2020 Writing Log, Part 36

– I posted the third chapter of The Demon King. I’ve really been enjoying writing this. I think I’d like to start talking about it and promoting it more on social media.

– I wrote the first half of Chapter 43 of Malice. I also edited Chapter 42 and posted it on FFN.

– One of my favorite monster artists, who also happens to be a big fan of Wind Waker Ganondorf, created an amazing illustration for an upcoming chapter of Malice. The artist is @BiteDiamond on Twitter, and you can see the full illustration on their Tumblr (here).

– I posted the fifth story of Night of The Final Day, a series of vignettes about Majora’s Mask. This one is about Shiro, the Clock Town soldier who is afraid that no one notices him and gives Link the Stone Mask after the player speaks to him in Ikana Canyon (or the Pirate Fortress in the 3DS version). I based this story on a popular fan theory and used a narrative trick I’ve never tried before, and I managed to genuinely spook myself out in the process.

– I wrote the first half of the story I’m submitting to the Ties of Time zine. It’s called “The Flower Thief,” and it’s about Ganondorf coming to Hyrule for the first time as a child.

– I applied to be a writer for two original horror-themed zines: Midnight Gathering and Carpe Noctem.

– I also applied to be an artist for both zines. I’m much more confident in my writing than I am in my visual art, but I think I’ve managed to develop a halfway-decent art portfolio. In any case, it doesn’t hurt to try, right?

– “Apartment Hunting,” my contribution to the anthology for the 2020 Philly Zine Fest, is now available for free along with the rest of the digital zine, which you can download (here). The first Philly Zine Fest was the first small press event I attended, and I was excited to be able to participate this year. “Apartment Hunting” is an original short story written specifically for this anthology that’s very loosely based on my experience of trying to secure an apartment in Philadelphia in March, which was right when people were starting to understand that the world was on the verge of changing drastically. It was a supremely uncanny experience, and some of the properties I saw were… interesting, let’s say. I probably won’t post the story here on this blog until next year, but you can see the illustration I created for it (here).

– Speaking of zines! I mailed out almost my entire print run of my Haunted Houses zine. Last week I mailed free copies to people who responded to my announcement posts on social media, and this week I received a huge batch of orders for the listing on Etsy. I only expected to mail out maybe thirty copies if I was lucky enough to get a strong response, but I ended up mailing out almost a hundred. That was wild, and I’m still trying to process how blown away and grateful I am.

– And finally! I had intended to release the Legend of Haiku zine I edited this weekend, but the process of mailing out so many copies of Haunted Houses, as well as the blitz of social media messages I exchanged with people in the process, occupied most of my free time during the past two weeks. Still, the project is gradually coming together! I finalized the standard page layout design and the design of a few other aspects of the project (like the cover and contributor info pages), and I only have a few more tasks that need to be completed.

I should say that I’m still submitting original fiction to magazines, of course, and I think I may have even made it out of a few slush piles recently. I still haven’t made the final cut, though – at least not yet. I feel like the landscape of publishing may be changing, though. The zine projects I’m currently applying for and participating in are extremely slick and professional, and they’re much more stylish than many traditional fiction magazines (at least in my admittedly inexpert opinion). Also, because they have dedicated social media editors, their reach is much larger than most people probably think of when they hear the word “zine.” In addition, these zines will usually invite artists with huge followings on social media to contribute, expanding their reach even further. On top of that, many of the artists who submit to the zine as contributors may have giant followings as well.

So, while I’m still trying to establish myself as a writer by submitting to fiction magazines, I don’t think I’m wasting my time or talent by applying to write for fandom zines and original zines while making zines of my own. If nothing else, it’s been an incredible experience to be able to work within a supportive community of other creative people without the pretension (and expense!) of a formal MFA program or writing workshop. I feel as though this is perhaps a secret that I should keep to myself, but I’ve had nothing but wonderful experiences with the new generation of the zine community.

( You can follow me on Patreon if you’d like to support my work! )

2020 Writing Log, Part 35

– I posted Chapter 42 of Malice, a modern AU Breath of the Wild fanfic.

– I edited Chapter 39 and Chapter 40 of Malice, thus completing the intensive editing project I started in June. Hooray!

– I posted the fourth story in Night of The Final Day, a collection of short vignettes about the minor characters in Majora’s Mask.

– I was accepted as a writer for Ties of Time, a zine focused on Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, and I went ahead and got started on my story. It’s about Ganondorf visiting Hyrule for the first time as a child, and I think I’m going to call it “The Flower Thief.”

– I don’t know if I ever included this in my writing log entries, but my story for the Press Start Fanfic Exchange is now publicly available! It’s called “The Queen’s Tears,” and it’s about the characters in Final Fantasy VI exploring the Ancient Castle, which is one of my favorite areas in the game.

– I sent the file for my Haunted Houses zine off to the printer and designed a bookmark featuring the work of the amazing cover artist to go with it. The printer I work with, Mixam, has a quick turnaround time, so I was able to put the zine on Etsy and send a few free copies to friends via an announcement post on Instagram. Once I get everything in the mail on Monday morning, I’ll probably put a similar zine announcement post on Twitter.

– I started sending acceptance emails to everyone who submitted to the Legend of Haiku zine I’m putting together. I got some incredible contributions, and I’m aiming for Sunday, November 1 as a digital release date.

– I posted a short comic about Ceres from The Demon King. If you’re interested, I also started posting my WIP of the story itself on AO3.

– Thanks to the magic of time travel, I was able to donate every species of fish to the museum on my island in Animal Crossing, thus earning myself a golden fishing pole and completing my set of golden tools. And finally, after months and months, I managed to grow purple windflowers.

Nevertheless, despite using Animal Crossing and every other trick at my disposal to stay engaged during Zoom meetings, I’m starting to experience extreme fatigue right at the point of the fall semester when the academic year usually starts to get interesting. We’re all doing our best, I guess. Let’s keep going!

( You can follow me on Patreon if you’d like to support my work! )

2020 Writing Log, Part 34

– I posted Chapter 41 of Malice on AO3. Finally! Only five more chapters to go!!

– I edited Chapter 31, Chapter 32, Chapter 33, Chapter 34, Chapter 35, Chapter 36, and Chapter 37 of Malice. Editing this mess has taken about six months, but I’m almost caught up! Thankfully, these last several chapters have been much easier to edit.

– I edited and submitted a two-page story and an accompanying illustration to the anthology of this year’s Philly Zine Fest.

– I submitted an application to be a writer for Memorabilia, a fanzine about the culture, history, and archaeology of Hyrule in Breath of the Wild.

– I also submitted an application to be a writer for Phobias, a zine featuring original horror-themed short fiction, comics, and illustrations.

– Both of these applications were surprisingly time-intensive, but I enjoyed putting everything together. I think the sort of work I do is a perfect fit for both projects, and perhaps this is my hubris at work, but I went ahead and cleared my entire writing schedule for December so that I can focus on the stories I’d like to submit to these two zines and Ties of Time (the Legend of Zelda zine I submitted a writer application to about two weeks ago). Fingers crossed!!

– I created an illustration to use for my third horror-themed short fiction zine, Haunted Houses. If all goes well, I should be able to send everything to the printer early next week!

– I created an illustration to use for the second announcement post for the Legend of Haiku zine I’m organizing. If you’re interested, you can find the post (on Twitter), (on Tumblr), and (on Instagram). I’ve already gotten some amazing submissions, and the WIPs I’ve received from the cover artist are phenomenal. This is going to be a gorgeous zine, and I’m really looking forward to sharing it!

– Speaking of which, the artist I commissioned to create a sticker to go with the zine sent me the final draft of the design, and it’s lovely. We went through a few color palettes, each more beautiful than the last, but I think the one we finally settled on is a perfect fit for the themes of the zine.

– I drew a short comic about Balthazar from The Demon King. I tried making a comic with this joke earlier this year (here), but I thought I’d give it another shot.

– I commissioned one of my longtime favorite fantasy artists, Marty Tina G., to create a character design for Gasper from The Demon King, and it’s exactly what I imagined. I am in head over heels in love with this strong and beautiful lady orc warrior!

( You can follow me on Patreon if you’d like to support my work! )

2020 Writing Log, Part 33

– I edited Chapter 28, Chapter 29, and Chapter 30 of my Breath of the Wild fanfic novel Malice.

– I simultaneously worked on Chapter 41 and Chapter 42 of Malice, and I was able to finish (very) rough drafts of both.

– I posted the third story in Night of The Final Day, a series of vignettes about Majora’s Mask. This one is about Kotake and Koume, as well as the Deku Butler and his son.

– I put a free digital copy of my Ocarina of Time appreciation minizine on Gumroad (here). I also posted a collection of a few pages on Tumblr (here).

– I applied to be a writer for a Legend of Zelda zine called Ties of Time (on Twitter), which is a celebration of Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. I think the sort of short pieces focused on worldbuilding that I’ve been writing recently would be a perfect fit, and I already have three ideas for potential stories. I think they’re actually really good ideas, if I do say so myself. If I don’t get accepted into the zine, it might be cool to adapt one or more of these ideas into a multipage comic.

– I submitted a one-page comic to a cat-themed horror zine called Catsploitation 2 (which is a sequel to Catsploitation, of course). This is more of an oldschool punk zine than a glossy art school zine, and it might not be printed in color, so I created both a full-color and a separate grayscale version of the piece.

– I’ve been trying to get more into drawing backgrounds, so I did a landscape study based on a screenshot from Journey (here) and a perspective study based on a screenshot from Ocarina of Time (here).

– I also drew two character studies (here and here) of Balthazar from The Demon King. I’m still not where I want to be in terms of art, but I’d like to believe that I’m getting closer, step by step by step.

– I’ve made fifty posts on my Tokyo photography blog! Nice!!

– I finally managed to grow green chrysanthemums and gold roses in Animal Crossing, and I finally completed the fossil and insect collections of my island’s museum. I am very proud of myself, please don’t judge me.

( You can follow me on Patreon if you’d like to support my work! )

2020 Writing Log, Part 32

– I posted the first two stories in Night of The Final Day, a collection of vignettes about how the characters in Majora’s Mask spend their final few hours before the moon falls.

– I edited Chapter 25, Chapter 26, and Chapter 27 of Malice.

– I’ve been continuing to chip away at Chapter 41, which isn’t even that long. I’m going to need to figure out a different approach if I want to finish this novel by the end of the year.

– I posted a review of Hiromi Kawakami’s newest short story collection in translation, People From My Neighborhood, on my book review blog. I also posted an abbreviated version on Goodreads.

– I posted another short autobio comic, which began as a set of thumbnails I made for the fundamental comics workshop exercise of drawing a memory from your childhood in five minutes across four panels. It feels nice to know that I’m capable of creating an entire comic page from scratch in a week.

– I finished editing and reformatting my Ghost Stories zine and reprinted the second edition, which is now up for sale on Etsy.

– I also printed two new stickers, some Halloween ghosts and an Animal Crossing themed Nintendo Switch.

– I went back to the stories in my Haunted Houses zine and edited them one more time. I think I might be able to put the zine into production this coming week. I’ve gotten some amazing gift art for earlier zines that I may be able to print in this one depending on how the formatting turns out.

– I put a lot of work into promoting the Legend of Haiku zine, and I also commissioned an artist I’ve admired for years to create a special illustration that will be printed as a sticker as a gift for contributors. I’ve already gotten some amazing submissions, and I’m really excited about how this project is turning out!

– I applied to be a virtual exhibitor at the Philly Zine Fest, and I wrote a short story to submit to their anthology. I’m also working on an illustration to accompany the story, and I’ve been experimenting with what I hope will be an interesting page layout for the submission.

( You can follow me on Patreon if you’d like to support my work! )

2020 Writing Log, Part 31

– I edited Chapter 21, Chapter 22, Chapter 23, and Chapter 24 of Malice. I’m definitely emotionally invested in the story now, and I very much wish someone else would finish it for me.

– DarkAcey on Twitter (and on AO3) created a gift illustration for Chapter 23, and it’s amazing! I was blown away by this artwork, not to mention incredibly inspired. It’s such a life goal for me to be able to do something like this for other fic writers one day.

– Newly filled with motivation, I started writing Chapter 41. It’s going to take a while, and I’m (probably) not going to post it until the rest of the chapters are finished, but it feels nice to make progress instead of letting the story fade away.

– I edited my piece for the Press Start Exchange fanfic exchange one more time before posting it. It’s going to be a few weeks before it goes live, and I imagine I’ll return to it again before then.

– I posted a review of One Love Chigusa on my book review blog. The less said about this misogynistic mess, the better. It’s a shame that, of all the excellent work put out by the press, this is the book they decided to promote.

– I edited and updated the pages on the book review blog. This was tedious and took forever, but it’s good to do every year or so. I usually handle this in May, but better late than never.

– I created an icon and an announcement post for the Legend of Haiku zine, which I’m going to post later this weekend on social media. I’m starting to get nervous, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that everything will be okay.

ETA: The zine announcement post is now up on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram!

– I posted a (very) short autobio comic for the first time in more than a year. I’ve gotten better at time-saving techniques, and I’d like to try to post more comics from now on, even if they’re not so great. The only way to get better at something is by doing it, right?

( You can follow me on Patreon if you’d like to support my work! )

2020 Writing Log, Part 30

– I edited Chapter 16, Chapter 17, Chapter 18, Chapter 19, and Chapter 20 of Malice. Is it weird to say that I got emotionally invested in my own story? I wish someone else were writing it so that I could read it all the way to the end without having to finish it myself.

– I finally edited the last chapter of The Legend of the Princess. This is something I’ve been meaning to do for the past year, but I wasn’t able to work up the courage until earlier this week. I was in a constant process of editing the chapters of this story during 2018 as I tried to keep the threads of the plot connected while posting the story to various venues, but I was in such a dark place when I wrote the last chapter that I just posted it and walked away. Coming back to it now, I was afraid that it would be garbage, but it’s kind of good, actually.

– Here’s what happened: I was going through TV Tropes to look for examples of a trope I really enjoy and came across a page someone wrote for Legend of the Princess. That’s wild, right?

– I edited my story about The Magnus Archives and posted it on Tumblr.

– I edited my story for the Press Start fanfic exchange. It’s not bad, all things considered. Although it won’t go live until September, I’d like to go over it again this week and post it next weekend.

– I edited the stories in my Haunted Houses zine, which I hope to be able to send to the printer by the end of September. I also started thinking about graphics to use for the bookmark and sticker I want to make to go with it. Maybe something (like this) would be good?

– Before I get started on the page layouts for Haunted Houses, I think I’d actually like to create another reprint of Ghost Stories from scratch so that it looks a bit more professional. I’ve already gotten started, and I hope to finish it up by next weekend.

– I started work on the graphic I’m going to use for the announcement post of the Legend of Haiku zine, and I contacted the artist I’d like to make the cover illustration. This is someone I’ve wanted to commission for a while now, and I was so excited when they agreed to work with me on this project! I also set up an email address, but I don’t think I want to create accounts on Twitter and Tumblr. Although I’m definitely going to invite contributions, I’d prefer to keep this project small and relatively stress-free.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

 

Last night I was thinking about what I’ve accomplished this summer: I’ve written two original short stories, five short fanfic stories, seven chapters of my current neverending novel, four book reviews, and a collection of fifteen flash fiction pieces for a new zine. I’ve also been doing a whole lot of editing. I guess I’ve been working on visual art as well, and I’ve gone from posting an average of one new piece a week on my art account to posting twice a week. I’m not sure if this is a lot or not enough; but, if nothing else, at least I can say that I did my best during a truly strange and difficult time.

( You can follow me on Patreon if you’d like to support my work! )

2020 Writing Log, Part 29

– In my last writing log, I said that I submitted “Mount Hiei” to Strange Horizons. What actually happened was that I got the story ready to submit to them as soon as their weekly submission period opened on Monday at noon. When I submitted the story, the automated system told me that I could only submit one story at a time. It turns out that “Don’t Order the Fish,” which I submitted at the beginning of June, was still “under review.” I therefore withdrew that submission and tried to submit “Mount Hiei,” only to be told that I would have to wait seven days before submitting a new story. So I took the opportunity to edit “Mount Hiei” again. I was able to submit it successfully this week, thank goodness.

– I finished my story for the Press Start fanfic exchange.

– I wrote a fake episode of The Magnus Archives podcast, which I posted on AO3.

– I edited Chapter 13, Chapter 14, and Chapter 15 of Malice. Chapter 14, which was actually the first chapter I wrote, was particularly rough, but it’s (a little) better now.

– I’m writing a review of Yoshiko Okuyama’s monograph Reframing Disability in Manga for Journal of Japanese Studies. The book is really good!

Red Circle kindly send me a review copy of One Love Chigusa, a cyberpunk novella written by a male author in the 1980s. I’m dutifully writing a review, but I’m having a lot of trouble with the overt misogyny. This isn’t something I’m being sensitive about; rather, it’s right there on the page, front and center. One might even go so far as to say that misogyny is the guiding theme of the book. It’s gross and upsetting, and I’m at a loss for what to do about the review.

– I finally picked up my Legend of Zelda essay! After taking a long break, it feels good to work on academic writing again.

– I resumed my Korok hunt in my Wii U copy of the Breath of the Wild. I completely lost the narrative thread of Evoland 2, which I started playing at the beginning of the year, so I started a new game and somehow managed to log fifteen hours into it during the past week. It’s nice to take breaks from writing every once in a while.

– I started a Tokyo photography blog for self-care purposes. It’s nothing special, just me reposting images from the official websites of various stores and locations, but it’s a nice way to ease myself into work every morning.

– I set up a creator account on Patreon (here), but I’m still figuring out what to do with it. I’m thinking about posting new art every Sunday morning and links to new writing every Wednesday morning. Everything I create will always be freely available, both on Patreon and elsewhere, but this might be a good way for me to present everything I do in one feed while (maybe! hopefully!!) picking up a tiny bit of extra income that I can put toward a professional graphics tablet, which I’ve been wanting to buy for years now.

2020 Writing Log, Part 28

– I edited “Don’t Order the Fish” again and submitted it to Eerie River’s It Came from the Sea anthology.

– I edited “Mount Hiei” again and submitted it to Strange Horizons.

– I edited my story about Tetra and Linebeck, It’s Free Real Estate, and posted it on Tumblr.

– I posted a review of Edogawa Ranpo’s 1927 mystery-horror novel Strange Tale of Panorama Island, as well as an abbreviated version on Goodreads.

– I gave a talk on “The Legend of Zelda and Japanese Religion” at Otakon Online, and I posted the slideshow for anyone to view and download.

– I wrote and submitted the syllabus for the “Japanese Science Fiction and Fantasy” class I’ll be teaching online in the fall and posted it here on my website.

This week was tough, but I did my best. I’m truly fortunate to be supported by the kindness of my friends, and somehow I was able to make it through.

2020 Writing Log, Part 27

– After reading through the first issue of 34 Orchard (and really enjoying it), I decided that “Mount Hiei” is probably a better fit for Strange Horizons. I also decided that “Don’t Order the Fish” is a much better fit for 34 Orchard, so I submitted it to them. I got a polite rejection email four days later. Which is cool! I already have another venue in mind, so I’ll go through the story one more time this week before sending it out again.

– I put “Mount Hiei” through another set of edits. I’d love to be able to send it to Strange Horizons during their weekly submission period on Monday afternoon, but we’ll see.

– The artist I’ve been working with to create a cover for my next zine sent me the finished piece. Not only is it a gorgeous illustration, but it’s also super spooky. I already have rough drafts of all the stories, and I think I’d like to start working on them again in August so that I can have the zine ready to go by October.

– I posted It’s Free Real Estate, a short story about Tetra roasting Linebeck that I wrote as a bonus prompt fill for the Multifandom Drabble fic exchange. I’m a big fan of the person who requested this, and writing it was a lot of fun.

– I decided to go ahead and post the individual segments of The Memory of Stone, my main submission for the Multifandom Drabble exchange, to Tumblr. I’ve been continuing to edit it as I go along, and I hope at least a few people have enjoyed the story.

– I edited Super Bowser Odyssey, my story about Peach pegging Bowser while he’s wearing a wedding dress. This story hasn’t gotten many kudos, comments, or bookmarks in the six months since I originally posted it, so I was afraid to return to it. What if it was embarrassingly awful? To my surprise, it was already well-edited and a lot of fun. There were no typos or instances of body shaming, just two nerds enjoying themselves while indulging in some kink. The fic is actually kind of wholesome, in its own way. I can’t for the life of me remember what possessed me to write this story, but I’m happy it’s a thing that exists in the world.

– I edited Chapter 11 and Chapter 12 of Malice.

– I talked with the Otakon digital production team to test out the platform we’ll be using for my talk next Saturday, and we had a good time. I also started putting together my notes and slideshow.

– Although my appointment at University of Pennsylvania doesn’t formally begin until August 1, I was able to set up my faculty profile page this week. I say that “I was able to” because all of the university support services (including nonessential employee processing) have been shut down, and I had to be devious and sneak in through a back door. I don’t want to go into the tedious details, so let it suffice to say that administrative assistants are powerful wizards who should be admired and respected.

– I managed to mail out all of the Etsy orders I received over the week, a lot of which were international. Whew! I ordered more of the items that are running low on stock, and I also added a new sticker based on this design.

It occurred to me this week that a lot of my “creative” work involves polishing content in order to send it out into the world with the hope that the right person will see it, enjoy it, and decide that I’m worth supporting. Although I put a fair amount of time and effort into promoting myself, I’ve come to accept that I have almost no control over how people interact with my work. The only thing I can do is keep putting out good content at a steady pace while keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to find an audience one day. Until then, even if they’re not “the right person” capable of promoting my work on a larger scale, I’m extremely grateful for the writer and artist friends I’ve made.

It’s tough to keep putting myself out there, and I would never be able to do it without everyone’s kindness.