Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Unplanned Hiatus – Again

I didn’t finish out my July Camp Nano goal. This was mostly because I realized I was writing a longer story for my fantasy project than I originally thought. I’m not sure if it’s just going to be a doorstopper, or if it’s part of a series, but I need to figure that out and determine what the end of the book is before I can continue on it.

Since then, I’ve not been working on any of my writing. Apparently, if I don’t have any wordcount goals to meet, the rest of my writing stuff goes totally off the rails. I’m not sure how to correct this, but I’m trying. Unfortunately, not knowing what to do doesn’t help, so I’m basically floundering about.

Recently, I’ve been opening my Obryn Scrivener file, though. This is the one with my character Dagjhir’s story. I’ve written some notes about character goals and have turned my thoughts toward figuring out book 2 of this trilogy. With luck I’ll actually make progress on it.

So that’s where my Fool’s Errand stands at this time.

Too Busy to Write

Sadly, I haven’t written since the 16th. It’s been a very busy week for me since Tuesday. Lack of sleep hasn’t helped, and that’s all my fault.

When I have had a chance to write, I’ve been working on the background stuff for DH04. While I’m glad to be making progress on this at last, I also don’t want to lose track of Soul Sucker. It’s just that background stuff is easier than writing when I’m having busy, stressful weeks with an upset sleep schedule.

I’m going to be more disciplined next week, and do my best to get a minimum of 500 words on Soul Sucker five days.

Soul Sucker

So, I haven’t written a Fool’s Errand update post since May. Wow. I haven’t forgotten, just been struggling with depression and thus to write. Once again, I’m going to tentatively say things seem to be improving, and my writing has been going exceedingly well for the past few days.

First, my July Camp NaNoWriMo project. I settled on writing Soul Sucker for my July Camp Nano. Well, for the most part. There’s some random gay romance words in there that I hope to be able to replace with my primary project’s wordcount. The gay romance was just what wanted to run at the beginning of the month before I managed to wrangle my creative mind back onto my primary project.

Soul Sucker is progressing nicely now. Yes, it’s a new project, not something that’s languishing in wait of being completed, but a combination of focus and the right inspiration at the right time got me going on this for my Camp Nano project. And yes, I know this isn’t the project said I’d work on next, but Gildas clammed up after a few plot cards and refused to budge, so when Leopolda started talking, I decided to work on Soul Sucker instead.

For this month’s Camp Nano, I’m using a somewhat redundant system of writing brief notes about the scenes in Scapple, then expanding upon those in plot cards in Scrivener before writing the actual scenes. I don’t do one after the other, though. I’m about 15 or so Scapple notes ahead of where I’ve got plot cards written, and I’m about 5 plot cards ahead of where I’m writing. Thus far, this has been a successful system, and it’s been methodical—and flexible—enough that I’ve been able to add in stuff that needs to come in earlier in the Scapple notes as it occurs to me. Some may scoff at all the “extra” work I’m doing just to write one scene, and some may try to tell me I’m writing the book 3 times with this method, but it fricking well works for me. Also, a number of the plot cards I’ve got have been in some cases vastly different than the Scapple notes due to what I’ve already written changing things when I got to doing those plot cards, and more than one scene has been significantly different from the plot card, for much the same reason, so far. I think I’ve finally accepted that neither of these prework steps are immutable, a concept I’ve struggled with for a couple of years now.

So, as things stand, I’ve got about 22.4k words written on Soul Sucker, and about 4,500 of that is Nano count. I need to tear through some words to cover for the ~4,500 words of gay romance that I want to replace. That’s doable in a few days, and I’m looking forward to catching up!

Hiatus May Be Over

I’m tentatively going to say this hiatus may be over. The depression seems to be lifting, and if it is, I’ll be happy. In any case, I felt like giving an update on things.

First off, I have been writing. I did April Camp Nano, and managed to get my goal wordcount after fudging a little, adjusting it down ’cause I hit a period of apathy near the end of the month. In case you aren’t familiar with National Novel Writing Month and its offshoot Camp NaNoWriMo, these are writing challenges that happen a few times annually. Look them up for more information. For Camp in April, I worked on a new version of MOTS1.

After a week or so, I got back on the writing horse and went back to my original main project, Unwritten Letters. My original goal with that was 250 words 5 days a week, and for the past 2 or 3 weeks, I’ve kept up with that goal. I’m nearly done with it, too, in the penultimate scene.

Camp Nano happens again in July, and I’ve already chosen my project for it: Gildas’s story, now titled Misdeeds and Dishonor. I’ll more than likely be starting it in June, before Camp Nano. I’m not sure if I’ll chapter it out as I write, write it as a series of scenes and chapter it out in later edits, or do one scene per chapter as I did with the original version of this story. Either way, I’ll be working on this project fairly soon.

Still Some Depression

So I decided that this week would be the one where I got back on the goals horse. It wasn’t as successful as I’d hoped it would be, but I think I’m still dealing with some depression. Regardless, the week started off fairly strong, which pleased me. Then I had a rough night of sleep Wednesday night, and that threw everything off. I didn’t get much done Thursday, and got even less done Friday as I spent a good portion of the day trying to catch up on the sleep I’d missed both Wednesday and Thursday. Much of the month has been like this, which is part of the reason why I haven’t been posting even my Fool’s Errand updates on Saturday.

I think, however, I’ve finally settled on my next project. Little as I want to do a story I won’t be able to post on Wattpad, I’m going to work on MOTS1. The Masters of the Schism series is one that I’ve wanted to make progress on for a long time. It’s a for-fun series that’s close to my heart. I figured out what I wanted to do with book 1 last year and have been trying to figure out how to handle the rewrite as I wrote past book 1’s natural ending and need to fill in more detail. For the past couple weeks or so, I’ve been reading through the scenes I’m keeping, and writing up notes in Scapple for the future outline. It’s been fun.

My original plan was to increase my wordcount goal from 250 a day to 500 with the new project, but I’m now undecided on that. There are some benefits to increasing the wordcount, but I don’t know if it would be wise to increase the count yet, especially since I’m dealing with depression. Not that I’d beat myself up about not writing or not getting the goal, just that until I’m sure I’m out of the depressive fog, it may be wisest not to do too much for my writing goal. That’s something I’ve got to think some more about, but I’ve got some time.

February and Now

I didn’t update here during February because it was a rough month, starting with the last week of January. I dropped into a depressive phase in January and struggled until I finally gave up keeping up with things. Nothing of my everyday tasks really got done. I was too depressed to care, and I didn’t even bother doing task lists or anything through most of February. This was all complicated by an out of town trip I had to make with my Mom, and, yeah. It was a tough month. I didn’t even write for most of it.

But this past week I managed to get back on the horse, after a fashion. I’d have to say I’m barely back on, but I’m clingint tight. I managed to make some progress on UL, though it wasn’t much. It felt good to write on it though.

Also, I’ve been working on a couple new story ideas. Just taking notes and doing worldbuilding for the most part. Can’t wait to dive into one of them, but I’m waiting to see if that mood passes. I’m liking the return of my discipline that I developed last year, as I’ve not started writing on these projects yet. My main goal, as it has been since October of last year, is to focus on Unwritten Letters.

Not Much of an Update

I’m heading from one busy week into a busier week, so this is going to be quick. This week I managed to make progress on my writing 4 days. Over 250 words each day. I should have done another plot card today, but never got around to it, so that’s for Sunday—I hope.

But I think I have some idea what to do with Masters of the Schism 1. Mind’s been on it the past few days, but I’m taking it easy and not trying to force it. Hoping the epiphany I feel coming on will hit before long.

And that’s it.

Writing Plans and Goals

Aside from telling y’all that things are going well on the writing front, I’m not going to go into detail about the week. Instead, I’m going to list my writing goals, as I promised I would today.

Overall, I’m pleased with my progress since October, and I intend to continue on what I started. So—

Presently I’m writing a minimum goal of 250 words 5 days a week on Unwritten Letters. My first goal is to continue with this process. With every writing session, I get closer to finishing UL, and I’m looking forward to being done with it. I’m not sure how much longer this will take, mostly because I can’t predict how long each of the last few scenes will be until I’ve written them, though I think it’s safe to say I’ll be at this through January at least.

My original intent was to raise my wordcount goal to 500 words 5 days a week with the new year. Ultimately, I decided against that, mainly because I feel like UL is progressing too well at the 250 word level. I often write more than that, and I’m enjoying beating my wordcount goal so regularly. So, even though I often want to continue writing, I stop at some point beyond 250, but usually below 500 words. Wherever it feels natural to do so, or when I can’t figure out how to continue the scene without looking at the plot card again.

As for my goals, here they are:

  • Finish Unwritten Letters at 250 words a day 5 days a week.
  • Spend at least a month’s worth of time reading through incomplete WIPS to determine if I’d like to work on one of them. This is my primary focus. I need to get some more incomplete stories out of the way.
  • Try to make more progress on ideas that I’ve been doing background work on to see if I’ll maybe work on one of them instead, though they are not my primary focus.
  • Do the prep work, background work, and/or reverse outlining that may be needed for making progress on whatever incomplete WIP I choose.
  • Write 500 words 5 days a week on the project I choose.

That’s it for this week!

2018 Overview and 2019 General Goals

2018 was not a good year for me in a number of ways. One thing that really stands out is my embarkation as a DM in the D&D world, and admitting that I’d defeated myself with my leaping feet-first into a homebrew campaign. That was really hard to do, but I wasn’t having fun with it any more, and I knew if I tried to push myself, my friends wouldn’t have fun either due to my lack of preparation. I didn’t give up completely, however. My solution was to get an off the shelf game and speed-prep what I needed for it in a week or two so we could get to gaming as soon as possible. Half those plans fell through—we weren’t actually able to start the new campaign in December due to various people getting sick or not being able to show up. I myself spent a week with some weird illness where I felt physically drained and slept pretty much all day for something like five or six days straight. We are set to game tomorrow, though, which I’m glad about. Nobody’s ill, I think I’m as prepared as I can get, and we’re all desperate to play D&D together.

One thing that did go well, at least toward the last quarter of the year, was my writing. I made I don’t know how many false starts early on in the year, where I’d commit myself to completing something, then pretty much immediately failed to do so. Finally, at the end of August, I was fed up with that crap, and I decided I’d spend September reading through as many incomplete WIPS as I possibly could and then decide which one to work on. I focused more on those I had outlines for and eventually decided to work on Unwritten Letters starting in October. This I’m calling my Fool’s Errand, which I’ve been posting about on Saturdays here on AEP.

Also, I’ve made lots of new friends. So many people in my life now, I can barely name them all. I’ve started learning how to quilt, gotten more regular with crocheting, and have been cooking more. All because I have more friends in my life.

I continued using a Bullet Journal through most of 2018 as well, but to be honest, it was a struggle before the end of 2017 in some respects. Much of the Bullet Journal format is repetitive and labor-intensive, which made it seem like work, and thus not much fun, to work on. So I adjusted it. I don’t do the month overviews or lists of major things I want to get done every month. At about the same time I started reading through my WIPS, I decided to trim my Bullet Journal down to three primary things: Monthly Budget, Weekly Log, and Daily Log. I also obeyed an impulse I had and started listing completed tasks below the Task List, instead of just marking them as done. This proved to be a good instinct, because I find the act of actually writing out the name of the task to be more motivating than just marking the task as complete. I don’t just keep it to tasks I’ve listed as needing done, but also list things that I’ve done that weren’t on the Task List to begin with. And I don’t sweat the stuff I don’t do.

So those are the highlights of 2018. I’ll post more about my writing on Saturday. Until then, here are my general goals for the year, in no particular order:

  • Continue DMing for my Thursday Gaming Group.
  • Cook more frequently.
  • Continue pursuing my claims with the VA.
  • Read 12 books over the course of the year. More if possible, but at least 12.
  • Learn to play the flute. Poor thing’s probably rusted by now, it’s been so long since I used it.
  • Keep up with language practice for Spanish, German, and Norwegian.
  • Take walks more frequently, for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Pick up work on my homebrew D&D campaign again.
  • Draw more often, at least once a week.
  • Continue volunteering at the Utah Pride Center once a week.
  • Get back into my Tarot lessons.

And that’s it!

Another Two Weeks

My apologies for not posting last week. Two major factors prevented me from doing so. The first, and primary, reason why I didn’t post was because my internet was acting up. I’d had issues beginning Friday, and they went all the way through Sunday. Posting anything that required an image or an extensive online presence, as editing italics into my Wattpad posts, either didn’t happen at all or was fraught with unintentional issues due to the computer misinterpreting my keystrokes—for instance, in trying to delete the underscores I mark italics in my Wattpad projects with before pasting them to Wattpad, the computer often simply back-screened instead of just deleting the underscore. Frustrating, to say the least.

The second reason why I didn’t post anything last week was that I was at the tail end of an odd illness that exhausted me. I literally slept most days between the 16th and 22nd. This was so bad that I came out of my bedroom, did kitty care, started my computer so I could have music, and then I went to curl up on the sofa to sleep some more. I was lucky if I could get half an hour vertical. Though we were supposed to start the new D&D campaign I got on the 20th, I had to cancel that ’cause I could barely get 30 minutes upright without falling asleep. So between that illness and the difficulties I was having with my internet, I didn’t actually get a chance to write a post. I was more concerned with trying to get my Friday stuff done first, and I had to give up on that too and finally called my internet provider to see about getting it fixed.

Much to my relief, they had a guy come out Monday. He did some techy stuff, set up a new modem, and got me back on the internet.

And the illness that drained me had another side effect. I didn’t write every day I could have that week. I think I wrote three days, and barely got my minimum word counts before having to crash again. And those three days, I basically forced it out of myself. To the point where I was dozing as I finished up the scenes.

This past week was better. I’ve written four days so far and should be getting my 250 words for today a little later. Also, I’ve done a plot card on Unwritten Letters. One of this week’s writing days got me over 800 words.

I have good news about TBK2 (the sequel to UL). Earlier this week, I looked at the plot cards for it and started work on it in earnest. It’s slow going, but I’m making progress. The first several I already had needed rewriting, which I was happy to do. Having a firmer idea of how things should go helps. I’ve decided to include both Merolén’s and Paroté’s points of view in this book, but honestly, Merolén has more cards at this point. Looking forward to digging into this, but I’m not sure I know enough about the story to make it work. I feel like there’s something missing, and I can’t tell if it’s just doubt speaking or if there really is something missing, so I’ll probably shelve TBK2 if progress doesn’t start happening faster, as I don’t like pushing through when I’m uncertain about something. That usually ends up biting my butt when I start writing, even if I don’t do a full outline.

So that’s where things stand with my Fool’s Errand here at the end of December 2018. I hope y’all have a Happy New Year!

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