March 2021 Life and Writing Update

Hi, everyone. This is another one of my informal update posts. There’s no surprise special announcement this month, so there will only be three parts instead of four. The first is a life update about non-reader/writer things. The second part is my reading and writing update. The third part is my answers to five questions about my novels.

For your reference, this post was written and filmed on March 4th; so some things will likely change between then and when you read this.

Part One: Life Update

I’m continuing to enjoy my semester off. The only non-writerly thing I’ve spent much time on is playing piano. I’m very out of practice, but I’ve been playing for about an hour a day for a few weeks now. I’m mostly polishing songs I learned years ago, but I’m working on learning two new songs. I’ve known the right-hand part of “Rohan” from The Lord of the Rings soundtrack for a while, and I’m finally adding in the left hand. The other song I’m learning is “Angel of Music” from The Phantom of the Opera. I have about a third of it figured out so far. I’ve been playing for 12 years, but I play so inconsistently that I’m not very advanced. Learning new songs isn’t easy for me, but I like the challenge they present.

My vets and I started a new treatment for my guinea pig Salem. She’s been having health issues since last summer. So far we haven’t noticed any significant changes with the new treatment, but we should know whether or not it’s working in the next week or two. I’m hoping it will make her feel better. She’s almost seven, which is old for a guinea pig, so I’m not expecting the treatment to prolong her life or anything. I’m just hoping it will make her more comfortable until she’s ready to go. Princess Leia says she’s doing well, thank you very much.

I got my cap and gown on the 2nd. As of right now my university is having a commencement ceremony in early May, the day before my lease expires. It’ll be fun moving out the same weekend as graduation (sarcasm implied). At least I don’t have finals that week. I’m not yet sure where I’m living after that. I reapplied for an archaeology internship that was cancelled last year. If I get it, I’ll be living at an archaeological center. I’m hoping to get my financial aid sorted out soon, so I can secure housing near my grad school.

Part Two: Writing Update

I finished Six of Crows and read Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. I’m all ready for the Shadow and Bone show to come out on Netflix next month. Only one month and nineteen days to go! After that, I reread The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Crown of Embers, and The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson. I’ve read the trilogy as a whole three times, and I’ve read the first book four times now. After rereading it and my other two top three favorite books (The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell) in the past couple months, I’ve decided to promote The Girl of Fire and Thorns to the Number One spot. I love this trilogy so much. I bought the sequel book The Empire of Dreams, but I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. It’s next up on my TBR. I’ll be posting discussions of The Girl of Fire and Thorns books on my blog later this year, so I won’t go into details here.

I wrote three “Behind the Storyteller” posts, eight “Welcome to Kareena” stories, and twenty-six Camp Write Owl lessons. I edited all of the “Behind the Storyteller” and Camp Write Owl posts in addition to seven “Welcome to Kareena” posts. I handwrote thirty-six pages in AWS, which is about 5,000 words. I’m surprised at how much my productivity dropped on AWS. I started out really strong, and then I just stopped writing. I have about 75% of it written. I’m hoping to have it done by the end of March. I typed up the first notebook, which is 138 pages long. Its total word count is 25,543. I’m estimating what I have in the second notebook is about 12,500 words. My goal is 50,000. I started the story too late and skipped a lot of scenes, so I’ll have plenty of material to increase the word count during editing. Right now I’m just aiming for a skeleton to work with and flesh out.

I finished worldbuilding Southern Bursna. Next up is Linea, which I plan to start this week. I don’t know if Linea will be easier or harder. It’s one of the most complex planets because it has two humanoid species instead of one like the others, but I’ve world-built it before. It needs a lot of tweaks to fit my new worldbuilding, but I’m not starting from scratch.

I filmed thirty-six videos and voice recorded four short stories. All of them have been edited and uploaded, and they all have closed captions. There was one day I was trying to film, and there was non-stop traffic on the road outside my apartment. The pavement was wet, too, so the cars made even more noise than usual. I had to edit out a lot of traffic noise. Then a Mardi Gras parade came past. I live in the mountains of Colorado, so I have no idea why we have a Mardi Gras parade. I guess that was just a really bad day to film. But, hey, I got everything done, so it doesn’t matter.

I still haven’t done any editing on ADR. One of the lessons I prepared for Camp Write Owl got me excited to edit. (It’s the lesson on tension.) I’m really hoping to get ahead on my blog posts, so I can focus on finishing the rough draft of AWS and getting my big edits done on ADR. Those are two of my main goals for March. Camp Write Owl really slowed me down—it was more work than I thought!—but I’m already seeing an increase in engagement on my platforms, so it was definitely worth it.

Part Three: WIP Questions

Here are five more questions and answers about my book. Last month’s theme was the basics. This month we’re going with characters. These answers pertain to the first book, ADR.

1) How many main characters are there?

I have two POV characters and five other main characters.

2) How would you describe your protagonist?

My protagonist is a sixteen-year-old female who lives in a small town in the American Rocky Mountains. She loves the outdoors and spends her time swimming and shooting her bow. She has an eco-friendly attitude and wants to do conservation work. Oh, and she has prophetic dreams—but she doesn’t know that yet. Shh, don’t tell her!

3) How would you describe your antagonist?

My antagonist is an adult male who is the saraki king on the planet Raeya. Due to many factors, he isn’t confident in his ability to rule and relies heavily on his top advisor. He tries to hide his lack of confidence by flaunting his power. He is ruthless to anyone who threatens his throne.

4) Which character is the easiest to write?

I have to go with my protagonist for this one. I’ve been writing her POV since I started her story nearly ten years ago. Over the past nine years, I’ve gotten to know her really well. I’m still working on making her voice shine, but I know who she is as a character—and have known for a while. She rarely surprises me anymore.

5) Which character is the hardest to write?

I used to have a really hard time writing Jack because I knew nothing about him; but last summer he started talking to me, and I finally feel like I understand his character. I also didn’t know much about Ilarius and Mori, but in the past couple weeks, their stories have been unfolding in my mind. The only major character in ADR who hasn’t fully revealed themselves to me is Darius, who is one of the POV characters. He’s starting to open up, but it’s hard to write his 1st person POV without knowing more about him.

That’s all I have for you this month. Check back next month for another update and more Q&A’s about my books!

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