Friday, October 2, 2020

September 2020 Doings!

 Well, here we are. Solidly into fall, and three-quarters of the way through 2020. As always, there's some Doings to report, so let's go.


  • (It only took me two years and two months to get to that point . . .)
  • But yeah. BitS/E and my two D&D campaigns have been my main focuses this month, writing-wise, and I've been really pushing to get to the end of Blood in the Soil/Earth. And I am ALMOST THERE. By which I mean I have two, maybe two and a half scenes left, and I'll likely finish for real sometime in the next few days.
  • Also, I wrote 2.3K words on BitS/E on Wednesday because I'd gotten to the really exciting part of the climax in which various characters come into their own and I didn't want to stop until all the thoughts in my head were on paper. And then I wrote another 1.3K words on one of my D&D campaigns. I don't think I've written that many words in one day in months. (Not since I wrote the end of The Midnight Show back on June 8, to be exact.)
  • D&D campaigns are also going well, for those curious. I have all three paths outlined for the campaign I'm actively running, and everyone seems to be having fun running around and exploring a new city and preparing to hunt pirates. I also have a pretty good idea, I think, of which of the three paths my players are going to choose. (If nothing else, I have a very good idea of which path they're probably not going to choose. Though, y'know, they very well could surprise me.)
  • As far as the campaign I'm just writing goes, progress has slowed down a little, but it's fun too. It's a very different story and encounter structure than that of the Defenders of Serys, simultaneously more and less linear. I'm also having to figure out how to combine puzzles (of a sort, at least) with combat, which is an interesting challenge. (I'm also homebrewing a bunch of stuff, mainly monsters and magic items, and that's fun too.)
  • And, of course, we had the Silmaril Awards this month! I got to host the Most Magnificent Dragon category, and I'm happy to say that it went off more or less without a hitch. If you didn't get to read this year's awards, you should definitely go check them out, see who won, and enjoy all the fabulous ceremonies. You can find the complete list of ceremonies, in order, here on the website.


  • This was a much lighter reading month than last month, despite my high hopes of doing lots of pre-Silmaril Awards rereading. (I think that's because I tried to force it instead of going with what I was really in the mood for. So that was a mistake.)
  • I only read one and two halves actual books this month. The first half was finishing Crimson Bound, which I actually started last month. I stand by my initial assessment of the book: it had potential, but it really didn't measure up to what I wanted it to be. Instead of maintaining the intrigue and myth, it got bogged down in romance, angst, and drama.
  • The other one and a half were my reread of the second two Wingfeather Saga books: The Monster in the Hollows and The Warden and the Wolf King. Both were, of course, good, though Monster took me much longer than it should have. (Again: I don't think I was in the mood for it most of the time I was reading it.) I did gain a new appreciation for Sara Cobbler's subplot, though, so that's lovely. Technically I'm still reading Warden, but I'm reasonably close to done at this point.
  • The rest of this month's reads? All graphic novels and manga. I have to admit, it was really fun to explore this medium more (and appreciate all the lovely artwork).
  • The three actual graphic novels were all based off D&D podcasts: two off The Adventure Zone, and one off the first Critical Role campaign. I definitely liked the Critical Role one (Vox Machina: Origins Volume 1) better, but that may be because I'm already familiar with (and attached to) the players and DM behind the characters and story, so I had a better idea what to expect in terms of style. (I also might've had overly high expectations for TAZ, since I'm used to Critical Role and my personal experiences with D&D, and those seem to have a very different tone than TAZ.)
  • I also started reading two manga series: The Seven Deadly Sins (because I have a friend who likes the anime) and Delicious in Dungeon (because it sounded fun). I'm not terribly crazy about the former, but I'm really enjoying Delicious in Dungeon, or at least the first three volumes of it. It really is a cool perspective on dungeon-crawling-style adventures and RPG worlds, plus it's very focused on food and friendship. So, y'know, several of my favorite things in one story.
  • Finally, I have restarted my Lord of the Rings reread! It is going . . . slowly. I'm once again trying to journal the reread, and I think I might need to not do that — I sometimes don't read it even when I have time for a chapter because I don't want to have to write stuff about it afterward. But at the same time, I started the journaling thing and now I feel like I should finish it. Gah.
  • As a quick update on my reading goals:
    • I'm currently at 87 out of 99 books overall, which means I'm ahead of schedule. And once I finish Warden, I have a lot of quicker reads coming up, so I'm confident I can finish on time.
    • I'm still at nine non-speculative fiction books out of my goal of twelve, so I need to get busy with that. Part of the problem may be that I haven't been in the headspace to read Lewis or Chesterton's nonfiction works like I intended to at one point. Still, that's only about a book a month to hit my goal, which should be more than manageable.
    • As for my final reading goal, I have hit my goal of twelve books written before I was born, thanks to The Hobbit and Beauty. Very few of the books I ended up counting towards this goal were ones I planned to read at the start of the year, but y'know? I shouldn't be surprised. I'm very much a mood reader, after all.


  • So, I finally convinced my family to give Firefly a try! And they didn't hate it! So that's good!
  • (Not that I thought they would hate it, since I wouldn't have suggested it if I did. But there's always that little bit of concern, y'know?)
  • Anyway. It was really fun to get to watch some of the show again. We just did the first double-episode, but people seemed open to watching more, and I'm hopeful we'll do that soon.
  • On the downside, I forgot how many awkward scenes there are with Inara, even in just the first episode. Gah. I would ask if there's a point at which watching those kinds of scenes with your parents in the room becomes non-awkward, but I find them awkward even when the family isn't there. So. Yeah. (Plus, I'm caught in the "Well, if I bring it up, then it's more awkward, but if I don't somehow show that I am Not Actually Enjoying This, they'll think I'm ok with it, which I'm not, what do I do, panic" cycle. So that's a thing.)
  • We also watched Clue, which was fun! None of us had seen it before, but I was pretty sure I remembered that my roommate liked it, and it was on Prime as part of a promotion, so we decided to give it a try. And I do think it was a good choice; I enjoyed the humor, and I'm almost always down for a good murder mystery.
  • Besides that, I'm still slowly working my way through Critical Role. I am quite liking Caduceus, much more so than I expected. And Caleb remains my favorite character. It's also fun watching this and knowing comparatively little about D&D tactics, so while people in the comments of the videos are getting mad about how this character should've done that instead of what they actually did, I'm just watching and being like "Yeah, that seems like a thing this character would do" (or sometimes "Yeah, that's what I would do as a player if I had a cool new ability I wanted to try out").


  • As you can see from the picture: I got a new bookshelf! It's huge, and it's really meant more for an office or a library or something, but I absolutely do not care in the slightest. It is immense and beautiful and may allow me to not need another shelf until whenever I eventually move out. And I know I am not maximizing the space on it as well as I probably could, but it's fine. I can rearrange again in November or December if I really want to.
  • On a less cheerful note: something that I technically knew but which hadn't really registered for the last four years is that cooler weather in an older house with an actual yard means Every Weekend Is Yardwork. Or deck work. Or otherwise outdoor work. We haven't even started cutting up fallen trees or raking leaves yet, and it's already a thing. Not that I'm complaining, especially since I've gotten off easy in terms of the amount of work I, personally, have had to do. (There are many benefits to Saturday afternoon D&D sessions, as it turns out.) It's just . . . still kind of a lot. And I am not an outdoors person or a lifting-heavy-things person in the slightest. (I'm also not a fan of anything that interferes with my meal schedule — yes, I'm basically a taller-than-average hobbit, how'd you guess?)
  • Aside from that, we have, of course, the continuing saga of the job search. I've had a few interviews, though most of them went nowhere. I did have one yesterday that seemed very promising, though? So maybe the saga is almost over? If not, well, there's something hopefully happening next month that may let me cast my net a little wider (and expand my skill portfolio even further).
  • I'm also back to working on my cloak, hoping to have it done in time for Halloween stuff. All I have left is the hood and some trim/edging/stabilization stuff, so that doesn't seem like an unreasonable goal.
  • Aaaand I tried a new sourdough recipe, and I have very mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I severely dislike actually making it. It requires mixing very sticky dough by hand (literally; you're supposed to stick your hands in it to mix it rather than use a stand mixer or even a wooden spoon), and has to be tended every half hour for several hours out of the day, and all the measurements are in metric by weight, which — look, fine, maybe it's more accurate or whatever, but, (1) my kitchen scale is old, so all my weight measurements are almost certainly off, (2) I can't even measure some of the smaller quantities, (3) it's a lot of hassle, and (4) I do not care. I just want to make and eat bread. On that note and on the other hand, the bread is delicious and way lighter and fluffier than the bread I usually make. So that's a struggle. I'm hoping to try to combine the recipes sometime to get a version that gives maximum yumminess for minimal effort, but I haven't had time due to the Every Weekend is Yardwork thing. (I may manage today, though, if all goes to my plan.)

October Plans

  • I AM GOING TO FINISH BLOOD IN THE SOIL/EARTH. I am also going to officially decide on a name. Hopefully.
  • Once that's done, I'll take a short noveling break and then I may or may not start writing my next book. I'd like to. I have a Midnight Snow sequel in mind, and I think it'll be fun if I can get the details worked out. (I do need to plan stuff well before I start writing, though, because I want — and need — this to be another short project like TMS.)
  • I also get to start thinking about Halloween stuff! I signed up for my church's drive-through Trunk or Treat, so now I need to figure out how to decorate the back of my car in a fantasy-ish manner. Or possibly steampunk-ish, but I'm leaning towards fantasy because that gives me a wider variety of costume options to work with and will allow me to adapt more to whatever the weather happens to be.
  • As far as reading goes, I'm going to continue my LOTR reread and my ventures into manga and graphic novels, and I'd like to do some of the rereading that I didn't end up doing in September. Plus, there's the Return of the Thief release, which I am SO PSYCHED FOR.

How was your September? Any exciting plans for October? How do you feel about manga and graphic novels? How would you go about doing a fantasy-themed trunk for Trunk or Treat? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

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