Once More Unto The (Writing) Breach- May 2017

What I’ve Accomplished This Month

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This was yet another pretty single-minded month. And guess what? I still didn’t finish anything!

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Let’s break down my failure. Because that sounds like fun! 😀

  • Good Intentions (Age of Ultron fanfic)- 32,547 words written

This is probably the most words I’ve managed to write after a NaNo… pretty much ever. AND I’M STILL NOT FREAKING DONE. How is that possible? I did not plan for this fic to be soooooooo looooooonnnnngggg. Seriously, all of my other Avengers fics are short!

…you know, -ish.

Relatively speaking.

Anyway, the current plan is for the total word count to be 95k, which means I’m almost done! Finally! Really this time, I swear to Odin…

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Oh… right. I swear to Loki then. Which is way more fun anyway ;P

Well, I managed to post my chapters, and I regret that now. Because I’m feeling a little lost here. I can’t explain it, but the thread of my story is just… gone. I know how I want to end it, I just don’t know how to get there. And I don’t want to give up, because I know that if I can just push through this story is going to be AMAZING! I have a plan, but it might not be a plan that fans of this story will be incredibly happy with, considering how much of a let-down I have been when it comes to posting on this fic. But we’ll talk about that more in the What’s Coming Up section. For now, let’s just say that I’m incredibly happy with the chapters I posted this month and I’m impressed that I managed to write any words at all, to be honest.

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  • Doubt The Stars- Beta-edit

The results are in! And have been in for weeks now. I really was going to work on this more, I swear, but… well… I didn’t.

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I know, Ron. I know.

I managed to get through the first Scene, but that’s honestly only because everyone pretty much agreed that it needed almost no work (other than some grammar and punctuation fixes). The second Scene is going to be… a little more complex, and I’ll be honest, I’ve been putting it off. Because I’m scared. It’s getting scarier and scarier the closer to being done I am and… I’ve never done anything like this. I don’t feel prepared. But I’m going to do my best to jump in with both feet this month and really dig in.

So without further ado!

What’s Coming Up in June

  • Doubt The Stars- Evaluate feedback from beta-readers and edit accordingly. Send samples to editors and pick one.

This is… exactly the same goal I had for last month that didn’t happen. There’s going to be a lot of that in June. I’m playing the most terrible game of catch-up ever and just trying to win before Camp NaNoWriMo in July! On that note…

  • Good Intentions- Finish first draft

Really this time. Really, really. I’m in the final stretch, I should honestly be done with this in the next week or so if I play my cards right. Then I can set it aside and relax for a little while, because I’ve already decided to postpone the edits until the months of August/September. And yes, I’m allowing myself two entire months for edits, because despite mounting evidence to the contrary, I am not completely crazy.

I’m keeping my original goals for now, but this is purely in the spirit of optimism. I have one chapter that I can post on the 15th, but I’m not certain another chapter will be ready by the end of the month. I have already decided that I will be writing my 50k words for Camp NaNoWriMo in July on this fic and its sequel (which will follow hard on the heels of the first: it will become apparent why when the ending of DBTT is revealed ;P), so I’m thinking I might just take a rest on writing for this fic this month and let my creative well refill. It’s not like I don’t have other stories I could outline…

So there you go! We’ll see what happens! And now, the real reason you all read this blog:

Fog’s Cute Animal of the Month

This month’s animal is thanks to a very weird and completely random dream I had:

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The porcupine puffer fish!

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Look at that face! I’ve been reading up on them, and for a fish that could kill me in multiple ways (in addition to the ability to inflate and the spines, their internal organs contain a deadly toxin 1200 times more potent that cyanide. Neat!) they are also the most adorable and personable fish I have ever beheld! In this article, they are described as “almost as cute as cartoon animals” and they can apparently even be taught to do tricks for treats! Like puppies! Adorable fish-puppies of the sea!

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Imaginary boyfriend says I can’t have one, but he’s just a Debbie Downer. I NEED AN ADORABLE FISH-PUPPY! I mean, I had a dream about them! My sub-conscious even says I need a fish-puppy!

Plus, they’ve been compared to one of my favorite Avengers, so… win-win! 😀

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Case closed! All I need now is a 100 gallon fish tank and some snails…

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See you guys next time!

Once More Unto The (Writing) Breach- April 2017

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What I’ve Accomplished This Month

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So… yeah. I was kind of single-minded this month ;P I wrote 50,022 words, and not much else. Which I’m completely fine with. Those of you who are waiting (im)patiently for a new chapter of Double the Baggins, Twice the Took are probably not as okay with it as I am, but I’m going to try to make it up to you this month! Starting tomorrow! Really!

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What’s Coming Up in May

  • Doubt The Stars- Evaluate feedback from beta-readers and edit accordingly. Send samples to editors and pick one.

The first comments are starting to come in from my beta-readers and I’m really pleased! So far the feedback has been mostly positive, and the criticisms (when viewed through the eyes of trusted peers) are nothing that I feel I can’t handle. It’s such a relief, because honestly? I’m channeling my inner Rapunzel right now.

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  • Good Intentions- Finish first draft

Despite the 50k, I’m still not done. Not even close. Honestly, I’m hoping this will only be 80k, but I’ve set my WordKeeperAlpha goal at 100k, just in case… because there is still a whole lot of story left to write… But it’s so good! Seriously, I’m enjoying the hell out of writing this! It’s going to be such a fun thing to post too, I can’t wait to see everyone’s reactions! 😀

Honestly, I’m putting that writing goal there, but I’m not really sure it’s going to happen. I’m going to do everything in my power to make the chapter postings happen (starting tomorrow, I SWEAR TO MAHAL…), but as far as writing goes, finishing “Good Intentions” is taking priority this month. It has to. Or, honestly? My whole plan for the year is going to fall to pieces. So there you go!

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And now, the real reason you all read this blog:

Fog’s Cute Animal of the Month

This month’s surprisingly cute animal:

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The poor, nearly extinct axolotl. Well, extinct in the wild. In ten years (from ’98 to ’08) they went from 6,000 per sq km to 100. Now, you can hardly find any. But they are thriving in captivity, so at least we have that 🙂

Look at it! Look at it’s happy little face! How can you not love that face???

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“Oh, stop it you!” *axolotl blush*

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I do not know how to get my hands on one of these sculptures, but if someone finds out, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING LET ME KNOW!!!

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Also, because puns:

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*runs away cackling*

 

The Quarterly Writing Round Up!- Q1, 2017

Reminder:  For the second year in a row (go me!) I have made a set of yearly goals I would like to accomplish, and I’m breaking them down by quarter for you guys, so you can see where I am. And also so can see where I am, because sometimes I forget? And I get distracted? So I need this reminder every few months, it’s hella important to me. I appreciate your time and attention as I reorient myself in my life 🙂

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Here’s a recap of my goals for the year, in case you don’t want to go back and read the original post:

Overall goals for the year: Edit and (Finished, Q1) Publish “The Stars Are Fire” (now titled “Doubt The Stars”); Write, Edit, and Post “Good Intentions”; Finish Writing “Double The Baggins, Twice The Took”; Finish Writing “Wonderland Reclaimed”; Write first draft of Tempest in Space novel (tentatively titled “Such Stuff As Dreams”)

Okay, so I finished, like half of a goal this quarter. But, hey! Progress! And I did make some progress toward most of the others too, so it wasn’t a total waste 🙂

Here’s my WordKeeper Alpha graph for the year so far!

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As you can see, I’ve spent the majority of my time and energy on the self-edit of my novel from November, “Doubt The Stars”, which I’m feeling pretty good about. DBTT is also coming along nicely, so that’s two of my goals I’ve made significant progress on. I wish I’d spent more time on my “Good Intentions” outline, but I am only human, after all.

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Here’s the month by month breakdown!

Quarter One, 2017- Review

JanuaryFirst month of NaNoWriMo’s “Now What?” months, focusing on revising and editing. TSAF- make character sketches, flesh out settings, build up the system of planets, research the tech, and figure out my themes. Dictate my brainstorming for “Good Intentions”. Post four chapters of DBTT.

  • Um… Some of this happened. The posting of the chapters happened! The dictating experiment was a giant pile of fail.

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Apparently, I can’t words through my face, only through my fingers. I did a lot of wording with my fingers this month, so that was good. It was also the month that I admitted to myself that writing of the words was more important than the posting of the words and lowered my chapter goal from four to two. I also wasted a lot of time on a little story that no one cared about and I will probably never finish, but it was fun while it lasted 🙂

FebruarySecond month of NaNoWriMo’s “Now What?”. Self-edit TSAF. Continue to dictate brainstorming for “Good Intentions”. Post four chapters of DBTT (possibly start dictating new words?).

  • Ugh. The self-edit. The self-edit that I thought was going to take a month and instead took over my life for the better part of two months.

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I still managed to write the words I needed and post the chapters I needed, so that was good, but I went through a pretty terrible episode in which I was almost convinced I was never going to be finished with this book. I got out of it, but it was tough.

MarchGive TSAF to a select number of readers for feedback. Translate my dictation brainstorming to a workable outline for “Good Intentions”. Post four chapters of DBTT and write 25,000 new words (possibly through dictation).

  • So, since I obviously wasn’t finished with edits by March, the giving to readers thing didn’t happen. I did manage to finish the edits, so I’m only a month behind where I wanted to be. The outline of “Good Intentions” happened in the most basic sense, and if you add it up, I actually wrote more than the 25,000 words I had planned to write in March. I just stretched it out over a three month period, which I am completely fine with!

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I wish that I was able to post chapters faster, but I’m trying not to beat myself up over it. I just need to focus and readjust my goals for the rest of the year. Yeah, things are… fine. They’re fine. o.O

Quarter Two, 2017- Goals

So, my plan for the year has (of course) been derailed already and we’re only three months in. But that’s okay! Trying to stay positive! I can do this!

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So, Quarter Two goals! Here we go:

April: Give “Doubt The Stars” to beta-readers. Write 50,000 words on “Good Intentions” for Camp NaNoWriMo. Post two chapters of “Double the Baggins, Twice the Took”.

May: Read the feedback from beta-readers, revise “Doubt The Stars”, send to editors for sample edits and decide on professional editor. Finish the first draft of “Good Intentions”, let rest for the rest of the month. Post two chapters of DBTT, write 10,000 new words.

June: Send “Doubt The Stars” to professional editor, begin search for cover designer, start working on back matter, dedications, acknowledgements, and links to include. “Good Intentions” pre-edit prep. Post two chapters of DBTT, write 10,000 new words.

Wow. That’s a lot of stuff. But actually, it all seems… very doable. Is that crazy? I feel like that’s crazy.

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Thanks, John Green 🙂 Alright, you guys, I’m gonna try to do better with keeping up with the blog from now on, so stay tuned! See ya!

 

 

The Yearly Writing Round-up!- 2016/2017

It’s that time of year again! Time to take a look back, see what I’ve accomplished this year, and lay out my tentative plan for 2017. This is going to basically be an elongated Quarterly Round-up post, so let’s start with a recap of the goals I had going into 2016.

Overall goals for the year: Finish Changing History rewrites DONE! (Q1, February), Finish first draft of Changing History: Entwives DONE! (Q3, July), Write the Worth Living For short that I’ve been planning for ages, DONE! (Q3, July) Edit and begin posting Clarity DONE! (Q2, June), Finish the first draft of all three parts of Wonderland Reclaimed.
Reward Project: If I finish Wonderland Reclaimed, I can write my Avengers: Age of Ultron fic for NaNoWriMo in November.

As I mentioned in my Q3 round up, I’m pretty happy with having completed 4 out of 5 of my goals for the year. Wonderland Reclaimed… well, it’s going to have to take a back burner for a while. I feel like I maybe could work through its issues eventually, but I’m going to be a little busy with The Stars Are Fire in the next year, and I already have plans for another book in that loosely connected universe, so… we’ll see how it goes 🙂

Other notable highlights from the year include:

  • March- Began posting Double The Baggins, Twice The Took (15 chapters posted, 2016)

This was an unexpected addition to my workload this year, but not entirely unwelcome. I’ve enjoyed working on this fic and it has taken the place of Changing History in my life quite nicely. Though I do hope it won’t take me 15 years to finish! ;P

  • July- Finished posting Clarity

I honestly did not expect to finish this story this year. I expected to still be posting it well into January. But it was so… easy. Really, this whole process flowed so smoothly (even if sometimes it didn’t feel like it was) that once it got down to posting, it was simple. It was a real encouragement, especially as I had so much trouble finishing Changing History this year.

  • October- Finished the Changing History saga

This was a bittersweet moment for me. One of those moments I thought would never come, and certainly never expected to come this year. 15 years of imagination and now, it’s over. I legit cried.

  • October/November- The Stars Are Fire original novel

This one truly came out of left field and I once again have to thank my writing group for making this possible. I’m hoping for this to be the book that I (finally) publish in 2017, and honestly, even as a rough draft that I know needs work, I’m really proud of it.

And a few stats, just for fun!

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  • New words written– 112,610 (across five stories)
  • Fanfiction chapters posted– 75 (across five stories)
  • Stories Completed– 4

What’s Coming Up in 2017

Overall goals for the year: Edit and Publish “The Stars Are Fire”; Write, Edit, and Post “Good Intentions”; Finish Writing “Double The Baggins, Twice The Took”; Finish Writing “Wonderland Reclaimed”; Write first draft of Tempest in Space novel (tentatively titled “Such Stuff As Dreams”)

So another five goals for 2017! These are a bit more ambitious, but based on what I was able to do in 2016, I think they are doable. I also have a non-quantitative goal of trying out dictation for my brainstorming and possibly even my first drafts. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things regarding dictation and writing productivity, so I thought I would give it a try and see if I can’t incorporate some more walking into my life. Healthier and more productive? Sign me up!

I loved doing the Quarterly Round-Ups last year, so I plan to continue the tradition into 2017! Here are my goals for the first quarter!

  • January– First month of NaNoWriMo’s “Now What?” months, focusing on revising and editing. TSAF- make character sketches, flesh out settings, build up the system of planets, research the tech, and figure out my themes. Dictate my brainstorming for “Good Intentions”. Post four chapters of DBTT.
  • February– Second month of NaNoWriMo’s “Now What?”. Self-edit TSAF. Continue to dictate brainstorming for “Good Intentions”. Post four chapters of DBTT (possibly start dictating new words?).
  • March– Give TSAF to a select number of readers for feedback. Translate my dictation brainstorming to a workable outline for “Good Intentions”. Post four chapters of DBTT and write 25,000 new words (possibly through dictation).

I’ll be honest, I’m a little nervous about this. A lot of it rides on my dictation experiment being a success. If not, I might have some trouble getting all of these things accomplished. But I’m going to try it, and if it doesn’t work, well, I’ll modify my goals for Q2! 😀

And our adorable animal to start out the new year!

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The capybara! The world’s largest rodent (and arguably the cutest as well):

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Babies!!!

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Look at him, he’s so chill! 😀

Happy New Year, everyone! See you guys in a month!

A Peek Behind The Curtain- November 2016

So, this post is sort of becoming a “When I have something” post, instead of a regular occurrence. That’s okay, it’s NaNoWriMo, which means I have something to report!

The novel I’m working on this year is best described as “Genderbent Hamlet in Space”. It’s been an interesting book to write so far, mostly because it’s the most outlined novel I’ve ever written. I’ve discovered that there are a lot of pros and a few cons to this, but I’ve been able to slog my way through it with dogged determination.

It’s actually a bit difficult to pick a scene to share with you all, but I think I’ve finally decided on this one from Act I, Scene ii: the wedding celebration of King Clarence and Queen Judith. The only character that doesn’t get at least a brief introduction is Hortensia, so you’ll have to wait to meet her 🙂

This is completely unedited, so I’m sure it’s awful, but here’s a Peek Behind The Curtain of NaNoWriMo!

The Stars Are Fire- NaNoWriMo 2016

The king (the word tasted stale on the back of her tongue and she took another swallow from her glass) was speaking to a pair of well dressed men, smiling at them pleasantly enough but she could see her uncle’s jaw flexing beneath his pale skin. It was a common tell that meant something was upsetting him. And whatever that was, Henley felt she wanted to be a part of it, she moved a bit closer and touched a string of gems that was nestled around the crest of her ear. The sound amplified and she could hear what was being said without looking particularly interested. She crossed her arms over the tasteful and unadorned bodice of her black gown and sipped at her drink.

“…miner’s guild is becoming increasingly concerned, my lord,” one of the simpering little weasels whined in her ear, “This business with the Lady Fortuna is getting… unreasonable.”

“They’re pirates, my lord,” his equally disgusting partner said, “Highwaymen. No matter their captain, no matter their position, they are still thieves! And they are harassing our shipping lanes with undue prejudice!”

“Gentlemen,” the king said, in his soft voice that used to soothe Henley and now only grated on her ear, “Do not misunderstand me. I understand that the problem must be dealt with. But we must address these things through the proper channels. No,” Henley could almost hear him raising his hand in a conciliatory gesture, though she had her back to him and she bit her cheek in an effort not to roll her eyes, “No, I hear what you are saying, Basil, but if you think the boy’s position is of no matter or consequence than you are more naive than I thought. We must speak to the Chancellor of Njor before we take any further action. I will not run hot-headed into this situation like…”

…like my brother Henley…

“…like we have done before,” he finished prudently (cowardly Henley thought in the darkest corner of her mind, but threw back the last of her champagne to stifle it), “We must be firm, but we must also be diplomatic. That is the only way to get the inner worlds to take us seriously, to see us as more than just a fueling station. I will write up a letter to the Chancellor in the morning and send you off with your complaints as soon as transport can be acquired and your protection assured, if that is…?”

“Your most gracious majesty!”

Henley winced and touched the gems in her ear, cancelling the audio enhancement to prevent feedback. Lady Persephone did not require any enhancement to be heard. Henley suspected that her high-pitched, fawning voice was on a different wavelength from most mammalian species. Henley could not help but turn toward that voice though, as much as it irked her. For if Lady Persephone had made an appearance it was likely that her children were not too far behind. And Henley never could resist Laersa’s pull.

The trio of red-headed nobles were standing in an almost pyramidic stance before the current royal couple (not new, neither of them were new to this, though everyone was acting as if they’d never seen Henley’s mother in a crown before), Lady Persephone at the head, giggling and twittering and flipping her luxuriously dark red curls back and forth over her pale neck, her two children standing at either of her shoulders, both with hair as red as their mother’s and looking like they were both trying desperately not to look uncomfortable. Henley caught the bright green eye of Ophestes, the younger of the two, and gave him a quick, but sympathetic smile. He smiled back, but it tensed up his round face and Henley could see his fingers bunching at his sides. Fez didn’t so well with… well, people. He was a sweet boy (and despite his seventeen years, he was most definitely still a boy), but he would much prefer it if no one knew that he existed, even the few people that he liked. He didn’t do well in social situations and his mother was a walking, talking social situation, everywhere she went.

Henley’s eyes drifted to the woman standing on the other side of Fez, never quite making eye contact, not daring, not here, it wasn’t safe, but still her gaze was drawn to her. Laersa stood straight and prim, her hands clasped behind her in a crisp parade rest sort of stance, her long, wispy strands of hair tied back in a long tail that hung down her lithe back. Her green and silver uniform looked good on her, clung in all the right places, but not enough to take away from the stiff regulation that came with Academy Officers’ training. Her eyes never left the face of the king as her mother droned on, but Henley still felt as if she could see her, just out of the corner of her eye, watching Henley watching her…

“Well, you know my Laersa, she is so used to getting her way…”

Henley’s attention went shrieking back to Lady Persephone. The Academy was the only thing Laersa had ever set her mind to in her life that she had gotten her way with her mother, and that was only because the silly bitch had somehow convinced herself that her daughter would come home in six months on the arm of a military man, possibly already married and expecting her first child. Henley regretted that her glass was already empty, and snagged another from the closest hover-butler.

“…but she really would like to be heading back to school as soon as possible,” Lady Persephone said, tossing her hair again while Henley choked on her fresh champagne, “Exams are on the horizon and there is so much studying involved, all those books, and lectures, and things…”

The woman twirled a bejeweled hand absently and Henley jerked her eyes back to Laersa. Back to Academy? Already? But… they hadn’t even… she hadn’t been able to… Laersa’s sharp green gaze left its trained spot in the middle distance, just briefly, but in that glance Henley read all that she needed to. This wasn’t Laersa’s idea. Persephone was behind this, the way she was behind everything, with her social climbing machinations, and arrogant assumptions. Henley clenched her glass so tightly that she could feel her fingers cramping and forced them to relax, taking another gulp. Her eyes were burning and she tried to relax her jaw the way she’d relaxed her fingers. It wasn’t safe. They were never safe. She hated it.

So, there you go 🙂 I’m trying not to stress too much about whether it sucks or not before the first draft (and second… and probably third ;P) is finished 🙂 I hope you enjoyed it!

Once More Unto The (Writing) Breach- October 2016

Hey guys! I am so deep into NaNoWriMo that I completely forgot about the blog! Sorry! Here goes 🙂

What I’ve Accomplished This Month

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You know, this is really weird. I’ve been so focused on preparing for NaNo, I forgot I was going to have one more update post with Changing History on it. Wow. All my feels are reemerging. If you haven’t already, you can read about my feels in my blog post here.

Now I miss Boromir 😦

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I did way more work on this story than I anticipated this month. I looked over what I had coming up and realized… I really hated the way the chapters were structured. Really hated it. So I took the last chapter I’d written and completely redid it, changing the way everything was split and making me much happier 🙂 But it was a lot of work. Way more work than I wanted it to be. And now we’re at Beorn’s house and nearly everything I have has to be restructured and rewritten because it doesn’t make any sense. It’s going to be a disaster. But a disaster that can wait until after NaNo 🙂 Speaking of which!

I finished an actual outline! Like, with structure and thought put into it! Actually, what I did was take an outline of Hamlet from the internet, put it side-by-side with a blank document, and work my outline directly off of that, making changes as I went. It was… more difficult than I thought it was going to be, honestly. And the story is… harder to write than I anticipated. But I’m working on it! Hamlet in Space! And my male!Ophelia character is a precious neurotic cinnamon roll, I love him 🙂

What’s Coming Up in November

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Obviously 😉 My goal this year is to, not just write the 50k words, but to actually finish this novel. I already have it broken up into scenes (thanks, outline!) and it looks like I need to finish two scenes every three days in order to finish by the end of November. We’re only a couple days into NaNo, but so far it looks like I’m on track for that to happen. We’ll see how good I’m feeling in a few weeks…

Is it bad that I already have ideas for writing The Tempest in space? That’s bad, right? 😛

And since apparently this is becoming a tradition, the cute animal of the month!

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This is a pangolin!

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He is a real-life pokemon, and he is also very cute 😀

Until next time! 😀

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The Last Goodbye- Farewell to a Saga

If you are reading this, then it’s over. Changing History, the fanfiction saga that has encompassed my life for the past 15 years (off and on) is finally complete.

I must admit to mixed feelings. On the one hand, I’m very pleased with the results of my hard work. I’ve reached so many people over the years with this story, far more than I ever imagined I would, and I’ve learned so much about myself as a writer. And I feel like I’ve done the story justice, as if I’ve said the things I set out to say. I’m also very excited for the many other projects I have in the works, both fanfiction and original.

But I must also admit to a disconnected feeling. I sit down to the keyboard and my first thought is still “What do I need to do for Changing History?” Discovering that the answer is “Nothing” has been a strange sensation. I find myself asking if I’ll even know what to do with myself now, without Mel and Boromir urging me on. They have been a part of my life for so long, leaving them behind seems almost unimaginable. But I know that I must. I leave them in good hands, the capable hands of readers who love them and who will keep them alive. And while they will always be special to me,  and I owe them so much, it is time for me to let them go, to release their hold on me and give myself to other things, other projects, other dreams.

So long, Calenhiril. Be at peace, Son of Gondor.

No gelin idh raid lîn, a no adel len i chwest.
(May your paths be green and the breeze behind you.)