Normally the last few chapters in a book that I’m writing take me a long time to write. Parasomnia took me four months to write up to the last three chapters and then another four months to finish. A Study in Aether took four weeks to write all but that last 10k words and then another year to finish.
It’s not that I think endings are hard. I just don’t like leaving the worlds of my books. I don’t like ending things. (Probably why I keep adding books to series)
Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers has been a quick ride. Three months of planning and three months of writing. It’s been exhausting and exiting and really awesome. I’m now on the last chapter and I don’t want it to end. Is this why some authors never finish their novels?
Hopefully I’ll take less time to finish this chapter than I have other novels.
I’m extremely lucky to have found a partner who I can spend lots of time with, who I can talk with until ridiculous o’clock in the morning, and who I can work with efficiently and happily.
Of course we have our problems and our disagreements, but I think we’re handling them okay. At least I hope we are.
Ten-ish years ago I ran a D20 modern game that was effectively my spin on Stargate. Jen played a character who was both awesome and badass. At one point I introduced a mafia/pizza restaurant owning superhero. He was supposed to be a one time character but the group kept bringing him back and Jen’s character developed a relationship with him.
When the game ended, we talked about their story and then it slowly faded into my subconscious.
Fast forward to five years ago and a very sleep deprived me. I was doing NaNoWriMo and felt like I needed two alien hunting characters. I used the ones from our game as a stand in.
A year ago, I mentioned it to Jen and we started talking about it. The more we talked, the more we planned, until finally I said we should write a book about them. We discussed it for over four months as I was trying (and failing) to finish other novels.
January 1st we started. As of today we have roughly 78,000 words and 21 of 26 chapters written in Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers. Jen has been so excited that we also have 3 short stories and the basic plot of the next 2 books discussed.
(That’s approximately 1100 words a day or 2.3 chapters per week.)
I’ve never written at this pace and not gotten burned out or stuck in my writing. Splitting the writing and Jen’s abundant enthusiasm has me writing so much better. Also having someone as, or more, obsessed with the story has made it much easier.
It’s stressful, because I’m constantly feeling like I’m slowing her down, but overall it’s been a great experience. One I hope she’ll be willing to repeat in the future.
All that to say I’m extremely lucky and thankful for my wonderful partner.
Taking time off while in lockdown is odd. I took two days off cause I was feeling a little frayed and poor work paid for it. Came back to 50+ emails. Poor boss that had to cover for me.
My days consist of watching Adrien while working and doing house stuff. On breaks, I’ll try to write or edit. It’s exhausting.
My two days off were pretty much a writing marathon trying to get chapter 15 of The Untitled Mystery Book Project finished. It was in my head and I needed to get it out.
Unfortunately, I also crashed physically. Full migraine, nausea, aches, and weakness. It’s like I just needed to get that chapter out and then my body said, “You’re not going to rest unless I force you.” So the weekend was painful. I hate migraines, I lost all peripheral vision on my left side for two days and every time the kids shrieked, I just saw red-ish static.
I’m feeling better today and the time off was restful, but taking time off with the kids home and lockdown going on is hard. At least I didn’t have a full social calendar.
It’s also why I forgot to prepare a post for today until just now.
All said and done, what you should take from this is that with me finishing chapter 15 and Jen finishing 16 we’re at 16/26, which is 2 chapters away from the end of the second act and that means we’re 2/3’s done. YAY.
Writing with Jen has been awesome, but that’s another post.
Little Dragon is going through a phase of discovering what she likes. It’s quite frustrating since it changes ALL-THE-TIME but I understand it’s because she’s trying to figure out what she likes and who she is.
“I really don’t like spicy,” she’ll say and then turn around and ask for Jalapeno cheese or extra hot sauce on her meal.
It’s as adorable as it’s frustrating. I know it’ll even out, but it’s hard to guess what she’ll eat. Sometimes when I ask her she changes her mind by the time it’s in front of her.
In the same vein, I’ve noticed that my tastes have changed in music at least. The Mystery Book Project is set in 2002 and we made a music playlist appropriate for the time.
There’s a lot of music from the time that I really enjoy and then there’s some others. At the time I enjoyed Eminem and Nine Inch Nails. They spoke to a part of me back then. Now not so much, it’s either a lot of whining and noise that sounds either entitled, pretentious, or both.
It’s interesting how tastes change over time, some over a couple of decades and some over a couple of minutes.
I’m working on a new writing project and it seems to have taken over a large portion of my brain. In order to free up my brainspace I’ve been trying to write. Not easy with all my other responsibilities but I’ll make it work.
It’s really exciting and a little different then what I normally do, but so far it’s great.
Now I really need to go finish the last hundred or so words of this chapter.
Have this cute picture of Dragon building Maleficent the Snowperson.
Today marks the first day of a whole new year. A made up, arbitrary, unimportant date that nonetheless feels like a renewal and rebirth. The human mind and spirit is a fascinating and messed up thing.
Last year was all over the place. I was on paternity leave, we went to Disney World, and then PANDEMIC. I’m ridiculously privileged that I got to work from home and we didn’t lose much income (Jen’s travel booking did suffer). I got to spend so much more time with my son than I would have and that’s a blessing.
Our schedule and lineup will be changing, but that’s another post. I’m going to hopefully keep up the streak of having at least 5 posts per week.
Editing and Marketing
5. Start Editing Dinosaur Road Trip
I wrote this novel in 2017 and my weditor edited it. I need to go through it and make the recommended changes and edits. Maybe even pass it to the next beta reader… It’s just such a personal book that it’s hard to revisit.
6. Keep Working on FADDS
The system isn’t perfect, but it’s getting better every playtest. I want to keep playtesting and adding on to the powers. Maybe rethink the advanced classes and powers.
7. Read 15 Books
Like writing, I need to carve out time to read. It’s important to both my mental energy and health.
8. Play more games with the kids
I need to play more board games and video games now that the kids are getting older. It’ll be a fun activity.
9. Be More Patient
This is a hard one. I yell a little too much and it’s not good for me or the kids. I need more patience with them, work, and life in general.
10. Keep pressing my doctor to find out what those attacks were in November
In November I had some serious health issues. I had massive cramping in my lower left abdomen, fever, weakness, nausea, and fatigue. It happened twice in November and both times faded away.
It also happened last year and I went to the emergency room, but they couldn’t find anything wrong.
In mid-December, I called and asked the receptionist to get a referral to a specialist. I think this is related to my IBS and other issues, but I’m not a doctor.
I’ll keep pushing.
Those are my resolutions for 2021. Ambitious, but less so than in the past.
In my little part of the world, the weather has turned and for the time being the 30+ Celsius temperatures are over (I live in Ottawa which means there’s a good chance we’ll get another bout of 40 before real Autumn). Pumpkin spice is just around the corner, my squash are growing in the garden (let’s hope some of them survive the cursed squirrels), and my mind turns to Halloween.
I’m looking forward to introducing Dragon to some classic monster movies this year. Maybe the original Mummy or Frankenstein. Hard to go wrong with Karloff.
Inexorably linked to fall in North America; school is starting, or started. It’s a different kind of year with many changes and a lot left up in the air. I don’t envy students and I really don’t envy teachers. We’ve decided that Dragon should be home schooled for her first year of kindergarten. See Jen’s post about that.
Because of the How I Taught my Dragon posts, we’re moving the JenEric Movie Reviews to Saturdays. So you’ll be be getting 6 days of content until I run out of Saturdays, then I’ll have to add some movies to Sundays. (I like only having one thing per day.)
I’m still struggling with my writing, but I’ve managed to write more in the past few weeks than I had in the 6 months before, so that’s a good thing. I wish I could write as fast as I come up with ideas, but unfortunately I’ve slowed down and I’m really happy I’m not a famous author right now. I’d love to be a rich author that people recognize the name, but not famous. (S.M. Carrière has a good post about this.)
I need to stress less about productivity. I constantly feel like I have to be producing for work, writing, FADDS, this blog, and fixing/optimizing things around the house. I need to do what I can, relax and enjoy the time with family.
I’ve been home since June 2019 and the day to day routine of family, house, freelance, etc. haven’t lent themselves to writing much. Now since March I’ve also been working from home for my day job and things haven’t improved on that front. I’ve managed to write the serial stories and a little bit in two novels.
More and more it’s looking like I’m not going to make my self-imposed deadline of September for the next Elizabeth book. This will probably mean I’ll break my yearly publishing streak. I have a contract for 2021 but no book for 2022 and I’m pretty sure if I don’t submit a novel by end of year my publisher will be out of release spots (if they aren’t already).
It feels like failure. I hate how much I’m struggling. I’m not struggling with the story or the writing, but with finding time to write. It takes me a little while to get into the zone and I can’t stand writing for only 15 minutes. I have to find a way to give myself the time. As the pandemic becomes normal and we start homeschooling, I’m hoping I’ll find a spot in my busy schedule.
I’m not looking for advice, just wanted to complain. I know it’s a common problem with us writer types and despite the voice yelling at me to give up and that its proof I suck, I’ll get back to it. I always do. Writing is part of me and I love doing it; I’d do it even if I couldn’t publish. I just have to remember that and find the time to enjoy doing it.
If you’d like to lift my spirits please feel free to order one of my books from the publisher, your favourite ebook store, or my website.
If you want to make me giddy with happiness leave a review on those sites and Goodreads.
Thank you for all your support and I hope your creative juices flow… well that sounded dirty.