2020 Weekly Writing Log, Part Twelve

– I posted Chapter 32 of Malice on AO3.

– I edited Chapter 31 and posted it on FFN.

– I’ve been simultaneously working on the next three chapters, which will complete the third story arc. I’ve got five arcs planned, and the fourth is where I always imagined this story heading – sex, cyberpunk, magic, and murder. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been working with a few artists on commissioned illustrations for the next arc so that I’ll be able to post them with the corresponding chapters (instead of attaching the images to the chapters several weeks after I post them, as I’ve done with the current arc).

I mentioned before that I was working with an artist on a Legend of Zelda comic, and I remember saying that it was going to be good. The artist is Lunaartgallery, and the comic they created for me isn’t just good – it’s incredible! I was very excited to share this, and I’m happy it received such a positive reaction.

– I wrapped up the production of It Never Happened and sent the file to the printer! I also made a sticker and a bookmark to go with it. I’m taking the “shelter in place” quarantine very seriously, but I did some research and ultimately decided that it’s probably okay to use the postal service. The timing isn’t ideal; but, given that I’ll be moving to Philadelphia in May and living on a reduced income for the rest of the summer, April is the best month for me to print this zine and mail the initial batch of (free) copies to my friends and social media contacts. In any case, I’m going to start on the next set of stories next week.

– I was furiously angry at my university for a solid two weeks, but I’ve more or less gotten over it. I think I’d like to get back into academic writing again. Next week I’m going to finish that Chris Kohler review, return to my Kawakami essay, and submit the Kawakami translation to Samovar.

– My island in Animal Crossing is doing very nicely, thank you for asking.

2020 Writing Log, Part Eleven

I took some time to re-assess my writing goals, and these are my priorities:

(1) Malice, the fanfic novel I’m working on. It’s getting great feedback, and I’m having a lot of fun.
(2) Original short horror fiction, which I also love writing. Let’s get these stories out into the world!
(3) Teaching my actual classes for actual money. This is all “writing” now, if you’re wondering.
(4) Supporting my friends and communicating with artists I’ve commissioned.
(5) Taking long walks. I’ve started listening to The Magnus Archives podcast, and it’s fantastic.
(6) Animal Crossing. I know you’re playing it too, so don’t judge me.
(7) Academic publications. If I feel like it, which I don’t.

So, with all of that in mind, this is what I did this week:

– I posted Chapter 31 of Malice on AO3. This was going to be a longer chapter, but I’ve found that my attention span has been extremely limited these days. I could have spent a few extra days putting this chapter through another round of editing, but fuck it.

– I edited Chapter 30 (quite substantially, actually) and posted it on FFN.

– I finished all of the page layouts for It Never Happened. I have a list of a few other small things I need to take care of before I send the file to the printer, but this project should be finished by the end of the week. If it isn’t, I’m going to send it anyway. I want to go ahead and get started on the next set of stories.

– I’ve spent the past week writing (and grading) online quizzes, and I’ve really been enjoying myself. I may write an actual post about this later, but I’m starting to seriously think about “the online quiz” as a legitimate narrative form.

– I commissioned Meiaushzz to create a digital painting of Ganondorf from Malice, and WOW. (The rough draft, in which Ganondorf is older and bearded, is also VERY NICE.) The idea is that, as in Breath of the Wild, Ganondorf is able to use magic to manipulate technology, and he does it for all the worst reasons.

– I commissioned Yufei to draw Balthazar and Ceres from The Demon King, and they are both gorgeous. This artist regularly takes OC illustration commissions, and every piece they post on social media is incredible. I’ve been wanting to commission them for a while, and I figured that this week was as good of a time as any. This was also a good opportunity to write very short “elevator pitches” for these two characters that clearly express their personalities and narrative roles without getting too deep into the complications of the larger story.

That sure is a lot of stupid fandom bullshit, you might be thinking. Why doesn’t this person grow up and go do their taxes or something. Well, friend, let me tell you – I filed my taxes this week. I also filled out my census form and my form for jury duty (which isn’t going to happen, but still). As much as I bitch and complain about my university, they’re still sending me paychecks, so I’ve been trying to donate to various food banks and relief organizations as well.

What with everything going on in the world, it’s been difficult to concentrate, but I’m doing my best. I hope everyone reading this is safe and healthy and doing okay!

2020 Writing Log, Part Ten

– “I am going to take a break from Malice,” I said. Then, having spoken, I immediately started writing the next two chapters.

– This has been a week for commissions, and I’ve spent a fair amount of time communicating with artists during the past few days. It’s been a lot of work, but I’ve been having a lot of fun!

– I worked with Checkuuu on an illustration of Zelda from Malice. This artist has been drawing Land of the Lustrous fan art recently, so their illustration is both Murder and Fashion, a combination that I very much appreciate.

– I worked with Lakokoosa on an illustration of Link and Sidon from Malice. They’re sporty, adorable, and totally dating!

– I worked with Frankiesbugs on a four-panel gag comic about the Breath of the Wild sequel. This idea has been haunting me since the trailer was first released last summer, and creating this comic felt like an exorcism. Truly I am blessed.

– I worked with JazineDraws on an illustration of Hero from The Demon King. This artist is such a superstar, and I literally cried when she accepted this commission. She was an absolute professional and sent me a lot of WIP images, and I feel like I learned a lot from seeing her process.

– And there’s more good work to come soon! It is so goddamn incredible to see my ideas come to life like this, and like… I really wish there were a way for me to do this sort of thing professionally.

– Anyway, speaking of The Demon King, I wrote a good four thousand words of backstory and worldbuilding. I could have written more, but I stopped myself before I became completely insufferable.

– I finished the line editing for all of the stories in It Never Happened. I also created the front and back covers of the chapbook and set up the page layout. This coming week is going to be about copying and pasting, which actually takes much longer than it sounds like it should.

– I got everything ready for my university courses to go completely online during the coming week. Oh man. Here we go.

– And finally! I got an offer letter from the University of Pennsylvania and signed a lease for an apartment in Philadelphia. I have to admit that I was genuinely worried about being jobless and homeless, but everything turned out all right, thank goodness.

We’re living in a difficult time, and I’m afraid it’s going to get worse before it gets better. I hope everyone reading this is doing okay.

2020 Writing Log, Part Nine

– I posted Chapter 30 of Malice on AO3. I’ve now been writing this story for almost a year to the day. It’s currently at 62k words, which is a decent level of productivity. I’ve gotten a lot of support from readers, and I’m grateful and honored. Still, I think this might be a good time to take a break from this story to reassess my writing goals.

– I edited Chapter 28 and posted it on FFN. I also edited Chapter 29 and uploaded it to be queued next weekend.

– I replied to all the comments I received on AO3, which was a lot of fun. Next week I want to set a goal of leaving a comment on someone else’s work. Even if it’s just a short comment!

– I did two more rounds of editing on the stories in It Never Happened. This week I’m going to get started on line editing and page layout.

– I turned in the proofs for my book manuscript. The publisher gave me about a week to go over these, and this particular week has been wild. I was able to catch a few typos and formatting errors in the proofs, but I’m sure there are more. I have strong feelings about this process, but I probably shouldn’t say anything until the book actually comes out.

– Given that universities in the United States are shutting down, everything has been cancelled, including the talks I was supposed to give during the next two months. You’d think this sudden influx of free time would help me be more productive, but this situation is actually super stressful. This comic on Twitter captures the feeling perfectly.

– During the past week I was able to work with Frankiesbugs on Tumblr to create a short original horror comic. They did an amazing job, and it was an absolute pleasure to work with them. Not to be weird or anything, but exchanging emails with this artist on a daily basis helped keep me sane during a difficult time.

– There have been a lot of emergency commission posts on Twitter from people who’ve suddenly found themselves out of work, and I’ve been in contact with about half a dozen artists. If I had to make a prediction, I would say that I’m probably never going to see the art I commissioned, but it doesn’t really matter. I was in a similar situation a few times when I was younger, and it would have meant the world to me for someone to send me money and say they believed in me. If actual art materializes, that will be a bonus.

– I wish more fic writers took commissions. I would take commissions myself, but dear god I can barely write my own stories at this point. Good luck to us all, I guess.

2020 Writing Log, Part Eight

– I was rejected from the Path of the Goddess zine, and this hit me surprisingly hard. I think that, because I love Skyward Sword so much, and because I love drawing Skyward Sword fan art, the affective impact was much stronger than it should have been. I spent the entire week carrying this sense of rejection around with me, and it was tough.

– But I still finished the pencilwork for the illustration I was going to submit to the zine, and this week I started inking it. It’s really cute, if I do say so myself. I hope that, after a few more zine rejections, I’ll have put together a much stronger art portfolio.

– Gosh I need a good ritual for dealing with rejection. Perhaps I should make one up myself.

– I posted Chapter 29 of Malice on AO3. Idk, maybe it was the zine rejection, but I’m starting to feel like this story is a silly waste of time. Maybe I’ll take a break after posting Chapter 30.

– I edited and posted Chapter 27 on FFN.

– I reached peak nerd by writing the beginnings of a glossary of some of the Zelda-themed equivalents of contemporary technology I came up with for the story. (Photoshop is “Pictoshop,” for example, and Grindr is “Tinglr.”) In an earlier writing log, I mentioned possibly needing to create something like a concordance, but that seems like a lot of work. Do people use wikis for that sort of thing?

– The artist I contacted about doing a Legend of Zelda comic with me accepted the commission, put together an amazing reference sheet, and sent me the thumbnails. This is going to be good.

– I also spent time editing the stories in It Never Happened. One of them I ended up expanding substantially, and one I decided to commission an artist to turn into a comic. I asked them to do an illustration, and they asked me if it would be okay to make a comic instead. I was like, YES!!!!

– You know who would make a really good art director? This person right here! Maybe I should start looking into those sorts of positions after I move to Philadelphia.

2020 Writing Log, Part Seven

– I wrote a rough draft of Chapter 29 of Malice, but it still needs work. This is a short chapter in which Zelda makes a stupid and shitty decision. This decision ultimately has no consequences, as it’s so obviously stupid and shitty that no one takes it seriously. Ironically, Zelda is actually correct in her reasoning, and all of the plot problems would be solved immediately if everyone acted on the decision she makes, but the point of this chapter is to demonstrate that Zelda is very smart but also emotionally damaged and a bit cruel. Interiority isn’t always easy to write, but I’m doing my best.

– I also wrote a rough draft of Chapter 30, which I have informally titled “In which Ganondorf becomes a Haruki Murakami protagonist who makes delicious food and is then manipulated by his love interest into an intense sexual encounter.” You can almost hear the jazz in the background. This chapter, which I have even more informally titled “Bickering and Dick Sucking,” also needs a lot of editing. We are writing Classy Literature here folks.

– I got in touch with a few artists about possibly creating illustrations for this story. I told myself that I’m done with commissions, but apparently I care a lot about my writing projects. How cringe.

– I also got in touch with a webcomic artist about working with me on a short comic script that I wrote last summer and have recently revised and polished. They accepted the project! This means a lot to me, and I’m very excited. The artist has a gorgeous and unique visual style, a consistent portfolio, and a reasonable rate per page. It’s also easy to communicate with them. Who knows how anything will turn out in this world, but it would be cool if this project were to lead to a solid working relationship.

– I started the first round of edits on the stories in It Never Happened. This week I worked on the first seven. I ended up surprising myself when I realized that some of these stories might actually be sort of good.

– I got started on a review of Chris Kohler’s book on Final Fantasy V. It’s a short book, and it’s going to be a short review, but I want to get at least two or three paragraphs out there about why Kohler’s book is Very Fucking Good for reasons that have very little to do with Final Fantasy.

In conclusion: I did a lot of work but don’t yet have anything tangible to show for it, and lord if that isn’t a mood.

2020 Writing Log, Part Six

– I posted Chapter 28 of Malice on AO3. I wrote this chapter from the limited third-person perspective of a new viewpoint character who knows all sorts of things that are still mysteries to the two main viewpoint characters. This character takes these things for granted, however, and she doesn’t really understand that other people don’t necessarily know what she does. (She also happens to be my self-insert character.) It was a challenge to write this sort of perspective in a way that blended in with the rest of the story, and I’m starting to think I might have to make a chart along the lines of “who knows what at which point in time.” This is going to be a pain in the ass, but novels are like that sometimes.

– I also edited Chapter 26 and posted it on FFN.

– I finished the first drafts of the rest of the stories in “It Never Happened.” I’ve still got a lot of material left over, but I’m going to save it for the third chapbook in the series, which I think I’m going to call “Philadelphia Doesn’t Exist.”

– I posted my first Demon King comic on Tumblr. I created it from scratch on Photoshop despite still being very shaky with the stylus. This was fun and didn’t actually take that long to make, but I think I still need to spend more time figuring out the character designs before I can begin posting on a weekly basis. It might also be helpful to start putting together a color palette.

Now that I’ve adjusted to the idea of leaving my job and started to get a handle on this semester’s classes, I think it might be a good idea to jump back into academic writing. This is what I’d like to focus on during the next few weeks:

– Writing a short review (maybe 700 words?) of Chris Kohler’s book on Final Fantasy V

– Editing my short essay (of maybe 4,000 words?) on Hiromi Kawakami

– Getting in touch with the journal editors to see if they’d be interested in publishing my Kawakami translation as well

– Returning to my article (of about 7,000 words?) on Wind Waker and Breath of the Wild