September was a strangely long month, but it went pretty well. A lot of my attention has been drawn towards watching House of the Dragon and The Rings of Power and listening to reaction and theory podcasts for each episode. I’m a couple episodes behind on Rings, but I’m really enjoying both of them, for quite different reasons.
I’m also a little miffed that those two shows, plus Andor, plus the start of football season all happened in the same month. So Andor will have to wait, although I’ve heard good things.
But in non-TV news…
Last Month’s Goals
- Progress my writing.
- Read 3 books.
- Exercise 3 times per week.
Let’s see how I fared.
Progress my writing?
Yes, in some small ways, which was really my goal. I transcribed notes from a beat-up journal into a larger, cleaner one. The beat-up journal went through a washing machine because I forgot it in the pocket of a pair of pants. So, many notes were lost to wear and ink-bleed, but I’m satisfied with those I was able to recover through the dried, stiff pages as I peeled them apart.
Lesson learned: don’t use journals that can fit in your pocket. It might sound nice and convenient, but they are too easily thrown in with dirty laundry, apparently.
Part of those notes included the beginnings of an outline for The Warden of Everfeld: Legacy. I’m not good at sticking to outlines with my stories, but there are too many factors at play for me not to be a bit more organized with this story:
- It has now been five years since I published The Warden of Everfeld: Memento, the predecessor to Legacy, which obviously raises a lot of continuity concerns I want to avoid.
- I have 60,000+ words written already, but I last looked at them in 2019 — so I kind of have to start over anyway.
- It’s a fairly complex story, with three broad plotlines that hover around each other but do not necessarily cross.
- It’s based primarily on established characters, so in addition to getting the plot right, I want to get the voicing and the continued character development right.
So I’m building my outline using a few techniques, starting small and then expanding outward.
- First, I write a logline for each major point-of-view character, so I know who that character is and what they want.
- Then, I’m breaking that logline down into a three-act story — basically three mini-loglines for the beginning, middle, and end of that character’s arc.
- Then, I want to break that down further into 9 parts, 3 parts per “act” to identify how that character’s story progresses.
- Once I have a nine-section outline, I want to add general notes for each section to help drive the narrative details that will drive each plot point forward.
I’ve never used this method to outline an entire story before, so I’ll let you know how it goes.
So, while I didn’t do much writing in September, I definitely feel like I’m laying the groundwork for a project that has been screaming for my attention for… 3 years.
Read three books?
No! I finished one long audiobook that was really a lecture series about linguistics. It was John McWhorter’s series on Language Families of the World, one of the Great Courses offered on Audible. I enjoy linguistics, but this was a long listen. I had been picking away at it for a couple months and decided to just close it out in September.
I then powered through a short military sci-fi story that was pretty good.
Two books isn’t bad, but I’m trying for better in October. I already have one book down and another well on its way!
Exercise three times per week?
Vaguely. I don’t have a set routine so much as I have a nagging feeling that I need to move and do some kind of physical activity on most days. That generally takes the form of some basic stretching and yoga poses and some resistance training, and maybe an extra long walk with the dog.
I want to start interspersing those “lighter” days with power yoga videos again. I’ve gotten away from any set yoga routine and want to start it up again, even if it’s just a few times per week.
So, I’m exercising, just not as much as I’d like to, and with no real goals in mind except not feeling stiff, or lazy, or weak.
Goals for October
- Finish 9-section outlines for four POV characters in The Warden of Everfeld: Legacy. Now we return to a more specific and quantifiable writing goal. If I can lay out the foundation of an outline for my four primary characters, then I’ll feel comfortable returning to my draft-in-progress to read through it and start building out my outline.
- Read 3 books. Like I said, I’m well on my way. This month’s focus is just reading for pure enjoyment, even if I end up reading three books in the same series in a row, which is a stark possibility. Usually I try to diversify my reading list, but nah. It’s time to just read anything that catches my eye.
- Exercise 3 times per week. What I want “exercise” to mean from this point forward is not just a few stretches or a long walk. I’d like to get in the habit of 15- or 20-minute sessions of stretching/yoga mixed with resistance training. I have a basic routine down pretty well that combines some yoga poses with deep squats and push-ups, but I also want to mix it up with guided yoga sessions focused on movement and strength. So I’ll just need to be a bit more deliberate about how much I exercise each day.