March 1st, 2022
Much of my first Monthly Forecast was spent waxing poetic about just how smoothly January went for me. February was a rockier ride, but I did still arrive safely at the desired destination. It was a success in terms of writing output, but it came with much more stress and adversity.
I spoke during the last one of these about how I was set to travel for the latter half of February. I spent weeks sleeping very little each night in an effort to backlog Patreon chapters for that trip only to find out it would need to be delayed by about a month due to factors completely outside of my control. That news came exactly one week before the trip was supposed to take place, so needless to say it put me in a less than ideal mood. I then had to reschedule everything, set up logistics, and do all the rest — which was quite arduous on short notice and whilst working around variables that had voided my first travel attempt. My dog also had a nasty health scare this past week, plus much of the month was spent helping both family and family friends with an especially difficult situation.
Suffice to say that February was a very exhausting month for me on all fronts. The schedule I was so proud of in January was torn up time and time again by people and variables without regard for my own wishes or productivity. There were times in February when I wondered whether I could maintain my current pace, and others confessed the same worries. It was difficult and probably the hardest I have pushed myself so far as a writer, but now that the month is done, I look back on the experience with a surprising amount of fondness.
True, I cringe at the memories of stress and exhaustion and realize objectively that I perhaps pushed too far. Yet, on the other hand, I made very good progress with each of my stories and got the podcast truly up and running. I felt great after January, but it meant very little. It’s easy to be confident when everything goes your way. I had my resolve and work ethic tested time and time again as an athlete, but as a writer, I feel like February was my first real hurdle and I’m very proud of how I handled it.
I wrote several of the most important chapters thus far for Ashes of Chaos and wrapped up one of year 3’s major arcs, I began making serious headway on book 3 of Perversion of Purity, and — most of all — I think it was the most productive month I have ever had in regards to Conjoining of Paragons. I began realizing this past month how anticipated that story was and it made me rethink my schedule a bit. I really wanted to arrange things so that I could write CoP more often, and the results this past month spoke for themselves.
I wrote five chapters for CoP this month, which is absolutely massive for me. That’s more than a sixth of the total number of chapters currently written. To say I’m pleased would be an understatement, but it gets better. As an author, it’s always nice when your work invokes the reaction you’re hoping for, and these recent CoP chapters have been some of the best-received work I have posted over on Patreon. It’s a limited sample size in terms of feedback, but the initial input is very promising, so I am excited for the day when this content all goes public.
On a similar note, I can now officially give a progress update in regards to CoP — something I usually avoid doing with my stories. I can officially confirm that the final chapter of CoP year 1 will be chapter 33. Chapter 29 is the most recent one that I have written, which means I have only four chapters left in the story’s first year. I’ve said it before, but there will only be two full school years in CoP, plus an integral epilogue set thirty-seven years later. I’m not convinced I’m necessarily halfway through the story in terms of the word count, but it is nice to almost be at the halfway point from an in-world perspective. I will talk about this some later, but I do believe that I will finish CoP’s first year in March, which is something I’m sure many of you will be excited to hear.
One of the most important things to talk about this month is the podcast. Last month, I told you that I hoped to discuss the podcast in more detail during this blog, which I can now do. One of the few benefits of my travel plans falling apart in February was that it presented an excellent opportunity to make headway in pre-recording podcast episodes and testing our revised formatting and ideas.
I suppose I’ll discuss this first. In the past, I stated that the goal would be one short podcast every week, with one per month being significantly longer and featuring a guest. Once recording actually started, Athena and I realized pretty quickly this wasn’t a format either of us was especially interested in. Firstly because keeping podcasts to thirty minutes or less is both extremely difficult/limiting and also significantly less interesting for all involved parties. This was our first real clue that the format just wasn’t going to work, as most of our ideas necessitated much more than the allotted time we were giving ourselves. I also just don’t think either of us liked the rigidity of guaranteeing every fourth podcast would be guest-centric. We absolutely still plan to have those types of episodes, but they will happen when it makes sense for everyone and will not be so strictly dictated in advance.
All of that is wonderful, but I’m sure you’re all waiting to hear what the format will be, not what it will not be. Well, there is good news and bad news, some might say, but I think it will be a positive shift.
Podcasts will be posted biweekly as opposed to weekly. The compromise for this is that they will all be significantly longer than the thirty minutes we had originally planned. Most of the ones we’ve recorded so far clock in at about fifty or sixty minutes once edited, but we have done one or two that stretch towards the two-hour mark. This is much easier logistically and I, personally, would rather post a podcast I am happy with every two weeks than rush a subpar product out to everyone each week. I spoke a bit about this in the last blog, but I am a firm believer in quality over quantity.
I am also excited to announce the official release date for the first-ever podcast episode. Chaos Central Episode 1 will be posted everywhere on March 14th, 2022 and, from then on, will be posted every second Monday. The first episode is a good one and is themed for St. Patrick’s Day, so feel free to speculate what you think the episode might contain. I should also point out that patrons already have podcasts the rest of you won’t see until April, so if you would like to listen to the podcast episodes early, you can do so by pledging $3 per month over on Patreon. For those who plan to wait, this podcast will one hundred percent be available on both YouTube and Spotify, and it is our hope to have it up on other platforms like Apple Music as well.
We have a number of ideas lined up already, but if you guys want to submit any ideas for future podcast episodes, or just topics you would like discussed, a #cc-suggestions channel will be available on the Discord server at the time of this blog’s release. Q&As are something we will periodically do, so questions can be popped into the #cc-questions channel over on the Discord server at all times. Just please be mindful not to flood that channel with questions you know won’t get answered, as it makes the job of the person filtering through it significantly more difficult than it needs to be.
Along with podcasts, activities over on the Discord server are something that we’re looking to do more often. Last month, we hosted several live showings of The Princess Bride — as voted on by Discord members — and we are looking to keep the ball rolling this month. There should be a poll out shortly regarding what kind of activity the Discord server would like to partake in this month, so stay on the lookout for that. I also plan to hop on a public voice call for at least one chapter drop this month and chat with/field questions from whoever is interested. A poll will also be posted for that, though it is of lower priority at the moment.
In terms of my plans on a writing front this month, I’ll start with Perversion of Purity because it is the one I have the least to speak about. I have said before that this is probably the story I’m most excited for, and that is very much true. I am also nearing the more interesting bits of book 3 from a writing standpoint, so my eagerness to write more of this fic knows no bounds. I’m hoping to get at least three chapters of this written this month, which should hopefully take me through Samhain. I know that doesn’t sound like much is written, but the beginnings of each year tend to require more words than the end, so I’m actually moving along at a nice pace — especially because this year was the fewest words I’ve spent on Harry’s first month of classes — something I am quite pleased about. My very tentative hope, at the moment, is that book 3 of this story will begin uploading once more on FFN/AO3 some time this summer. I plan to write the entire thing before that happens, so we’ll see. Discord members will, of course, start getting the chapters sooner — though how much sooner, I am currently unsure.
Next up is Ashes of Chaos. I don’t have much to say here in terms of the actual writing. It went well in February and I have officially entered the really fun part of the year. Three or four of the last five chapters have been massive, story-altering entries, and patrons can expect at least a couple more of those in the very near future.
On the logistical side, this story went through a major shift last month due to the fact I have decided to begin posting on a biweekly schedule as opposed to a weekly schedule. This should not alarm anyone about this story’s longevity; keeping up with AoC at a weekly rate is simply exhausting and is really beginning to hurt my other projects. I have been aiming to write four chapters per month these last few months, which will not happen now, but I still plan to write two or three each month. This will actually mean that patrons begin pulling further ahead of the site instead of just remaining a few chapters ahead, so I think it is the best thing both for myself and for my patrons.
I spoke a bit about Conjoining of Paragons earlier, but I will do so again here. I am really pleased with how this story is coming along. I have said for a long time that I think Perversion of Purity is my best posted work, but Conjoining of Paragons has really shaped up in the past couple of months and I am extremely happy with how it’s coming along, both in terms of progress and content. My goal is for patrons to receive all four of the final chapters in year one this month, but we will see whether or not that actually happens. I don’t plan to spend many words on it in this blog, but my travel plans in February have been pushed back to March. If any of my stories wind up being impacted by these plans, it will be CoP — but I do intend to write two to three chapters of this next week, which is well before I’m set to travel. Here’s hoping I can pen the last one or two chapters of Harry’s fourth year before the month fades and lay down some of the cards I’ve been holding for roughly eighteen months.
In what may be a surprising turn of events for some of you, I actually have Fabric of Fate news this time around. One of the benefits of my lightened schedule in regards to AoC is that I can finally have time to write more of this story. Going forward, my goal will be to write at least two chapters of FoF each month. This is a very loose plan at the moment, and it hinges on a schedule I have yet to really play with, but that is, at least, my intention. You all at least know that I fully plan to work on this story. I’m actually very excited to do so and have been looking for openings these past few weeks to write FoF. This last week may well have been one if not for interruptions in my personal life that made writing more difficult. So yes, I plan to begin consistent work on FoF season II. I, unfortunately, do not have a release date in mind, nor am I likely to for some time — but I thought FoF readers would appreciate some kind of update.
One unique facet of this month is that it serves as one of the year’s four quarterly marks, which means that one-shots take centre stage. The one-shot I wrote for patrons back in December — titled Raging Fire — will be posted on FFN/AO3 on the spring solstice — or, in layman’s terms — March 21st. This is probably the darkest story I’ve written so far and I expect it to be fairly controversial. It is also currently very rough and is in desperate need of some serious revising, which is another thing I plan to do during these next couple of weeks. I won’t spoil too much, but let’s just say for now that it is a very dark twist on Ron’s retelling of the Harry Potter series with significant canon divergence beginning in year 4.
Any top-tier patrons can also expect a one-shot of their own this month that will remain exclusive to them until the summer solstice on June 21st. I am doing something different with this one and stepping outside of the Harry Potter fandom. I don’t expect my choice of fandom to be especially popular, but I’ve been toying with an idea for about a month now and have decided to commit to it. This story will take place in Brandon Sanderson’s cosmere. More specifically, I am taking a crack at the ending of Stormlight book 5 — a book that is not being published until 2023 or 2024. This story is going to be a combination of what I think the ending might feasibly look like and what I, personally, would like to see from it. It is darker than the series has gone so far, but based on some previous works by Sanderson, I know he is unafraid of writing darker content. I personally believe he has held back so far but that the trend will end shortly; something that will be represented in my one-shot, which will be titled The Night of Sorrows.
I spoke earlier about how difficult February was and, before I wrap this blog up, I would like to thank Lily for helping keep me together this past month. She has become one of the few people whom I will honestly vent to over the past number of months, and she put up with a great deal of it in February. There were spans of several days during which I feel as though I did little more than vent, but she was always very patient and extremely supportive. Even when dealing with her own extreme schedule, she routinely found time to check in, advise, and listen, which meant the world and aided me more than she probably realizes.
With that aside, I think it’s time to wind this post down. If you guys are interested in more frequent updates, I post Weekly Writing Updates over on the YouTube channel. Those have been posted on Mondays so far, but with the upcoming podcast, I believe the plan is for them to begin posting each Sunday afternoon. They are significantly less detailed than these blogs and discuss only my writing progress, but I imagine that is what most of you are interested in, anyway. Feel free to check those out, and subscribe to the YouTube channel whilst you’re there. That will notify you any time those updates, podcasts, podcast clips, or other videos are released. I may also post a release blog for the one-shot, Raging Fire, later this month, but that will depend entirely on how much time I have. Based on the fact that story will release almost immediately after I begin travelling, I wouldn’t bet on it, but we shall see. I will, at the very least, speak about it on the podcast, because I think that story could spark an interesting conversation.
Regardless of whether or not that blog gets written, I hope you are all excited for what is to come this month. The next one of these will probably have more to say about the podcast and CoP progress, and it is my hope that I can speak a little bit more about FoF and possibly give some more specific progress updates in April.
Until then, enjoy the last vestiges of winter and stay safe.