October 1st, 2022
What a month September has been. Usually I wax poetic about the woes of time, but I’m afraid that trend dies this month. September was by no means a bad month, but it was far from gone in the blink of an eye. My biggest complaint about time in September is that there just weren’t enough hours in the day. There was a lot going on. I mentioned in the last one of these how ambitious my schedule was and how there was no way I would get to everything. That proved very true, and also very stressful. There were times this month when the anxiety gnawed at me, but I persisted and am pleased with how everything shaped up.
There was a lot on my plate. I had about 150,000 words to revise, I really wanted to make progress on both CoP and my novel, and the month was riddled with interpersonal conflicts that ate significantly into my time and energy. That being said, I think I did well. I posted four chapters of Conjoining of Paragons, plus a chapter of The Road to Hell — a fic whose prologue and first chapter are posted on Patreon but will not be made available for Discord members any time soon. I have also managed to get at least two chapters of my novel done this past week — I will be hoping for a third in the next twenty-four hours if I have not finished that by the time this blog is released.
There were some wins outside of writing as well. We have taken the first steps towards the return of regular, public voice calls alongside the usual chapter drops on Discord — mostly thanks to Potato; a frequenter of the Discord server whose reactions bring us all much joy — and we have laid the groundwork for a couple of server projects that should be coming in the next few months.
Most of all, I finished the revisions for Perversion of Purity book 3! I’ll try not to spend a thousand words talking about those since I have already done that in an entirely separate blog — https://aci100.com/pop-book-3-release-blog/ — but that was a major landmark for me. I’ll talk about this a little bit more later in the blog.
Despite all the success, I must admit September was far from perfect. Some personal stuff crept up that dragged the month down a little bit, and there were a number of projects I planned to work on that never came to fruition. Namely the podcast — though I can confirm recording will be starting again soon, plus work on another, smaller audio series. There really just wasn’t enough time. Most days this month, I was working well over 10 hours, plus Athena was in the midst of moving and starting another semester of college. Things really just didn’t add up on this front, which is fine. Just know that podcasts will soon return and that, hopefully, the one featuring M.J Bradly I have been teasing for months will eventually be posted 🙂
Let’s address the elephant in the room and get it out of the way.
No Ashes of Chaos was written in September despite the fact I said it would be. I could give a hundred reasons, all of them true, but I’m going to be more open here than I have been in the past.
I did work on Ashes of Chaos this month, and this is not the first time I have done so since the last chapter was posted. There are a ton of problems with this story. I often rag on it and say how poorly written it is. I know many people enjoy it for one reason or another, but it really is miles below my current standards of writing. I find it seriously depressing when people judge my writing based off of this fic. Most of this story was written in 2017, posted three years later because I wanted to take up writing as a hobby and thought some feedback would be useful.
I had no idea what I was doing during that time and it shows. There are a handful of major narrative corners I have written myself into, not to mention several foreshadowed directions that no longer interest me the way they did five years ago. This is a difficult combination to work with. I spent several days this month playing with ways out of these corners that might segue into directions I’m more interested in without feeling like abrupt changes to the story, but I was mostly unsuccessful. My best options went against things I have already foreshadowed, which puts me in a fairly tight spot.
Not to mention that my style has evolved so much since the last AoC chapter — let alone this fic’s first two years — that any time I start a draft for chapter 84, it is virtually unrecognizable. It feels like an entirely different author picked up the story and gave it a go. This isn’t inherently bad, but I don’t feel like my style lends itself to this fic the same way it did five years ago.
I should point out that this blog IS NOT me announcing the discontinuation of AoC. I do intend to continue exploring options whose paths I will enjoy, but it is me laying my cards on the table and asking a couple things from you:
The first is to please stop pestering me about this story. I appreciate the interest and don’t mind messages asking questions, but the snide remarks are unhelpful, and the discouraging messages even more so. None of that will make me want to write this story — in the case of myself and most writers, it usually has the opposite effect. The other thing I ask for is patience. If you ever look back on things you wrote half a decade ago, you probably understand how I feel and the struggles that I’m going through. Here’s hoping I can find some fixes and interesting directions that don’t contradict what’s already written. Until then, I appreciate your guys’ patience and would like to note that the vast majority of people have been very kind and understanding.
I may not mention AoC in the next few Monthly Forecasts unless I find the fixes I’m looking for. Don’t read too far into this — it’s just because all of this will remain true until those fixes are found and that any words posted about those feelings would be entirely redundant.
Let’s move onto more positive things — namely the progress this month on CoP. I usually point out when an especially significant chapter has been written, but all four of the ones this past month fall into that bracket. Things are really heating up and patrons seem to be enjoying the fic more than ever before. Each time I finished a week and considered moving on, their voices were overwhelming as they urged me to write more chapters. This has been ongoing for the last six or so weeks. It warms my heart to see so much support for this story, and I am excited for Discord members and readers on FFN/AO3 to get the chapters patrons think so highly of.
There will be two more CoP chapters posted in October — one of which will finally pull the trigger on something readers have been waiting for since the very beginning. I hope to write three or four, but like I mentioned last month, I am backlogging chapters, that way I can spend the entirety of November working on the novel. This will probably be something I try and do more often going forward, so expect this method to become a standard one.
Most of my attention in October will be focused towards Perversion of Purity — because I can FINALLY write book 4! I have been SO EXCITED to start work on book 4 ever since I finished book 3 in June, but I had these pesky 150,000 words that needed revising before I could do that.
That revision process took upwards of one hundred hours in September, but it is done. It was stressful, exhausting, and the most arduous thing I have yet done as a writer. That being said, I am happy with how book 3 turned out — now only around 100,000 words after cleaning up the prose and fixing a lot of bad habits that no longer exist in me.
This is the best thing I will have yet to post on FFN or AO3. It’s not perfect and I have a story that’s better-written on the horizon, but I am very happy with it and am excited for you all to read it.
I plan to post four chapters of PoP book 4 on Patreon this month. This is where most of the backlogging comes in. My goal is to write eight chapters. That is… incredibly ambitious and might not happen, but here’s hoping. I have never been more excited to write this fic and that is when I do my best and most consistent work. I’m hoping this translates to plenty of chapters and that I can get book 4 off to a flying start.
Since I mentioned it above, I’ll take this opportunity to talk about The Road to Hell. This will be the fic I focus on most once CoP is finished. Discord readers have not yet got a taste, but patrons have read both the prologue as well as the first chapter. I’m not going to spoil much here, but since I have alluded to this on server, I will just say it is a time travel fic in which Harry lands in a world ruled by Dumbledore and Grindelwald. There is a ton of original worldbuilding in this and it follows absolutely no canon. It is my most ambitious fanfiction project yet, and also by far the most well-written.
I currently have six chapters written and I am extremely happy with them. I will begin posting it regularly when CoP is finished and work on it more consistently then. I work on it now in rare moments when I have free time and no self-imposed deadlines looming, but because of how busy September was, nothing but editing got done on it this past month.
I will just quickly mention that no FoF got done, either. In a perfect world, I would have finished chapter twenty-one, but this month was crazy, like I said. Here’s hoping I find some time in October.
Podcast recording should also start up in the next week or two. Don’t expect any podcast episodes for a while unless you’re a patron. Our goal is to create a small backlog before renewing our biweekly upload schedule. Patrons, here’s hoping you’ll get podcasts soon, starting with the long overdue M.J Bradley podcast. I’m sorry that’s taken such a long time to get out and I really hope the interest is still there — I fear it may have taken too long and that the intrigue has died down.
While we record this backlog, there will hopefully be some different audio content posted. Brandon Sanderson’s Lost Metal — book seven in the Mistborn series — releases on November 15th. I am currently rereading the series in preparation for that release and will be posting a video talking about each book.
I believe the current plan is for Athena and I to do discussion-style videos on each. If that does not work out time-wise, I will record a more review-style series. I really would like to do book reviews, but timing has always been a bit problematic.
I’m not going to promise this series will happen — either as a duo discussion or as me reviewing them — since I do worry logistics might prevent them from being posted in time, but the plan is to at least try.
The last thing I want to talk about is the Discord server. Now that my schedule isn’t quite as crazy, I hope to host both public and Patreon voice calls immediately following a chapter release more regularly. I think I’ll try and be in the public VC during the next CoP release, and I may try and do likewise for a couple PoP releases this month. Patrons, I will definitely be waiting for live reactions in the VC when PoP book 4’s first chapter is released. After that, we’ll see — but I’m happy to make them regular if the interest is there.
It should also be mentioned that we’re planning a couple of fun things coming up. I won’t speak on either, but they are very different. One is something we have done before, one is something new. I’m excited for both, but there is a lot of legwork to be done. One of these plans should become apparent in five or six weeks, whilst I’m not entirely sure about the other. That could come to fruition this month, it could happen later; only time will tell.
This is also the point at which I would like to give a few shoutouts. September was a very hard month, like I have mentioned. There are a collection of incredible people around me who help me through times like these, and I would like to shoutout three of them.
Athena, as always, deserves a mention. She’s probably the only person who has had a crazier month than me and has gone through a lot. I don’t think either of us were easy for the other one to work with this past month, but she remains stable as the glue holding so much of this together, and for that, I am grateful.
Then there are Reggie and Lily. Reggie helped me through a great deal of the interpersonal drama I alluded to early in this blog, plus was an excellent distraction when I needed it most. Few people manage to make me forget about unwanted stress and anxiety faster than Reggie, and that gift of his was invaluable during September.
Then there is Lily. Many of the same things I said about Reggie are true here. It’s difficult being stressed and anxious while exchanging words with her. She has pulled me from a handful of unpleasant mental pits this month when I’m not sure many others could. She also possesses an angel’s patience and has been a very welcome rock for me to hurl frustration against when the need arises. I’m sure she heard more venting than anyone would like this past month, but she endured and always knew when to let me vent and when to step in and add her own two cents.
I’m not sure how sane I would be without these three people, so I appreciate them all and would like to thank them here.
I believe that’s about everything there is to ramble about this month. We’ll see how well my plans work in October — a lot of stuff hinging on some delicate logistics that worry me a little bit, but none of those should affect the writing; they pertain more to the extras.
Thank you all for reading yet another one of these blogs. It still perplexes me why people seem to enjoy them so much, but I have fun writing them and they’re surprisingly therapeutic, so I will see you all in a month for the next one!