A Flower With Thorns

A couple of uninspiring days later…

So, Monday: kind of blah, but with the added bonus of having to go to work. At least it was Truck Day, aka the day I go in earlier than usual and spend a few hours checking in and stocking the week’s grocery order. I had the headache again, took some Tylenol and it went away. Still wasn’t sure if it was allergies or a side effect.

I felt tired and still kind of blah when I got home, so I spent a couple hours burrowing (aka rereading the fluffiest books I could find in my ebook library) and then I decided I had to get up and DO something, so I cleaned the kitchen. Then my sister came home from school and we talked and I felt better, because the key to feeling better is actually not feeling like you are completely alone in the universe. Love to my mum and my BFF, who both checked up on me, I really appreciated that. <3 Tuesday: A pretty good day, actually. I got up at a decent hour (for me), headache seemed to still be gone, and wrote a bit, got a good ways into that scene that was kind of terrifying the life out of me. (No really, but there was dialogue by characters who had only been referenced vaguely in the story before, and you know how I feel about Dialogue. Hey, it's hard.) Then I went to work and I'm pretty sure the Universe was deliberately sending all the most difficult people in town directly to me because ye gods, I was ready to fling things at people by the end of the day. Went home and burrowed some more. Did not get up at anything like a reasonable hour today but it's fine. No headache! :D I'm going to try to write a bit now. I have an eye appointment tomorrow, and no one to go with me, and before you ask why a 36 year old person needs an escort to the eye doctor, I'm legally blind so picking out new glasses on my own should be...interesting. Wish me luck.

Chill and a bit foggy

So! It’s Day One of Being Medicated. I feel…fine, I guess? Despite feeling sleepy while I was sitting here blogging last night, I did not drop right off to sleep. When I opened up my shower to fetch my facewash so I could wash my face before bed, there was a giant scorpion in my shower, which seemed…inauspicious. I flushed him and finished getting ready for bed at around two, but it was closer to four before I actually got to sleep. Slept fairly well, it seemed like, then woke to a possibly poorly strategized nine-thirty alarm.

Stayed in bed until just after eleven anyway, finishing Glitterland by Alexis Hall (for the fourth time) because why wouldn’t I reread a book with a clinically anxious depressive protagonist right now? It’s a good book, though, same author as the Kate Kane series. Beautiful writing, one of those polar opposites attract sorts of romances that don’t seem quite plausible but you end up rooting for the couple anyway, and it has some extremely on point observations about depression.

I felt remarkably chill all day, but my head was in a bit of a fog for much of the afternoon, and I had a slight headache, both of which could also have been put down to allergies, since I did wake up slightly stuffy. I had plenty of time to write before work, but wasn’t very productive. I had some trouble focusing.

This carried over into work, because I had a hard time remembering the customers’ orders in the drive thru and spent much of the day spacing out at my register. Managed to write a little, like, a page worth in my steno pad, but even though I have a pretty clear idea of how this part of the scene should go, I had trouble making myself write it down. This, sadly, is not atypical, so it might not have anything to do with the Zoloft.

I sincerely hope this stuff isn’t going to make me even spacier than I already am. I don’t know if the world can handle that.

My head felt clearer and the headache went away as the evening wore on, but I remained spacey all day, and a bit detached. I didn’t feel anxious at all, but since it was atypically quiet for a Saturday, with none of the upsetting variety of customers, I don’t know if that means anything.

Anyway, I hope tomorrow will be more productive. I have wasted my drawing time tonight blogging now. *flings self into sun*

I am now, officially, medicated

I was prescribed Zoloft for my depression, and I have just taken my first dose. I finally achieved the unlikely combination of being tired of not having the motivation to actually do any of the things I want to do, and a day in which I actually felt well enough to make the phone call to my doctor’s office to ask for it. I was offered meds back in March (I think?) but I said I wasn’t sure then.

I don’t know if I’m sure now. I am very anxious about this, but the paperwork assures me Zoloft also works for anxiety. Convenient. I will try to document my journey into (hopefully) better mental health, or alternately, into the Land of Horrible Side Effects, whichever it ends up being. Supposedly if I take it at night it should help me with my sleep issues. We shall see. I have been medicated for about ten minutes so far, and I am starting to feel rather sleepy already. Probably I should go get ready for bed now, but I feel like I should at least talk about something more cheerful first.

I am still (yes, still) dragging along on ch46. This middle scene was supposed to be short, but it’s proving informative, as worldbuilding goes. I had to come up with names for side characters, but I was at work when I got to that part, and somehow the constant running around is frustratingly inspiring. (Frustrating because I have the attention span of a gnat and the memory capacity of an antique floppy drive. I have no idea how many conversations my characters have had while I’m too busy to write anything down, but it is one of those scary-large numbers with lots of commas, probably.) Anyway, I am pleased with how it’s going, my tendency to go on and on and on, etc, notwithstanding.

I woke up this morning

to some small bitey thing biting my ear. It itched for nearly an hour, so that wasn’t exactly pleasant. Still not a bad day. Slept in a little because Wednesdays are generally busy, but managed to plugged away at ch46 a bit anyway; this scene is more emotional than I expected but I’m liking it.

As promised, here is the inked version of page two of ‘cold’.

Still not inking to the standard I’d like but only practice will make that better. Not starting the third page tonight because I have a doctor’s appointment early tomorrow, so I need to go to bed early, bleh. I wish I had a job with normal hours. -_-

Pretending to be a real grownup

I had a reasonably good day today! (I mean Tuesday, not Wednesday. Working evenings messes up my sense of days, lol.) Slept later than I wanted, but there was housework, and phone calls*, including scheduling an eye appointment for the first time in *mumblemumble* years, a doctor’s appointment to discuss medication for my mental health issues**. I also worked on AFWT. I’m in the beginning of the middle scene, which should be short, but I think I’m gonna be looking at a longer than average chapter again…

*sigh*

Anyway, I have a comic page to ink! Preview pic tomorrow, hopefully!

*I really, really hate talking on the phone, sometimes the very idea of making phone calls makes my stomach curdle. Apparently this is not an uncommon anxious reaction, which makes me feel, if not better, then less like a freak.

**It makes me feel positively paradoxical, however, that I have to have a superlative mental health day to get myself to do something about my mental health issues…

Research and other deadly foes

I sort of fell off the internet for a while, except for Tumblr, which, as social media outlets go, is the most benign, being 99% pictures of cats and webcomic updates. My depression and anxiety have calmed down a bit, so I recently dove back into the wilds of Twitter.

This proved a boon for that one weird novel idea that came to me last year, featuring the supernatural oddball combination of a unicorn and an incubus. (This was inspired partly by a side character from the Kate Kane series I talked about here and an offhand comment from some social media post ages ago about unicorns in urban fantasy.) The two main characters came pretty easily, and a conflict soon followed, but the bane of my writing existence is actually plotting so I struggled to find some way to get the book moving beyond introducing the characters. Worldbuilding was also a bit of an issue with this one–how do you handle the ubiquitous urban fantasy tropes? Especially when you’ve already got another urban fantasy-ish story that you’ve determined will have none of them in the works at the same time?

It was given some steam, quite by accident, when I saw this tweet

It struck my attention because the working title for this book is Lion and Unicorn, because the antagonist is a lion avatar of a goddess. Still working out the main plot, but now there is some forward motion on it, and I was inspired to work on the details, which led to searching such things as sacred plants in folklore, ancient deities who have lions as sacred beasts, genius loci, Celtic fairy lore, and all the other usual suspects in urban fantasy, ie, werecreatures, vampires, and the like.

I learned, among other things, that hawthorns feature in a number of folklore traditions, including vampire slaying, but all the things I found are European in origin. I started looking up American analogues, and let me tell you, it was hard trying to get information on the species native to the Central Texas area, but I did it. The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center has a very nice database, so I was not only able to find some species of hawthorn to use, I was also able to look up wild roses and verbena, which also have prominent places in the folklore. I still need to look up local folklore. I have some books to read on that subject; they just need to be unearthed from my massive TBR pile.

I have parts of two chapters for this book already, but I probably won’t get to work on it seriously for a while. My priority, aside from ATWT, is going to be the ace wolf shifter story (working title:Golden Wolf) and the other urban fantasy, (working title:A Spirit of Place), which share a world and have crossing plotlines, which both need research as well, mostly on the setting. Going in search of a good history book about Austin this weekend to that end. The magic system for that series is going to be based on genius loci, so that’ll be fun.

Um…not a lot else to talk about, really. I’ve been plugging away at AFWT, currently on Ch46 of the fifty-two I have outlined. My anxiety has gotten a lot better, but my depression is still kicking my ass, and this week’s work schedule isn’t helping. I wanted to do Inktober, but after the first day, work was such that I came home Monday dead on my feet and spent the next two days half zombified, so the second page of the work, inspired by the aforementioned A Spirit of Place, the protagonist of which is a webcomic artist who co-owns an art supply shop.) is barely half drafted. There was perspective involved, which makes me twitchy anyway, and the hardest part of making comics is actually trying to decide the best way to compose the panels, so it took me like, three hours to do even that much.

I was planning to get back to it today, but I ended up being depressed and also full of allergies so I slept most of the afternoon, and my brief attempt to write was…not successful. But my sister made me dinner and I had a nice walk, and a book that I pre-ordered will be coming out tonight, so I’m giving myself the rest of the evening off, and I’ll try to get back to the drawing stuff tomorrow night.

In the meantime, have this shot of the cover/first page of ‘cold’ by Elise Davenport, the MC of A Spirit of Place.

So the battery is going out on my phone

It currently only lasts about five minutes unplugged. I’ve had this phone for about three years, I think? An iPhone 5c. It was free with my contract renewal, and it’s been getting slower anyway, so I thought I’d go and see about a new one.

Went to Verizon, and my options, as told to me by the guy behind the counter, are to pay full price outright for a phone (lolno), or pay monthly payments until it’s payed for (it’d take two years to pay for the damn thing). So I said, “You don’t do contract renewal pricing anymore?”

And he said they did but my bill would go up by twenty dollars a month.

So I said that was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard of, who would pay more to be trapped in a contract for two years? And he said it was to keep the non-contracted customers.

But…you don’t want to keep the ones who are willing to be contracted? Like, I could *switch* phone companies right now and get a cheaper phone? Big business logic?!??!!? (Also, they wanted to charge me fifty dollars more for the phone than Apple would have if I bought it outright?!)

I know, I know. “Stop wasting time whining about phones and finish the dang book already.”

I am about halfway done with the revision, though. I…severely doubt I will be able to finish before the new year, unless my muse lights a serious fire under my @$$. I was looking at Ch12 today, and Extremely Large chunks of it will have to be rewritten from scratch now–I will never, ever write another book without figuring out all the worldbuilding details first again–I have basically halted work on my side project (tentatively titled ‘Golden Wolf’) for just that reason. (It’s an asexual romance with wolves who can turn into people, not werewolves, set in small town Texas. I’m planning to do a research trip for it for my birthday, to Boerne, which is tentatively the setting. Haven’t decided whether it will be set in the real town or a fictional version.)

I also figured out the emotional arc for the sp/ace romance. I had been stumped for a conflict, and stupidly ignored that it was right there in the first scene that I live-tweeted last year, because I thought it was going to be a much different story than the one it is supposed to be. Oops. Oh well, I still have a deal of research to do for it anyway. I thought of writing it for NaNoWriMo this year, but I think I’ll actually just work on AFWT instead, see if I can’t finish it before the end of the year. And on that note, I’ll go work on Ch12, but only for an hour, because I have a ton of stuff to do tomorrow, chief of which is going to get the battery replaced on my phone because *makes rude gesture at Verizon*

Revisions Hell: One Month In

Anyone who has ever heard me talk about writing has heard me say this but in case you missed it: I hate revising.

That said, I think I’m doing okay this time? I am exhausted and frustrated and I keep finding really stupid mistakes and I can’t make up my mind about certain details, but…I like the shape the story is taking? Though good freaking lord, will I be so happy when I finally get to the midpoint in the book where I had everything mostly figured out and only need to correct minor continuity changes and typos.

And add Feelings.

That part is probably not going to get easier.

I’m moving along at a decent clip, if not a great one–about one chapter per week. There was a lot of overtime at my job in May, which puts me blessedly ahead financially *knocks on wood* but kind of killed me creatively. I am still recovering from the exhaustion. I know this because I started another side story idea, and have written almost two chapters of it. -_-; That’s bad because it’s literally all spoilers for some important backstory and therefore not something anyone, even my beta reader, can read for a long damn time. I have managed to persuade myself it is okay to spend time on this because it’s bonus material for a future Patreon or whatever thing. Really I should be finishing the first chapter of the second/third book (still haven’t made up my mind on this point) if I’m going to be writing new material, but eh.

Anyway! My agenda today:

1: Clean my frickin house. After spending several weeks in thrall to borderline depressive anxiety episode, my home is a disaster. I hit a wall Monday, hard. Got home from work and spent nearly the entire day in bed because I just could not make myself get up. I felt marginally better Tuesday, but still too tired. But today, I really need to straighten things up.

2: Do that massive reread of the rough draft I’ve been putting off. It started because of the overtime thing, but then it was just because I landed head first in the revising of the first few chapters, and that was involved let me tell you, what with all the new scenes and trying to figure out how to describe the magic stuff more accurately and changing my mind about every tiny detail because who are you talking to? Me, duh.

3: Kidding, I’m not going to have time for anything else, did I tell you how long this book is? It’s frickin long. I had to do a reread of the first four chapters before sending Ch4 to my dear beta reader which took a good two hours. Four chapters. Two hours. I am too long winded. I have accepted this about myself.

Hopefully everyone else will too.

It’s a rough draft!

I have finished the rough draft of my third novel! I am extremely tired now, because this baby clocks in at nearly 265 thousand words! I started this particular book in 2013, as a self-indulgent fantasy romance idea while I was struggling with my previous project, the sadly neglected Firecat. I wrote about ten thousand words before leaving off, but last summer, I was looking though the random files back up to my phone and found it, and thought, “hey, this ain’t half bad, why’d I stop?” And then started writing again.

I have never written so intensely in my life. I used to write at a pace of about 300-500 words a day, and not every day, or even particularly regularly. That was mostly due to problems with anxiety and depression, which made it hard to focus and harder to like anything I produced. But I’ve gotten better about this stuff in the last year, and I guess that lit a spark, because my daily average word count is much closer to 900 words a day, and lately I’m having days where I break 1,500 (on a work day!), or up in the 2-3 thousand on my days off.

Anyway, the book is done, and it is a BEAST. I intended this book originally as a one-shot romance thing, to see if I could write one. It’s not a genre that gets a lot of play from me, since I never really felt it much? But realizing my instinctive rejection of the trappings of romance were a direct result of being almost entirely asexual/aromantic and unable to express this fact for the first 28 years of my life because the vocabulary just wasn’t there really opened me up to the enjoyment of a really good ship, which is…weird, when I stop to think about it sometimes, but whatever?

*shrugs*

So that was the original intention, anyway. Somehow along the way it turned into an epic fantasy in an mid-industrial magic setting? I got really into the setting and the magic and the worldbuilding, and it just sort of happened that way, and the one-shot idea just kept getting longer because I can never seem to be able to gauge exactly how long it’s going to take me to get from point A to point B when I’m writing, and now it’s going to be a trilogy, or possibly a quartet (is that the right word? I have no idea what the term for a four-book series is) because at this point I am seriously considering chopping the first book in half. I won’t know for sure until I’ve done a full read through and fixed the first half (needs a lot of worldbuilding and magic system detailing added) and fixing up the side plot, which I didn’t think up until almost two thirds through the book because I did the thing I always do and got WAY too attached to one of the side characters and had to expand the scope of his story in the book. *BIG sigh*

I love to make things hard on myself, don’t I. But I’m much more satisfied with this idea than the original one. Mostly because it is chock full of my own preferences: Multiple asexual/aromantic relationships! Magical bonding practices! Characters being snarky at each other but also Talking about their Feelings a lot! Epic levels of angst! A protagonist who is going to get called a Mary Sue by SO MANY PEOPLE–I can’t wait. There also ended up being a bunch of kids in this book and I am just as surprised as you are by this fact? Like, I guess I ought to have expected that when I made the setting a school?

*epic shrug*

Okay, so my goal is to be done revising the first book by the end of summer! Maybe sooner if I do end up making it into two books? Regardless, I’m hoping to release the first book early next year. There is a website! There is…nothing there yet! But it exists!

I am crossing my fingers really hard because historically, my record of revising things is 0/2. But I have a really good feeling about this one!

Notes on my other projects! I am planning to start writing the sp/ace romance soon too. I don’t know if I’ll be able to work on both projects at once, and my current project will have to take priority, but I want to try. Comics…are on the back burner for now. We are getting into the busy time of year at work and I just don’t have the energy for art things right now. At some point I am going to seriously consider tightening my belt and getting a part time job so I’ll have time to be more creative, now that I’m not a hyper-nervous, depressed wreck of a human being. I still need to save more money before I can consider that though. Fortunately a side effect of spending all my time writing is that I have no time to go out and spend money anymore, so…soon? ha ha…

Took a writing break

Wednesday because I just got off a three day long depressive anxiety episode thing. Could not concentrate on anything to save my life. I was not allowed to write anything before work. I cleaned my kitchen instead, and it felt good, because it really, really needed it.

It was a quiet day at work, surprising for a Wednesday–usually that’s the day everyone is grumpy, or running around like the proverbial headless chicken. I broke my break to jot down a few lines between customers, and ended up thinking about the meeting story of two characters who are only referenced in the book, one of whom is already dead before the story starts (not a spoiler, the main character finds this out very early in the first chapter) and the other of whom does not show up in person until the third book.

And now I have to write this story. -_-; (Eventually. Not now. Even if I wrote it now, I wouldn’t be able to release it any time soon because it wouldn’t make much sense outside the context of the novels.)

BUT…I, uh…may have already jotted down some sections of dialogue? And made up some cultural details to work into the story, since it takes place mostly in a different country than the book…and decided some backstory stuff for both the characters that I hadn’t bothered to think up yet? Oops.

*bangs head against keyboard*

How did what was supposed to be a one-off story idea turn into this giant, epic thing with half a dozen spin off stories? No, don’t answer that, I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I can’t help overthinking everything.