Sunday, January 31, 2016

January Doings

So I decided that I ought to try doing a monthly recap sort of post, much like Deborah O'Carroll's Monthly Ish-ness posts and Katie Grace's Monthly Highlights. This is partially so I have something else to blog about, partially so I can lump all the little things that (I think) happen that I find interesting but not worth blogging about on their own into one larger post, and partially so that in six or so months, when I'm wondering "What the thrice-baked pumpernickel did I do in January? Did that month even actually exist?" I can look back and have this post as a reference. (And also as an assurance that the month did, indeed, happen. Logically, I know that all months and days and such must have existed, but sometimes they all just blur together so that some bits and pieces of time feel as if they didn't actually happen and it's rather disorienting.)

Anyway. Doings!


  •  On January 4th, I finished writing Binding Destiny! I'm happier about that than I have a right to be- comparatively speaking, I wasn't working on it for long, only a bit over two months. However, I was also a bit tired of it, mostly because I pushed myself so hard during NaNoWriMo and it just didn't turn out like I expected. But I'm still fairly happy with it, all things considered.
  • I did not finish Monster in the Castle. But I did finish a sixth notebook's worth of first draft (I'm fairly certain that the size of this novel is a bigger monster than the titular one . . .) and I'm rapidly approaching the climax, so we're good. And I get to write about the Princess du Karel, who changed about a year ago from being a rather cliche and useless sort of sub-villain to one of my favorite characters in the novel (after the protagonists and Jason Silver- and, honestly, she might be on par with the heroine). Can you tell that I'm excited?
  • For those wondering: yes, I did solve the dilemma I mentioned before NaNoWriMo concerning the shirt-washing situation. Many thanks to Meredith and Elethia for their suggestions!
  • I'm trying to edit Destinies and Decisions. It's going . . . slowly. My wordcount spreadsheet says I edited 5,038 words this month, which isn't very much. Part of it's because I'm procrastinating; part of it's because I'm having to shift a lot of scenes around and completely rewrite several of those scenes.
  • I did download yWriter to my laptop in hopes that it might be helpful, since I know some of my friends use it. I'm . . . still figuring it out. And also wondering if I might've been better off to just stick with Microsoft Word. But everyone raves about how Scrivener is so amazing, and yWriter is the same type of software, just fewer features, so I thought I'd give it a try. I don't know. It's a muddle right now. People with yWriter or Scrivener: please remind me what I should be getting out of this program, because I feel like I might be missing something.


  • Apparently I only read twelve books this month. Which would be sad, except . . .
  • Two of the books were rereads of The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance. Which are gorgeously thick and enormous books, and which are as amazing and incredible as they are gigantic. So, rereading those took at least a week and a half, during which I rarely got to sleep before 10:30 because there's always another chapter and I for some reason think that saying "Hey, I'll read a chapter before I go to sleep" is a good idea. (Actually, it is a good idea for my reading habits. Just not good for my sleeping habits.)
  • I also reread Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow as research for Monster in the Castle, since that book was one of the original inspirations for my story. And I reread Illusionarium, though I didn't record it on Goodreads. (I tried the recently-released audiobook, but wasn't thrilled- mostly because I wanted a British-sounding narrator and didn't get one. Oh well. That was my only real quibble with what I listened to of the book, so don't let me stop you from trying it yourself.)
  • Then there were the new-to-me books I read: Moving Pictures (Discworld, and therefore weird, but also quite good), Prince of Demargen (an improvement over the first two! Go read it!), Relic (which I'd been looking forward to for a while, but which was . . . not quite what I was expecting?), Cascade (second in the River of Time series, which I liked about the same as I did the first), Reaper Man (more Discworld weirdly-awesome-ness), The Hero and the Crown (which was generally pretty good), and Whose Body (the first of the Lord Peter Whimsey mysteries; I'm sorry to say it disappointed me). Overall, not too bad.


  • Snow. That happened. Not too much of it yet, thankfully. I'm still trying to get over the fact that Virginia got buried under snow and New York barely got any. (So far. Next month's February; we all know what that means . . .) 
  • My sister and I worked our way through two Nancy Drew games: The Phantom of Venice and The Haunting of Castle Malloy. Both were fun- not my favorites, but fun. Though some bits of Castle Malloy could be tedious . . . like chasing sheep around in the dark. My sister will tell you that I eventually ordered asked her to finish that bit of the game for me, since I'd run out of patience. 
  • I joined/helped start a Stormlight Archive roleplay on Whitehall Castle! I'm playing a proto-Edgedancer (who may or may not be based on one of my novel characters), and I'm super excited to see where the story goes. 
  • I'm sure there should be something else here, but I can't for the life of me think of what it should be. School, I suppose, but no one wants to hear about that.

 February Plans!

  • I am going to finish Monster in the Castle. I really am. I'm too close to the end to let another month go by without writing "The End." And I have the ending scenes all planned out (well, sort of- I have pictures in my head of the really important bits) and I really want to write them, so. It's going to happen.
  • I'm also doing a month-long word war of sorts with some friends on Whitehall Castle. That'll help with the finishing-Monster-in-the-Castle goal as well. I expect I'll be sorely beaten, but I'll try my best anyway.
  • And I'm going to continue editing and hopefully accomplish a bit more than I did this month. Maybe I'll even get past the annoying rewrite-heavy bits! Or figure out yWriter! 
  • School stuff. Not going to talk about it because it's not especially interesting.
  • Hopefully I'm going to read more than twelve books. But Bands of Mourning is out, and Calamity is coming out, so as long as I get those two, I'm happy. (I'd like more Discworld, though, and I'm hoping to reread the Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy. And The Eye of the World is waiting for me to pick it up as well . . .)   
 How's your January been? What plans do you have for February? If you use yWriter or Scrivener or similar, how do you use it? (I don't mean in the tutorial sense . . . I mean in the "what aspects of it do you find most helpful" and that sort of thing sense.) Please tell me in comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)  


  1. Huh, I actually haven't heard of yWriter. Does it cost? I'm trying to figure out what the big hype about Scrivener is... I tried out a free version, buuut... *shrug* I don't know. I was so confused and didn't really have any use for most of the special features. Maybe I'll try it again at a later date, but for now I just don't have much use. Word is fine. xD

    1. yWriter is free, thus why I tried it instead of the Scrivener trial. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who doesn't quite get the hype.

  2. I just found you blog! It's really cool!

  3. That sounds like a lot of good work writing and reading wise. 12 books isn't bad, actually. Especially when those books include two heavy Brandon Sandersons. I'm a little envious. January didn't give me many good books.
    Sorry I can't help with yWriter. I know nothing of that new-fangled stuff.

    1. Thank you! And I'm sorry you didn't get to read more; that's too bad.
      Thanks anyway. :) And thanks for commenting.

  4. You busy little bee you! : ) You're totally out-writing me. I am slowly picking my way through a couple novellas and short stories... I have so many writing deadlines in the fall that I usually take a slow spring. Keep up the good work!

    1. Heh. I'm doing much better this year than I normally do- on average, I tend to slow waaaay down between the end of NaNoWriMo and the beginning of the first Camp NaNoWriMo. But since I'm so close to finishing things, I'm going faster.
      Thanks for reading/commenting!

  5. *raises hand* I AM A SCRIVENER LOVER. I think the main reason I love it is because I can keep documents for all my research and plot ideas and outlines like all there, in the same doc? It's easy to flip between them. *nods* I'm the kind of person who has 3948 documents per novel, so that's why it works so well for me. XD I also love creating character profiles and adding in pictures aaaaand having my chapters all separate so I can just flip from one chapter to the other without scrolling a million miles. SO YEAH. (But hey if it doesn't work for you, no harm in just going with what makes you comfortable right?!)

    ALSO I LOVE THIS RECAP. And I have a sudden craving for pumpernickel bread thanks for that.

    Also congrats on getting so much writing done!! And the Way of Kings?! Omg I just bought that book second hand and IT IS A BEAST. I'm gathering the courage to even start it. *gulps* XDXD

    1. Upon further investigation/testing, I have discovered that the being-able-to-rapidly-access-chapters thing is pretty nice. *nods* The rest doesn't do me a lot of good because of my writing/editing methods. But. It did get better once I was actually typing stuff and not just transferring what I'd already written, so yay?

      Thank you! And sorry. xD I have that effect on people. (Random: I don't even like pumpernickel bread, or I didn't the last time I had it, which was a while ago. But it's fun to say.)

      Aaand thank you again! START IT! :D I'll cheer for you to help build your courage. YOU CAN DO IT! It's way less intimidating once you get involved, and by the end you're like ". . . why is there not more. I need more." and then you devour the next book and you hit the end of that . . . and then you have to wait for the third book.


I'd love to hear your thoughts! But remember: it pays to be polite to dragons.