On Containing Multitudes

“Nothing hurts me more than saying what I don’t mean or saying mean things.” — Exquisite Mariposa by Fiona Alison Duncan

Dave Chappelle, addressing his fellow comedians: “You have a responsibility to speak recklessly.”

Read, Reading

Exquisite Mariposa by Fiona Alison Duncan

Skunk Train by Joe Clifford

Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

The Darkness That Comes Before by R. Scott Baker (This book was a Christmas present from my wife; she does her best every year to find a book that I’ve somehow missed that she thinks I’ll enjoy. It looks like a fantasy home run. It’s next on my reading list after I finish Skunk Train.)

The Plantaganets: The Warrior Kings and Queens who made England: by Dan Jones.

An excellent profile on N.K. Jemisin by the New Yorker: N.K. Jemisin’s Dream Worlds

Writing

Two weeks ago I finished a 12,000 word (let’s call it a novelette) that takes place in my newly created fantasy universe. The novelette is entitled Last Performance at the Three Dragons Inn. I’ve also been working on a novel set in the same universe. The novelette is of a length that isn’t accepted by most fantasy magazines, so I don’t have many options publication-wise. I’m targeting three publications that I respect. If it’s not accepted, I intend to publish the novelette through my publishing company, Knock-Knee Books.

The novel is, without a doubt, happening. I’m 13,000 words in and I have a very clear idea of where the story is heading. It’s going to take time (likely two to three years), but it will be finished. I am extremely excited about what I’ve written so far, and I hope that one day you’ll be able to see why.

The Deer King Series

What about The Deer King series, you ask? After finishing Last of the Baronites, I started novella #4, only to decide about seven pages in that I had taken a wrong turn at the outset of the book. It was then that I decided to take a short break from the series, which freed me up to work on my recently finished novelette. From day one I knew there was a strong likelihood that I would branch off to work on other projects before completing the series. I view The Deer King as a lifelong project; I envision the series containing twenty-five novellas when it’s over. Now that I’ve finished my novelette, I’m in the process of deciding whether to begin work on novella four in The Deer King series or whether to knock out one more short story.

As a full-time public school teacher, husband, and father (and part-time volunteer political activist), my writing time is subject to certain constraints. That being said, I have a nighttime writing block that I honor six days a week, and I can often scrounge up three or four hours during the week for additional writing. In the past I would work exclusively on one project at a time, but I’ve recently discovered that working on two projects simultaneously has its advantages, and I hope to make that a staple of my writing life going forward. At some point (perhaps as early as the next week), The Deer King series will once again become a part of my writing life. We’ll see.

Music

The Foals: Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost: Part I

The Foals: Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost: Part II

I’m partial to Part I. Both albums are a little messy and a little grandiose. Both are chock-full of fantastic tunes. Pitchfork tells me that I shouldn’t love these albums, but I do.

The Foals: Syrups (Live)

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “On Containing Multitudes

  1. Love reading your updates! Also, I’ll have to try juggling multiple projects at a time. Like you, I also do one thing at a time. Sometimes this means I relegate another project to the back burner for months.

    How often do you block out to write on your writing nights?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Scott! Unlike writing fiction, I really struggle to write blog posts, for a whole host of reasons. So I greatly appreciate the encouragement.

      As for my writing blocks, I generally write every night from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30p.m, excepting Saturdays. I’ve found I can balance multiple projects so long as I can touch the secondary project three to four times a week. For example, I’ll protect my primary project on all of my writing nights except Thursday, which I’ll give to the secondary project. Then I’ll try to write one morning over the weekend on my secondary project, and I’ll try to find an extra hour in the mornings before work once or twice during the week for my secondary project. It worked well for the novelette I recently finished (which I considered my secondary project). It was my primary project for about 4,000 words, then I shifted it to secondary when I began writing my new novel.

      I’ve struggled with this system when I tried to work on two long pieces at the same time (like two novels). But I found it worked for shorter pieces, and I hope it will work for either short stories or novellas going forward.

      Like

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