I write for the ones without a voice.

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Chauvinistic Coquette - at the 100,000 word mark.
This month alone, I finished five chapters for a total of about 45,000 words. For the first week and a half or so, I didn't write at all, busy going through growing pains as I allotted how I felt at the time to various parts of the story. After everything clicked, and I found my peace again, I went back to work. So the more realistic picture is that I wrote 45,000 words in 15 days. That's an average of 3,000 words a day, which sounds about right. Though most of the time, I'd binge the chapters and write them in two or three sittings over the course of two days, rarely taking a day off to pause. I slowed down somewhat over the past week as I felt myself about to burn out. I need to keep the pace for a marathon, not a sprint. If I get too tired, I'll lose my passion and my spirit, forcing me to put this project on hold. I can't let that happen.

All of the chapters set in the past through flashbacks are done. My target word count is still about 150,000-170,000 with around 20 chapters. For the remaining present day narrative, the chapters will likely end up being about 6,000 words or so. It's the flashbacks that are all 7,000+ words, with one of them totalling almost 13,000 words. Another one could have been that long, but I had to redirect my energy and cut down on the temptation to keep adding to that chapter.

Overall I'm obsessed with writing this book, but it's in a strangely healthy way that I've never felt before. Ten years ago, I used to write as an addiction, to get things out that I couldn't express to certain people. This isn't the same thing. Everything flows well and I don't have room to second-guess my ideas because they're already fleshed out. So I have no reason or excuse to procrastinate. This is the best I've ever felt about a story. The only thing that trips me up is what I had to experience to get to this point. I thought that I would spend a long time upset about something, but then everything clicked for me in a way that I can't quite explain. I understand how I am. I like how I am. It all works so nicely. I know to keep it to myself, though.


With everyone I know telling me I should play Dark Souls instead of only liking Bloodborne and Nioh, I decided to give Dark Souls III a shot. The responsiveness of the controls are a godsend compared to the input delay in the first game. I really, really like the game so far. It's "hard but fair," definitely. The boss fights are challenging and epic without tipping past the point of frustration and excess. While writing the latest chapter, I kept my character at Firelink Shrine, the game's hub location, listening to the music there and the crackling of the bonfire through my headphones. I had originally planned on listening to a couple of other songs for the chapter, but my mood ended up changing. I wrote the same sequence of events that I had planned on, just not with the same melodramatic tone that I had prepared for. Firelink Shrine's mournful, thoughtful track ended up working much better for how things naturally evovled as I reached this point of the story.

Playing Dark Souls III is my solution to keep from getting burned out as I continue to pace myself with writing. It also keeps me grounded as I take my free time to reflect on how I am these days. The game's hauntingly beautiful aesthetic fits exactly with this personal theme I have of finding beauty in loss. Maybe not just beauty. There are a lot of coincidences and conveniences, too. I'm also painfully aware of all that's going on as my country continues to endure through this Chaos ending of Shin Megami Tensei.

I pre-ordered the remake of Shadow of the Colossus as well. That's out on February 6. It also has a similar aesthetic that I'm feeling these days.

Gaming is better than ever, as is my muse, and I have no shortage of ways to enrich my mind and remain determined. It's hard to believe that I'm all right.

My aversion to leaving this place I'm at is the only thing that concerns me.

Still a knight, but night is still.

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