Two wolves, as usual:

One is worried about burning out

The other is excited about seeing a project through in fewer than 4 years for once

Just started Therapist volume 4, the last one I’ve planned out. I keep saying that because I’d like to leave the door open for other stories or projects in the future, but I will have finished what I set out to do.

There’s more road ahead: books 2 and 3, written back to back, still need edits and beta reads. But I think I’m good for it. I’m on day 65 of writing every day, averaging about 1,300 words a day; 85,000 total across this series, a little bit of Healers, and some errata. Reminding myself that I’ve done longer streaks than that. Just not lately.

Sure, plenty of people write 5,000 or 10,000 words every single day. We call them Real Serious Authors. Let’s note that I’m not one of those. I’m just some asshole with a keyboard. I’m working on establishing better habits like outlining and consistency. I’m learning how to put together a story that moves from point A to point B in a linear fashion, but also gives enough (but not too much) time for the story to breathe. It’s really hard, y’all. Hah.

Entertainment-wise: Finished the Verdant Wind / Golden Deer House playthrough of Fire Emblem: Three Houses and started one with the Blue Lions. I figure the Black Eagles are going to be the most interesting one to tackle last. Just a guess based on that first playthrough. I played the first game with Bylette, so we’re going with Boyleth this time around. He seems fine. His outfit is less silly, which is a little more boring. Oh well.

Final word on Verdant Wind is that sorry, I loved Claude’s (noncanonical) bisexual chaos, Kumbaya-world-peace, vaguely shady, not really hitting on anyone it just seems like it, oh I’m a man of the people let’s not talk about my backstory, firing arrows while backflipping off the back of a wyvern because why the fuck not, Entire Thing. It’s going to be hard to beat him as house leader. (I did not hook him and Bylette up, though, because she starts out as his teacher, no thank you. I did make a choice [spoilers at link] because it sounded bananapants, and it was, especially in context. I don’t know what I expected.)

This time around, I actually understand the leveling / class system from the beginning, so I think it’s going more smoothly. (Not remotely a minmaxer, but I get the gist now.) Plus, the NewGame+ bonuses help a lot.

Also? Recruiting or even befriending people from other Houses. Which I did not do in my first playthrough. I talked to them, but I did not have a single month-long helper or recruit a single person. I vaguely knew it was possible at the beginning, but I was constantly scrambling to understand how to deal with my main team, and didn’t wrap my head around the other layers of the game. I was also pretty lax about returning Lost Items and giving out gifts. So basically the team didn’t branch out much. (While I’m talking about what a dumbass I am, I also didn’t reset anyone’s Goals for 80% of the game except when they asked. I really made it more difficult for myself.)

So far in this playthrough, I haven’t recruited anyone; it’s only a couple of chapters in. But ironically, I keep having our previously maligned girl Marianne guest-star. Blue House is short on healers, and long on hotshots with spears who get beat up a lot. (seriously, Felix, your “I’m too cool for battalions” special skill is effing annoying) Also, Marianne seems like she could be friends with Blue House’s resident traumatized sweet baby, Ashe.

The first playthrough was about 55 hours, so yes, I’m willing to play that through three times back to back. Probably not four; I’m vaguely, only slightly-spoilery aware that one of the forks (Red?) branches off. But hey, who knows; we’ll see! Maybe by the fourth playthrough I’ll be a pro at recruiting and put together a dream team. I do like getting my money’s worth out of a game.

[edit: aaagh, you can just walk up and ask some of the NPCs to help you?! okay, this play-through is going to be very different]