August 2nd, 2023
Another frustrating month, another downtrodden blog. I yearn for the time when I can optimistically ramble my way through one of these, but now is not that time. Not entirely, that is; there were some glimmers of light during July, and finally, I think that I can see this awful tunnel’s end. I, unfortunately, just spent most of July trudging through it.
I apologize for this blog’s tardiness in coming. I am sitting here and writing this the night of August 1st, which is usually the day that these release. My typical process is to set aside an evening right near the end of a month, and then write one of these. That proved a little tricky this month because I have spent the last week unable to write much of anything thanks to some sort of shoulder injury I have not yet identified. It’s funny how quickly typing becomes difficult when your dominant arm protests the smallest motions. That injury is a large part of why July was not what I hoped it would be; less so because of it, and more so because of the timing.
I actually had a good first week this month. Minus American Independence day, I got quite a bit done that week. I, frankly, needed the distraction following my great-aunt’s passing and little impeded me during that time.
That began changing on the 7th. Athena — who I am still currently staying with — had family she had not seen for years come up. I actually wound up working the 7th, but I then found myself far away from my keyboard on the 8th, 9th, 10th, 12th, and 13th. I was glued to my keyboard on the 14th, but only so I could spend sixteen hours editing the pair of chapters that were being recorded for The Road to Hell audiobook that very next day — since I had possessed no time earlier in the week to get that done.
That was nearly the death of me, and I think understanding why is important, because it explains most of my past month.
My great-aunt, rest that angel’s soul, passed away on Thursday, June 29th, 2023. The day after her passing was spent editing chapters so they were audio-ready; the day after that, recording. I then jumped right back into writing because I knew that I would soon lack time. From writing, I went straight into a week of socializing that contained no small amount of drama.
Early in The Fellowship of the Ring, Bilbo describes feeling like butter spread too thin across bread. When first reading The Lord of the Rings many years ago, I wondered what that meant. Now I know — that is a perfect way of describing how I felt following that brutal work day, then the accompanying recording that next morning. I was exhausted on both a mental and an emotional level and had been given no time to process my great-aunt’s passing, nor the familial drama surrounding it that I won’t get into here. Suffice to say, I have seldom felt so beaten down in all my life; it was among the most gruelling patches I can remember stumbling through.
Nothing got done for a while after that. I will be honest in saying that next week was essentially a wash. The 18th was a travel day, but that was the most eventful thing that happened during that span of time.
About a week after the recording session, I mustered up the will to write and penned a duo of chapters, but then I woke up one morning hardly able to lift my left arm, and since then, next to no writing has been done.
I am very grateful that my first week of July was productive — it’s really the only thing that saved my month and it’s where most of this blog’s material comes from.
But before we discuss that, I would like to talk about The Road to Hell.
The Road to Hell is now live on FanFiction.Net, AO3, and YouTube! In this, as in so many things, I must thank Athena. She has suffered alongside me during those hellacious, last-minute scrambles imposed on us by circumstance, and she has done wonderful work in spite of them. In addition to propping me up many times this month and ensuring, somehow, that my sanity remains intact, she has often made me look much better than I really am — and that is the truest mark of any great editor.
If all of you want to try and make up for the hellscape that has been life these past few months, supporting this story on those platforms would be an amazing start. Follows, favourites, and reviews on FFN would mean the world, as would kudos, bookmarks, and comments on AO3, plus likes, free subscriptions, and comments over on YouTube if you enjoy the audiobook.
Having that posted is liberating for all the reasons I discussed in The Road to Hell Release Blog — if you haven’t read that and are interested in the story, I would highly recommend doing so.
I do lament FFN’s idiotic decision to disable automatic email notifications because it has made gaining traction on new stories much more difficult than it used to be, but I think that once the chapters start racking up and the word count starts rising, the readers will turn up. I just have to be patient and trust in what I have written. Not to say that Road to Hell is doing poorly — I think most authors would be very pleased with how quickly it has gained several hundred favourites — but I have very high hopes for this story and am interested to see what people think of it going forward.
I should also mention that you can listen to the Road to Hell chapters be recorded live on the Discord server, every second Saturday! The next recording will take place on August 13th. If you want to hear Sam record and nitpick my writing live, then come on out and have a listen!
All right, all right — I suppose that’s enough self-promotion for now, let’s get into the actual writing.
I wrote seven PoP chapters this past month. That’s actually a pretty good number, on the surface, just less so when it’s about half of what I’ve written during the entirety of one month.
I continue to be buried in questions about timelines pertaining to PoP book 4, and I have mostly deflected these questions, sans some vague speculation during these blogs.
I will say this much here — the champions have been chosen and the tournament is underway. That might sound like I’m not very far into the year, but it’s better news than you might think. The summer occupied about a dozen chapters, and the first month Harry spent at Durmstrang was covered extensively. The pacing is going to speed up quite a bit after the First Task — the middle of this year is going to somewhat fly by because a lot of what Harry is doing during that time is better left off-page since I’m not in the business of writing training montages and the like. His narrative is going to be very focused this year, which means the number of chapters each month occupies is about to shrink down meaningfully.
I am travelling in August — more on that later in this blog — but my hope is that I can finish PoP book 4 when I get back. I think it’s unlikely I complete the writing during September, but I am eyeing October with a fair amount of optimism. If 2023 stops throwing stones my way, I think finishing book 4 over the course of two good months of writing is plausible — though admittedly ambitious — and revisions on this one really shouldn’t take more than a couple weeks. I hope for Discord members to begin receiving chapters around Halloween, if not sooner, but please don’t consider this a promise — it is not one; I will make no promises when 2023 has allowed me three good months of writing thus far.
All right, let’s do something exciting — let’s talk a little bit about future fanfiction projects.
I am attaching a VERY IMPORTANT caveat here — nothing is set in stone, all of this is subject to change, and there is a fair chance things like titles will not remain intact.
I have mentioned, a couple of times, that I have another story in the pipeline and that I hoped it would come at some point in the future.
That fic comprised the other half of my writing in July. I now have roughly 34,000 words written, and at this point, I’m pretty confident it will see the light of day. I still want my editor, Athena, to look over what I have before I continue writing, and there is always a chance she tears it to shreds and tells me that it’s worthless garbage. If that happens, then I guess I’m wrong, but failing that, I think you can expect to see this at some point — though it’s still very much something for the future and won’t be coming soon. My plan here is still to write the entire thing, then post it weekly once that’s done.
I’ll say this much now — it’s post-Hogwarts, it’s very different than anything else I have done, and it is more romance-centric than any other fic I have written. There’s your teaser — hopefully, it one day pays off 🙂
The other fic is something a little bit different.
I have mentioned, at least in the Patreon chats, something I called “Project Shattered Souls”. This is something I started writing in the spring of 2022 as a side project for me to toy with whenever I wanted a productive escape from things like deadlines. My intention was actually never to post this when I first started, but I realized pretty quickly I had something intriguing on my hands.
This technically falls into the category of seven-year fics, like AoC and PoP, but that’s a bit misleading. First year, which is actually finished, is only about 30,000 words long, and second year will probably end up around that number too, maybe a little bit longer. The pacing will slow down significantly in third year, but I still plan on keeping these years shorter than any of my other fics.
Whilst unable to write this past week due to my shoulder, I opened up these old files and did a deep revision. I have turned the first year into something that I really like, and one of my betas has received that draft and is literally looking it over as this blog is being posted. I am anxious for their opinion, and depending on the feedback I receive, I will ask if my other betas want to be involved with this new project.
If all that goes well, patrons might actually start receiving this pretty soon. I’m thinking about either releasing all of first year there at once, since this fic is sort of meant to be bingeread, or else posting a few chapters each month during the week I usually take off to focus on my novel. I’m not sure which of those I will decide on IF this becomes a thing, but it COULD happen as soon as later this month.
I want to attach a MASSIVE caveat to this story before anyone gets their hopes up too high.
I have said numerous times that my long-term goal is to become a professional novelist whose work is published traditionally. That remains the same, and I hope that in the coming years, I will be transitioning away from fanfiction and into the real ranks of established writers.
I have promised that both Perversion of Purity and The Road to Hell will be finished before that happens — even if it means delaying my transition — so long as my Patreon doesn’t suddenly dry up overnight and leave me destitute.
I am not making this promise when it comes to Shattered Souls. I do vow that it will be worked on until I turn professional and I hope to complete it during that time, but if the other two fics are finished and this one is all that stands between me and that transition, I will probably leave it unfinished unless it’s really close to being done.
The good news for you all is that 2023 has basically given me no time for my novel, so you’ll probably get at least a year longer than I expected and the chances of SS being finished are probably fairly high. I just want to put out there that there IS a scenario in which I don’t finish this.
I wanted to drop something bright and happy in here since so many of these have been filled with bad news lately. Hopefully, that section at least gave you something to be excited for, and if you’re a patron or someone who would consider pledging for a new story, let me know which posting method you would prefer if I decide to go ahead with Shattered Souls.
There may be more news in September or October’s update pertaining to something tangentially related — no, it will not be a new full-length fic; if the two I have mentioned here both happen, I’m pretty confident that will be it from me before going pro — but some of you might find the potential news exciting IF it happens. Very big if, we shall see.
I think it’s also worth mentioning that the ACI100 Discord server turned four years old on July 22nd. There is so much I could say here, but I am going to save it for next year. Just know that I am profoundly grateful to everyone who has joined that server, and even more so to those of you who frequently contribute to the incredible community we have gathered.
I still find myself awed, humbled, and confused when contemplating how on earth I managed to forge such a wonderful place in which so many wonderful people feel at ease. It is my greatest accomplishment in this realm so far, and something I am incredibly proud of.
Seven members were inducted into the ACI100 Hall of Fame during a livestream held on July 23rd. That stream can be found over on the YouTube channel and write-ups about this year’s inductees will be composed and posted soon, so long as my shoulder continues allowing me the luxury of relatively unhampered movement.
Next July 22nd will be the five-year anniversary, as long as nothing catastrophic happens between now and then. I plan on making that a grander affair than this year’s celebrations, which were somewhat muted in light of everything going on in my personal life. I won’t get into details here, but I plan on making up for the quiet of this year, and then some.
I guess the last thing that needs doing is the actual forecasting of August.
I mentioned earlier that I am travelling this month, so I don’t think I will be getting too much work done. I catch a flight this Friday evening to go and spend about a week with my beta and good friend, Regress, and then I am heading home to spend about a fortnight with my family. This portion of the trip was planned not too long ago; it was not in the cards prior to my great-aunt’s passing, but I think it’s important I reconnect with the family following that tragedy.
I will be editing during those travels and I MIGHT get some downtime during the latter half, but I’m not going to try and make time for writing. I am far enough ahead — somehow — despite the hellacious last few months that Patreon, Discord, and FFN/AO3 will receive regularly scheduled chapters, as per normal. All this means is that September and October will be long, busy, and potentially stressful months for me. But that’s okay because I get to work on my novel all of November — I don’t care what happens between now and then; I love you all, but I am spending that month on my novel be it hell or highwater — and then the holidays will be fast-approaching.
So there it is, another chaotic month is in the books, but thankfully, August should be a month of fun, friends, and family. It should provide me the respite I so badly need and finally grant me some time to heal and process the nastiness of June.
I thank you all for your patience during the turbulent year I have been going through. I’m sorry it has taken me away from things like the Discord server, but I genuinely cherish this community and there have been days when it has helped keep me afloat. That is saying nothing of my patrons, to whom I owe everything. I love every last one of them and there are too few words in this chaotic world with which I could ever hope to use to express my gratitude.
I wish everyone heading back to school later this month the best of luck and I hope dearly that you have enjoyed your summer. To everyone else, continue enjoying the wonderful weather and I hope you’re all living safe and fulfilling lives.
Thank you, once again, for another month. You all continue to be one of the brightest things in my life, no matter how gloomy aspects of it get.