Silver Wordsmith: An author's journey
I’m sure I’ve said this already but I can hardly believe it’s December, so I wanted to take this moment to go through a bunch of minor updates for this month
Launch of Second Magus
Just about a month to go before I finally start posting my LitRPG-inspired fantasy story on Royal Road. Expect a teaser cover here next week before I can on a short holiday break.
Second Novel Length
I keep thinking I’m about to finish the first draft of my second novel but yet it just keeps going. It recently broke 100,000 words making it only my second work that has crossed this threshold – the first being a mostly-for-fun project called Cassia and Mateo which was originally written for my kids. I already one of the ways to trim this one down though, having chosen to abandon a problematic subplot. Still going to need a whole lot of revising once it’s done to get it to a usable length.
Bloodlet Sun Chapter Musical Chairs
I remember a little while ago I wrote that the most recent chapter of The Bloodlet Sun I finished ended up being way too long, but I thought I needed to keep it that way because there was something in it that tied to the previous chapter. Now that I’m editing it, I don’t think I can go through with it anymore. There’s a pretty significant plot turn in the middle of this chapter that I think would serve much better as a mini cliffhanger, so I just might split this one into two, but only put one other character’s POV chapter between the two halves.
If anyone follows me on Twitter they would have discovered much to their annoyance that recently I’ve tweeting almost exclusively about hockey. I don’t know what it is, considering I can’t actually remember when the last time was that I watched a game. But my beloved Vancouver Canucks seem to be turning a corner and possibly leaving a dark era behind them by getting a new General Manager and coach. Hopefully this means that better times are ahead and I will have less of a need to send out bitter tweets.
Year in Reviews
As the year draws to a close though, while I lament how quickly it passed by, I’m still looking forward to doing my review posts. The writing one is especially exciting because it’s been an exceptionally productive year for me. The reading one, well, it hasn’t been great, but I did read some fantastic things so I’ll be happy to highlight that. Might even add a quick exercise in review entry, if only to motivate myself to try to beat my goals for the following year.
Speaking of the year-in-review. As many of you had experience in early December, I was pretty stoked for my Spotify wrapped this year as it perfectly hits on two favourite areas of mine – lists and egoism. My kids again managed to eff up my top songs, as four of the five entries were from my five year-old’s Disney villains playlist that he insisted we create for him. One of these days this thing will actually be accurate for me. With top artist I ended up with Green Day, mostly because they appear the most in my ridiculous everything-and-the-kitchen-sink playlist. Still made it into the top .5% of listeners which just goes to show that no else listens to them anymore.
Princess Switch 3
Okay if you’re all looking for lighthearted holiday entertainment, oh, and seeing one of the best acting performances of all time, may I recommend the Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star? If you want to see Vanessa Hudgens not only play three different characters but also those characters cosplaying as each other (who doesn’t?) then this is the right one for you. I’m not even kidding. Whatever you say about the third installment in the series, Hudgens is so good at blending her characters, it’s worth it for that alone. Do recommend the prior two movies first, both to understand the plot/characters but also because they are admittedly much better movies.
Anyway, I think that’s it for fun December things. Still can’t believe the next one will be in 2022.
It’s the second week of November so it’s time for those random little updates that weren’t worthy of their own separate post.
Four rejections in one day
The heading pretty much says it all. I’ve recently set my own personal dubious record for receiving four short story rejections in a single day. Hard to stomach on any regular day but it just happened to be my birthday too. I swear the writing gods are sometimes conspiring to test my resolve. Did it feel good? No. Did I have a great birthday anyway? Absolutely, thanks to my family. Will this discourage me from submitting in the future? No, the next day I sent out stories to five more journals. So yeah, nice try, but I’m still here and fighting.
Back to the Office
After nearly twenty months of working exclusively remote, our office had our fist full day back last week. A bittersweet event, to be sure, for this introvert who has really thrived working from home. By cutting out the commute and being around my kids, my working situation had actually been far improved during the pandemic, and challenges remain with constant mask wearing at the office and just being worn out at the end of the day. That said, I can’t stress enough how nice it was seeing my colleagues face to face rather than through Zoom calls, and feeling more like I was physically part of something. For now we’re doing one day a week until December when we’ll ramp it up to a minimum of two days a week, so there’s still a lot of flexibility to look forward to.
November Running Lull
The last time I managed to get out for a run in the month of November was 2018, a lot of it having to do with the fact that this is when it starts raining forever in this city. Looking at the forecast, this month will be no exception, but I still want to break the streak even if it means being cold and soaking wet. Doesn’t help that it’s also pitch black when I run so I just happen to find every single puddle out there to step in.
*Update for this one: by the time I’ve uploaded this entry I did manage to find a time to run – thankfully it was only drizzling that morning. Going back the previous four Novembers, the most I’ve even run this month was twice, so I’ve got my new goal to beat the previous November record.
The rain has also put a dampener on my ability to catch up with my reading. Used to read on my public transit commute but with that being gone, I implemented reading into my morning walks and audiobooks into my morning runs. With the rain coming in, it’s not just my running that’s affected but reading as well. Fortunately, the stuff I have read this year has been mostly amazing, but it’s still slim pickings to choose from when I’m doing my end-of-year review.
Speaking of weather, anyone want to tell me that climate change isn’t real can just go ahead and live through the day we had – the first waterspout tornado right in our city in my memory, and one that apparently briefly touched down ashore only a couple of kilometres south of where we were, not to mention being pelted with hail the size of large peas. Our summers are getting hotter and drier and our winters are getting wetter (something I didn’t even think was possible). I mean, it was fun while it lasted and the kids got a kick out of looking at the hail I brought in, but the long-term implications are still looming large
Monster Chapter of Bloodlet Sun
I’ve finally completed the first draft of Chapter 11 of The Bloodlet Sun and it clocked in just shy of a monstrous 14,000 words. That puts it at nearly twice the size of an average chapter. Believe me, I’ve struggled with the decision as to whether or not to split up this POV character’s chapter into two and deliver the second segment a few chapters later. However, I found that there were plenty of reasons not to, including that the first half was not so strong that it could stand on its own and I really wanted the ending of this chapter to follow closely with the previous chapter so readers could make a specific connection. Oh well, no going back on it now, just a lot of editing left to do.
Looking back at these now that I wrote them out it seems like these are mostly downers. October ended here with a gorgeous fall weekend last week. I managed to take the kids on a long walk through the forest where we had a tonne of fun and Halloween itself was great. Since then, it’s been non-stop rain so maybe that’s affecting my mood. Hopefully in December when the lights are going to be up and Christmas approaching maybe it will be a bit cheerier.
Today I decided to do a first of what I think would be a monthly type of post where I just give a bunch of little updates that are maybe too big for a tweet but too small to deserve their own entry.
New followers on Royal Road
I think I’d been stuck on 24 followers for The Bloodlet Sun on Royal Road for over a month and was getting a little down about being stalled. Now over the last couple of weeks I went up to 28 followers, and one of those include one “Favorite” bringing the total there up to 5. Not sure if it’s just the natural ebb and flow of things or whether the last couple of installments were particularly good for enticing new readers, but in any case, nice to see some growth there again.
Continued lack of success on Tapas
Things on Tapas, another website that hosts web novels, though it’s mainly a home for comics, have not been going well at all. I got two subscribers and a handful of views when I first launched there in early September, but since then, it’s been a ghost town. I haven’t even had a single view there in over a month and I’m not even sure how one is supposed to increase their exposure on that site. So this is still a bit of an experiment, though I’ll keep trying to figure it out.
Watched rejection never boils
I recently submitted to two science fiction journals which used the Moksha submission manager for their submissions, and the unique thing about this one over Submittable is that it shows your story’s position in their queue. Combine that with the quick turnaround of these journals and now I’m clicking refresh several times a day to see that number slowly go down. I don’t know why, but seeing my turn approaching in real time almost makes it feel more real and more likely for my story to get published. This however has not been the case since at the time of posting, both journals have now rejected me.
Should probably watch Squid Games
When I first heard of Squid Games I thought I would pass because I really have had my fill of grim dramas where I anticipate death or something else horrible happening at every turn (I can thank Game of Thrones for sapping me of most of that energy). Seeing though how much of a global phenomenon it is and the themes its exploring, I figure I will have to check it out at some point. With nine episodes at around an hour long it would take me like to the end of the year to finish it, and by that point, people would have moved on to something else.
Climax of Maple Vodka
I’ve recently talked about how excited I am that the first draft of my second novel is coming to an end and all of last week I was writing the build-up to the climactic scene. I feel like it’s taking me forever to get there, but I know on the page that many words would be read quite quickly. I’m just questioning whether I might be dragging it out too long because I myself don’t want to finally move beyond this point. No escaping it, though, if I had to guess, the pivotal point for the protagonist will finally be written either this week, or at the latest, the next. And after that, we’re on a train ride to the denouement and then completion.
Michael is a husband, father of two, lawyer, writer, and is currently working on his first novel, at a snail's pace. A very leisurely snail. All opinions are author's own.