Friday, April 30, 2021

April 2021 Doings!

Well, here we are! I keep trying to think of something vaguely clever to say here, but I'm . . . not really having much luck, to be honest. April's been a quiet month, and there's not a lot to say by way of introduction. So let's just get right to it, shall we?


  • So, I kind of forgot this month was Camp NaNoWriMo. I guess that's what happens when you have the same goals and project for Camp that you had for the last several months.
  • Side note — at some point, I really need to settle on the name of the Midnight Show sequel. I've been working on the book half a year, and it's still just "the TMS sequel." I mean, yeah, it's anywhere near the longest one of my books has gone without a title, but . . . deadlines.
  • Anyway. Progress on the sequel rewrite is going slower than I intended (I keep getting stuck on timeline things or how to make particular scenes happen in the new version), but it's still moving forward. I'm currently on Chapter 23, which puts me into the back half of the book. Given the level of changes I've been making (completely rearranging certain events, stitching scenes together, and writing some entirely new material), I don't think I'm making bad time.
  • I'm also far enough along that I can start thinking about what I want to write next . . . I have two different ideas for the same fairy tale, one in the Mechanical Heart world and one in the Midnight Show world, and I'm not sure which I prefer.
  • On the D&D front, again, I accomplished less than I wanted in terms of D&D writing . . . but I did run my group's first encounter with a legendary monster! And then promptly forgot about or didn't get a chance to use pretty much all its legendary abilities. Oh well.


  • This month has been a lot of "Well, I said I'd read this book/need to read this before the library demands it back, so I guess I'm doing that now," bookended between two mood reads.
  • Warbreaker and Isle of Swords were my two mood reads (well, mood re-reads). Warbreaker also falls a little into the category of "Need to read before the library demands it back," but I originally picked it up because of my unofficial Cosmere reread (and the significance of certain characters in the Stormlight Archive). As with Mistborn, reading it is kind of a weird experience where I'm torn between "Wow, you can tell this is Sanderson's early work" and "This is still really good." Isle of Swords, on the other hand, I reread because I wanted pirates, and I didn't expect much of it (having grown disenchanted with Batson's writing some time ago), but it's honestly better than I was giving it credit for. It does what it's supposed to do very well, is I guess how I'd put it.
  • Of the non-rereads, Sourdough was probably the highlight. It was a very enjoyable observation and celebration of food and the cultures it creates, with nice hints of magic and a very satisfying ending. Also, props to the author for not going the route with said ending that I expected her to.
  • Anarchist on the Orient Express was also good, though I enjoyed Werewolf more. I think that's because half of it was more action-adventure than mystery — and it's a very good action-adventure, don't get me wrong. It just wasn't entirely what I expected. I am excited for Book 3, though.
  • Broken and Delicious In Dungeon #9 were both about what I expected. There were some bits in each that I really loved (Delicious in Dungeon gives us some revelations about the nature of the dungeons and what our heroes are walking into that are just . . . !!! I am scared now!), and some bits that I wasn't crazy about, but the experience on the whole was positive.
  • And The Last Unicorn, I read because I get the impression that it's a sort of "fantasy classic," in the same category as Le Guin's Earthsea, and . . . well, I can see why so many people like it, but it's not my thing. It's a story very concerned with ideas and theme, and it carries out those themes well, but . . . again, not my thing, really.


  • In the continuing saga of "Sarah finally watches that thing that all her friends were crazy about ten years ago," I watched Curse of the Black Pearl about midway through April, when I happened to have a Saturday night without D&D. And now I completely understand why everyone I knew (or, well, everyone I knew online) spent so much time quoting it. And referencing it. And why people are still quoting it and referencing it and circulating gifs of it now, albeit to a lesser degree.
  • Like, it's a really fun movie. But also, it's an astonishingly well-told story? With surprisingly well-drawn characters? Like? I thought it was going to be, you know, the type of movie you watch for the humor and the cool action scenes and the inherently delightful dramatics of pop culture pirates, and you kind of overlook the fact that it's cliche and everyone's a bit flat.
  • But instead! Instead we get the humor and the action and the dramatics from a story that is, quite frankly, better-crafted than some books I've read. We get characters who are archetypal, yes, but generally not cliche, and who are genuinely clever. (I also appreciated how it's never just one character saving everyone else. No one's infallible. No one's always right.) And I can really see why everyone loved it so much. And I'm sure the sequels won't be as good, but yeah. I want to watch them anyway.
  • (I would also like to argue that the movie did a really good job with its antagonists/villains. Like, Norrington is clearly set up as an antagonist, but he's honorable and his decisions make sense given who he is. He'd be a hero in another story; he just had the bad luck to be in this one. And Barbossa — look, he's awful and a generally terrible person, but he makes sense too. And he's almost a more sympathetic villain (in the sense of a villain you're meant to feel sympathy for) than most of the actually-intended-as-sympathetic villains people are writing these days.)
  • This has been your regularly scheduled Sarah-ramble-about-things-everyone-already-knew. Thank you for your patience.
  • As per the usual, I'm still watching Critical Role, and I still am not very far along, and I still get anxiety when the group tries to talk to authority figures. Except now I get anxious about pretty much everyone doing it, not just Nott and Jester. But it's fiiiiiiiiiine. I'm having fun.


  • April was, as I predicted, a pretty quiet month. Even Easter felt rather like just another weekend — we went to the Saturday service (to avoid the Sunday crowds), and once again, our Bible Study didn't have the usual celebration, so we spent the day at home. My mom did make a lemon-blueberry tart, though, so that was delicious and exciting.
  • At work, we officially started livestreaming services with . . . minimal hiccups. They were not the hiccups I had expected and prepared for, unfortunately. But at this point, things seem to be going fine.
  • I've also concluded that newsletters are one of the most challenging design types I have to do for either work or publishing. You'd think that books would be harder, but — no, not really. A book cover's really just a poster seen at a different scale. And book interiors, you design a chapter heading page and right and left sides to the spread and poof! You're done! Newsletters, every page in the spread looks different, and you're trying to figure out how to fit in all the information and make it look fun and exciting, and it's honestly kind of intimidating initially.
  • Despite my best intentions, I did not start learning VBA. I did pick up the basics of Adobe Premiere and some aspects of video editing, though, so . . . there's that. (I quickly determined that video editing is a rather different animal than photo editing, and there are fewer transferable skills than I expected. People who do it for a living: you have my respect.)

May Plans

  • May should be a little more exciting than April was, both because of holidays and because my sister will be home from for the summer! It'll be nice to have her around again. I've missed her. (Also, when she's home, I have someone to play Sentinels and watch stuff with.)
  • I have high hopes of this being the month that I finish the TMS Sequel. Theoretically, as long as I don't have my timeline messed up, it should be doable. A lot of what's left will have very few changes to the actual scenes, just changes to the order of events. (And once I get past the chapter or two I'm writing now, there won't even be that many changes to the sequence.) I'm trying not to be too optimistic, though.
  • Aaaaaand I really need to get things moving again with D&D writing. My problem is that I get caught up in making maps and background info, and then that takes longer than I expected, and then, poof, I'm behind. But I'll catch up again soon, now that the prep stuff is all done.

How was your April? Any exciting plans for May? What's something that you discovered ages after everyone else had already experienced it and moved on? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

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