July 2019 Wrap-Up

I didn’t blog that much during the month of July. I wish I could say it was because I was being busy and successful in other areas, which… in all honesty, it’s not untrue. There’s some stuff that I’m not ready to talk about just yet for a variety of reasons, and some things that I’m about to tell you, but also some not particularly awesome things. It all worked out, for the most part.

Without further ado (because, me being me, this is already way longer than anticipated), here’s and end-of-the-month look what’s going on in the world of my writing.

Miscellaneous Platform Stuff

My entire platform needs a makeover. At the time of posting, I’m using a very generic WordPress template for this website: I don’t hate it, but it also looks, well, generic. It does match my current business cards, though, and I’m reluctant to change it because of that but might need to. I might as well update the business cards, while I’m at it. All the cool authors are also doing merch stores, so why not one of those, too?

It’s never just the one thing.

You’ll also notice that, at the time of posting, I don’t have any pictures of myself here. My writing-related social media has some headshots taken on a digital camera in my old apartment kitchen, but I haven’t gotten around to updating those in literal years. They’re not horrible pictures, but they’re also not particularly great and I need updated ones. So getting professional headshots is one of the priorities.

What I’m also hoping to do by the end of August is to launch an email newsletter. I need to take care of a few things before that launches, including the aforementioned new author photo, but I’m hoping to send one out monthly. What kind of things would you want me to talk about if I sent one? Right now I can promise an exclusive cat picture, a shorter writing progress update, and an actual title reveal for Kingmaker, if any of those things sound relevant to your interests.

A cat is curled up on unmade bed sheets. Light is filtering in through the blinds on the window.
This is Muffin. I happen think she’s the best cat in the world.

Kingmaker Progress

Speaking of Kingmaker, this is the part I’m very excited about. I might not have been blogging very much, but I have been going at a pretty good clip on the novel,which is the important part, right?

I decided to dedicate the July Camp NaNoWriMo session to Kingmaker. I set a time-based goal rather than a word count goal, and I decided on 40 hours working on it over the month of July.  At the time of posting, I hit 33 hours: in order to meet my self-imposed goal, I would need to write for more hours than remain in the month of July, so that’s not going to happen.

While I didn’t set a word count goal, I did hit the 40,000 word mark (and am most of the way through chapter 14), which I’m very pleased about. It doesn’t sound like much, especially considering that I started the month somewhere in the neighborhood of 24,000 words, but a lot of those are words I didn’t have before, and a lot of time was spent on actually tying things together so that Kingmaker looks more like a novel and less like a collection of scenes, which is about the stage where draft 1.5 was.

What’s also exciting is that 40k words means that I’m pretty close to the halfway point. Word counts are less of a rule and more of a suggestion, but adult science fiction and fantasy novels tend to be between 75,000 and 100,000 words because of the amount of plot and worldbuilding involved: the last novel I tried to publish (and trunked in 2016 because it was… very bad), which you could call science fiction, was around 99,000 words. I’m just encouraged that Kingmaker is looking more and more like a book.

My ultimate goal is to publish this novel by late 2020, ideally in the fall. There are two reasons for that: one is the more practical consideration that this gives me a little over a year to get everything sorted out with the writing, beta reading, editing, and design processes while still being early enough to get ahead of holiday marketing; and two is the much more superficial consideration of I just really like autumn and think it sounds like a great time for a fantasy adventure.

RPG Writer Workshop

I literally haven’t gamed with my local group in a month because I’ve been doing day job stuff, medical appointments, general life things, Camp NaNoWriMo, and RPG Writer Workshop. I’m spectacular at time management and knowing my limits, obviously.

I talked a bit about RPG Writer Workshop already, but regrettably I didn’t end up finishing my adventure.  A lot of other things needed my attention, and I neglected this in the interest of focusing on the things that needed or could keep more of my focus. This wasn’t the fault of the organizers or anyone in the community, because they were wonderful and did a fantastic job: it was partly a matter of what I could realistically handle in a month, and also a matter of not having enough experience.

As for the latter of those points, I don’t mean in terms of trying to create a D&D adventure from the ground up in four weeks (although that’s also true): I mean a much more immediate lack of hands-on experience. Notice how I mentioned that I haven’t spent time with my gaming friend group in a month. I was under the extremely mistaken impression that the writing required the time more than the experience of doing the very thing I was trying to create for, and I think that was what ultimately sabotaged me.

I’m not quite sure why I need to keep having this realization, but I’m not someone that can create in a vacuum: I need other people to bounce ideas off of. I can’t speak for every creative because people have different sources of inspiration, different resources, and different abilities, but isolation was about the worst thing I could have done to myself emotionally and creatively. The only reason it (barely) worked for my novel-writing is because I’ve been reading other books and sending the manuscript to my alpha readers every five chapters or so: it was unworkable for game design, though.

I’m not disappointed in the workshop experience, though—far from it. I’m glad I did it and I still got a lot of great information that will definitely get used. However, I’ll probably focus on releasing small things like character options and small contest entries and save full-on adventures for when my timeline is a little more flexible and I’m going through the beta process or otherwise not actively “writing” for Kingmaker.

In Conclusion

So that’s what my July, or at least the parts relevant to your interests, looked like. Did you like this post and would look forward to one at the end of every month? Any questions, comments, or things you’d like to see? Let me know!