So, What’s Next?

That’s the big question, isn’t it?

What’s next?

New job has been a good, busy time all around. I’m currently on my first week of full-time advertising work, and discovering the limitations of the mediums that I work in.

Not the least of which is what happens when your boss doesn’t believe in them.

Waiting on my diploma to arrive. I didn’t go to my graduation ceremony because I didn’t want to get stuck in a crowd of coughing, sick people.

I hate the idea that I might be too old for conventions. I went to FanimeCon and KublaCon this year and I was not impressed. Or happy that I put the effort in to go to them. It might also be that I haven’t been to a con in nearly two years, and I’m out of practice.

Could be both.

Writing for The Winter Solist has been progressing. Not quite as fast as I’d like, but I’m getting there. Note-taking for A Roman Solist has been continuing.

…and, going back to the gum, starting off at three days a week and working my way up.

Fingers crossed.

The Melancholy Of The Long Distance Writer

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance or the energy to blog, and that’s mostly because blogging is resembling my (theoretical) day job, i.e. internship, i.e. not a bad thing to do right now in comparison to school.

School? I’m not sure if I’m just better medicated and able to handle things, or the classwork has been watered down badly, but I know that I’m doing very well with my classwork and my classes. But, the commute has been terrible and horrible and boring and dull.

My writing work has been slower, but I am making progress with The Winter Solist and the outline for A Solist In Rome.

Got to go home early today, so I’m not as exhausted with a full work and school schedule.

Fingers crossed that there will be more progress soon.

So, Good News? I Can Have Some?

Is there good news? Yes, there is. There’s several fronts that I’m having to deal with, and I’m having this distinct lack of fear, angst, frustration, and/or terror.

I believe most people call this “being happy.” It’s weird. It’s very weird. I like it, but it is just weird.

Academics-Staying on top and ahead of as many of my projects and classes as possible. In three weeks, I’ll have to start commuting twice a week down to San Francisco for classes. Which I’ve got timed, figured out, and I know how to make the schedule work. It’ll just be waking up early (not 4AM early, thank God for that), and making sure that my timing is good. Projects are current and working.

Internship-So far…I might have something. It seems like it’s locked in, but it don’t mean nothing until the paperwork is signed. It’s local, so the commute is short (twenty minutes, maybe), three days a week. And, it’s paid. Yay!

Writing-Going slower than I expect, but I’ve gotten started on one of the two short stories for the end of March (fingers crossed)…and, The Winter Solist is still being written. I’m getting close to the big reveals, the big fight, and the lead-in for A Solist In Rome, and that outline is growing ever more detailed as I get closer to telling that story.

Other stories are going to be on semi-hold because I need to finish my classes so I can graduate and not go crazy with all this work that I’ve got to get done. But, I might need to escape into a story or three when things get bad.

More news as it comes, I hope…

Back To School Days

So, I put in my final payment to go back to school, get my degree, and with a degree in hand…maybe get a job that doesn’t require me to say “do you want fries with that?”.

And, this may be the first time I’ve ever been grateful for the damned Crow Flu. The first three weeks of classes, at least, are all going to be virtual in some form. I just have to be dressed and wearing clothes for classes and not make the three hour commute to San Francisco every day. Still have to find an internship, but hopefully that can be all virtual work as well.

Writing news-I’m past the half-way point for The Winter Solist and I’m heading to the third act and the run-up to do A Solist In Rome. Some of my other ideas, such as An Ethical Succubus, has some progress as well. I realize that I should work harder to disconnect my inner editor, but I’ve never been a “spew word salad” sort of writer, who just keeps polishing again and again until it’s all done.

And, for today’s shared blogging experience, I’m going to share Kim Du Toit’s blog. Reading him, you get a distinct “get the hell off my lawn” feeling from him, but it’s less “angry about the world” and more “low tolerance threshold for idiots” grumpy. Which I’ve been guilty of as well, but I try not to scream at people. They look at at you funny when you do that.

Lots of collections of neat little stories and hilarious gags about how the world is. And, he’s got exceptional taste in women, which maybe I should start to share on my blog as well.

Being Thankful This Year

It’s hard, sometimes, to remember that there are things to be thankful about.

The writing has been harder this year, but it’s getting somewhere. I’m dealing with far too many issues with California EDD and other government agencies. I’m convinced that I’m the only one that can see the monsters out there, the ones hiding in human skin. I’m not finding any job that wouldn’t be a disaster on so many levels. Entertainment has driven me to dive through my DVD and BluRay collection, lest I take an axe to the TV. Oh, and I’m capable of dealing with far too much bullshit than I like.

But.

I have my health. It’s still in reasonably good shape. I’m not broke and won’t have to wonder if I need to pay for medications, food, or rent any time school. I am going back to school next semester and will finish my degree program, which will look better on my resume. The Winter Solist is progressing, I’m almost near the big plot revelation and the large dance number. A few concept stories are being outlined, including A Solist In Rome.

I have my family. They’re good people and I love them.

It hasn’t been a good 2021, for the most part. I feel like my life has just been some kind of holding pattern since March 2020. But, it hasn’t been bad, and I can live with “okay” for now.

Well, There’s SOME Good News…

Writing on The Winter Solist is making some real progress. I’m nearly done with one of the first big fights in the novel, and I’m thinking that I’ll have to expand it a bit more. The story is coming along, but I’m getting past the first checkpoint. So, that’s something at least.

Other stories? I’ve got the outlines for about two other novels, and A Solist In Rome, and once The Winter Solist comes out…hopefully that story will come out a lot more quickly.

Personal life-I was able to get my blood pressure down to a safe level. The truly interesting thing is that to do that, I had to cut one of my ADHD medications out completely. This was a medication I was on for years, because it was one of the medications that allowed me to keep a job and keep my mind on track.

So, I stopped taking the medication two weeks ago…and, I’m doing a lot better in terms of my mental and emotional state. I’m not bouncing around like mad. I’m able to get a full night’s sleep with my CPAP. I’m not having the massive mood swings or sheer, despising hatred of most people and most entertainment. Could it truly be that simple, that easily resolved and easy to handle?

(I still can’t stand most TV shows, most modern comic books, and most “modern” novels. They’re written in a way that makes my brain hurt and are completely incoherent. I tried some new YA novels and they’re just…bad.)

The job hunt has been terrible. Resumes go out, I keep applying for things, but all the jobs that seem to be hiring are warehouse work, retail work, “own car” delivery work, and grocery stores. None of those are practical for me, not really. But, I’m still applying for them. And, on the 15th, SF State will put their schedule up for me to see if I can attend classes without driving myself mad in one form or another.

Fingers crossed, and hopefully good news for me soon.

It’s Bad Form, Isn’t It?

To spit over the very edge of the world?

It’s been…not bad. I’m not in any particular danger or risk or need to set up a GoFundMe to get money because I’m short. I have been dealing with a lot of nagging little issues, top to bottom.

Health issues-high blood pressure runs in my family and I’m not that big of a genetic outlier. So, more exercise, less salt, less time working on the computer, which means…

Writing has been slow. I’ve got a spec project (research for a non-fiction book), that I’m working on, and I’m also working on finishing up The Winter Solist and writing outlines for A Solist In Rome, some untitled writing project ideas, and quite a few other projects.

School-if I can do it all in one semester, everything is going to be put on hold so that I can finish my degree program. Which means that unless there’s another COVID disaster, I’m going to be commuting down to San Francisco on a regular basis. And, I’ve looked at just “a secure room with a shower, a fridge, and good Internet access” for the four to five months it’ll take for me to finish my degree. It is ALMOST as expensive as a full semester’s tuition, commuting three or four days a week is cheaper. Even the dorms would be expensive-between the cost and the mandatory meal plans, and they don’t have a single monk-like dorm room (which is all I need, really-one freaking semester) that I need.

Employment hunting has been terrible. I’m not working in a warehouse. I’m not working counter or retail or “own car” delivery. And, any of those jobs would bounce me off my current medical care into something worse. You start to understand why people want single-payer health care when you look at this crap, despite knowing that single-payer is like the Post Office but with doctors.

And, my fiscal concerns. I’m not in any trouble, just…little nagging things. Like for example, I’m having to manually update my Patreon payments. This isn’t a bad thing, I’ve trimmed out some people that I’ve wondered why I was supporting them. But, from the people I’ve been talking to, this is all (and I suspect, intentional) fallout from SESTA and FOSTA and it’s various weird requirements. Which have all just appeared to kick in today.

But, it can’t mess with my writing mojo, because I’m now writing again and figuring out work-arounds for the parent’s CNN addictions.

Progress will be made, one way or another…

Trying A New Tool

One of the things that any creative has to be careful about is trying out new tools. Let’s face it-90% of creative people have some form of neurosis and the remainder are able to hide it really well. And, one of these neurosis is about our tools. I’ve met people that have patched up, repaired, fixed, taped, epoxied, puttied, and eventually started to haunt estate sales and eBay because they had one particular kind of mechanical pencil that they used and “nothing else works right for me.”

Bit of Dumbo’s Magic Feather? Entirely possible and it’s also possible that it’s six of one and half a dozen of the other. Entirely possible that the ergonomics of that pencil have always worked better for him-or just that he’s gotten so used to it that everything else feels off. And, “feeling off” is sometimes one of the things that really throws a creative person off of their game. Sometimes to the point of not going somewhere with a project because it would require them to learn how to use a new tool…and then the neurosis hits again.

(My particular neurosis is the “not good enough” one. Not quite the perfectionist, but this fear that the point of translation between my imagination and the page is missing something and I need to go back and add that one more thing. And, creating things in my head, whole backstories that nobody will probably ever see…a series bible for TV or streaming would be insane by most standards, each A- and B-list character would have a massive biography and books and references…)

But, there’s also that point where you hit a wall and realize that the current tools aren’t going to help you any. This is why I’m learning a tool early-outlining.

How I usually write is what I call “checkpoint plotting.” It works like this-my stories have a number of checkpoints that I want to hit when I’m writing my story. I have a general idea when and where I want to get to that checkpoint. Just, sometimes I get hit by a plot idea or concept that is just so pretty…and I wander off the beaten path. And, come back as quickly as I can…but sometimes I find interesting things when I go off the beaten path.

Or, I have to spray for ticks.

But, A Solist In Rome and this new idea that won’t let go in my head is going to require me to stay closer to the road. So, that means I’m breaking out a new tool-an outline.

This is where everybody suggests a writing tool of one sort or another. Right now…not going to go that far. It’s really just a simple outline in Word as a prototype. First level is chapter headers. Second level is the main points where I want to go with this chapter. And, third level is what I call my “fluff”-little additional details that I want to add and follow up on.

I spent most of yesterday writing it, and I’m about a quarter of the way through my first outline for this second series that I’m working on. Today or tomorrow, I might get started on the A Solist In Rome (because it’s going to primarily first person with several second person callouts), so I need to keep tight track of where the story is going.

Back to the writing mines I go…and, we’ll see if this new tool helps any.

Hey, I Can See Some Light Here!

Short version-I’ve managed to get some writing done.

LONG version-in between dealing with the State of California, despising the whole process of interviewing for jobs (seriously, four interviews for a company and not getting the job?), general frustration with a world that seems to be run by idiots, and coming up on my birthday in about a month…

…the floodgates of my writing mojo have come back. This worries me-I don’t want to be Tim Bisly, who’s muses are angst and anger and frustration.

But, I have gotten at least two more chapters of The Winter Solist done, getting close to the big mystery and the final dance number. In fact…I’ve actually written part of the epilogue, so I can get a few events synchronized. And, I’m doing the “go through my previous chapters and start looking for issues” thing. I’m definitely going to call that progress. Once I finish with that, pull down a copy of Daz3D, build my cover, put the novel together and get it published. I will probably miss the one year anniversary for Solist At Large, but that I have a second novel done is a good thing.

Then, I start writing A Solist In Rome, where I might have my main character get PNG-ed from Italy.

Hopefully more good news coming soon. I’m looking into a moving screen so I won’t have to see the TV in the other room…and not go insane watching CNN. That would be a good thing.

Book Writing Information For This Week

After celebrating my birthday this week and managing to get…sixty to sixty-five percent of what I wanted from this year, I got back to work on The Winter Solist. Right now, I’m de-cluttering the plot of the book in a way that Marie Kondo would be very proud of. Before I had over-done the plot in my last book, I was up to 16 chapters and hit several stuck points. I think by the time I’m done, I’ll be down to twelve or so chapters, unstuck where the plot wasn’t working, and sadly going to have to get rid of one little side plot that I was really enjoying working on.

But! I did save original copies of everything I cut, so I can maybe use it in the future. Probably not, but I’m still hopeful.

The de-cluttering also revealed something that I hoped I wasn’t going to have to do. Since I’m going to have to stretch out the book some more, the original eight book plan (covering a semester of Adelade’s life in high school) is probably going to have to be eleven or twelve to finally tell the whole story.

Damn.

The good news is that I know what the title of book #3 in the series is. The title is A Solist In Rome, and we get to see Adelaide have fun with some of her peers and find out how much deeper the rabbit hole goes. A Solist In Rome is currently in the plotting phase right now, and I do know that it’ll be one of those odd hybrid first/third person books like The Apocalypse Codex, since we’re going to have to see the story from a number of other perspectives. And, it’s set in Rome and the Vatican City, so I have to do a lot of research on those as well. Mostly for the final dance number (i.e. final big confrontation of the book), have to place it properly.

Well, back to the writing work. Wish me luck.