Monthly Archives: October 2023

Knowing when to stop

I don’t think I’m ready to write the fourth Therapist sidestory novella. It’s about 5 chapters in, and I’m already reconsidering a) the path of the second act and b) whether I’ve done enough research to do justice to the psychological topics touched upon in it. I don’t think I have.

This isn’t a case of lacking confidence in myself, I think; I have gotten to a point where I feel fairly good about my skills. Just that the idea needs more background research and more consideration about how it’s going to resolve. All of which takes time.

So I’m going to focus on editing the first three for now. By the time those are finished and released, I’ll know whether it’s time for the fourth story or whether I want to save it for later. There’s another potential story in that universe I might still pursue someday, so there’s room for a wave 3. These three end on a nice note; there are threads we can still pull on, but I don’t think there are any cliffhangers.

About beta reading:
If you’re interested in beta reading, please let me know (email or Reddit PM; details on the About page). I’ll start badgering people outright when the drafts are closer to being ready — probably in late November or December.

The stories are all written to follow from plot seeds in the first four novellas, so I think coming in cold would be an interesting challenge at best. I do welcome the attempt if anyone is interested, however. The three stand alone from one another, so beta readers are definitely free to pick and choose.

All are about the same length as the Therapist volumes, about 40k words each. Working titles:

  • (book 5) The Sylvan Dragon’s Herald, about Morel’s quest to return the dragon hoard and Hazel’s struggles with her anxiety. Narrated by Hazel, witch of the Southern Forest. Vibes: meditative, witchy, hopeful. A smidge more downbeat than the main series in that the leads are struggling with heavy feelings, but it has a positive direction and a happy ending. Contains some extremely mild f/f romance. Also contains more dragons per ounce than anything I’ve ever written in my life.
  • (book 6) Starting Over in Another World with My Level 99 Self-Doubt, about Berry’s retirement from adventuring, establishing a life in a small town, and the goings-on at the Two Claws Inn after their expansion. Narrated by Berry, ex-adventurer and plant mage. Vibes: snarky, determined, found family / workplace dramedy. Some swearing.
  • (book 7) The Unconventional Courtship of the Mageknight and the Dark Lord, about what happens when two former edgelords fall for one another, but also about trying to be a better person; narrated by Sir Solan the Mageknight and Dark Lord Drekar Nightshade. Contains a LOT of swearing and a moderate amount of m/m sexual content (fades to black before it gets explicit, but there is a lot of making out and specific references to off-page activities or thoughts). Vibes: grumpy/sunshine, where the “sunshine” leads a Dread Army that is really just a dorky intentional community with a death metal aesthetic; dark humor; cynicism turning into optimism.

More detailed content notes will come along with the beta reading questionnaire; I’m still putting those together.

I feel good about this decision, which usually seems like a promising sign. Though it does scuttle my pseudo-NaNoWriMo plans. I guess I’m editing instead of writing for NaNo, then. Here we go.

Friday the 13th roundup

  • One of the books I beta-read last year is approaching publication, and I want to plug it because I enjoyed it a lot: When We Walked in Memory by Charlotte Kersten. (If you are here from the cozy side of things, take note of content warnings first. Thanks!)
  • Almost done with the first draft of Therapist 5, The One That’s Basically Just a Fantasy Story Because The Isekai’d People Aren’t At the Center for Once. (not its actual title. Its actual title is The Sylvan Dragon’s Herald.)
  • Apparently The Healers’ Road has a vote in r/fantasy’s Top Self-Published Fantasy Novels, which is unexpected and fantastic. That sounds like sarcasm, but I promise it isn’t. As we close in on that book’s 10th anniversary, I am still awed and humbled that people have taken a chance on it.
    • I honestly don’t know what I’d vote, because I … don’t know what’s self-published and isn’t. I’d have to do some research. But I feel like I ought to have my own list, if only for plugging purposes.
  • Gaming: Currently 3 “years” into Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life, a game I originally played on PS2 (it was originally on the Gamecube). It holds up fine, and I’m enjoying it – but I’m also reminded of how much Stardew Valley brought to the table in terms of giving the side characters depth. Like any depth. Hey, I know SDV built upon SoS:AWL’s foundation. It’s just interesting to reflect how far this genre has come.
  • Anime: We are watching Undead Unluck (my spouse’s choice) and will eventually watch After School Hanako-kun. I am weirdly tempted to try Crash Course in Naughtiness. (Not what it sounds like) However, I made the ill-timed decision to try to squeeze another previous season’s show in: Endo and Kobayashi Live! I truly don’t have time to explain this show’s premise. It’s entertaining a couple of episodes in, and it’s not very long. I continue to wander the earth looking for more comedy anime that works in translation. We recently burned through O Maidens in Your Savage Season, which… … … I’d recommend the first half? It’s funny. The second half, when it dives into drama, less so.

Here’s to a year of wtf-ery

Still here. My goal right now is to finish the first draft of Therapist 5 so that I can start 8 as a NaNo project. [Not that I follow all the tenets of NaNo… but I sometimes take the zeitgeist as an opportunity to dive into a new project.]

I often have misgivings about sticking with this series, since it is a pure passion project that nobody asked for. But on the other hand, I’m not beholden to anyone, this isn’t how we pay the mortgage, and if the alternative is to continue being burnt-out on Healers and not write anything, I think a year’s worth of nonsense is worth the cost. …Probably a year and a half by the time these are all done, realistically.

Still. I’m working through an outline for Healers 4 in the back of my mind throughout this, and trying not to let myself get hung up on perfectionism this time. Also in the back of my mind is the Chuck Tingle quote about putting love into everything you make. I tell myself to trust the story. Don’t give up, and don’t start spiraling in circles. Just keep moving forward. We’ll get there when we get there.