Top Posts of the Year
- How to Finish What You Start
- How to Write a Fighter
- What I’ve Learned Writing Short Stories
- My Beta Reader Experience
- The Sea of Savage Stars
Goodreads: I failed this goal at 30/35 books. I take issue with goodreads as a system however, because I think reading ought to be counted by word count. It tracks “books” and pages, but formatting can wildly change the number of pages that a story takes up: from edition to edition and book to book. Of these, 8 were short stories, 4 were nonfiction, 5 were podcasts (the seasons of The Magnus Archives, which should count as short fiction anthologies), 8 were rereads, and 6 were indie publications. If you want to friend me on Goodreads, you can find me here! I’m also planning to start using Storygraph more consistently in the new year, so you can find me there!
Beta Reading: I finished two works by my fellow writing friends: Order of The Sun by @writeblrfantasy on tumblr, and Dreams Shadow by Quinn Siarven
The Inklings Challenge: I did not finish catching up on all the stories that were shared because there were SO MANY, but the ones that I did read were excellent. The Inklings Challenge is a month-long writing event for Christian authors of fantasy and science fiction, inspired by a real challenge attempted by the original Inklings writing group. For this tumblr challenge, participants were randomly sorted into one of three groups, with each assigned to a different type of speculative fiction story inspired by their namesake. You can read them all here!
Website/Author’s Platform Work:
Scheduled for the Year, Writing, and Publishing Posts on a Consistent Weekly Basis: This was a mighty feat, as I was SUPER busy and scraping the bottom of the barrel for new ideas. Each post takes at least an hour to draft, and often another hour or more to make sure all the links are embedded properly, the metadata in tags, categories, photo, and summary are up to date, and making social media posts to go along with each post. It’s a labor of love, and one I am very proud to have kept up for two full years and counting.
Fixed WordPress Tags and Cleaned Up Old Posts: I had over 100 posts up by this summer when I did this maintenance, and they were a disorganized mess. The archive should me much more navigable now! You can browse my most common topics by clicking any of the links in the cloud below!
author interview author platform book review changelings character development Character Introduction children's literature classics creative writing creativity editing education epic fantasy fairy tales folklore free short story high fantasy indie author indie books magic magic system middle grade fiction Monthly Goals my writing newsletter outlining plotting productivity reading recommendation Runaways science fiction short story siblings Storge story structure the count of monte cristo The Laoche Chronicles WIP excerpt work life balance worldbuilding Writing Advice writing community writing goals writing resources writing tips
Did Major Redesign and Blog Update: If you remember my old theme, no you don’t. It was rather boring and minimalistic, difficult to navigate, and very amateur looking. The new design is much cuter, I think, and hopefully easier to get around for a new user. As my hosting renewal expired (more on this later), I also made the choice to upgrade my plan, which gave me more substantial analytics on search criteria, and a bunch of backend tools to help with caching so the site can load quicker. This was a huge job that I had been meaning to do for aggeeesss and I’m very happy with my new home!
Interviews: These were less frequent this year, but I’m super excited about the two indie authors who agreed to appear on the blog! Faye Fite is a fantasy writer I’ve admired for many years, and R.K. Ashwick is a good friend of mine on writeblr!
First ARC Review: R.K. was also kind enough to let me review her debut cosy fantasy novel, The Stray Spirit.
I’ve resisted this for a while because while I’m not by any means rich, I’ve been blessed to find work through school and internships that pay well enough to cover my bills and my schooling, and my parents let me live at home over breaks. I have enough income that I would prefer to donate it to other creatives instead of trying to crowdfund, when I don’t need the money to survive. It leaves a nasty taste in my mouth to think about competing with other people who urgently need funds for stuff like rent, utilities, and groceries.
But it occurred to me that self publishing will rack up enormous costs I cannot currently afford, even with my reasonably stable financial situation. Hiring (at a living salary) a cover artist, illustrator, professional editor, and formatting services, paying for the ISBNs, and maybe setting aside a small budget for giveaway copies and advertising, can run up to thousands of dollars. Also, it would be nice to have some compensation for how much time I spend maintaining my website, because it’s almost a part-time job.
Then, renewal came up and WordPress, unannounced, killed the version of their hosting plan my website was on. I ended up switching to a plan that’s twice as expensive, at $8 a month, and gave me some nicer customization, as well as the ability to monetize the site through a donations box or ads. Unfortunately, it still doesn’t let me use many of the useful plugins that make WordPress work effectively, and the plan that gives me free access to the plugin library runs at $15 a month, which is prohibitively expensive. Domain prices are being raised in the new year as well. To my mind, the higher operation cost justified the choice to monetize this site. I briefly ran some unobtrusive ads at the bottom of my posts, but in the 5 months I had them enabled, I made less than 50 cents, and they can only pay you after you reach $100. This was, quite frankly, ridiculous, and unachievable, given my current view statistics, and I disabled them because nobody likes ads.
My alternative solution is now opening a Kofi donation “tip jar”, and a sticker shop! If you want to support my work here, and help contribute to my publishing fund, I would dearly appreciate any amount ❤
Mailing List/Short Stories
This year, I put out three unique new short stories to the subscribers on my mailing list. “Brigid’s Visits” follows a minor character from Runaways. Brigid is a friend the girls meet in the Seelie Court and she leads a group of “powers” – humans the fae gift with phenomenal powers. This story follows her adventures through time with a few familiar spirits. “Half-Switched Siblings” is a split-POV story told by the Semivera twins as they attempt to find their way to each other again. “Edge of Infinity” is a short script: a conversation between an artist and her prosecutor arguing about the nature of her crimes. This final script is also accompanied by an audio drama! Merari is voiced by my friend Sarina Socko (Instagram, TikTok). I voiced Aella and edited the audio with sound effects.
If you want to read any of these stories, you still can! When you sign up for the mailing list, you get access to the full backlog of fiction. I plan to put out a collection of these shorts eventually, when I’ve accumulated enough material, but subscribers get the first look! In addition to these, I wrote “To Light and to Guard” for the Inklings Challenge, which you can read on the blog, here.
Storge: I did a full read through at the beginning of the year, and rewrote chapters 1-4, I think. It’s been several months, and I honestly lost track of which scenes I’ve edited 2, 3, or 6 times by now. I put the rewrite on pause so that I could re-outline the series, as I’ll discuss next. I realized there is a cyclical element to working with a timeline: if I change plot points at the beginning, it will obviously alter the order of events following that book, but this also works in reverse. If I alter the endgame of a story, then I have to change everything that comes before so the plot twists are properly foreshadowed and the character choices make sense to the reader. Storge will continue being a work in progress alongside the rest of the story.
The Laoche Chronicles: Backstory time – once upon a time, baby, 14-year-old Etta, invented a fantasy world “heavily inspired” by her favorite stories. This original version had my own flair, with the protagonist being physically trapped in a book as a moving living illustration, but much of the surrounding plot and supporting characters I chock-filled with cliches and unnecessary drama. Over the years, this vision evolved and grew, until the thumb drive storing ALL my notes got stolen in high school. This forced me to rethink what I wanted to do with the series, and I went back in time to develop the prequel – which took 6 years to become Storge – during which time I learned a LOT more about storytelling, my writing style, and my personal taste. I also realized many of my previous ideas would need to be completely scrapped and rebuilt from the ground up. This summer, I did a full re-evaluation and sticky-note conspiracy board on the wall of my apartment, which resulted in the beginnings of a new spreadsheet outline. The story is far from complete, but this is more concrete progress than I’ve had for years, and I’m looking forward to getting to know these characters again.
Runaways: I finished the 1st round of beta reading, which unfortunately took far longer than I hoped it would, and accumulated all the beta feedback by the beginning of summer. My hope was to finish the 3rd draft by the end of the summer and start another round of beta reading, but burnout struck and I failed in meeting that goal. During NaNoWriMo, I rewrote through chapter 5, and decided the story needs 2 additional POVs. This makes it a much more complicated project than I originally planned, and I will not be publishing this year, but I’m so excited to know that the book is better for the changes I’m including. I hope you all don’t mind the wait.
This year, I learned how to use alcohol markers, practiced my embroidery by starting a patch jacket, and learned digital art! I already did a recap of my art this year, so you can read that post here to see all of the pictures without making this article any ridiculously longer than it already is haha. Some major projects this year included a pirate shirt, Vin Mistborn cosplay, and a comic for my Avatar The Last Airbender inspired DnD game.
Resolutions for 2023
- Don’t burn out again
- Have fun.
This is going to be a year of BIG transitions for me. I have another semester to spend with my friends, taking some fun classes, and finishing the last two classes of my degree. During this time, it makes the most sense to focus on enjoying that time with the people I love, before we all scatter to the winds, meaning my writing and creative projects will take a back-burner to everyday adventures. Thankfully, I already have a job locked down for post-graduation, and in June, I will move across 3 states, and start my new role. Between finding and furnishing an apartment, there are a few big family events I’ll attend, and later in the summer, I’m hoping to plan a trip to Europe with my sister who’s studying abroad. With so many events coming up, I don’t want to make any promises regarding my writing progress for the year. I plan to keep posting weekly, and I have some fun new series coming up that I hope you’ll enjoy. Happy new year everyone! I hope it’s a good one for us all.
Thanks for reading! What are your hopes for the year? I want this blog to be more than me shouting into the void. If I can use this platform to help boost other creators, I’d love to see your work too. If you want to have your recommendations and/or your own writing featured in a Resource Rec post, or if you want to collaborate with me, you can leave a comment below for both, or contact me on either tumblr or IG! If you feel so generously inclined, you can support my writing by leaving me a tip or buying stickers on my Kofi. Until next time, thanks for reading and happy writing!