Weekly Round Up 10/27

Sunday: I did 6K on Bad Moon Rising. I had thought about doing 8K, but I did some calculations and discovered that it was still going to take me until Wednesday to get the book done, and I decided not to push myself. I’ve been having a lot of shoulder, arm, wrist, hand, and finger pain, and I know it’s from typing too much.

Monday: Ended up doing 7500 words and planned out my creative writing class

Tuesday: Taught my class today and only ended up getting 4K.

Wednesday: Finished the book in the morning!! Went to lunch with Aaron and his mom Jenny at Panera Bread. In the afternoon, I worked on making brandy new covers for the Toil and Trouble Trilogy, which you can see here. T&T #1 had also never been edited with text to speech, so I sat down and had the book read to me that evening. I was pleasantly surprised. My beta readers Stacey and Kate had caught nearly everything. There were only maybe three missing words in the whole thing. I did some superficial retooling of a few awkward phrases, but for the most part, that book was already good. Yay! I did this because I had a promo with Bookblast scheduled for Friday, and I wanted to put my best foot forward.

Thursday: Unfortunately, Thursday was a black hole day. I started doing my first editing pass on Bad Moon Rising, and I hit a couple places that were going to need work (which is the purpose of editing, of course) but—for some reason—I couldn’t think of how I was going to fix them and then I spiraled into a pretty bad depression. Actually, I think I’m not describing that properly. It wasn’t the book made me depressed. It was that I got depressed, and then I was no good on the book. I’m not sure how exactly I got depressed, but it was bad. I did manage to get the first T&T book into Scrivener and formatted all pretty, but that process was so frustrating, I didn’t bother with the other two yet. I’d like to eventually get all my books a) edited with text to speech b) formatted with Scrivener and c) in paperback. I keep telling myself I’ll do this when I feel like I can take a breather from my breakneck publishing schedule, but I NEVER feel like I can, so hopefully it will get finished eventually.

Friday: Technically, Friday is meant to be my day off, but I knew that I’d need to take Sunday (today) off because of my weekend plans, so I attempted to be productive. I did some more reading of Bad Moon Rising (which still needs work. I’ve got some character motivation issues, first and foremost. And then I’ve got some other problems which still elude me. I know something’s wrong, but I can’t put my finger on what. I’ll get it sorted.) And then I worked on some initial planning on J&A #9.

But all of this kept getting interrupted by THE STANLEY PARABLE, which is a video game that Aaron was playing, and I was watching him play. It’s a pretty intelligent little piece of entertainment which rather scathingly indicts game culture. I’m pretty sure the point of that game is, “Don’t play this game.” There’s this ending in it, called “The Freedom Ending,” in which Stanley goes outside and is free. It’s the happiest, most straight-forward ending, but it happens with the most minimal effort or thinking, thereby making it the least fun one to play. All of the other endings can only be reached by disobeying the rules that the “narrator” gives you. But the other endings aren’t really endings at all. In those endings, Stanley usually dies, or else the machinery becomes confused, or else the “narrator” restarts everything to keep Stanley from being unruly and not following directions.

Anyway, it got me thinking about story in general. I believe that stories are something that humans made up to help us make sense of the world, and generally speaking there are two basic underlying messages that stories send to humanity. One is the message that if you persevere and never give up, in the end, everything will turn out fine. The other is the message that nature/God/society/government/whathaveyou is stronger than you as an individual, and that no matter what you do, you will never change anything. (The Stanley Parable plays off of this, but that is not its message, I don’t think. I think its trying to say that games are programmed, and spending lots of time on them is silly, because you can’t control anything—you only have the illusion of control—and therefore, you should go live life, where you do have control.)

All romance novels subscribe to the first message. Stories like Breaking Bad subscribe to the second (as do all tragedies and most ancient stories of Norse and Greek mythology, etc.).

And it got me thinking about the Jason and Azazel books and what message I was trying to send. J&A books have all the hallmarks of tragedy. I mean, every time J&A turn around there’s some soothsayer going, “Beware the Ides of March!” I mean, um, “You bad kids! You’re not supposed to be in love. If you do, you’ll destroy the whole world!” However, J&A do not act like tragic heroes, and thus far, anyway, they have never really succumbed to fate. They’ve kept fighting. But the toll that it’s all taken on them as human beings, well… So, anyway, how is this story going to end?

I actually don’t know yet. I thought I did, but now I’m rethinking it. I do promise to get that big post out explaining stuff about that book and the idea I had for the Chance & Co. book soon. I swear. But I don’t want to make promises yet, in case I completely change my mind about everything and the story goes off in a totally different direction.

Friday night: I went to my BFF Chelsea’s house and watched horror movies, which is annual October tradition. We watched The Conjuring (which I hadn’t seen), the new Evil Dead (which I had), and Drag Me to Hell (which I hadn’t.) Overall, fun.

Saturday: I went with a group of people to Field of Screams in Pennsylvania, which is a haunted house/hayride thing. In my opinion, it was too crowded to be fun. We had to wait in these agonizingly long lines. It was a little bit scary, and I did enjoy myself. Anyway, didn’t get home until late.

Today: Chilling out, taking a day completely off. Working on Halloween costumes. (Aaron needs my sewing expertise.) Watching the first episode of that Dracula show. Answering email (which I haven’t gotten around to).

Aaaand that was my week.