Friday, October 29, 2021

October 2021 Doings!

 Hello, everyone! October is nearly at an end — a couple days left, true, but close enough — and that means it's time for another month's Doings! post. While this wasn't nearly as eventful as August or as breakneck busy as September, there was still plenty going on to tell you about!


  • This month's been pretty quiet on the writing front — no surprise there. After September's madness, I needed a month that was a little easier to manage. I did finish up the D&D module I was working on, other than making maps for the final combat, so that's ready to go starting in November! I've had some of the stuff in this next module in mind for absolute ages, and I'm super excited that I finally get to put it in action and see how my friends react.
  • Outside of D&D, I wrote a Halloween-ish short story for a challenge/contest thing on another site. I probably won't post it on here at the moment (just because the challenge was so recent and it was very specific to that site), but I may bring it back for next year's Halloween on my main blogs.
  • And that about covers it! I am in the process of starting Bastian Dennel #3, but I haven't made enough progress to really say anything else about it. As a reminder, if you want an overview of everything going on in the world of my writing, you can check out my On the Taleweaver's Desk post that just went up last week!


  • It's also been a rather light reading month, which is a bit unusual — usually less writing means more time for reading. But not so much this month, apparently.
  • The highlights of this month were The Anthropocene Reviewed, Gothel and the Maiden Prince, and The Martian, which is kind of remarkable since only one of those is a fantasy novel. The Anthropocene Reviewed is a book of essays by John Green, modified from the episodes of the podcast of the same name, and it's lovely and poetic and thoughtful in a way I could never be no matter how long or hard I tried. Quite frankly, I think Green is a better nonfiction writer or essayist than he is a fiction writer, which should come as a surprise to no one who knows I watch vlogbrothers regularly but have only managed to finish reading one of Green's fiction works. I know I'm probably in the minority in this regard, but so be it.
  • Moving on! Gothel and the Maiden Prince is the latest from W.R. Gingell, whom we all know I love dearly. Gothel was not by any means my favorite of her works, but I did enjoy the characters and their dynamics and the twist on why Rapunzel and Gothel are in the tower. Plus, it's got that lovely pairing of the dark, intimidating, commonly-assumed-evil, hard-because-life's-hard character with the sunshine sweetheart that's so delightful whether it's romantic or platonic, so how can you argue with that?
  • And The Martian, while containing far stronger language in far greater quantities than I prefer, was just a lot of fun. It's got a great storyline. It's got a lot of actual science, but not so much that it becomes overwhelming — or, I didn't think so. (That said, I like science when I'm not having to name chemical compounds or memorize three hundred and fifty-nine biological terms, so your mileage my vary.) It avoids the trap of having the main character be annoyingly good at/knowledgable in everything, and it has a lot of humor (much of it sarcastic), and it's just fun. It's like Randall Munroe's What If and How To, but with an actual plot and much more focused in terms of what type of science you're dealing with. I'm definitely going to reread it, is what I'm saying.
  • Otherwise, I had a fair number of rereads: The Candlestone in Dragons in Our Midst (still not my favorite in the series, but I like it better than I used to; I'm saving Circles of Seven for Halloween), M is for Magic (better the first time around), Feet of Clay and Jingo (both better than the first time I read them), and, most notably, The Story Girl by Lucy Maud Montgomery. It's notable in that I've been intending to reread it for the longest time and also in that I never actually read the full book; I got out a version that was split into many smaller volumes for . . . some reason. But that's been delightful. I know everyone's all over Montgomery's Anne books, but I always liked The Story Girl better.
  • And, to wrap things up, we have War Bound, the second Elven Alliance book, which I enjoyed well enough in the same way I enjoyed the first book, and The Library of the Dead, which was one of my Halloween-ish reads and was . . . meh. Not a bad book, but I didn't love it, and I don't think I'll continue the series. Not pictured is The Blacktongue Thief, which I technically haven't finished (I had to return it to the library) and have mixed feelings about. I like the POV character and the most prominent secondary character well enough, but . . . I don't enjoy spending time in the storyworld, and it's just a rather dark book. We'll see if I decide to get it back out.
  • The other bit of reading news I have is that I acquired a signed copy of Vespertine (the OwlCrate edition), and it's so pretty. I'm super excited to read it, and I'll get to do that this weekend — Vespertine, Coraline, and Circles of Seven are my Halloween reads for the year, and I'm looking forward to all three.


  • Glory hallelujah, I have finally gotten through Episode 74 of Critical Role! For those who missed it, I've been stuck on this episode since August, partially because I haven't had time to watch and partially because I was just . . . not enthused about Reani, the guest character. She rubbed me the wrong way, y'know? But once I powered through the first half of the episode, I warmed up to her a bit. And now I can finally move on with the rest of the campaign . . . well, in between watching Campaign 3! I'm very excited to be able to follow a campaign from the start for the first time, and I'm liking the new party fairly well so far. And, yes, I am trying to watch the episodes live . . . or, I start the episodes live, at any rate. I have yet to watch an entire CR episode in one sitting, and I don't see that changing for Campaign 3.
  • Aside from Critical Role, I watched three movies with my family: Die Hard, Master and Commander, and Casablanca. All three have been on my to-watch list for a bit, though for different reasons. Now that I've seen them, I can say of all three that I didn't love them, but I did like them, and I'd probably watch them again at some point. Die Hard had much, ah, rougher language than I expected, but I appreciated the twists and the scheming and counter-scheming on both sides. Master and Commander was interesting and had good character dynamics, though it was more serious than I expected from the few posts I'd seen about it. (I suppose that the name should've clued me in, but ah well.) And Casablanca is, well, it's a classic for a reason. But Rick and his arc and his interactions with the police prefect fall into some of my favorite tropes, so I did genuinely like the movie.


  • Most of this month has been occupied by preparations for my church's Trunk or Treat event, which was this past Sunday, October 24. As you probably saw on Facebook or Instagram if you follow me over there, my theme was an International Curiosity Shop — otherwise known as one of those weird little shops that provide quest items to adventurers and sell artefacts from fantastic worlds to interested buyers and then disappear — otherwise known as a way to use the maximum number of props I already own and appeal to a variety of fandoms. I spent several weekends acquiring materials and crafting items, including fixing up my steampunk pistol to make it more interesting, painting dragon eggs, putting together a Death Star pumpkin to hold candy in, and repairing my sword. I did end up working right up to the wire, but it all came together pretty nicely!
  • Of course, I might not have been running quite so close to the line had most of my Columbus Day weekend not been taken up by other activities, namely helping my family cut up an absolutely massive oak tree that fell on our neighbors' property. (They asked us to cut it up and take it away, for the record.) We didn't even finish it in the weekend; my parents had to finish the job over Tuesday and Wednesday while I went back to my actual job. It was not how I planned to spend the weekend, but . . . it's a necessary evil if we want wood for the fireplace.
  • I will also admit that some delays came from the fact that I went to a local Renaissance Faire on the 17th — a decision I absolutely do not regret, even if not going would've given me extra crafting time. While it was much smaller than the Ohio Renaissance Festival that I've gone to before, it was a lot of fun. The highlight was probably watching a demonstration of Viking-era weaponry that gave me a lot of good story research (and made up for a rather disappointing joust immediately before), and I had a lovely time wandering around different stands afterward. Also, I got to taste mead for the first time, and I genuinely enjoyed it! I mean, I thought I would, but most of my previous experiences with tasting alcohol were rather disappointing. And now I have reference for my books as well!
  • Anyway. Even with the tree and the Ren Faire, I did get everything finished in time for Trunk or Treat. The event itself was fun, though I did kind of wear out my throat from talking to people in a mostly-English accent for several hours. I mean, what's the point of dressing up and setting up a whole Interdimensional Curiosity Shop if you're not going to stay in character and wish people well on their quests when they come get candy? Oddly enough, the props that got the most comments from people were the ones that took the least effort, but such is life.
  • What else is there? I had my first Connect Group meeting at the start of October, but it didn't go terribly well — of three people who expressed interest, only one showed up, and one responded to my "don't forget this is happening" email with "Oh, I forgot to tell you that stuff came up and I can't be part of this after all." The person who showed up was nice, and we had some good conversation while playing Carcasonne, but it was definitely not what I hoped it would be.
  • Work's been busy, though certainly not as stressful as September's hacking adventure. I think I should probably just accept that nothing's going to be really calm until after the New Year, what with fundraising campaigns this month and a little bit of next month and the holidays coming up soon. On the upside, our new Kids Ministry director started this month, and she's lovely. And by "lovely" I mean that she's nice and friendly and sends me information ahead of the day it's due. This might seem like a low bar, but since the first deadline of the week is Monday noon and most of the programs staff (the people from whom I need said info) don't have a lot of spare time over the weekend . . . well, it's impressive, and it makes my job much more pleasant.
  • The last item of note for the month is that, as I mentioned in September's Doings, I rejoined the photo club my dad and I used to attend. The first contest I was able to enter was last night, and while I didn't have as much time to take new photos as I hoped I would, I was pretty happy with my entries. And two of them actually placed in their categories, so that was a nice confidence boost for my first actual contest in a long time.

November Plans

  • First and foremost, the recurring question of every November: Am I doing NaNoWriMo? While I originally planned to skip it this year because I'm working and I won't be able to block out the same swathes of time to write, Bastian Dennel #3 got pushed back far enough that I might as well call it a NaNoNovel and myself a NaNoRebel (since I don't anticipate the novel hitting 50K — it'll be closer to the length of The Midnight Show than Gilded in Ice). I do want to get the first draft hammered out pretty quickly — in time to potentially write something else in December — and I'm hoping that the general culture and atmosphere of NaNoWriMo will help with that.
  • That does mean I'm extending my blogging semi-hiatus into next month, which is to say that I'll post as I have time, inclination, or prior commitment. I have one review-type Friday 5s planned for Curse of the Midnight King (since I'm technically on the street team). And if anyone's interested, I'm thinking of writing a post about how I made some of my Trunk or Treat props. But in general, the novel takes precendence over the blog.
  • On the D&D front, the group I run will start back in on our main campaign next weekend, and I'm excited about that. Like I said, I've been planning some of the next adventure for quite some time, plus one of my players and I were working out more about a character's backstory and it turns out that it'll tie in rather nicely with part of what's going to happen.
  • Much like last month, I want to try to do more photography so I'll have more recent photos to work with for club contests. Given the first item in my list of plans, we'll see how that works out.
  • And on top of all that, I'll have my next Connect Group meeting this coming week, and I'm looking at volunteering in some other areas of the church (namely the AV Team) as well. We'll see how both of those go. Hopefully better than the first Connect Group meeting did . . .

How was your October? Any exciting plans for November? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? If so, what are you writing? Would you be interested in hearing about how I made any of my Trunk or Treat props? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment

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