Summer is in full swing at this point, and I must admit, the heat is hitting me harder than I would have guessed. I am still a little disappointed in myself at my failure to adopt a full time writing schedule, but at least it hasn’t come at much of a perceivable cost, as I’m still updating and writing pretty regularly. As a side note to this, I apologize if my fiction blog posts just fuse into continuations of the novel I’m working on. I do prefer publishing standalone short stories once or twice a week, but I do want to make sure I’m focused on my longer projects for the time being. So, let’s dive in with the usual the order of a monthly update: blog, writing plans, video games, reading/listening, school, and other things.
Like last month, I have no changes I plan on making to the blog. It’s functioning quite well for now. I do, however, have some inklings of things I’d like to change soon. For one, I’ve been having an increasingly difficult time coming up with topics for the Thursday ‘Learning!’ posts, and often I don’t tackle those until late Wednesday night (or in the early hours of the next morning, as the case may be). I honestly don’t feel like I have a whole lot to teach people, or at least nothing that I haven’t encompassed earlier on in this blog. So, I do feel a change is on the horizon, but I still don’t know what I’m going to do about it for now. We’ll see if I come to a conclusion next month.
Writing plans are pretty simple. At this point, I’ve completely abandoned my other projects to focus on the “Spear Gate” novel I’ve been working on this last month. I love the world I’m working in, and it’s enticing because, for the first time, I’m writing this novel with virtually no plans as to what is going to unfold. I’m adopting one of Stephen King’s strategies here: put characters in a situation and make them into real people. What would that real person do in that situation? It suits me because I loathe outlining, and this way can conceivably make for a compelling story both as a reader and as a writer. There’s less chance of me getting bored of the piece if I figure it out as I go, after all.
As for my other projects, I don’t know what to say. Rise of the Riftguard is still very much on the agenda, but I wasn’t really satisfied with the way “Windcaller” was turning out, so I lost heart. If and when I get bored with this “Spear Gate” thing, I plan on jumping back in, as well as finally getting to work on that SPARK story I still have the framework for. Lisa Stenton’s story is still at a dead end, and I don’t expect to return to that until something new and interesting finds its way into my idea-collector. I apologize for that, especially since I like her character so much.
What am I playing? I’m still playing the same games. Heroes of the Storm is still occupying the most of my attention, and Starcraft II after that. I have, however, been playing some games on Steam with friends lately, most notably Iron Brigade, a tower defense game where you’re in a big mech. It’s by no means a Triple A title, but it’s loot system feels pretty rewarding. I also bought Rise of Iron, the latest expansion for Destiny, in preparation for the sequel in October. I don’t really find it very fun alone, but I thought I should familiarize myself with what the game is as well as the latest pieces of lore before the next one comes out.
Having finished On Writing, I’m returning to the Lord of the Rings trilogy in the hopes of (finally) finishing it. I’m currently about a third of the way into Two Towers, and it’s much more enjoyable now that I’ve forayed into plot I’m unfamiliar with. Knowing Tolkien’s personality, I found Fanghorn and the whole bit about the Ents especially amusing. (Did you know he would often spend the better part of an hour looking at trees on his daily walks?)
I’m also catching up on Critical Role, the weekly Dungeons & Dragons adventure hosted by Geek & Sundry. Having started from the beginning, I’m only a few episodes behind where I stopped watching. It’s unfortunate, because I’ve still got nearly seventy episodes to go before I’m caught up. Which is over two hundred hours. I doubt I’ll be caught up by the end of the year, but it’s a lot of fun, so I don’t mind.
There isn’t much to say about school, of course, since I’m not taking any classes for the summer. I did, however, register for my Fall semester of classes. It sucks, because the way my schedule is oriented, I’ll be going to school four days a week as opposed to two, and on two of those days I only have the one class. I’m excited, though. A lot of the classes I’m taking should be a lot of fun.
I do have some miscellaneous things I want to point out before I go. First, I’ve been spending a lot of time working on new Google Docs recently. I’ve been organizing a spreadsheet of my Steam library of games (of which I am not the original or sole owner), and I’ve been having a lot of fun with it. It’s a daunting task, as the point of the Doc is to help you find something to play even if you know nothing about most of the games. I’ve set up several columns, such as “how many players”, “how much does it cost”, and “what are the reviews like”. It’s a lot of work, given that the account has over two hundred titles, but it’s very useful.
Another Doc I’ve recently made is one I’ve had in my head for a while now. I call it the “Hype Tracker”, and it’s a spreadsheet tracking the dates I’m counting down for. With it, I can keep track of all the things I’m waiting for as well as get an idea of what time frame things will be happening in. For example, Dragon Quest XI releases on July 29th, and if I hurry I might be able to beat it before my life gets bogged up with school two weeks later. Super neat, because I love being organized and having information readily available! Somewhat related, I’m also in the process of compiling some Dungeons & Dragons ambient music playlists using the soundtracks to games, movies, and TV shows. It’s going to take quite some time, but I’m really enjoying it.
Lastly, the organizer of my local writer’s group is moving to Alaska very soon. Within days, if I’m not mistaken. He’s passing the torch to me, so to speak, and I’ll be heading the group before long. It’s not really a responsibility, as there isn’t much to begin with, but it’s a little surprising. I’ve been going nearly every week (save two or three) for over a year now, and I’ve learned quite a bit. I’ve grown quite fond of a lot of those people, and while some come and go, I hope it won’t falter in my hands. I’d feel pretty guilty about that. So we’ll see what happens.
Also, I really need it to cool down soon. For the sake of my sanity and sleeping schedule, I need the heat to go away.