Wednesday, May 2, 2018

April 2018 Doings!

Well, that was an adventure. Or, rather, several adventures smashed together along with a heaping helping of stress and a lot of writing antics. Speaking of, let's get to the Doings! report, shall we? (Also— yeah, no Fight Song post this week, because I wanted to get this up sooner rather than later. Sorry.)


  • As I'm sure you all know, April was the first Camp NaNoWriMo of the year. My goal was 10,000 words of rewriting Dust of Silver and editing Fight Song. I can't say that I got anything done on Fight Song . . . But Dust of Silver hit 12,710 words on April 27! For a while, I had a really nice streak of writing every day, but that fell off around the last week of the month, once I started getting close to the goal and to the due dates for all my final projects.
  • I have really enjoyed working on Dust of Silver, even more than I thought I would. I've missed these characters and this world— they may not be the most original ones I've created, but they include some of my favorite concepts and dynamics. I especially like that I get to write sister dynamics that aren't constantly on the verge of a train wreck. (I love my Alyron girls, but they have issues. And, ok, yeah, that's my fault, but it's what the story needed.) Also: the villains in Dust of Silver are very, very present, as in they're frequently on-screen and interacting directly with the protagonist, more than they are in almost any of my other novels. It's super fun, especially when I get to drop Significant Details (that look insignificant in the moment).
  • I did work on one project in addition to Dust of Silver: a short story for the Indie e-Con contest! I wrote it up in about four hours on the very last day of the month, mostly on a whim but also because I keep forgetting to submit things to various writing contests and I wanted to change that. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out; it's sort of a Beauty and the Beast retelling? Except it's also really not. It's definitely urban fantasy, which I've wanted to try my hand at for a while. I'm not sure how well I mixed the "urban" and "fantasy" bits, but, y'know, it's submitted and I'm not going to stress about it.
  • In the end, between Dust of Silver and my contest entry, I finished the month with a total of 16,051 words. Not too shabby for the busiest month so far this year!


  • Ahahahah. I . . . did not really read anything this month that wasn't for school. I had one free weekend when I meant to read a lot, but . . . I ended up writing instead.
  • I did start a book towards the end of the month, but I'm only about halfway through. It's called Dread Nation, and I'm quite enjoying it, though it's a little outside of my normal brand of spec-fic. And by that I mean that it's historical fantasy-fiction about the aftermath of a zombie uprising that occurred midway through the Civil War. So, yeah. The concept is cool, the worldbuilding is great, and the protagonist is pretty awesome, and there's actually next to no gore, which is impressive.


  • In contrast to the pitifully small number of things I read this month, I actually watched a lot of stuff. On the Fairy Tail front, my roommate and I are still working our way through the Grand Magic Games arc. I think we only have about ten episodes left, but we've both been crazy busy the last couple weeks. (Also we've finished the actual games bit, which was the interesting part, and now all we have left is the "Oh, darn, we have to save the world again" bit, which we're both less excited for. And I know that sounds kind of horrible? But honestly, the Fairy Tail gang saves the world at least once an arc, and we all know they're going to do it again, so, yeah.)
  • Besides Fairy Tail, the big watching highlight of the month was that I finally got to see Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. I'm a big fan of the Guardians movies, even though they're a little bit of a guilty pleasure? It's super nice to see characters still working as a team, as friends, as family, after the incredibly frustrating-and-feels-inducing mess that was Civil War, and the Guardians movies are a lot more colorful and varied than a lot of the other Marvel movies- at least the ones I've seen. Also, adorable Baby Groot is adorable, and Yondu is awesome. I don't know that I liked Guardians Volume 2 better than Volume 1? But I think I liked it just as much.
  • I also ended up watching, partially by accident, most of Leap Year, which is a rom-com and therefore not my usual taste. But other people were watching it, and I was working on a blog post in the same room, and, well, the male lead was snarky in a gorgeous Irish accent, and it was very distracting, ok? The movie itself was pretty decent for the genre; frustrating in bits and cliche in others, but overall sweet. I don't think I would watch it again by choice, but I would not be opposed to being in the same room while others were watching it again (which is more than I can say about the other rom-com that those same people watched earlier in the weekend, but I digress).


  • The life highlight of the month was the PWID spring trip. I mentioned this in last month's Doings!, but basically, every year, a group of PWID majors travels somewhere, visits a company to see what professional writers do there, and then spends the weekend sightseeing and having fun. This year, we visited Samaritan's Purse in Boone, North Carolina. Since this trip occurred so close to finals— the weekend before the week before, if that makes sense— and since a certain Illustrator project took about five times longer to complete than I anticipated, I was basically a bouncing pumpkin of stress before and after the trip. But the trip itself was super fun! Boone is in the mountains, and we got to stay in a cabin with a porch swing and a gorgeous view, and we went on a short hike while we were there. That's also where I watched all the movies I mentioned in the last section and I went to the escape room that I mentioned in my last Friday 5s, which, I would like to reiterate, was incredibly awesome. It might've been my favorite part of the trip, honestly.
  • Other than the spring trip, my month was mostly full of final projects and prep for final projects. I had projects rather than tests in five out of six classes, and— well, I'm not complaining; I'll take a project over an exam most days. That said, trying to balance everything got a little crazy at points. I'm quite satisfied with most of them, though, especially my Illustrator project! Our professor let us choose what we did for the final, and I decided to try something a little crazy and create a book cover for The Way of the Pen. I sketched out a few different variations, but finally decided to go for something close to my original vision. (That also happened to be the most challenging option because of the number of elements and the different techniques that I had to figure out.) In the end, I know some things about it could still be improved, but the cover as a whole turned out way better than I hoped.
  • The upside of having projects, of course, is that I finished with finals the day most people started! I turned in my last project and my one exam (Earth Science, open-book, open-note, take-home) yesterday morning and then celebrated that afternoon with a smoothie and a few hours by the lake with a novel to write and another to read. That was lovely, let me tell you, even if I did end up with a sunburn.
  • All that said, the month wasn't completely dominated by final projects. Towards the beginning of the month was the PWID Awards Banquet, an annual event where PWID majors and the PWID advisory board get together for a fancy dinner to talk, recognize graduating seniors, hand out awards for classwork and projects completed, and announce the org officers for the coming year. This year's banquet was much more chill than last year's— still fancy, yes, but not having assigned seating helped everyone feel more comfortable. I got to chat with the gentleman who did one of my mock interviews back in the fall and with his wife, a former PWID major who now owns her own marketing consulting business, and I quite enjoyed the discussion. We (along with the other two students at the table) compared notes on the college then and now, and they told us a little about what they do professionally.
  • TDK events also kept me pretty busy. Shortly after the PWID Banquet, we started a game of Assassins— basically glorified, multi-day tag— with the freshmen versus the sophomores. I am sorry to say that the freshmen beat us within three days . . . but at least I almost got my target. Almost.
  • Most of the TDK events, though, were of a more official nature. I was chosen as the organization's secretary for next year (yay!), so both the current and incoming officer boards had multiple meetings and events to sort of transfer command and orient the new officers. Those were a little stressful, since they fell right in the middle of some of my biggest projects, but I feel like I know what I'm doing now, so . . . mission accomplished? I'm excited for next year, though.
  • That almost sums it up; just one thing left. I'm still doing swing, see, but at one of the social swing events, the people in charge decided to change things up a little by teaching everyone how to ballroom dance. So now I can waltz! Or, at least, I can do the basic waltz steps, which is more than I could before. They also taught two Latin dances, but . . . eh. They confused me. I'll stick to waltzing and swing, thank you.

May Plans!

  • I'm going hoooome! And actually going to stay there this time instead of moving and galivanting all over the country! (Or, well, all over the northeastern part of the United States, plus Texas. You know what I mean.)
  • That said, the fact that I'm at home doesn't mean I'm going to do nothing. For one thing, I finally have an actual internship— thank God! Remember the couple who I said I talked to at the PWID Banquet? Particularly the woman with her own marketing consulting business? She needed a summer intern and asked my professors which PWID students they'd recommend, they passed along my name, and, well— long story short, I'm going to be doing design work and a bit of writing for her this summer, and I'm super excited. Not only does this fit my interests much better than a lot of the internships I found and applied to (most of which were technical writing— which I'm fine with, but isn't my first choice), but I get to work from home! So, yeah. That's going to be awesome.
  • I also have a few different writing projects that I want to work on. Kendra extended the deadline for the Indie e-Con writing contest, so I hope to write up another short story or two for that, assuming I can sort out any of my ideas into a full plot. I need to edit more of Fight Song; I'd love to finish it if I can, but that might be a bit of a stretch. I'll keep working on Dust of Silver, of course. And, last but not least, I'm returning to Blood in the Snow to make a few changes suggested by the Rooglewood judges before I start doing . . . other things . . . with the manuscript.
  • To accomplish all that: my official goal is half an hour of writing per day, five days a week. That's much smaller than I really need, but my hope is that once I start writing, I'll keep going. My unofficial goal is to spend an hour or two every day on writing projects, but I don't want to commit officially to anything like that until after I figure out what's realistic when combined with my internship.
  • And, of course, home always means an increase supply of books to read! Hopefully I can catch up on what I've missed from the last several months before the time comes to tackle all my summer reads, but we'll see what I end up doing. I also want to catch up on the Marvel universe as much as I can so that maybe I can see Infinity War before people start posting spoilers . . . maybe. We'll see if that actually happens, since watching any recently-released movie involves, y'know, actually going to the movie theater. It's a problem.
  • Finally, because sitting all day isn't exactly the best plan, I'm giving the #Walk30Days challenge another shot. This is an event every May hosted by Nadine Brandes, and the goal is basically to go walking 30 days in May. I tried this last year, then gave up when the weather turned rainy, but I hope that Virginia will cooperate better than New York did. We'll see what happens.
How did your April go? What are your plans for May? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)


  1. Congratulations on your internship! Working from home is always a plus. :D

    Will you eventually post your cover for "The Way of the Pen"? I'd love to see what you came up with!

    Also, if you need beta readers or proofreaders for "Blood in the Snow", I'd be quick to volunteer!

    1. Thanks! Yep, I'm excited.

      I don't know if I'll post it on here, but I might post it on the art thread in the UG.

      Oooh. Danke for letting me know. I will quite possibly take you up on that!

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Ugh, I'm with you on hoping to see IW before spoilers start showing up. Thankfully, I don't spend a lot of time on social media, but it's just a matter of time before they start showing up in the blogging world.

    Congrats on your internship. It sounds awesome. And you get to work from home? #goals

    It looks like you had an eventful month!! So awesome!! I hope this month is amazing too you!!

  3. @Sarah Rodecker: Yeah . . . I'm trying to avoid Pinterest until I can see the movie. We'll see how well that goes.

    Thanks! And I know, right? I'm super excited for that part.

    Thanks! Same to you!

  4. Congrats on your internship!


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