow’s task early if you finish quickly and haven’t run out of steam.

Third, I set due dates for everything, at least for those things I know I’ll focus on now. One of the principles for good project management is apparently to work with a sense of urgency, according to a website I just read. What incentive do you have to write if you might as well do it tomorrow? I think that’s part of the reason why NaNoWriMo works so incredibly well for me. You also reduce the amount of time you spend deciding what you’ll focus on today, because you have already planned it and set due dates for it.

The only functionality I wish existed was to make one task’s due date dependant on the completion of another task. For example, that the “edit chapter 2” task’s deadline would automatically be set to the day after I ticked off “edit chapter 1”. But that’s a minor thing, I think.

Only time will tell whether or not this will work. I am optimistic, though, and I think it will work far better than the “write this much on those days” approach I used to (try to) follow. Perhaps I’ll write a second post when I’ve followed this for a while and know how well it has worked. It has certainly had one benefit: I have finally updated the blog again (yes, that’s also a project).

Not good enough may sometimes be just right 

…what on earth am I on about now? I think most people who know me would think that those words aren’t even in my vocabulary. Generally I always aim to be as good as possible at anything I do, and strongly dislike (because “hate” is such a strong word) not being where I feel I should be, skill-wise. 

As for my photography, I had an art block for the longest time because I felt I wasn’t good enough, and because of things that were said. And then I felt uninspired, like I had nothing else to photograph, nothing I had left. I knew it was far from perfect, but still the best I could do. And that was a pity, since that’s kind of what I do when travelling.

But then I started going through my photos again in order to figure out which I should upload here. 2500 became 1500 and then 1000, and I aim to cull the collection to maximum 100 before I even think about making a photography gallery here. At that point I realised that no, I hadn’t actually taken that really good photo of waves, or of the sunset. They were good, yes, but I could do better.

In other words, the hunt for a good photo of this and that is not over. And that’s a good thing. For one because I love to photograph. I may not always find the best composition or subject matter, but I’m learning, and I love just doing it. I have a purpose still, something to aim for. 

Secondly, it means that I have finally started to detach myself a bit more from my photos just since I am able to see it, and able to leave out photos I actually like (but which I like because of the memories and the idea of what the picture could have been like, not because of the actual quality).

We live and learn, and it’s good to have somewhere to go that’s not an immensely long way ahead. It’s also good to find peace with not being good enough, and to realise that this means having a perfect reason to devote time to it. If you have nothing to improve, why bother?

In a short while I’ll probably go back to being a self-critical perfectionist who would like nothing better than to be fantastically skilled at everything, but for now I’ll try to savour this feeling as long as I can. It would probably do me good to try to apply it to my other creative pursuits. After all, if you don’t like the process of doing it, why spend so much time on doing it well when there are so many other things you could do? Perhaps we (I) should try not to be so goal-oriented in everything we do.

Well, enough talk. I’m going out to photograph some waves.

Long-term goals

Warning: Long, rambly post ahead…

Recently I’ve been thinking a great deal about the future. In a few months I’ll be quitting my current job, which I like a great deal, and starting a new one, which pays a lot better. In time it means the end of my financial troubles, and I am 100% it was the right decision, but I was surprised at how little enthusiasm I felt. Some of it was pure shock, of course, since the job was not even one I applied for (I asked my former boss for a reference and she gave me a job instead), but nonetheless I found it strange.

 

Having thought a great deal about it, I think it is for the same reason that I decided not to go into the field of linguistics, even if I do have a master’s degree and did apply for a PhD once (though certain things I’ve heard about the work environment at the university wasn’t without importance, to put it that way). It’s not because I don’t like linguistics. It’s not because I don’t like what the new job entails, because I really love some parts of it, and I really like my former/new boss too.

But with regards to my dream, of what I want to be? It feels like a step back. I’ll work longer hours and have a full work week – but of course that’s not even close to true. For the past year I’ve worked two jobs, and after Christmas I’ve worked on translations every spare hour I had, in addition to dancing. Let’s just say there hasn’t been any time for writing, and whenever I had an hour to spare I was too stressed or too tired to get anything useful done. So really, considering I can finally settle in just one job and still pay all my bills, and won’t have to work in the evenings – it’s a huge step forward.

Still, it made me think about what I really want. With my writing, linguistics, painting and those things. Do I want to keep it as just a hobby, something in which I dabble every now and then? I guess it’s obvious that since I’m actually asking the question, the answer is no.

My dream wasn’t just writing books. My dream has always been to be able to have my interests as a job. Writing and illustrating my own books, if not full time then at least almost full time. Make a name for myself. Painting pictures from my books that people actually will buy. I also dream about having a video blog about language (mostly), and (this is very, very, very much at the “what if” stage) perhaps even go to linguistics conferences as myself/my own company/whatever you call it, instead of representing a university, and do the research I want to do, not what attracts the money. I even have the name.

I am 32 years old now. If there was ever a time to start making dreams into reality, it is now. And I’ve realised that I cannot treat my dreams as just dreams, or as if I need to wait for luck to come my way before going after them. I need to start acting and start making them a reality. Really, other people can make far wilder dreams come true, why should I (or you) be different? I’ve also realised that I cannot treat writing and painting and conlanging as if they exist only in their little bubble. I won’t be able to write if I’m worried sick about having enough money to put food on my table, or if I work myself into the ground to get that money. So I have made a list of things I need to do in order to make the dream a reality. Not necessarily right now, but sometime in the future; the end goals of my smaller, more specific goals. (As you probably can tell, I like goals)

  1. Become financially independent. I saw this mentioned on a “how to save money” blog I came across a few days ago, and the idea really clicked. I am horrible at saving, but the idea of saving enough money so that I won’t actually have to work… that’s tempting. And hard work. But it would allow me to not work full work weeks, and thus have more time to write. Step one is to repay all my debt. I’m not counting my student loan here, because it’s so big, but all the rest. Step two would be to save enough money to have a buffer, so that I won’t have to take on more debt if there’s any unexpected expenses, as well as for dance expenses. Step three would be to save enough money for a full year off work. That’s more than a few years into the future, and it will be hard, but there you have it. Of course the real step one is to become more frugal even if I’ll have more income.
  2. Finish the damn book. No explanation needed, I guess.
  3. Look into other, little ways of gaining extra money for writing that still allows me to write my own stories. One example is Patreon, although you need at least some fans already to make it work, or short e-books or something like that.
  4. Do point 3, only for painting. This also involves becoming good enough at painting to be able to create something people would want to pay money for. My current benchmark is getting a picture accepted to Epilogue.net, but hopefully I’ll become good enough to raise that bar.
  5. Look into the video blog thing. A friend of mine really liked the idea, but I have to figure out how to make it work. I always envisioned it as a two-people blog, however, so I need to find someone to help me out. Hmm…
  6. Improve the website and the galleries and, well, all that. Start using Twitter more. Use my art instagram account more. Blog more. Comment more on the stuff of others. Get more active on deviantART and other art sites, as well as on Wattpad and other writing sites. You know, that magical web presence thing that everyone talks about.
  7. Never forget why I am working towards those particular dreams.

So there you have it. It might seem overly ambitious, but how would you ever fulfill a dream if you didn’t work towards it? I don’t believe in that kind of luck (though I hope…). And the fact remains that a writing career isn’t very lucrative unless you’re really good. Besides, a career won’t do you any good anyway if you don’t have the skills to back it up, unless you are a couple of really well known authors whose names I won’t mention.

Well, this became too long as usual, so I’ll stop. Tomorrow I have most of the evening free, so I’m planning to re-write an old story of mine. I rather liked it, but it didn’t work then, and I wrote a new ending on the bus today. I’ll upload it to Wattpad as soon as I finish it!

Grumpy post: 4 things I hate online

Generally I try to keep this blog on topic, or it easily descends into a “woe is me” chaos. But occasionally I need to rant, and particularly after researching website stuff (how to move an entire website and all those fun fiddly things) I really need to get it out. There are some things I absolutely loathe online, and some that I just generally dislike. The funny (read: enfuriating) thing is that many of these things are done by those who teach other people how to make good blogs and websites… So to everyone out there making author websites or writing blogs or whatnot – please don’t do these things?

1. “Subscribe to me!!111!” popup boxes

Here’s a tip: Popups aren’t any less annoying when they appear in the same window, or contain an e-mail subscription box instead of ads for dubious pills or even more dubious dating sites. As far as I understand getting as many people on your mailing list as possible is a thing. I’ve seen people recommend using these popups even if they dislike those abominations themselves. Because, well, subscribers. Why??? (You even made me bring out the extra question marks!)

Subscription popups make me seethe with internal rage every time I come across them, and it’s actually not an exaggeration. Throw a huge subscription box at my face and prevent me from seeing the content I came there for, and I will click the tiny, hardly visible X, and then I will click that slightly more visible X in my browser, not seeing any of the content you’ve worked so hard to make. I don’t like being nagged, and I have only ever continued to read a blog that had those once. No, that’s not an exaggeration either, and I only did it because the content was so fantastically useful to me. It’s not like subscribing will make the popups stop appearing either! They just come back over and over and over and over again until you feel like gouging your eyes out with a spoon.

Told you it was a grumpy post.

What happened to having a visible but relatively unobtrusive subscription box in your sidebar, so that people can subscribe without being forced to or nagged every time they visit, and focusing on writing content that people will want to read? Everyone has at least one needy friend who constantly needs to validate your friendship. Is that the person you prefer to spend time with? Nope. Nothing makes me more annoyed than being disturbed in my reading by a jiggly, brightly coloured box that obscures the whole text. Seriously, I would not be surprised if they started playing music soon.

Which brings us over to my next hate object:

2. Websites with auto-playing music or ads

Oh no, the travesty.

Honestly most websites I visit are not stuck in the nineties/early 2000s and know that websites with music that play automatically are annoying. But apparently not all. As someone who almost always listens to music while browsing, it is really annoying to have your favourite song interrupted by some bad tune with bad quality playing at top volume.

In reality most of these are auto-playing ads. It does not make things better at all. As I often listen to music, I have sometimes had a moment of paranoia when trying to figure out where the talking comes from. Is someone outside my window? Has someone walked into my apartment (even though the door is always locked)? Has it become haunted? Am I hearing voices?

In fact yes, it usually turns out that I am hearing voices. The voices of annoying salesmen in even more annoying ads, as it turns out after a bit of digging. Very fun if you have gone through your bookmarks and have open perhaps twenty tabs. (Which little, easily ignored ad box in one of these thirty tabs that I am reluctant to close is the one that is playing, and how can I make it shut up? Can I really do it in time before I throw the monitor out the window of sheer annoyance?)

I guess it should be a lesson that having twenty tabs open simultaneously is a bad idea. But sometimes you need it. Research, people, research! (And news about the latest k-pop scandal *ehem*)

3. it’s a seeecret

You promised to teach me to do <thing>, damnit! And only now, when I’ve read past countless reviews and you telling me how fantastic this thing is, you say that I can’t learn it unless I pay you or subscribe to you or something like that? Ugh, no thanks. I’ve just spent ten minutes or more reading all about why I should learn it, the benefits of learning it, who else is learning it, what people say about learning it, the history of teaching this thing, shameless praise of yourself disguised as objective facts, and so much rubbish fluff writing that my brain feels like dying. You think I want to give you money in addition to that? Yeah, I get it, you are selling a thing (or the knowledge of how to do a thing) and you want to make sure that people think they need it and that people want to buy. But could you do it in less words?

The same goes for blog posts or websites that go on forever before they even get close to the point. Seriously, why should I care? I don’t want to know why, I want to know what.

Tiny little tip: Personally I subscribe to other people because I like their content (shock!) and would hate to miss any. Not because I want free gifts, or something the non-subscribers cannot get. If you write good content, I will subscribe. If you try to bribe or confuse me into subscribing? Nooooo. I refuse to believe I’m the only one who thinks like this.

Seriously, some of those blogs feel like telemarketers in blog form.

4. You have to promote yourself!

This one is partially inspired by this blog entry on the blog whimsydark. It writes about the particular kind of “shouty” promotion, where authors promote and promote and promote online, trying desperately to build a fanbase and a social media platform, and it doesn’t help. Because they come off as desperate and annoying, and the potential reader still has no valid reason why they should read the person’s book.

The same problem goes for some art blogs and photo blogs and whatnot. Yes, I’ve bought the books of people because of their social media presence (though I hate that expression). But do you know what? None of them shoved their books down my throat, none of them talked relentlessly about why I should like their book, none of them kept trying to sell things to me. Informing me about their books or art and where I can buy them? Fine, absolutely fine. Constantly shoving this information in my face whenever I even consider visiting their website or blog or twitter or facebook site? Oh hell no. (So what did these authors whose books I bought do right? Well, they were generally awesome people. They gave advice, for free, they talked about their interests and their writing process and their life and their pets and their pet peeves and whatnot, and while they also talked about their books, they were real people. Don’t be pushy cardboard cutouts, people. Be a real and non-annoying person.)

The bottom line is this: I want to decide for myself whether or not I will buy something, or what I like. You wrote/made/invented the thing, of course you like it. You have no way of knowing if I will like it, so stop pushing. Yes, I will buy your book, thank you for telling me about it. IF it looks like a book I would like. But not if you keep shoving it in my face. That’s in fact the best way to ensure that I will neither by that book nor future books by you. Petty? Perhaps.

Summary!

Here are some short guidelines to stop being intensely annoying online:

  1. Don’t nag me more than my mother does. Seriously.
  2. Don’t be pushy. Let me decide for myself whether or not I like your book/website/whatever the heck you sell.
  3. Don’t interfere with my browsing experience. Don’t make me hunt for a tiny little ad with plenty of sound. Don’t throw huge popups in my face that prevent me from seeing the content I came for. Don’t make me waste my precious time hunting for a tiny, little, near-invisible X to read your article.
  4. Don’t be a tease. If you promise to teach me about doing X or Y, then do it, instead of throwing a “oh wait, haha, you have to pay for it” at me aaaaall the way at the bottom of a far-too-long page. Especially after forcing me to read all those empty fluff sentences.
  5. Don’t be desperate. Nobody likes to buy stuff/spend time on stuff/read stuff out of pity. Show me why I will like it. No, no, don’t tell me, show me. I’m not a difficult person, except if people try to guilt trip me into something. Then you’ll see difficult.
  6. Don’t follow advice blindly. Even mine. If someone tells you that you need to have subscription popups, but you actually hate them, why would you still have them? It genuinely baffles me.

Ah, it feels good to vent, even if the people who need to see these italics-riddled complaints probably never will. Do you have something to add to the list?

 

Changes!

Some days ago I made the abrupt decision to switch webhosts. It wasn’t a new idea, since I used several different webhosts and registrars and whatnot, but I couldn’t really be bothered before. I had also thought about moving my photography over to this site, but I never got around to it. So now I’ve made quite a few changes:

  • Made a hosting account with Bluehost instead of JaguarPC – I wasn’t necessarily unhappy with JaguarPC, but had heard good things about Bluehost. There was a Memorial Day sale with a really good price for the first year, so I just did it.
  • I’ve pointed my ciuva.com website to that domain, and let me tell you, I had some nerve-wracking hours when I tried to upload the website contents to the new host via ftp and couldn’t get it to log me on. Turns out I had been too impatient and the changes had not properly propagated yet. If you visited my website and saw that it was down yesterday, that was the reason.
  • I have cancelled the hosting for my csandal.com website, as well as cancelled the domain renewal. No point in paying for something I don’t use, and if I’m moving my photography to this site anyway…
  • I have also cancelled the renewal for my first domain, which for some reason has kept going even if I thought I cancelled it years ago. The most clunky URL ever – tales-of-charbakin.com. I chose it because Tales of Charbakin was, at the time, the name of my series, but I didn’t really think it through. I am thinking of using Tales of the North for something though…

So now, or at least as soon as all the changes go through, I have everything in one place. Just one single cpanel/hosting account to log into. It’s great! All the verification and security and information that Bluehost provides is a bit overwhelming and feels a bit too much, but I guess I shouldn’t complain.

I have some more visible changes in mind, but I am not sure when I will implement them. I will have to decide what to do first. I think I have decided on a theme, but I want to make sure it looks good first, and that the way I have organised things is good enough.

I’m sure none of you are really interested in this, but somehow I apparently had to write it, so… Well.

Tomorrow I’ll finally start editing Rogue Sorcery again. I could have started today, of course, but I have had five and a half hours of dance practice today, plus two yesterday and three the day before, so I feel too sorry for myself. Really painful feet are quite distracting… As is the Irish dance music that is stuck in my brain. I’ve tried listening to metal and disco (of all things) (not at once of course) to drown it out, but it still sticks. Perhaps k-pop works. 😛

Organizing stuff

This weekend I was really tired and found it hard to do any of the useful, grown-up things I had planned to do. It was my first week at work after five weeks’ sick leave (I’m fine by the way, I just had a brutal meeting with the metaphorical wall), so perhaps it wasn’t so strange. But – I actually managed to procrastinate by doing other useful stuff!

The first thing was to look through my books and write down which series I am reading and what books I haven’t yet bought/read. Fun fact about me: When I’m stressed, there are two things I have an urgent need to do: Finish things, and get rid of things. I have a stack of not-all-that-awesome books I’m getting rid of, and now I’m trying to finish a few of the series I’m reading. There’s a lot of satisfaction in that, I think, and there are some series I’m reading where there won’t be any more books. While I like series with many books, most of them go stale at some point, so I like series that actually end properly.

The other thing I did was to go through my stories. All of them. And if you count the snippets and multiple versions and iterations and idea files and so on, there are a lot to go through. Now I have a word file with every single story that’s not utterly hopeless, sorted by story type (novels, novellas or short stories/short story series). I also have several stories that are the combination of several ideas/drafts (where the discarded stories go to be reincarnated, apparently), so I have listed all the different stories they consist of. One of them is a Frankenstein’s monster of a story, consisting of more than eight different (but related) ideas, so I might split it back up.

Next on the agenda is entering them all into Excel (so that I can sort them better and do fancy automatic colour coding) and going through the list, which is what I’m currently doing. Which ideas are worth pursuing, and which should be archived as a lost cause? Some should perhaps remain only as part of the worldbuilding. Some stories are probably not worth writing at all, even if writing the drafts was enjoyable. The Frankenstein’s monster of a story will probably be replotted into something completely different. Before the day is over it might already have become a series instead…

Finally I will devise some kind of system so that I can easily see which stories I am working on and which ones are discarded, and which is the current draft/old drafts in those folders. Not quite sure how I’ll do it, but my plans for tonight were cancelled and I have no more exams to study for, so I guess I need something to do 😉 In any case the goal is to change my story folders from complete and utter chaos into something I can actually find my way in. If anyone knows of a good way to do this, I’m all ears!

Edit:

Look! I finished the overview:

Story overview preview

49 stories – that’s quite a lot. But I guess some of them will get discarded along the way, and most of them are fairly short anyway. It’s nice having an overview like this, though. It contains the current status, the type of story, brief summary (where I remembered it) and so  on. Not sure if I’ll look at it enough to justify the work, but at least I’ve made it 😉

First story online, and more to come!

Back when I joined deviantART, I also posted some of my stories there. They weren’t good stories, to be honest. Most of them were small snippets I didn’t know what to do with, and worldbuilding stuff, like the creation story for my world. I also wrote little stories/snippets in the description box for many of my paintings, since nearly all were characters for my stories. Or ended up being so by the time I had finished with them, anyway. However, it did not last very long, and currently I have not posted anything online for quite a few years. Not that I haven’t written – I write more and more every year – but all of it has been novel-length and unedited.

NOW, however, I have finished my first short story! It started largely as a cool idea and an experiment, but it was really fun to write! So now my woefully empty Wattpad profile has gotten its first story, too. You can find it here. It still has almost no views yet, but I haven’t gotten around to reading and commenting much, so that’s to be expected.

After uploading The Trick, I kind of wanted to do more of it. There’s something awesome about being able to write a story in just a few days, and then just put it online. With a novel you invest so much time in it that the quality really matters, but I think there’s less pressure with a short one. If you write a bad one, well, you haven’t wasted a lot of time, and your reader hasn’t either. You can always write another one.

This entire day has been a steady flow of ideas. Not only did I realise that all those ideas and beginnings that sit unused on my hard drive perhaps fit better as short stories or something of the sort, but I also have a new project. Of course Rogue Sorcery takes priority, as does my current Wattpad project, but I think this is awesome.

The project is a collection of related short stories and excerpts/snippets. They take place in the general region where Rogue Sorcery takes place, only not in the same city and quite a few years later. Initially I wanted them to take place right before instead, but it would either mess with my timeline OR I would have to cut the one character I have wanted to write about for what seems like forever.

The setting is two places that got their names almost without thinking about it. One is the city of Whitebridge, half of the so-called twin cities of Whitebridge and Wirun, or more specifically the Whitebridge university. The stories here will focus on seven/eight characters (one of them is a messenger whose route goes between the two places) who all have some connection to the university – student, teacher, staff or just someone who is there a lot.

The other is a village that I called Trade Road Crossing in my notes, and now, two hours later, the name has stuck and I cannot get rid of it. It’s located right by one of the largest border fortresses in the empire (it’s right by the northern border) and also by the place where the main trade road from outside the empire (through the mountain pass) crosses another trade road that runs along said mountains, as well as the river from which goods are transported further south into the empire. Sort of like a fantasy version of Border Control. Most of the characters here are either soldiers (patrolling the smuggler routes or checking who and what comes into the empire) or connected to the inn where most traders and merchants stay when they’re in town.

I don’t know if this sounds interesting or super-boring, but I like the idea and I love the characters. There will be action and mystery, and most of them focuses on the common people, not those high up in the system. There is one who is the son of a lord, but that’s about it, and he won’t inherit anything whatsoever anyway.

I also have no idea how many stories there will be – if there will be only one or two before I lose interest, or if it will be an ongoing project, but I would rather like it if it was the latter. Besides, think of all the possibilities, all the plots! It would be a great chance to explore different types of plots, stories and characters.

Besides, there will be at least one novel set in this world that will be set in Whitebridge, possibly at the university, so it could actually do double duty as research/worldbuilding too 😉

Wherein plans are changed

Cicilie and I have been reasonable for once – more incredible for me than for her, frankly – and adjusted the original deadlines for our spring projects. Not only does it allow us to have a finished story to post on Wattpad sooner, but it will give us more time to edit our novels (RS in my case) before exchanging manuscripts again. That last point is particularly important since I am a part-time student now, and have to study for exams in the first half of May. I can’t use my regular strategy of bullshitting my way through it either, since it’s business finance and I have to know stuff. Anyway, the new and updated plan (let’s all just pretend that I don’t actually love revising plans just as much as I love making them, which is a lot) is below:

April

  • Write the short Wattpad story, somewhere around 5k. (It’s fully plotted though! Yay!)
  • Edit the short Wattpad story, and actually post it (deadline 30th of April)
  • Enter the new ending for RS into the timeline in Aeon
  • Edit at least 10 chapters of RS

May

  • Edit the rest of RS (deadline 29th of May)
  • Re-read again
  • Finish the plot of the Wattpad novel

June

  • Write the Wattpad novel
  • Revise/edit the Wattpad novel (deadline 30th of June)

In the original plan I had some painting goals as well – they remain the same, so I won’t repeat them here. Except with the caveat that I’m not allowed to, you know, overwork myself, so I’m only going to do two of the six goals. One of them must be the goal of making a map of Wirun, since I need that for RS, but apart from that, as long as I finish one other painting goal, I’m happy.

So there it is!