Category Archives: Checking In

Moving parts, continued

The release post is now stickied, so I can keep posting about follow-up without feeling like I’m burying the announcement.

Also, I forgot to include this song, which has been stuck in my head intermittently through this process. [They Might Be Giants, “Number Three”]

The print version is now live on Amazon. I’m about to send my first email to the mailing list, which I find very daunting despite the fact that these folks specifically signed up for updates. Impostor syndrome 101, right there.

After that, it seems like the only loose thread is Goodreads; I don’t think it has populated there yet. I have found and bookmarked the instructions for requesting an addition, but I’ll wait a little while before going that route.

[EDIT: As soon as I posted this, I saw that Goodreads has populated book 3. All right! Updating link lists now.]

Non-book stuff: vacations and exergames

The summer of awkward midcentury secrecy

Just noting that I still exist, on another editing break and working on the side project The Strangers’ Crossroads which… may be a thing. It’s nearly 50 pages in now, so it seems to want to exist. I do enjoy that phase of the story where both narrators are truly unbearable human beings, see also the first half of Healers’ Road.


Taking one thousand years to get through Chicory because I am very bad at it; I think I’m just not suited to the Switch stick controls with this game. Oh well. Not the game’s fault. I’m constantly lost and skipping a lot of the optional puzzles, but enjoying it enough.

(I named my character Coffee without realizing that they were an apprentice / replacement to a character named Chicory, which, among other things, is a coffee substitute. Irony? Ha.)


I convinced my spouse to start Spy x Family once we finished Villainess, and let me tell you, the internet is correct: this show is fucking excellent. After watching Villainess fall apart in its second season, I still brace myself for disappointment down the road, but so far? No notes. OK, except that I have found out that it’s pronounced “spy family” and may continue to call it “spy ex family” because I think that’s more entertaining.

One note, then. Also I hate Yuri after 1.5 episodes, but the story has not yet expected me to sympathize with him, so that’s fine. I just got out of two shows in a row with stupid incest plotlines; get this shit off my television please and thank you.

Other than that? Chef’s kiss.

Welcome, everything is backwards

Upon nearly finishing what was supposed? to be my final read-through, an idea came to mind to fold together two of the plot points in a way that would strengthen the themes, cut down on redundancy, and bring some of the conflict closer to the leads. You know, the kind of thing that you’re supposed to think of before writing 150,000 words.

Better late than never? Hopefully?

It would only take a substantial rewrite of three or four chapters and some smaller edits. I just have to decide when in the story to resolve this new plot point, look it over, and decide whether to do this.

Additionally: giving “My Next Life as a Villainess” too much credit, and continuing anyway

A while ago, actually

I’d say “when did this become an incoherent list of what I’m reading / watching / playing” but… see above

Finished Dear Brother, a.k.a. Oniisama-e. Very glad I watched it; there are a host of reasons why it’s a stone cold classic. And all of my opinions beyond that are a) nearly incoherent, b) mostly about the end and therefore spoilery, and c) with full knowledge that it was a product of its time.

my favorite out of context moment in the last episode, and more rambling

How long till I un-memorize this thing?

If you work on the same project long enough, it’s easy to accidentally half-memorize it — when I try to reread book 3 to edit, I tune it out. So as hard as it is to not move forward, I’ve been working on another project to keep momentum going while my brain empties out that particular buffer. The plan is to keep that up for a couple of weeks and then see if editing works.

It’s actually going pretty well. I don’t know if it’s A Good Idea to finish this one next, vs. picking up the dangling plot threads in book 3 to continue with A&K & co. next. But it’s a nice palate cleanser for now.


Finished Bugsnax in about 20 hours, including the Isle of Bigsnax expansion, which was included in the Switch version. Did not finish all of the small sidequests, but I finished all the story-related sidequests and got the “good ending”.

I did not know this goofy-looking puzzle game had such fun characterization?? and a plot driven by personal challenges and complicated relationships??? what? I love it. Also: one of the townsfolk is a nonbinary mad scientist, excuse me, what a delightful surprise. I got out of the custom plushie biz several years ago, but I am sorely tempted. I still have an annoying amount of plush and fleece boxed up in the craft room. … … We’ll see.

Next up gamewise: Actually, Earthbound, via the Switch’s SNES emulator. I don’t want to replay Night in the Woods until closer to fall, didn’t feel like starting Breath of the Wild, and didn’t have enough cash in the account to buy anything else on my wishlist. So let’s see if I make it all the way through Earthbound this time.

*epic music goes here*

Finished the Switch port of Final Fantasy IX. Man, that “double speed” mode in the remake/port is a lifesaver. I only ground up to about level 55 and didn’t go wild tracking down every last thing — just went through the story, for the most part — but the whole game only took a little over 30 hours. Nice and tidy.

I did not, as I mentioned earlier, remember much of the plot of this game, except for the beginning, the major character designs, a couple of twists, and the very last FMV (which is still adorable). I’d also forgotten how much I’d liked the score to this game.

I have no patience for fighting over which FF is ~the best~, so while I enjoy the cutesy fairy-tale style of IX, that’s not part of any kind of unified field theory of The Old Style Is Better blahblahblah. I was about 11 when I played FF original recipe, 14 when I played FFIV, and 16 when I played FFVI; those were the ones I’d call influential to my nerd upbringing, but that doesn’t make them inherently better. (Except 6’s score /jk)

There’s still a vague background goal of getting to all the non-MMO, mainline entries when possible. XIII and XV are left, assuming I’m willing to eventually bother blowing the dust off our XBox One.

Next is probably Bugsnax, which just came out on the Switch.


Story-wise, edits continue. The timeline fits together, though the characters have a packed month in there. I have the word count down to 145k from an original 152, and my goal is 140 before I turn it over to my one remaining beta reader. (no pressure, hon, you’re all that stands between us and certain doom <3 kidding. sort of) Still feel good about all my story choices, which is very encouraging.

Today is Dash Fixing Day. Does literally anyone but me care whether I’m using proper em- and en-dashes vs. two little ones –, almost certainly not. Nevertheless. A fine Dash Fixing Day to you all.

The light at the end of the tunnel

Still at it. Big Dramatic Scene is done. It’s far, far, far too long, but I will worry about that in the next round of editing.

I think this draft might actually work? It will need some tweaking and edits, especially to carve down its 150K+ word count, add more descriptions (blank white room syndrome strikes again), and make sure all foreshadowing is retroactively included. But… I think it will work. I think we’re actually going to see this thing released eventually.

Huh.

(Yes, epic fantasy is routinely longer than 150K. That’s fine. Books 1 and 2 came in around 130, though, and I don’t want to overshoot that with 3. Even that’s a lot for a series where nothing happens.)

On to the denouement. — Though now I am questioning the very little I know, because the definition of “denouement” I’m getting from the internet is opposite what I learned as a wee sprout. I learned that the denouement comes AFTER the climax, i.e. “ah, at last the kingdom is saved. FOR NOW…” Google is trying to tell me that the denouement IS the climax, which I thought was only the case if you’re writing a cliffhanger.

Can you tell I have studied writing for a total of… like, one elective in high school and comp 101 in college

oops

Still going.

Finally faded out the header image so that the title and subhead are halfway readable. Only took… three years?

Still working on Big Dramatic Climax after a week. It’s long. My plan is to write out all the moving parts I can think of, and then come back and prune until it feels zippy enough. Trying out multiple narrators in sections to try to capture that chaotic, “too many things happening at once” feeling. We’ll see how that goes, too.

Otherwise:

Finished the Perfection run of Stardew Valley. The end content was cute, and I didn’t get too bored in all that time, honestly.

Started the Switch port of Final Fantasy IX. That was the last FF I played when it was new, I have not played it since, and I remember hardly anything about it beyond the character designs and some shreds of plot. It landed in a very… idiosyncratic… period of my life, and I’m trying not to think too much about that. Twenty years is a very long time. If I hardly recognize myself now compared to myself then, that’s a good thing.

[edit: omg though, ~2000-2001 is also when the first bits of worldbuilding and character started to come together for what would eventually be *gestures broadly* all of this. I would lie down but I have things to do]

You know what else is a long time, 6 years, so I’m going to get back to working on book 3 before it’s old enough to vote. Yeesh.

Checking in, signed, Wyndspyral

About halfway through Dear Brother. I’m sorry to report that I have more or less Mariko’s personality [obsessive, disproportionate, passive-aggressive] and Kaoru’s fashion sense [middle-aged lesbian mom on a Saturday] <3

(I’d say I’m a Tomoko, because being Not One of the Specials is a core part of my ThingTM, but she’s too well-adjusted)


In a phase of finding it inexplicably hard to work on any fiction at all. I want to believe it’s a phase, that there’s a way through. Maybe it’s a mild depressive episode. Maybe I’ve just let myself break the habit once, then twice, then all of a sudden it’s fallen apart. Maybe it will come back if I dig back in. Maybe I just need to get the wheels moving. Scenes have started to form in my head again, which they hadn’t been for a while there, so that feels like a good sign. Maybe I need to stop spinning myself up about the next step and focus on the step in front of me.

Maybe I need to figure out what I want to get out of writing right now, because that’s something that evolves over time, and I haven’t checked in lately. A while back, I took down the checklist of goals that I put on my wall back in … ???? … the dim mists of time when I first put Book 1 up. (2014 or something? what even is time?) I had to admit to myself that a lot of the remaining items just don’t matter to me anymore. Maybe it’s a good time to figure out what does matter to me, and let that spur me along.


Also realizing that I need to VERY MUCH FIX a lot of supporting character naming in book 3. I had a strategy to grab names on the fly because it was easy for me, but it’s really not a good idea, and I need to redirect to a new strategy.

I hate naming things, it’s exhausting. You know why there’s no name for my story-world? Why the series name no longer makes any sense for the direction of the trilogy? Why I use initials in my pen name? *gestures*

For a nearly-literal second I had a D&D character who gathered random cool-sounding nouns as names. (no, they weren’t nonbinary; missed opportunity there) I kept a running tally on the back of my character sheet; she was up to about 5 names in about as many play sessions. I wish I had that kind of moxie with writing projects. Just name my OC Wyndspyral Flaymechylde and live in perpetual I-don’t-give-a-crap bliss. Beautiful.