A November 2021 Break – In Prep for Editing Memory

Apologies for this one being a little late; my sleep schedule is such that I accidentally missed the majority of Sunday.

I would have done a November “Read/Watch/Play” today, but A) I haven’t finished the novel I started reading last week and B) the only good thing I’ve watched so far this month was Shang-Chi, and telling anyone to watch that would feel like an incredible waste of time. Because, yeah, I liked it—it was good—but also everyone saw it months ago.

Still, I wanted to take a break because this week had some weird medical bullshit that threw me off track.

And, as a result, I fell back into “Emotional Prep Mode.” Initially just to prepare for the steadily approaching nightmare of getting those leg surgeries.

But I realized halfway through the week that what I was really preparing for was editing Memory.

It’s been almost two months since I finished it, and, this week in particular, the corrections that I need to make started burning a figurative hole in my imaginary pocket of corrections. More than anything, I’m dying to get back to the ending, which I know needs a ton of changes; I went full “this part of my life needs to end” mode and settled on a bunch of stuff for the epilogue that I know is terrible.

On top of that, I’m also at the point where I think I can honestly read and edit earlier chapters without just skimming over them. The all-important distancing period is finally over.

So, I’m just gonna end this post here, because I want to finish prepping for tomorrow by compiling all the comments and critiques I’ve ever gotten into a complete, like, Editing Dashboard (and yes, of course it’s a spreadsheet). Maybe I’ll write a post about it if it’s actually effective.

Anyway, with that said, thanks for passing by.

I finally feel like I’ve gathered enough info from Likes to know that my most popular posts are the ones that focus on my writing process and WIP’s.

And first–aww, thanks, everybody! But second, okay–I’ll start focusing more on those posts. However, I still appreciate Likes as a way of gauging how readers feel about the content I put out, so if you enjoyed this, you can give it a Like via the left sidebar (on PC) or the top-right hamburger menu (on mobile). I also appreciate Follows because they help me grow my platform.

That said, take care, stay hydrated, and is anyone else as obsessed with the Shishi from Shang-Chi as I am? Seriously, I see people talking about Morris a bunch, but not the Shishi, which surprised me because, as a Fantasy nerd and a cat lover, they blew my mind. Like, they made me 10 years old again; I seriously just went wide-eyed like, “Whooooooaaaa,” and paused the movie to stare because they were so cool looking . . . Anyway, just asking. And also, my next D&D character is going to have a Shi Shi as a companion for sure.

Camp NaNoWriMo 2021: Week 12 (Bonus) – Memory, My Project for Camp NaNoWriMo 2021, Is Finally Complete

I . . . cannot even begin to express how I feel right now.

On one hand . . . so happy. Ffs, I finally finished it. Two full months late, but still, I finally finished Memory.

On the other hand . . . so tired.

Why? Because I’ve discovered that when I’m writing a finale, I do a thing where I get so into the writing that I don’t eat? And when I do, it’s seriously, like, bananas and bread? Sometimes with coffee? Seriously, today I woke up, wrote for four hours, got up, ate a grapefruit, had two slices of bread, and then sat back down to finish the epilogue with a cup of coffee I just realized is still right here, unfinished.

But it’s okay, because Memory is!

Final Stats:

Time to Complete: About three months.

Number of Words: 70,304

Number of Chapters: Prologue + 19 + Epilogue

Average Chapter Length: 20 pages.

Things I Learned:

  1. Always plot out fight scenes!
  2. When you’re writing your outline, never “leave it to future you” to decide how something happens. In fact, the more you plot out things, the better. Options for a Scene > A Defined Set of Events for a Scene >>>>>> “You make it up! Have fun!”
  3. The final draft will always be significantly different from the outline and that’s okay. As long as changes improve character arcs, wordbuilding, and all of the other good stuff, they are absolutely acceptable. In fact, being about to manage those changes, instead of strictly adhering to the outline or going totally AWOL with new ideas, is absolutely essential for my process (more on that in a future post).
  4. Additions, no matter how “free” they seem, will always require smoothing out. But if the addition is necessary, the smoothing out will be worth it.
  5. Rushing to complete a novel is bad. In an alternate reality, a variant of me wrapped up Memory two months ago and is probably now depressed because he realized he has to add an extra scene that’s going to require massive rewrites down the line. Seriously, I will never rush myself ever again.
  6. Although “rushing myself” means writing a novel in a month instead of a few months, so win-win.
  7. Likewise, the way I write my outlines, they basically are first drafts that I then nitpick to death when I write the actual first draft. The best way for me to think of my outlines is as actual “Alphas”–just the potential parts of a project, composed as a proof of concept to myself and a base to build off of–while the first draft would be a “Beta”–the functional but rough version of that project. Again, this is a good thing, because, as I’m just admitting to myself, I am a chronic “rewriter” (again, something I’ll talk about in a future post).
  8. It’s okay to take days off. In a perfect world, my process will always include full days off where I just do anything but think about my current WIP, and that’s not me being lazy–I get to have days off.
  9. I write dramatic scenes and dialogue to absolute silence or ambient sounds I find on YouTube. I write fight scenes to video game boss music that I am extremely picking about because I’m that much of a nerd.
  10. At the end of a writing project, I enter a weird state where I forget to eat. And when I do eat, I seriously eat whatever is the easiest possible thing for me to find and that’s it. Seriously, it has been days of either A) food ordered from outside, or, as I said earlier in the post, B) fruit. And, like, bread. Possibly a glass of milk. I keep thinking of it as “Blanka state,” because in Street Fighter Alpha 3, Blanka ate a lot of fruit for whatever reason, and, as previously stated, I’m a fucking nerd, so “Blanka state” is probably going to stick.

What Now?

I am taking exactly one week off.

To do whatever I want.

There won’t be a disruption in posting: after this, I’ll be posting next Sunday, the 3rd.

But between then and now? Probably Civ 6.

Definitely the rest of Star Wars: Visions.

Absolutely that bottle of wine I bought for this exact occasion.

Oh, and getting food. Seriously, I am so hungry right now that it’s insane.

~~~

Thank you for joining me on this long, perpetually bumpy road to finish this year’s work in progress. Of course, I have to edit Memory, and eventually put together a submission packet for it, but those are all a problem for Future Louis. Right now, I just want to say I appreciate everyone who’s been reading with me for the past three months, and I am excited to get back to weird content about my process. And hopefully, if my brain allows it, weird talk about stupid dreams I had.

My name is Louis Santiago, and if you want to join me and maybe hear about those stupid dreams, or want to keep track of what happens next with Memory, you can feel free to Follow me via the button on the left sidebar (on PC) or the top-right drop-down menu (on mobile).

Either way, take care, stay safe, and if you have sex in front of your parrots all the time, don’t fucking put them at your window. I mean, you would think that “don’t have sex in front of your parrots” would be common sense, or that–if it wasn’t–“don’t put them outside your window so they can mimic your sex noises to your entire goddamn neighborhood” would be a given. But apparently, my downstairs neighbors don’t get that, so, ya know, fyi.

Anyway, have a good weekend!

Camp NaNoWriMo 2021: Week 11 (Bonus) – I Am Right There

Seriously, Memory is in phase 1 of the final boss fight.

I am so goddamn close.

I probably only need a single extra day.

And that’s only because my week was pretty hellish.

Because I went to a specialist about my knee and discovered that although my knee will heal on it’s own, I really need to have a massive operation done to correct the bones in my right leg, which are so horribly crooked that I will not be able to walk in 15 years if I leave them as they are.

Just . . . Seriously, I have always had problems with my right leg; multiple surgeries over my lifetime have left it a total mess and I always knew that.

But I cannot express how completely and utterly I never wanted to have another massive procedure done to my leg. Seriously, there is no hell like having pins drilled into your leg and left there for months as you bones fuse back together. It is a nightmare.

But whatever. I don’t mean to complain about personal shit–I generally try to not do that on my site.

I’m just saying all of this to make it clear that I didn’t finish Memory today because I spent half of one day in a hospital, and the other half eating ice cream and tuning out the world.

My sleep schedule got messed up.

I reached out to a ton of friends for advice.

I stress drank some orange juice.

I’m a mess.

The Plus Side: I did just wrap up a meeting with my writing group that was abnormally positive for the novel. I left that meeting massively exciting to finish Memory. And I am generally excited for the idea that this procedure on my leg will correct other, existing health problems I have because of the way it is now.

So, overall, the future is bright. And that’s great.

I’m just . . . exhausted. Like, dark bags under the eyes, literally-nodding-off-while-writing-this-sentence tier exhausting. Seriously, holy shit–it just happened again. I keep leaning my head back and jumping awake minutes later.

So, okay. I apologize, but I’m just ending this post here. I will post again when I’ve finished Memory, and I do have plans for follow-up posts that I’m super excited about–I am ready to get extremely nerdy about my writing again with all of you.

But today, I am just going to go pass out in my bed.

Until next time, take care, stay safe, and Grimace is a taste bud. Goodnight!

Camp NaNoWriMo 2021: Week 8 (Bonus) – We’re in the Endgame Now

We . . .

. . . made it.

We . . . are out of act 2.

There was a moment when I realized that I need to change the monster from the Cave Scene, but I was immediately like, “No, I am not going back to change that chapter again this week!

“I just need this act to be done! I need this part of my life to be over!”

And . . . it is.

Surprisingly, the boss fight (the final fight scene I didn’t plot out) went amazingly well. I was able to work it out in one sitting despite thinking up massive curve balls to its setting and events. As with all things, I know I’ll have to heavily edit it when I get back to it, but that doesn’t matter.

What matters is that I’m past it. I have firmly planted a foot into the third act.

Despite losing a day because I went on WebMD to look up “dislocated kneecap,” because that’s what happened to me a few weeks ago. Naturally, I just found pure terror there, because if you didn’t know, that’s where pure terror lives–WebMD when you have absolutely anything wrong with you, including a dry cough. Anyway, I then absolutely destroyed my schedule to go to the doctors one day to confirm that my knee was healing alright. Of course, I need X-rays and to see a specialist, but the doctor did confirm that my kneecap is in the right place, so that’s something!

Overall, obviously, a good thing, but also, I was so weirdly exhausted that I lost an additional day not being able to sleep and just lying down and stressing out? I dunno. Dislocated kneecaps on a perennially messed up leg + zero sleep really fuck you up.

But whatever. I got through that, got through the fight scene, and I’m steadily approaching the end of the novel. I even managed to make minor adjustments along the way that are going to pare down the next chapters, which I’m really excited about.

The only challenge is going to be making adjustments to the ending itself, but I’m guessing I’ll only need a day or two to adjust the outline before I start writing it–famous last words, I know.

Still, overall, I’m ecstatic.

In fact, while writing the fight scene, listening to an extended version of the Waterblight Ganon Boss Theme, I remembered that A) what I was writing didn’t exist at all in the original version of Memory, B) it was the byproduct of pushing myself to do the openly transformative rewrite I could imagine, and C) I was finally writing it. All of that hit me with the music from Breath of the Wild, and it made me realize that I was writing something awesome.

Whether or not it’s awesome to anyone else isn’t the point; the point is, I planned a really intense, transformative rewrite of a novel with the intention of making it significantly better, and I was writing the perfect embodiment of that intention: a fight that didn’t exist with a character who died off-screen in the original version of the novel. I want to make it clear that I did not tear up, but I only clarify that because “I got emotional” feels like the most appropriate way to explain what happened to me. There was a moment while writing it when I realized, “Holy shit. I’m here! I’m in it! I get to write this!” and I had to breathe and calm down, because I didn’t want to lose track of the fight.

Which I guess is me saying goddamn–writing is a gift. My leg is fucked up and my life is garbage.

But at least I got to write this thing that, at the very least, was truly awesome for me.

~~~

That said, I’m calling it here. Sorry to write so late–this was just one of my vampire nights (days?).

If you’re new here, I post every Sunday night / Monday morning. I want to post more regularly on Sunday nights, but that, like everything, is a post-Memory goal.

If you want to find out how much longer it takes me to finish this WIP, feel free to give me a Follow via the button on the left sidebar (on PC) or top-right drop down menu (on mobile). If you liked this post, please consider giving it a Like because that’s how I evaluate what content to keep on this blog.

Until next time, stay safe, stay hydrated, and write because you want to. That’s really enough when it comes down to it.

Camp NaNoWriMo 2021: Week 6 (Bonus) – We Are Not Yet in the Endgame

Yep, I was overconfident about how far I would get this week.

To give myself credit, I haven’t written yet today (although I started the day with my first D&D session in over a month, so I feel totally justified). My point is, technically, I will be further along by 2AM.

However, full disclosure–staying honest–I just finished adding the new chapter yesterday.

In part because, as per usual, a bit of writing that I thought would be easy turned out to be a struggle.

Specifically, the chapter I added was full of what I’m calling “micro-events” that needed to be smoothed out. This may sound weird, but the flow of dialogue and character actions is something I obsess over, so there were plenty of times this week where I sat back in my writing chair with a sigh, rubbing my eyes as I tried to decide things like, “Should Memory mention that she saw this plant before Kole sees them?”

“Does Kole realize what this structure is before Memory tells him?”

“Wouldn’t Memory stop Kole from firing his gun in this fight scene because they’re still trying to lie low?” And then, with a huge sigh as I remembered that Kole used his gun for the entire fight scene in the outline, I grumbled, “Yes, she would.”

Tiny logic problems that absolutely dictated how natural scenes felt.

They dominated this week’s sessions because I’m so hell bent on making sure my story beats feel organic (particularly important for a mid-novel addition, in my eyes).

Still, I’m not bummed; I did finish the addition, and I do like it.

I just decided that I’d post now instead of 4AM because today’s session probably isn’t going to add words; if anything, I’m going to lose words as I neurotically comb over the addition to make sure it works. In particular, there’s one line of dialogue that I have to adjust because it creates a moment of one-sided tension between the protagonists when they’re supposed to be getting along. If nothing else, I imagine tonight is going to be me editing through the addition and the chapters that follow while carrying that one line of dialogue in the back of my head, trying to find a place to put it (because it’s a juicy moment of conflict that adds to their arcs so well that I can’t just drop it).

That said, I’m keeping this one short today.

I will go out on a limb and say there’s no chance in hell I won’t be in the endgame by next Sunday.

Absolutely impossible.

No way.

Not happening.

Definitely not going to regret posting any of this.

Nope.

Really tempting fate here.

But seriously, I’m creating a public, social deadline for myself here. Because I re-e-e-e-eally need this novel to be over and the one way to make sure I stay focused is to give myself a genuinely over-the-top, public deadline.

So yeah, are you kidding? Pssh! No way I’m not getting to the endgame by Sunday! Please! Easy! Poppycock!

. . .

I’m gonna go write! Bye!

Shifting Posts Back to Sunday

Hello.

I’m writing this to explain that, hey, I’m moving posts back to Sunday now that NaNoWriMo is over.

And, yes, I realized yesterday that A) I did not mention that shift in my last post and B) I should mention it on here, via a quick post like this one.

But then I got distracted with life stuff and forgot.

My bad.

But also, yes, I am going back to posting on Sunday.

Specifically Sunday night this time because the update to the Memory draft that I want to post requires waiting until after my weekly writing group meeting with my friends.

Because, essentially, there is a sizable addition I believe I have to make to Memory–a new chapter I have to add–but I’m waiting to talk to my friends about it first.

And by “waiting” I mean “plotting out the entire chapter in advance,” because I need to be able to roll right into writing it and finally finishing the second act or I’ll lose my mind.

Will this week have been a total waste of my time??? You can find out on Sunday!

Until then, stay safe, stay hydrated, and check your cane tips.

Seriously, if someone you love uses a cane, get them some extra cane tips–unless they already have extras. If they don’t, they should, because those things always wear down, and if they don’t have them, they won’t be able to walk–trust me, a cane that slips all over the place is a dangerous goddamn nightmare.

Anyway, see you Sunday!

Camp NaNoWriMo 2021: Week 3 – A Time to Chill

Fun fact: I did not remember that A Time to Kill was a movie until I wrote the title for this post.

Was not a pun, is not a pun: I have just come to terms with the fact . . . that I really need to relax.

Week 3 was fine. In fact, Week 3 was wildly productive–I have been averaging 2000-3000 words a day for the past few days, and my protagonists are halfway through the second act of their adventure.

However . . . I have come to some super important realizations in the past few days.

Thing the First: I Am Not Going to Win
Camp NaNoWriMo 2021

I know that sounds terrible, but I am in no way saying that I’m giving up on Memory.

Seriously, I’m going to finish the novel–in part because my process works so well for me that I now find it harder not to write for the day? It’s a weird feeling, but I just naturally think of how I’ll start the next scene and then–with the same energy I used to have when opening Twitter–I just pop open my MS like, “Man, I wonder what Memory and Kole are up to?”

That said . . . I am definitely not reaching 50,000 words by the end of the month.

It’s absolutely because of those days off I took earlier in the month. Lesson learned: if I didn’t take days off and just stuck to the 1,666 daily word goal, I definitely could’ve hit 50,000. But, I did take those days off on the first two weeks, and the result was a quota that kept getting steeper and steeper.

Until today, the first day where I needed to write at least 3000 words. Which would be followed by six additional days, in a row, where I also needed to write 3000.

And, full disclosure: I tried to hit that 3000. That’s why I’m posting so late.

But I ultimately realized . . .

Thing the Second: I Don’t . . .
. . . Need to Win NaNoWriMo?

I’m laughing as I write this because, when I wrote the first version of Memory, this same thing happened.

I took days off, fell behind, “lost” NaNoWriMo 2014, and then finished the book anyway a week later.

But here we are, seven years later, and it’s going to happen again.

The important part being: yeah, just like last time, you bet your ass I’m finishing Memory regardless.

It’s just going to take an extra week or so.

And.

That’s.

Fine.

If it’s happened twice now that I just needed days off and taking them didn’t stop me from finishing a WIP, then I guess the occasional day off is just part of my process now. The same way belting out a novel in (roughly) a month after outlining it for (roughly) a year is my process, so are the days when I wake up, look at the ceiling, and just say, “No.”

I don’t know why it took me so long to accept this. I guess I got caught up in the gaminess of National Novel Writing Month. But I just don’t need to satisfy the win condition of Camp NaNoWriMo 2021. Especially because I knew from the start that Memory was going to run longer than 50,000, as I said in Week 1 post. I guess I just wanted to be able to say that I won?

But I think being able to say, “I tried to win NaNoWriMo twice with the same story and I failed both times the same exact way,” is significantly funnier and more on brand for me. It’s a story and I like those.

And also, I like being able to breathe. This whole air-in-out thing is oddly comforting.

~~~

That said, yes, I’m going to keep these posts running until I finish Memory, because I’m staying honest about it.

If you’d like to find out if it’ll take me one or two extra weeks to finish this WIP, you can give me a Follow via the button on the left sidebar on PC or the upper right drop down menu on mobile. Likes are also always appreciated as a way to gauge what posts you guys enjoy and what content I should focus on.

Until next time, stay safe, stay hydrated, and if you’re struggling to do something in a way you think it needs to be done, accept that maybe it’s okay to do it the way you want to.

Camp NaNoWriMo, July 2021, Feels Like Fate

I know that’s a little dramatic . . .

. . . but I just finished editing my outline. Not rushing or stressing. Just at my normal pace, I just so happened to finish editing my outline an hour before July 1st–giving me exactly enough time to write this post.

And that outline didn’t need massive changes–the finale was just good.

And the tweak I made to an earlier scene yielded a significantly better scene.

And there was a thunderstorm as I edited the last bit (and, seriously, if you don’t know, rain and thunderstorms are my ideal setting for writing because of Jurassic Park [a major inspiration for me as a baby writer]).

And a heat wave just ended–on the eve of Camp NaNo.

I don’t know if that’s the requisite amount of things to qualify for auspicious, but it sure feels like it to me.

I would have nerves . . .

. . . if I wasn’t so goddamn pumped to write this novel.

My Camp NaNo 2021 Info

My name on nanowrimo.org is “LouisSantiago.” Feel free to add me if you’ll also be toiling away on a project this July.

My project for this Camp is Memory, a rewrite of a novel I originally completed in 2014. I spent the interim seven years working on other projects, learning more about my novel-writing-process, and outlining the rewrite.

My word goal is 50,000, the lowest total you can select because, at this phase of my writing career, I am extremely concise. There is a chance I won’t write a full 50,000, but we’ll see.

My daily goal is going to be 1,666 words, which would be a bad omen but, ha ha! Fuck you, world! I was a Goth in high school! Your supposedly evil numbers mean fuck all to me! Ha ha!

My weekly total is going to be roughly 5 chapters (the outline tops off at 19), which is probably less lenient than it feels. But, hey, I will at least accept the shoulder-tension-release I’m getting from that potential wiggle room.

~~~

That said, I’m ending this post here, because my ritual lately has been waking up super early and getting to work right away, and I refuse to break that–especially tomorrow.

This will be my post for this week because I want to give Camp NaNo and Memory all of my attention. I figure for this month, I’ll switch to Thursdays, and then go back to business as usual in August.

Until next time, stay safe, stay hydrated, and, please, no matter what happens, don’t let other people slow you down. I don’t mean that in a weird, lone wolf way. I just mean that if there’s anyone in your life who’s constantly telling you not to do the things you want to do, or manipulating you into second guessing yourself, fuck them. Your dreams don’t have to conform to what they want–ever. Be yourself. Live your truth.

And let’s fucking do this.

I Finished the Outline for Memory

Finally.

I can’t explain how good it feels to finally get over that hurdle. To finally be one step closer to writing anything else.

I love Memory, and I’m excited that I have ideas for its sequels, but man am I ready for the next steps in my process: making a few tweaks to the outline, and then using it to write Memory next month for Camp NaNoWriMo.

And, after that, moving on to a new project for the first time in six years.

There’s some additional tweaking and retallying I need to do between now and July—in particular, I need to bolster the one plotline and add additional stakes to the finale—but I am still in what I’m now calling “forced celebration mode.”

Which means I’m continually loading up my outline, staring at it, and realizing that I can’t work on it because I’m knee deep in what I call Recovery Mode, which is when I’ve just written a bunch and I know from years of experience that, if I push myself to do more, I’ll just be writing nonsense that I’ll have to delete later (no shame if you can push yourself, and I’m not advising anyone else to do this, but I have a finite amount of Write Juice [or whatever you want to call it] and I know to respect when it runs out session). Usually, that dearth of Write Juice (I like it) just means I stop writing for the day, but when I hit a milestone, I usually like some breathing room for a few days.

Which mean I keep telling myself that it’s okay—that I don’t have to work this weekend—and then I just kind of . . . wallow? No—wrong word. It’s not a sad thing.

“Not-work!”

Not-working is what I’ll call it.

Never in my life have I experienced it, but yes, I am in a perpetual state of not-working, where I just kind of roll around my apartment, lying and sitting in different places, thinking about the outline, excited to get back to it, but also accepting that I need a break.

Things I have done in my determined quest to just fucking relax for a minute:

Watched Escape from L.A. for the first time.

Played through Superliminal for the first time—in one sitting.

Read a ton of Ultimate Spider-Man, which I’m trying to catch up on after finishing Spider-Man: Miles Morales. There’s something addicting about experiencing all of the different iterations of Miles in succession (I just finished Spider-Man: Miles Morales recently and I watch Spider-Verse all the time). Every version of Miles’ story does some things better than others. For example, the video game version of his mother, Rio, is the only version with an actual personality. Video game Uncle Aaron is also the best. The comics have the best version of Ganke (the video game version of him is such an over-the-top, app saavy genius, that the moment he suggested monetizing the app he made–so people could contact Miles and ask him for help–I couldn’t get over the idea that he’s a silicon valley monster waiting to happen). When it comes to Miles himself though, there is no beating Shameik Moore’s smooth, reluctant-nerd Miles from Spider-Verse; I love comic book Miles’ reluctance to be Spider-Man, and I appreciate video game Miles consistently speaking Spanish (the only one who actually feels Afro-Latino), but cool, confident (eventually) Spider-Verse Miles is such a departure from Peter Parker’s routinely-beaten-down-little-guy, that he’s definitely my favorite of the now many, many Spider-People out there.

Anyway, I also suffered through Tenet (which I might rewatch to do A Writer Watching—I have so much to say).

I tried Goat Simulator, which I played for longer than I thought I would, but got tired of pre-e-e-e-etty quickly. The weird thing about being me and taking forever to play / watch / read anything is experiencing trends out of sequence. So, to me, Goat Simulator is just bad Untitled Goose Game. I know Goat Simulator came first—I know it birthed both the trend of wacky animal games and the trend of intentionally bad sims, but it is impossible to divorce myself from Untitled Goose Game.

I started Rime, which is absolutely beautiful so far. Having just finished Superliminal and intending to move on to Okami (which, yes, I’m playing for the first time), Rime turned out to be the perfect transition.

But the thing that I’ve done most recently to celebrate is ending this post here. Just keeping it light, possibly going back to sleep for a bit while it’s still cool. I have this last day to relax before rolling into edits and Camp NaNoWriMo, so I’m just gonna kick back.

And, yes, I will be posting here about my Camp NaNoWriMo run. I’m not going to write a series like I have in previous years, but, at the very least, I’ll share my profile name here so anyone else who’s doing Camp can friend me. We can cheer each other on!

Anyway, if you enjoyed this post and want to know when I’ll be posting an absolutely fierce, needlessly brutal takedown of Tenet, you can give this blog a follow on the left side bar (on PC) or the top right drop down menu (on mobile).

Until next time, stay safe, and I’ve been saying it for a while, but seriously, stay hydrated for the Summer. You can absolutely do that however you choose to, but I’ve found that, since going full Summer Mode (no coffee, just ice water and caffeine-free iced tea) I’m so much better at dealing with high temperatures that it’s insane. Seriously, I feel like an idiot: for two years, I lived in AC that facilitated me chugging iced coffee, not realizing that doing that made me a Grass type Pokémon; anything over 80 degrees was super effective against me. Kicking caffeine takes some work, but I’m so much more functional in hot weather now that I’m like, “Ah. ‘Summer Mode’ is going to be a rest-of-my-life type thing, huh? Got it. Cool.”

Anyway, bye!

The Plot, As It Is Now

Hi there. Apologies for this one being late, but I used my days off this week to hunker down and finish editing Memory: Shadow of the Lord Sun. I completed it on Tuesday, then had to work the rest of the week until today, so sacrifices were made.

I’m still really happy about it though, because I’ve been struggling with this last edit for a long time.

With it, I had to fix one huge issue that kept smothering my queries: the beginning of the novel — a part that needs to impress — was weird, confused nonsense. It is, as I’ve said in previous posts, my curse as a discovery writer; I start with something meant to catch the eye, then figure out what the rest of the story is, but when the story’s done, it creates a world in which the intro no longer makes sense. Figuring out a fun, new intro without completely breaking the story, was difficult . . .

. . . because I felt like I was getting closer and closer to that point when you, as a writer, hit the foundations. When you decide, “Well, this important part of the story should maybe be completely different . . . Yeah! Let me completely redo it!” But completely changing the one thing turns into, “Let me change all the things!” so easily. In my youth, I thought that was fine. As an adult, I’m way less keen to give up on a story that has merit in order to change it into a completely new story. I acknowledge, these days, that those new ideas are meant to be short stories, or different novels altogether. I also acknowledge that scrapping and creating a new story is the easy way out.

Because it’s easier and safer to never finish a project. If you keep editing forever, you don’t have to deal with rejection. You don’t have to actually make sure any of your subplots have pay-off. If you keep editing forever, you get to keep feeling like you’re making progress, even when you aren’t. You get to tell a skeptical friend, “I’m making it way, way better!” even though you aren’t making it better — you’re making it different.

There’s a point when you just have to stop editing. When you have to accept that the manuscript you have is the one you’re going to put out there.

I have absolutely hit that point with this novel; a lot of the changes I made this time around were erasing changes I made in previous edits. Because I’ve reached the point where I’m just tweaking the plot based on my mood. There’s nothing else to do aside from making sure that the plot, as it is now . . . is cleanly and tactfully presented. On that note, there is one scene that I actually have to revisit (the new dream sequence) to make sure it’s as intense as it’s supposed to be, but that will take a day, tops.

And, regardless, I can still strap in . . . for the unbridled joy of submissions. Today, I can work on my submission package, editing the synopsis accordingly. And, yes, the synopsis is right up there with cover letters on the list of Things I Hate Writing, but at least this time, I’m writing a synopsis for a plot that makes total sense, instead of trying to hide an intro that’s strangely incongruous.

More than anything, though, I’m excited to get back to short stories. I’m going to tank the next few months on three in particular: Lokisday, A Dead God in A Silent Realm, and Hard Reset.

It’s going to be . . . amazing.

My plan for this year was to get another short story published. I got a little distracted by the promotion at work, but I’m getting back on track, and it feels great.

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Thanks for reading. I’m going to grab lunch, come back, play a video game, then work on that synopsis . . . Yeah, ya know what? I’ll pick up some wine while I’m out there.

Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Louis Santiago, and I’m a fantasy writer based in the Bronx. My short story, “Aixa the Hexcaster,” was published last year in Mirror Dance Fantasy. However, I’m still very much learning about the writing process — still trying to figure it out — which means posting here every week, even though I make absolutely no money from it. So, if you like what you read here and feel up to getting updates by email — a new post from me delivered right to your inbox — then please hit the Follow button at the bottom of this page. Because, even though all I get from this site is emotional support, that support means the world to me.

Thank you just for passing by, and, as always, write well.