NaNoWriMo Week 3: Notepad № 14

Day 21 | 19,875 out of 50,000 words

Uh… whoops.

As you can see, things aren’t going so great! Every day of this entire week ended with a debate of whether to sleep, study, or write. You can tell which one lost every time.

Even though I didn’t write for the past week, I still kept adding 10 words each day just so I could keep the streak up just because I can. Sue me. (But the word count up there is my actual word count.) And as much as I would like to start writing again, I’ve still got one more paper to study, and it happens to be my weakest subject. But once Monday comes and I finish the paper, you bet I’m going to start sprinting like a mad dog to the finish line.

And boy, it’s going to be tough. I just did the maths and in order to hit 50k by the end of the month, I’ll need to write 3766 words a day. I know this isn’t much for some of you out there. And to me, though I don’t usually write that much daily, I know I’m able to since I’ve done it before when I attempted writing Destiny a couple years back — except I was typing, not writing.

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NaNoWriMo Week 2: Notepad № 13

Day 15 | 19,875 out of 50,000 words

I may finally be on time for a weekly NaNo update, but am I on track with my writing goal? That’s a whole other story.

Don’t know why, but my nose is acting up again. I don’t feel sick or anything and it’s not affecting my headspace (hopefully), but it’s annoying when your nose turns into a broken faucet. The weather hasn’t been weird either — it’s 33ºC/91.4ºF but, according to the weather app, it feels like 38ºC/100.4ºF. So I think it’s safe to say it’s sweltering over here.

But hey, we’re at the halfway point, marathon writers! I only realised that when I calculated how much I needed to write daily to catch up. (It’s about 2000 words a day. That won’t be fun on my hand.) I’m ok with it though since NaNo conveniently takes place during winter finals. I might change my word count goal, but I’ll save that in the final stretch at the end of the month where I’m done with all my exams, heh.

Speaking of exams, it’s been odd that recently, I’ve been wanting to study more than I write. I mean, it’s good and it’s supposed to be that way. But it’s simply uncharacteristically responsible of me. Especially these next few parts are some major plot events. I’ve been tossing over in my head and have been so eager to write for years!

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NaNoWriMo Week 1: Notepad № 11

Day 10 | 12,907 out of 50,000 words

As per classic blogging tradition, I’m late once again! But it’s fine since no one’s really keeping track, plus this is all just for my own benefit for the lack of someone to talk to. (But hey, if you’re reading this, thanks!)

It’s only been a little over a week, but I’m already starting to feel myself dwindle. You see, when you prioritise studies and/or art projects, you tend to do those first and then leave writing for last. But when you work up until dark (and then stare at your page for a few good minutes trying to think of something to write), you’d end up writing your story quite late into the night.

So I’ve been writing from about 11pm to 1am (though I’ve reached 2am at one point because of my genius decision to word-count handwritten words). I know for most of you out there, this is completely normal. But not to this sleep-dependant weakling here.

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NaNoWriMo Week 0: Notepad № 10

I’d say it’s hard to believe the last post was made 5 months ago, but I’d definitely be lying.

Sometimes life do be busy like that and gets in the way of everything! But this time, I’m not letting it get in the way of writing. I pledge that I will write for every single day throughout this month and may this blog be my witness!

I’m pretty sure I made a New Year’s Resolution at the start of 2020 to finish at least the first draft of Destiny, the current novel/webseries project I’m working on. While I did write about 90,000 words and finished the first half of Destiny, now I’ve got to write about that amount and finish the second half… in about two months.

It’s not the first time I backed myself into a corner like this, so think I’ll be able to deal with it not just because I’ve made stupid decisions like this before, but also because this time, I’m determined as hell. It’s been over six bloody years since I first thought of Destiny, so I sure as hell better get it done before 2021!

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Here comes June: Notepad № 9

Damn, can’t believe it’s already a new month. Can’t believe this will be the fourth month of quarantine, too.

So June started pretty well! I’m back on track with writing Destiny, I finished the 40 Hours of Practice challenge, made progress with my commissions, I got this one in-game thing I’ve been grinding for, and it turns out my basil do not have root rot! Apparently my hand’s doing better despite drawing more, too.

I know those are a bunch of really disjointed and random things, but whatever. Funny how practicing my violin helped me get my stuff together, though. Probably because it’s what implements a schedule of some sort the most.

I am really, really hoping it’ll stay this way, especially that it apparently took about a month to recover from NaNoWriMo. I’ve got a lot of writing to catch up to (especially that I didn’t write last night since I was too tired) but at least I’m looking forward to it now!

I had an entire plan laid out for this month. Of course, there’s writing Destiny. But then there are also the two commissions I have: one is to illustrated a D&D livestream’s party of five. The other is a family portrait of sorts (because of its deadline and other reasons, I’ll focus on this).

I also really want to finish Breath of the Wild and start Hollow Knight, dammit. But my mum decided to pull me into binging Legend of Korra, the sequel to The Last Iarbender. And I’m still grinding in that aforementioned game, Sky: Children of the Light. It’s a weird game to ‘grind’ for if you know it, but my friend’s doing it so why not?

But then I remembered that I only had two weeks until classes started.

Guess that’ll mean I have to work extra-hard now. I guess I’ll have to drop that computer science course for a while, too (even though I’ve already dropped it a long while ago!).

It would be great if I managed to finish at least most of the commissions in these two weeks (and finish Breath of the Wild, heh). Honestly, I’m really only writing this here so that I’m somewhat obliged to do it.

Plus, I’d really like to go full out before I switch into study mode, especially with the chance that it’ll be through online learning. If I still have things I need to work on then, it’ll completely throw off my studies.

And of course, I’d like to keep this Notepad series alive, too, though I admit it’s not high on my priority list — I think the amount of late posts says that well enough, though.

I guess they’ll mostly be quick updates like this post unless I actually have a topic at hand to talk about. And though this series is mostly for myself, hope you readers out there don’t mind it.

Here’s to hoping. Stay safe out there.

– Reed

Obligatory social media promotion

Fighting for Inspiration: Notepad № 8

First off: Due to some commissions I need to work on, there will be no book reviews for the time being. And I want to read and finish Breath of the Wild. Sorry!

And now, we shall resume our usual program.

Remember how I said that I was excited to get back into writing? Based on this rhetorical question and my sudden inactivity, I’m sure you can infer how that played out.

I’m not sure whether I burned out or I simply got lazy, but I struggled to bring myself to write — though I still did for a few days. I did draw a whole lot more, though. However, I also struggled to find things to write about for this Notepad series.

I tried to look for topics I could lament about. I didn’t want to write about the same thing I struggled with in past entries. That would be too boring and depressing. I did think about writing about how I struggled with fight scenes, but it all resulted just because I don’t really plan them (oops).

But then, for some reason, I suddenly remembered that the Notepad series is meant to be a blog about writing. So, I could technically just put out whatever updates I had on my writing which could also act as self-motivation, similar to the first deleted entries.

It would be short and uninteresting, sure, but I figured I could roll with it. Plus, it would help with forcing myself to write at least a few hundred words so I don’t end up empty-handed.

But then the Fire Nation attacked.

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The Stop-Start Shuffle: Notepad № 7

Well golly, this past week’s been a mess.

The fact that this entry’s serverely late should say it, so here’s the modified schedule for this week:

  • A book review will be posted on Thursday/Friday
  • And if all goes well, Notepad 8 will be posted on Saturday/Sunday as usual

Getting back into writing Destiny reminds me of playing in a tournament. At the end of the first day after 7-9 hours on the field, the team’s both dead-tired but still exhilarated enough for tomorrow’s match.

But then tomorrow arrives. When you wake up before the sun rises while being moderately sore, you can’t help but feel at least a bit… tired. And it only gets worse when you have to drag yourself to join the half-dead team for warm-up.

That’s pretty much how it was like for me and writing Destiny. I previously did mention I was excited to get back into writing and I maintained that excitement for Part Two’s first chapter.

In fact, I maintained a pretty good schedule for those days of writing that chapter — so good that I actually wanted to write about it here just so I would feel obliged to stick to it.

I finally did impose a timeframe on writing — I’ve been writing for exactly one hour without even timing myself anyway. One of my friends and frequent commenter called it my body’s ‘writing clock’ which sounds just about right.

So now that I had tasks with definite timeframes, I arranged all my tasks according to importance and how much time they took up. I studied computer science in the morning, then practised my violin to cool off my brain afterwards. I’ll then do some sort of physical activity and write what needs to be written.

Then suddenly I wanted to paint things and draw a comic in one sitting and I wanted to finish a book and watch movies with my friends.

Painting and drawing took up large chunks of hours at a time. Unlike writing, I can’t impose myself to only do 1-2 hours of visual art and continue the next day. There are no ‘natural breaks’ like writing a story, so I prefer to keep working until I’ve finished a stage of rendering.

So what happened was for the first few days, I allocated all the time after exercising (or skip it altogether) just to paint or draw. I left writing to an hour before I slept which I knew I said I didn’t want to do, but it is what it is.

But then art started to take over my mornings and there went the computer science course. It’s been so bad that now that I look at my calendar, it’s been nearly a week since I last worked on it.

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Review: Magpie Murders

When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway’s latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the bestselling crime writer for years, she’s intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan’s traditional formula has proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behaviour if she wants to keep her job.

Conway’s latest tale has Atticus Pünd investigating a murder at Pye Hall, a local manor house. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but the more Susan reads, the more she’s convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder.

– Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

This review is based of notes I made when I first read this. Thoughts are prior to change upon a second rereading and this will be updated accordingly.

Magpie Murders is one of Anthony Horowitz’s first shot of writing his own whodunnit mystery fiction — and he makes a point of being as original and subversive as he can be at once.

One reason for this is because Magpie Murders is not one but in fact two books put together. How is this possible? The first story follows editor Susan Ryeland which opens with her reading author Alan Conway’s manuscript — the second story.

This set-up already opens the door of a lot of meta possibilities and Horowitz is sure to exploit this to the fullest. The fact that Ryeland is, out of all things a whodunnit protagonist could be, an editor not only plays right into Horowitz’s domain but is also integral to the plot.

Everything feels real to the point of even reading like an autobiography: from the manuscript’s own page numbers and font, to Ryeland’s own journey whose events are connected to the manuscript.

However, as you can probably imagine, two books stuck together results in a lot of pages. I was fine with the length. It was the pacing that was lacking.

Spoilers below!

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Break or Burn: Notepad № 6

To risk an indefinite break or risk burning out: that is the question.

This was initially going to be part of the previous Notepad entry but since there were two different topics there, I decided to split them. Saves me the trouble of having to think of a writing topic in a period of not writing, too.

About a week ago, I both completed Camp NaNoWriMo and also Part One of my project, Destiny! It resulted in approximately 94,653 words and me being very tired and very relieved.

As much of a milestone this may be, I still kept reminding myself that I was only halfway there. I still had Part Two of Destiny to write which would be approximately the same length as the first part. In other words, it may take nearly another year to write this (or a few months less, depending on procrastination levels).

This is both exciting and dreadful, though I’ll be honest and say I was filled with more dread than excitement. Yes, I couldn’t wait to finally finish the first draft of something, but at the same time… it’s just mentally draining.

I do have an outline of Destiny ready to guide me, but that doesn’t mean I’ve planned every single thing in every single chapter. If they’re not major story beats, I likely improvised whatever was happening and planned on the spot.

That alone is time-consuming and tiring. But of course, on top of that, I had the bright idea of writing everything by hand as well as counting every single word, too.

Despite this, I wanted to continue writing the very next day, or at least the day after. Like I mentioned before, I procrastinated a good couple weeks on not writing due to other hobbies like drawing or gaming.

This April’s Camp NaNo was really, I think, the first time I actually had a writing streak of a few weeks. I was happy with my ability to stick to the job and keep writing! Therefore, I wanted to keep this momentum going into writing the second part.

But on the other end, I wanted to do other things too. My writing sessions generally last an hour or two and took up my time to draw. I also wanted to to do other things other than write like game or read or other fun stuff other than writing.

This was when I really wondered whether I should take a break or keep going. Do I risk losing my momentum or give myself a break?

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Review: Daredevil – Born Again

“And I — I have shown him… that a man without hope is a man without fear.”

The definitive Daredevil tale! Karen Page, Matt Murdock’s former lover, has traded away the Man Without Fear’s secret identity for a drug fix. Now, Daredevil must find strength as the Kingpin of Crime wastes no time taking him down as low as a human can get.

(Collects Collects Daredevil #226-233.)

– Daredevil: Born Again written by Frank Miller and illustrated by David Mazzucchelli

In short: A dark, moody, and expertly crafted tale spun out of the artistic chemistry between Miller and Mazzucchelli really works for this. While the ending’s tone seemed mismatched, the rest of the story towers over this.

Slight spoilers below!

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