An Overdue Writing Update – March 2021

Long time, no post! Honestly, I haven’t had much time to write, and when I’ve had the time I’ve lacked a lot of motivation and energy to do so. Grad school is as demanding as ever, even in the last semester, and I was in a wedding last month, which meant I tried to get ahead on school and work tasks so I could be present with the wedding crew distraction-free. All of which equates to: since publishing Our Company of Fools at the top of this year, I’ve barely made progress on any other projects.

But I am working on writing little by little. Currently, I’m rereading Draft 2 and making editing notes on The Queen of Whitman Court (formerly titled The Queen of Imagination). The full document is about 260 pages, and I’m about 90 in. Like I said, it’s slow going, but I’m chewing on ideas to revise the book and tighten the story, so it’s all productive (even if sluggish) progress.

I’m brainstorming new books as well. I’m still trying to work out the kinks in a couple of fantasy series I’ve been working on writing on and off for many, many years. In one of them, I have a pretty good idea of endings and arcs for the heroes, but I feel a little blocked on how to start the series off. The second fantasy series is in a state of major alteration, as I’m not entirely happy with the story and I’m trying to figure out how to use the world and characters with a different plotline. We’ll see what comes of both of those.

I’ve also tried to be intentional with my “story studying,” AKA reading and watching TV. While even my time for leisurely writing and TV watching is limited, with every story I engage with, I always reflect on things I liked or disliked about it. This year, I started Brandon Sanderson’s Rhythm of War, the fourth book of The Stormlight Archive that came out in November 2020. It’s a large book and I have a tendency to accidentally read huge chunks at a time, so I usually only read it on the weekends when staying up late reading doesn’t cost me as much (haha). In addition to Rhythm of War, I’m currently reading George Orwell’s 1984, which is an intriguing read, to say the least. I also read George MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin, a fun adventure story that laid the groundwork for greats like Tolkien and Lewis, and had the chance to read an advanced reader copy of Operation: GRENDEL by Daniel Schwabauer, which came out this month! Operation: GRENDEL, a military sci-fi, was a new genre for me to read, but the book is so well-written and had some twists I did not see coming. I highly recommend it!

Beyond books, I also watched Gravity Falls in its entirety for the first time. Before, I had only seen half of the episodes, maybe, though I knew all of the big twists and how the series ended. Though I had those spoilers in mind, the series still captivated me and swept me along the Pine twins’ summer full of adventure and mystery. Not only was the series a thrilling watch even though I knew how it would resolve, it gave some fantastic examples of well-developed, well-told stories. Each episode contains a well-crafted, individual arc, even while the show as a whole builds to some massive reveals. The end, too, was super satisfying in paying off the setups established throughout the series. I think it’s my favorite TV show now, and my only complaint is that the show is only 40 episodes. It’s the most inspiring fictional story I’ve encountered this year.

So, that’s the writing update from me. My hope is to finish my editing notes on The Queen of Whitman Court before I graduate, but admittedly I have some other pressing priorities right now—namely finishing school and finding a job before I graduate in May. Lord willing, in the next chapter of life, I’ll have more time to write!