– Prince Myshkin, The Idiot

I’ve been so bad at keeping up on this regularly, I’m not even going to try to catch up with everything that’s been going on. I’m just going to start with today and attempt to move forward.

So! Today I was actually fairly productive. I bothered to make a list of the things I needed to, and I actually managed to get most of that list finished. Got in a little bit of exercise (for those who know me, that’s a big accomplishment!), which was good. Not enough, really, but it’s still something. It’s just been so unbearably hot! I know, I know, that’s no excuse, but whatever. I have been monitoring the number of steps I take in a day, which at least makes me more aware of my sedentary lifestyle.

I also finally gave a donation to the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter, which is something I’ve been meaning to do for at least two weeks, and just haven’t done. I wouldn’t mind volunteering some of my time, too, this summer, since I’m not working. Just have to figure out when would work.

Most of the other stuff had to do with writing, so I’ll go into all that below. Other than those things, I started The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky the other day because I’ve been craving something by him for at least a month. I must say, even in translation, he never ceases to impress me. I absolutely ADORE Dostoyevsky. And in this heat, reading about cold Petersburg nights is just what I need to keep sane.

Also of note: finished the cover art for the upcoming Nameless To Say CD, Borderline Abusive EP, for Koby (my cousin):

Nameless To Say_Borderline Abusive EP Nameless To Say_Back

I really enjoyed getting a chance to actually play around with Photoshop. I haven’t had a chance to do much art in the past couple months, so it was a great release. I think it’s really good for writers to have a more tangible form of art to cut loose on every now and then that they can actually look at and say with confidence, “yeah, that looks good.” It’s just so hard to do that with writing. Or at least, it is for me.

Writing Stuff:

So last night, I read the chapter on work and productivity in Toward A Meaningful Life, a book my mother recommended, and which I’ve been enjoying. It’s got some really interesting ideas and perspectives/philosophy in it. But anyway, that’s another story. So I read the chapter on work and productivity last night, which had me rip-raring to get to work this morning, and which I must credit with probably helping me to get as much done as I did.

I finally looked through my files and picked out a handful of stories that need various levels of editing/reworking. The top three (tentatively titled “Cover Up”, “A Small Sample of Earth”, and “Alien Spawn”) all require a good polish, but maybe not much more than that. The second tier consists of two fantasy stories, one SF, and one horror. “Earthbound” needs some moderate edits, some minor rewriting, and a reworking of the ending (to take out the CHEESE). “Mimicry”, “Mother Memories”, and “Swallow” need basically a whole reworking, but I really like the ideas, and I want to execute them properly.

I also took a little time to re-read some of my old stories. “Hologram”–a far-too-long children’s story which is really more of an SF reliving of my awful first-grade year–is just adorable, if I do say so myself. I can’t sell it, even remotely. It’s got to be around 10,000 words, and most children’s magazines for the age-group I’d be looking at only take up to 2,000. But I still like it.

But the one I really loved re-reading was “The Bandits and the Book.” It’s a fantasy short story (a.k.a. ~9,000 words or more) based on a longer novel project I’ve been planning. Oh. My. Word. I LOVE Lawler. And Deeb. And Robert. Heck, even Elsa and all the others are just so fun! It captured the ideology behind the magic very well, so although I may never use this particular story on its own, it really revved me up to work on the novel.

However, I’m already working on a novel. Which is good! I got chapter one of [Novel Name Here] sent out to readers last week, which I think did a generally good job–at least for me–of opening up the story. It’s far from perfect, but I’m trying to keep Evil-Editor-Maggie at bay for the next nineteen weeks. I didn’t get another chapter out THIS Sunday, however yesterday I did get the first 1,700 words of Chapter Two done. I’m moderately pleased with it, so I’m trying to push forward into the next section to finish off the chapter and get that sent out.

I am still trying to work on some short stories, though, if only to get that feeling of completion which is just so hard to pin down when working on a long project.

Also, I should finish Chapter Fifteen (or is it Sixteen?) of The Thief Dilemma. That chapter is at least plotted out and is already deep in action. Certainly makes it easier. ^_^

Did finally submit a critique to Critter’s, too, which as been a looooooong time in coming. I’ve been so terrible keeping up my ratio lately. I didn’t even bother to look at it, it’s that bad. So I decided to try to do a critique a day to pull up that ratio. After a couple of weeks doing that, I should be able to start submitting stories again. Maybe by then I’ll actually have something worth putting up! XD! Pitiful, I know.

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