Not going to lie, I tend to hate February because it’s a short month, which totally throws me off in terms of planning. Every deadline in early March causes panic mode for me because I somehow forget February ends abruptly. Either way, this was a far less eventful month than January, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. My goals for February were to
- Learn more about writing mysteries specifically (research!)
- Outline Act I of The Reanimator’s Soul
- Write 500 words a day (14k total) <— hahahahaha
- Grade a shit ton of papers with my brain in tact
- Manage stress
- Do more art
- Read 8 books
- Blog weekly
- Send out my monthly newsletter
My reading goal for February was to read 8 books, and I read 10 books.
- The Empire of Gold (#2) by S. A. Chakraborty- 5 stars, a phenomenal ending to this series. I loved how it wrapped up, everyone got what they deserved, and the redemption arc was actually good.
- The Fellowship of the Ring (#1) by J. R. R. Tolkein, read by Andy Serkis- 4 stars for the book, 5 stars for the reading. Andy Serkis is a fantastic voice actor. He voices every character uniquely, and the acting is fantastic. This sort of audiobook reading is really the only kind I enjoy.
- Sword Dance (#1) by A. J. Demas- 4 stars, I greatly enjoyed this re-imagined ancient Mediterranean world. It was full of queer characters, espionage, and action.
- The Busy Writer’s Tips on Writing Mystery, Crime, and Suspense by M. R. McAlister- 3 stars, while there were some useful things in this book, I think if you’re more than a newbie writer, a lot of it is already known/obvious.
- Out of the Mirror, Darkness (#7) by Garth Nix- 3 stars, this series is linked by tone and time periods but different authors. So far, this one feels the most underdeveloped. I don’t know if Nix borrowed characters known to his usual readers, but the main characters in this short story felt very flimsy.
- American Cheese by Joe Berkowitz- 4 stars, an interesting nonfiction deep-dive into US cheese culture. A lot of this is hipster-y, but there was a whole cheese subculture I had no idea existed.
- Self-Defense for Gentlemen and Ladies by Colonel Thomas Hoyer Monstery- 4 stars, a collection of Monstery’s articles on self-defense with added biographical and supplemental text. Very fascinating and will come in handy for my research.
- A Very Merry Bachelor’s Valet (#2.5) by Arden Powell- 4 stars, a short story featuring the characters from The Bachelor’s Valet. It was a lot of fun to visit them and see the chaos they can get into.
- A Novel Arrangement (#5) by Arden Powell- 5 stars, I absolutely loved the dynamic between these three characters. At first, I wasn’t sure how their relationship was going to work out, but throughout the story, Powell did a great job getting them to move to friends, then lovers.
- Last Gender (#2) by Rei Taki- 4 stars, this one doesn’t flinch from complicated, adult queer relationships. I have a love-hate relationship with the vignette format because there are some characters where I would love to see more. It also does quite a bit of explaining/spoon-feeding of info, but I can deal with that.
- Wrote “An Unexpected Valentine”
- Edited and proofed “AUV”
- Made the cover and blurb for “AUV”
- Published “AUV” and sent it out to newsletter subscribers
- Researched writing mysteries
- Researched plot twists
- Researched many more book things I won’t give away
- Outlined Act I of The Reanimator’s Soul
- Did more planning for The Reanimator’s Soul
- Played more of Bear and Breakfast
- Got REALLY far ahead with blogging
- Graded so many papers
- January 2023 Wrap-Up Post
- How I Develop Characters
- “An Unexpected Valentine” is Coming!
- On Writing Sequels
- February newsletter (no link because it contained a freebie, which you can still get if you sign-up)
I’m not going to lie, I was really ready to be very down on myself about how much I didn’t write in February on The Reanimator’s Soul. What ended up happening, as with all my new stories, is a false start. I often feel like I am 100% ready to write a story, then I start writing it and quickly realize I have no idea what I’m doing or where I’m going. Basically, it’s still underbaked, even if I have the framework of the story ready to go. That’s what happened in February. I started writing it, realized it was not fully gelling, went into the wrong point of view initially, and I froze. I didn’t want to delete what I wrote already because that would have been painful, but rewriting it was also sort of a painful process because it needed a lot of beefing up and fine tuning. The good thing is that while I stalled doing that, I picked up my pack of blank notecards and managed to figure out the major emotional beats for the story and made quite a few scene cards for act one. Are they words on the page? No. Are they very useful to eventually getting words on the page? Yes. I need to trust the process. So much of art is staring at something that looks like absolute garbage until suddenly it doesn’t. Art is messy and frustrating and often ugly, and that’s something my perfectionist(ish) brain tends to forget. We get an (ish) on perfectionist because it’s less about perfection and more about “why can’t it look like I know what I’m doing?!” before I actually know what I’m doing.
The other big writing thing I did was nothing to sneeze at either. I wrote a whole freaking short story, edited it, proofed it, and published it to my newsletter (which you can grab if you sign up for it). Even though “An Unexpected Valentine” is only 5k words, I put a lot of effort into it and deeply love it. I needed a palate cleanser when the story wasn’t flowing well, and I think working on it is ultimately what jogged loose the important things I needed to figure out. It’s like when you get ideas in the shower or while doing a semi mindless task. I needed to write that to let the bigger story gel in the background. Books are basically jello. They need time to set before you can start messing with them.
Hopes for March
- Read 8 books
- Write The Reanimator’s Soul
- Minimum goal 15k words
- Real goal 20k words
- Stretch goal 25k words
- Enjoy spring break and actually relax (as opposed to using it to catch up)
- Blog weekly
- Send out my monthly newsletter
- Do some digital art
- Plan my goals for Q2