Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Category: Fool’s Errand (page 1 of 5)

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!

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!

Two Weeks

Sorry I missed last week’s update. It was just not a good weekend for me all around, writing-wise. The fact is, the whole week was a did for writing. I think I wrote 2 days and then spent the rest crocheting with Forensic Files playing. After that, I didn’t feel like doing writing stuff or admitting that I hadn’t written most of the week. It was, I think, a combination of depression and plain and simple need to do something else for a while. And, anyway, I’ve had a week where I wrote little or not at all each month since starting my Fool’s Errand endeavor.

But this week, I’ve written a bunch. Well, within the parameters of my Fool’s Errand. Most days the past week, I wrote between 300-400 words. Did over 500 today ’cause I wanted to complete a thought. Right now, I feel like it’s pathetic, bad writing, but I’m leaving it there. I know better than to kill words right when I first have such negative thoughts. Need to sleep on it a bit.

Also this week, I’ve completed a chapter of Unwritten Letters and written another plot card on it. That was a bit challenging for me. Debated things for it most of yesterday before buckling down and doing enough research to determine just what the Édalain Empire uses as an insignia for their courts of law. Learned in the process that they don’t have jury trials like we do. Édalain trials involve panels of nine judges—three Mages, three Holy Ones, and three members of civilian society who usually receive some sort of training related directly to whatever cases they’ll be making decisions on. For instance, the civilian members of the Board of Grievances, which is what the particular court of law Merolén faced is called, are all landholders—lord or lady holders—who have been trained in the law regarding every aspect of their social station and those they have authority over; if a farmer from such a landholder’s property wished to do so, they too could undergo the same training and sit on the Board of Grievances. There are no restrictions regarding status beyond having some basic knowledge of how such aspects of society are supposed to function before applying for the training to make judgements on it. For his own case, Merolén was able to represent himself when he presented the information he’d collected to the Board, but there are other situations wherein he would have been better advised to hire a lawyer.

My apologies for the digression. But the fact is, worldbuilding never really stops for me.

So that’s where things stand with my Fool’s Errand on this fine Saturday night. I’ll do my best to write future updates whether or not I feel ashamed of my progress—or lack thereof—in future.

A Rough End to the Week

This week started out well, but it had a rocky end. On Thursday and Friday, I did no writing on Unwritten Letters. In fact, I did almost nothing at all on Friday. That day was particularly bad. I awoke depressed and just stayed in bed until after 14:00, getting up only long enough for kitty care around noon before heading back to bed. Yeah. So, Friday was a complete bust.

I should perhaps clarify. While I did do some writing work Thursday, and I did actually get a number of tasks done from my list, I didn’t work on UL at all. Still, it was a productive day. I just wish I’d gotten UL stuff done.

On Sunday, I finished Scene 83 on UL and on Monday I got the next plot card for it—for Scene 85. The days I did write on UL have gone well, which is good, including tonight. I would like to have gotten another day of UL in this week, but I’m still pretty pleased with what I did get.

I’m trying to decide just which project to work on after I’m done UL because I’m creeping toward the end. There are maybe 6 notes left in Scapple for this ending sequence, and I haven’t been making any more adjustments to them the past few times I’ve opened the file. While that’s a good thing, it also indicates that what I’ve got is The Official End of UL. As much as I’m looking forward to that, I also don’t want it to end if I haven’t decided what to work on after UL, but I guess I can’t have everything. It may be that I’ll need to take a week or two to decide when I don’t have anything on my plate.

So that’s where my Fool’s Errand stands this week!

Up in the Air

This week was a bit challenging. Even on the days when I got a substantial amount of tasks done, and there were one or two such days, it was a struggle. And then there was Wednesday. I got absolutely nothing done that day, because I slept pretty much the entire day. Really. I didn’t get to bed until around 07:00 Wednesday morning. Because of that, I barely made it out of bed long enough to do my daily kitty care tasks at 13:00 before dropping into bed again to sleep a couple more hours. Then, at 15:00, I got up long enough to take my prebreakfast meds, called my mom while waiting for those to do their job, ate, and hung up the phone just before lying down on the sofa for another 2 hours of sleep. Oh, and I don’t know if Mom noticed it, but I was having trouble enunciating during that call, which is a clear sign I need more sleep. Then, I got up for long enough to shut down my computer and went back to bed for more sleep. Yeah, that was a dud day.

But I got five days of 250 words on Unwritten Letters. All five days are on the same one scene, and I stopped it today at a spot where the scene seems done. I may add a few words or so to tie it up neatly, but I think this is one of those scenes that won’t follow the entirety of the plot card. That’s another flexibility thing, and something I’ve always been okay with. Sometimes my creative mind gives me more to plot for a scene than I actually use, or slightly different information as a guide. I’ll look at it tomorrow or Monday and figure things out then.

My next project is still up in the air. I opened up Wevae’s Scrivener file, but have done absolutely nothing with it today. Really, I think my creative mind is backbrWeaining MOTS1 right now. Though I’d like to dig into it again and read through the scenes I’m keeping for ideas on what else to include, I feel an aversion to doing so. Sometimes this means I’m procrastinating and I just need to force myself to do what I want, but not always. Other times, it means things are developing in my subconscious. Unfortunately, I’m not always able to determine just which cause is the root of my aversion. In this instance, I’m disinclined to force the issue right now. But if I open Wevae’s file over the next couple of days, I’ll be giving MOTS1 a good hard look again. If my creative mind urges me to open a different file, well, things can still be considered quite undecided.

One thing, I am thinking about DH04 again. In a somewhat offhand manner—fleeting unfocused considerations. More along the lines of, “I’d like to get back to that project.” This is even less definite than my urge to open Wevae’s file. Since I open Chraest’s file daily to access UL, I’ll probably take a look at DH04 again sometime this next week, just to see if something kicks up in my backbrain. I think I may have an idea for its title, though. Just need to comb through the music terminology page on Wikipedia to figure it out, and that I’m dreading a little.

So that’s where my Fool’s Errand stands this fine Saturday evening.

Flexibility is a Necessity

Well, I pretty much crashed and burned this week, in terms of writing. I wrote only two days, though I did get a plot card on another day. This looks like it’s becoming a trend, and I’m now reconsidering what to do to work with/around this issue. One idea is to take a two-week break every three or four months. Another idea I’m entertaining is taking the last week of every month off of writing. Yes, yes, I know that if I want to develop a good habit with my writing, I should write as often as possible, but it won’t do me any good if every streak is interrupted by an unplanned hiatus. I’m trying to bring discipline back into my writing habit, and letting myself continue this pattern is not disciplined. Moreover, it harks back to my previous difficulties, including not writing for sometimes weeks on end.

Above all, I want to be flexible with my writing goals. Trying to stick to firm goals was how I screwed myself over before. My goal was to write one full scene a day, seven days a week. Unfortunately, if I happened to miss a day for whatever reason, I simply didn’t get back to it the next day. So for a few days, a couple weeks, a month or two, I’d simply not write unless I felt inspired, and that’s not the way to build a good writing habit. Even I knew that, which was why I started up this Fool’s Errand.

So now I need to do some thinking and make some decisions about my fiction writing habit. I’ve pretty much proven to myself that I can be disciplined and consistent with my 250 words five days a week writing goal, and I think I can maintain that consistency even if I take regular, I’ll call them extended breaks. A part of me wants to give the two-week break every three or four months a try first, but given my experiences the past couple of months—dropping things the second week of my new habit, and then again in the middle of this month—I’m reluctantly thinking it may be best if I plan for a week off every month. Alternatively, I could assign a week’s break every five weeks—five weeks of writing with the sixth week a break, but I kind of don’t want to do that.

My plan for these breaks is to make them full breaks from active writing and plotting on my main project. I’ll take notes on the project, but I won’t do plot cards or write my word goal. That seems best as that’s what I’ve already been doing for the most part anyway. Honestly, I just haven’t felt motivated, and I forced the words and that plot card on the days I wrote them all. Mostly because I “should,” and I think that’s what’s getting in my way. Instead of going with the flow, or being willing to plan regular extended breaks like this, I instead beat my head against the metaphorical wall and push myself to do something I don’t really want to do, and end up making myself miserable.

Because, you know what? I really didn’t enjoy writing those words or that plot card this past week. Also, I didn’t look forward to writing. No excitement thrilled through me when I finished getting my words for the day, and I didn’t particularly want to continue writing. For perspective, pretty much every other day I’ve written this month—the two previous weeks, and in fact since I dropped it that week in October—I’ve really, really wanted to continue writing and made myself stop because I didn’t want to burn myself out on it, even though writing had been great fun.

So I think taking a regular extended break like this is a good idea. An important thing to do. Moreover, I believe it’s something I should do my best to consciously plan for, so I’m not blindsided by another unexpected hiatus. When I let that happen, I try to force the writing, which is not fun. If writing can’t be fun for me, why should I bother continue doing it? So I’m going to do my best to work with it by actively and consciously putting it in my schedule. This is the best way I can think of to handle it, and I’ll experiment if it doesn’t seem to work. Flexibility in my Fool’s Errand goals is key to making this endeavor a success.

15Nov18: Slow Day

I didn’t get much done Thursday. Lack of motivation got me. Did go to gaming with my longtime gaming friends, got a plot card on Unwritten Letters, and chatted with Mom. Aside from those things, nothing else.

14Nov18: Good Day with a Rough Start

Book by Lazette Gifford

Zette’s book!

I stayed in bed until noon on Wednesday, then got up only to do kitty care and take my prebreakfast meds. After that, I laid down on the sofa for a bit, then got up to cancel MTG since I’d had only one “I’ll be there” response. Laid down again—in fact, all afternoon, right into the early evening, I only got up for limited amounts of time between longer periods stretched out on the sofa napping. It wasn’t mood, precisely. More a lack of motivation. Days like this are relatively rare, but I’ve had more than one this week. Three as a matter of fact: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.

But things turned around.

I finally settled at my desk and eventually got all my tasks from the day’s list done (aside from the MTG). Got my 250 words, did D&D prep, worked on a tarot card, read, kept up with my journal, and practiced my languages. Can’t really say I felt very motivated, I was just wanting to be able to write a list of tasks completed. Which I guess is motivation of a sort. Usually, though, I’m more interested in my tasks, especially the reading, languages, and writing. But I didn’t even want to read, and that says a lot about my lack of motivation.

As for what I’m reading, it’s my friend Lazette Gifford’s book, the first of her Raventower and Merriweather series, Secrets. It’s a steampunk set on a secondary world. I’ve only just gotten to Chapter 6, but it’s been a great read so far. This post’s header image is the cover of Zette’s book, and the book can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

11Nov18: A Productive Exhaustion Day

Sunday was pretty productive despite me not sleeping the night before. I didn’t get tired, so I didn’t put myself to bed. Over the course of the morning, I read a bit, did my languages, got my 250 words, and sorted my pills. Also sent out the Wednesday MTG announcement and called Mom.

I almost didn’t go to game, but I went anyway. Lynn wasn’t able to do D&D this week ’cause he had something else going on, so Kit ran a one-off game called Honey Heist. In this game, participants play either a bear or a honey badger. The goal is to steal a bunch of honey. It was hilarious. I played an unhinged black bear who was a thief with advantage in climbing named Justin Bearber. All I knew was my bear’s name prior to play, because we players had to come up with that. Everything else was rolled up, from type of bear to role played in the game. My exhaustion actually added to my play in this game, as I played my bear with a bit of flamboyance. We successfully finished the game in about three hours.

Having decided after Honey Heist that we would do movie night, Daz and I went to Smith’s to pick up some food and then came home. Varick joined us and we had sushi before starting up Iron Man 2. After that, they left, and I read an incomplete wip or two and then hit the sack.

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