Entries in Spider's Eye (3)

Saturday
Dec292018

Hope at the End of the Longest Year

Like in 2017, this year was hard fought and draining. Trying to get things done amidst creeping fascism has been incredibly hard. And because having fascists loose everywhere else in the world wasn't bad enough, the greedy idiots here in Ontario had to go and elect Thug Fraud to premier. I truly, deeply hope that horrible man goes the way of his equally horrible brother VERY soon.

Anyway, when I'm not wishing death on The Worst people in power, I'm probably reading a book. Maybe writing one. I still hit a lot of my writing goals, though I've been lagging behind all of December because of severe depression.

Heh, you want your favourite creators to keep creating? STOP ELECTING FASCISTS

Anyway, here's the breakdown of how I did this year, despite all the bullshit.

Writing
I hit most of my writing goals this year, and the ones I didn't hit were because I swapped them for something else. I've done a lot of work on Blueshift 1, revised book 2 and rewrote book 3 for NaNoWriMo. Books 2 and 3 still need work, but I'll get to them later. I'm happy with the trilogy as it is right now and look forward to polishing the rest. I've been querying book 1 and getting some good feedback from agents, though no contracts yet.

I got Fireborn polished and out into the world and it's also had some positive feedback from agents. I will continue to query both books in the new year.

I wrote and submitted three short stories but, while one of my stories got shortlisted for an anthology, ultimately nothing has gone into print this year. It's a tough industry, but I'll keep working to improve my craft until I can wriggle my way in.

I've looked into novellas and have read plenty of what Tor puts out. I haven't attempted to write a novella yet, but I've started to outline one.

I didn't end up outlining the next two books in the Fireborn series for a few reasons. One is that I'm just not as interested in the series as I was, though I'm sure that will change once I deal with the fact that I'm not entirely sure where I want the next two books to go. And finally, there are a lot of compelling reasons not to work on the rest of a series until the first book is published. So instead of working on books I can't sell/publish right now, I plotted and started writing something different: The Spider's Eye, a stand-alone epic fantasy.

I'd wanted to get a good portion of Spider's Eye written by now, but I was sick for most of November so my NaNo goals fell short, and then I've been severely depressed all of December and didn't get anymore writing done. I've done some more research and some planning on Spider's Eye, but that's it.

And my shiny (not so new) idea is still percolating in the back of my mind. I'm still not entirely sure what I want to do with it, though I'm leaning toward the novella format. And then I've got to do an epic amount of research and... I just really hate research.

Anyway, I've learned now to keep my writing goals flexible because I'm inevitably going to be more interested in certain projects than I think I will be and less interested in others. And I've got enough ideas to work on that I don't have to force myself to finish one thing if I (temporarily) stop loving it. So I didn't necessarily hit the things on my list, but I still did about the same amount of work.

Reading
So I hit this one out of the park this year. I've read 66 books! If I finish the one I'm currently reading over the weekend, it'll be 67! About a third of that has been the children's books I've read to my daughter (chapter books only, not counting any picture books). I've read a lot of novellas this year too, including a double-read of the Murderbot diaries because I love them so much.

I've read loads of books from the library and the vast majority of the books I read this year were by white women. I'd like to keep reading more diversely and I'm still not reading as many books by people of colour as I could.

Family
I've gotten really bad at family stuff, and a lot of it is the stress of the current political climate. I just don't have a lot of energy for things. What energy I do have goes more toward time for my daughter than to my spouse and the extended family. So we still did plenty of family activities, but my spouse and I have spent another year not having many date nights. We're both just so tired. Not sure what to do about it other than just keep trying.

Health
Hey, this one was a smashing success! I did all the walking until the weather got cold. I did plenty of kickboxing. And I even lost weight! I lost and have kept off 10 lbs! Now that I've found something that works (I'm using the MyFitnessPal app), I'm hoping to keep up this trend until my knees stop hurting. We'll see how it goes.

Travel
So this year was all about the travelling. I suspect that travel is partially my midlife crisis? It's also my creeping-fascism coping mechanism. So I went to more than two new (to me) national parks in both Canada and the US, including Yoho NP in BC and Volcanoes NP in Hawaii. I went to a lot of new places this year, and it was magnificent. I went back to the national parks in Tobermory as well, and returned to Sequoia NP with my daughter for a week before we went to WorldCon76. I am now out of money, but it was well worth it!

2019 Goals

Writing
Submit 3 short stories
Write Blueshift short story "Making Waves"
Plot & write Mage War novella
Plot Mage War novel
Finish, revise, and polish Spider's Eye
Do NaNoWriMo
Look into writing a MG series
Keep querying Blueshift 1 and Fireborn
bonus/swap in:
Research and planning for shiny idea
Start writing shiny idea
Start querying Spider's Eye

Reading
Read 30 books
Read 15 books from my shelves
Read 15 books by POC

Family
One family event per month
One date night per month
Continue after school activities

Health
Regular kickboxing
Regular walks in warm months
Lose some weight (any amount will do)

Travel
One mother/daughter trip
One family vacation
Anniversary vacation

Anyway, 2018 has been the longest decade of my life. Congrats for surviving! We all deserve cookies just for that alone. If you managed to actually accomplish anything this hellscape of a year, bonus! Here's hoping we're all still here and kicking ass at the end of 2019.

Saturday
Jan112014

Too Many Worlds

I'm working on a lot of stories right now and it's hard to keep it all straight. The novels are the two I've been working on the longest, Blueshift and Spider's Eye, both of which I started in high school. I've got a few short stories on the go, as well. I'm also starting to look ahead to revising Cultivating Peace.

All of these projects are set in worlds very different from each other with their own unique characters living in different societies. Last night I opened up a work in progress currently titled Boundaries, hoping to make some more detailed plot notes for it, and my brain went completely blank. I've felt disconnected from the piece since I started working on it again at the end of November.

I think the problem is having too many other characters and settings demanding my creative juices. I've got a lot of my plotting brainpower already dedicated to fixing up Blueshift, brain cells holding onto continuity issues as I revise Spider's Eye, and any leftover synapses are trying furiously to write a brand new short story for The First Line. I've made notes for a few other short stories, too, and I need to start looking for homes for all of these short stories.

When I opened up that document for Boundaries, I'm pretty sure the final two creative cells in my body went on strike. All the more reason to put more concentration into the things I've already started. Sometimes I feel like I'll never get these projects finished, but I needed something to write to get my 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo. Oh well, lesson learned! Boundaries will just have to wait.

Monday
Dec302013

Testing My Resolve

Here it is, the final post of 2013! It's been a very busy and productive year and I'm looking to keep the productive trend going into 2014. I have a few book-related resolutions to share for the new year.

1. Read twenty books from my shelves. I hope to do better than that, but since some of the books I'll be reading will be part of the Game of Thrones series (just picked up the box set earlier today) and those buggers take over a month each for me to get through, twenty might be stretching it. I'll start by reading short books. I'm also going to try really really hard not to buy (too many) new books.

2. Write two short stories. I got a couple of good ones written this year, all out for consideration in anthologies and contests, and I'd like to get a couple more done. I hope for more than just two, but I know I'll get that many just from Toasted Cheese contests.

3. Publish one novel. Even if it means self-publishing, I plan to release another book in 2014. I'd like to put something out by October/November so that friends and family have an easy holiday gift next year. Right now, I'm bouncing back and forth between working on Blueshift and Spider's Eye. It looks like SE will need less work, so I'm predicting that will be the book heading your way in the autumn.

4. Research Blueshift. Part of the reason Blueshift isn't anywhere near ready is all the research that it needs before the rewriting even commences. I think "research" is also going to have to include character sketches and outlining political systems, speech patterns for different races, and possibly some sciencey stuff for keeping the timelines of four different planets straight. Yikes!

5. Start Blueshift total rewrite. I have already started writing a few key scenes for this, and have now accumulated 9000+ words toward the rewrite, as well as an extensive outline that gets more detailed every day. Still, later in the year (I'm aiming for NaNoWriMo 2014 at the latest) I'm going to start at the beginning and write the sucker all over again.

6. Do NaNoWriMo. Things went well enough this year that I've decided to do it again. I'm even going to apply to be the ML. If I get through all the rewrites for the Blueshift trilogy (which honestly seems unlikely) then I have a couple of other solid ideas to work on.