Updates from the Writing Cave: Misty March!

Hey everyone, I hope you had a good month πŸ™‚

I spent March buried in plotting and planning for Camp Nanowrimo, which was ideal as here on the coast it’s been foggy and rainy and I’ve had little desire to leave my writing cave!

It wasn’t all smooth sailing though: My partner had trouble at work again, and I spent a week in a slump of stress and inactivity. It’s also getting harder and harder to be productive the longer we’re in lockdown, and I really hope the UK government’s plan to unlock society stays on schedule.

Anyway, here’s what happened in the Writing Cave last month!

March Writing Cave Updates

Blogging:

I wrote three blog posts in March, an updates post, a quiz post on the type of reader I am, and a post on why I don’t want to write scripts, even though I love TV. This month I’ll write a TV review post. There might also be extra posts in April with Camp Nanowrimo updates and sketches!

MA Creative Writing:

As a final parting gift, my diploma listed an incorrect grade. I had to contact the university to sort it out, but thankfully it was easily corrected! I still intend to review the course at some point, but I’m leaving it for a while so I can be more objective. At the moment I’m still too focused on the negatives!

Writing:

I finished planning 34 chapters for Merlin: Second Chance in the first week of March, with my new twist, but my plot was scribbled on scrap paper and a bit of a mess. I decided to write it up neatly and list all the scenes, characters and locations for each chapter before I started writing.

My notebook for Merlin Second Chance, with Libra star sign on the front and surrounded by my collection of dragons!
My notebook for Merlin Second Chance, with Libra star sign on the front, surrounded by my collection of dragons!

This month I’m planning my locations, sketching out maps, and making character sheets for all my characters. The reason I’m planning so intently is I don’t want to get stuck halfway through a draft again. It’s happened twice before, and it makes me lose momentum.

Speaking of momentum: I’ve signed up to Camp Nanowrimo as a motivator. I’d previously decided Nanowrimo is useless, but I think approaching Nano without a plan is useless for me. With a detailed plot/list of scenes I hope it’ll work out. I’m aiming for 20000 words, because I haven’t written in months, and I’ll post word counts on Twitter! So far my count is 1401.

Merlin:

I only have one hand free as I type this: Merlin is sprawled on my lap and gets annoyed when I stop fussing him! He’s such a poser:

Merlin on my lap demanding fusses, and that I stop looking at the computer screen!
Merlin on my lap demanding fusses, and that I stop looking at the computer screen!

He was two in February, which I completely forgot to mention. Our ‘gotcha’ anniversary is this month, and he will have officially lived with us for two years. Honestly it’s gone so fast, but it took quite a while to adjust to life as a cat owner!

Social Media:

I hope to be more active on social media, mostly Twitter and Instagram, in April. I want to share books, games, TV, cat pictures, and other things I like, as well as continuing to support other writers in writing prompt hashtag games and sharing story quotes myself.

I’ve also ended my writing prompt game on Twitter, #SunScribbles. I’d been running it 4 years, but I didn’t have the time/energy any more: As an introvert moderating a hashtag game isn’t easy, and there’s potential for conflict too. I still enjoy reading lines shared by other writers, and often discover books that way, but I can do that without the pressure of running my own game.

Board Games:

We’ve been playing a lot of Carcassonne, a city building game. Because we have so many expansions it takes up to 4 hours, and the wonderful landscapes we build with these tiles are varied and sprawl across our entire table:

Sprawling city built from tiles during a game of Carcassonne. We need a bigger table!
Sprawling city built from tiles during a game of Carcassonne!

I’m going to try and post more of these on Instagram, as I think they’re awesome, and my partner wants to make time-lapsed videos of our games to put on YouTube. If we get more expansions though I think we’ll need a new table πŸ™‚

Books:

I read The Last Prince by E.G. Radcliff. It’s the prequel to an LGBTQIA+ YA fantasy series with two awesome male main characters. I enjoyed it a lot, and I’m even tempted to sketch some fanart of the main characters: I haven’t come across a book I’ve wanted to do that for in years! I plan to review The Last Prince, book one of the series: The Hidden King, and others, in May’s Book Corner.

scales divider copy

Thanks for Reading!

How was your March? Are you joining Camp Nanowrimo? Chat in the comments!

What do you blog about?

Fantasy/Superheroes, TV/Book reviews, Anime, Gaming (Dead by Daylight, JRPGs, board games), Cats, Arthurian Legends, Writing advice/research, Short stories, living by the sea, Dragons, Castles, Medieval/Anglo Saxon history, Fanfic, Fanart, M/M romance and my ‘ships which never sail’, and dairy free recipes. I’m a crazy fangirl, and all posts will reference cool stuff I like or my genres.

24 comments

  1. Yeah, your outline will probably be easier to follow if it’s organized and neatly written (or typed) rather than on scrap paper.:-) I am a Libra, too, but I don’t know where the constellation is or what it actually looks like. Still, it’d be cool to have a Libra notebook! Good luck with your April 20,000 goal!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, I do like my organised outline πŸ™‚ Knowing where I’m going at a glance makes it much easier to write! I love having cool notebooks too, my partner works at a discount store and they often have a new selection πŸ™‚

      Like

  2. How was March?: I finished the manuscript for book one of a trilogy about a human who’s been kept as a slave and determines to bond to a dragon and be free. I think that’s pretty good.

    I’m not doing Camp NaNoWriMo, but right now I am working on another novel about two male characters with an asexual partnership who desert from the army in their fantasy country.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awesome progress on your dragon story πŸ™‚ I like anything where humans make friends with dragons, and I’ll eventually finish my dragon rider story too.

      That sounds like an interesting story, good luck with it πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks πŸ™‚ I have lots of dragon stories. I have a completely finished, published series, where the one-sentence for the first book is “In a world where dragons are hated and feared, Silmavalien’s life is changed forever when she meets the dragon hatchling, Minth.”

        I like stories where humans make friends with dragons, too. Anything else about what your dragon rider story is about, or is that not for sharing yet? πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s awesome πŸ™‚ My dragon story is kind of the opposite: My main character lives in a village where dragons are revered, but he hates dragons because a dragon killed his mother. He’s not going to hate dragons forever, and his journey is about learning to accept them πŸ™‚ It’s going to take a while to finish, but it’s the first story I thought of and will always be special: The dragon and guy in my blog banner are sketches I drew of my MC and his dragon πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Louise! I’m sorry to hear that your partner had trouble at work and that you had a slump, but I hope things are much better for you both! Your blog posts are great! Glad that the grade was easily corrected, and I think it’s helpful to leave it for a bit/take a break. You have my support! Great job on planning! I haven’t done NaNo in a while as it is too stressful for me, but I heard Camp NaNo is way more flexible (is that what you found too?) You will do great – and your notebook as well as dragons are awesome! Merlin’s cute – and happy BDay to Merlin!
    You did a great job running SunScribbles. You mentioned potential for conflict – was that because sometimes people use hashtags for reasons besides story posts? I support you, my friend. Take care. Great post as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, hopefully things are, finally, settled now πŸ™‚ Working through the pandemic has been rough and the staff are so exhausted in general which causes extra tension.

      Camp Nano is very flexible. Instead of 50000 words (which I found either impossible, or I wrote a load of rubbish to reach the goal) you choose your own goal. Mine was originally 35000 words, but I edited it because instead of the 3000 words I used to write in a writing session, I realised I can only write 1500 now xD

      Thanks, and yeah that’s partly why I quit doing it. I’m too socially awkward to ask people to stop spamming the hashtag with things not related to the game. I’d been thinking of ending it for a while anyway, as it took up 10-12 hours a month which I could use better on writing or connecting with writers in my genre πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hope so too πŸ™‚ That does sound pretty rough. Are the customers nicer these days?

        That’s great :). Have you done Camp NaNo before? That’s a good goal πŸ™‚ It’s not easy to get in 3000 words/session. 1500 is good πŸ™‚ You’re doing great.

        Oh yeah, I did notice that someone else kept posting #SunScribbles to their posts. It’s not cool how people do that. Never got why people didn’t try making sure it wasn’t used for something else. But yeah, seeing how busy it is and how people spammed it, I can understand why you are not doing it. I support you.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Customers are still a bit crazy. We’re hoping it’ll calm down on Monday, when people have other shops to go bother again xD

          I do Camp Nano quite often, it’s a fun challenge. I think part of my decreased word count is because I used to write fast, but not edit as I go. Now I prefer editing as I go I also write less, so I’m not too worried about it πŸ™‚ It’s been so hard to get back into writing though because my partner’s work hours changed and I’m still adjusting to the new schedule!

          Yeah, I’d never use a hashtag for my own stuff if I knew someone else was using it regularly, and had been for a long time. Ah well, I can focus on other things and chill on Sunday’s now, since my partner now also has every Sunday off work πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

          • I hope it will calm down too :). I guess Monday is when the lockdown will lift for other shops?

            πŸ™‚ That’s cool. I edit as well as I go, so I’m slow. Yeah, I can imagine that would be difficult – it’s not easy when a schedule changes. Always takes time to adjust. Do you work on one story at a time? I believe in you :).

            That’s awesome. πŸ™‚ I hope you have a wonderful Sunday :). Take care :).

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yup, lockdown for other shops lifted yesterday, and it was crazy busy on the estate where my partner works. The shop he works at was nice and quiet though πŸ™‚ People were queuing at early hours to access clothes shops, which was kind of insane! Also the streets outside pubs were packed as pubs can serve outside now. We’ll see if it affects cases. Everyone over 50 has been vaccinated now, and those with health conditions under 50, so even if cases spike 99% of those who were likely to die from Covid are protected. We shouldn’t see more deaths or hospitalisations, in theory anyway πŸ™‚

              Editing as you go is the best way to write, in my opinion πŸ™‚ I probably haven’t taken enough time to adjust, so I’m struggling to write. I might reach 20000 words, but I’ve not been feeling well either and I think I need a bit of time off, unfortunately!

              Liked by 1 person

              • Wow, well I’m glad that your partner’s shop was nice and quiet. That makes it a bit less stressful :). How is he doing? I can understand why people would want to shop, but it is concerning to hear how packed things are as that can increase the infection rate. How many people under 50 are vaccinated? I know that for younger people, the risk of death is lower, but it can still get pretty rough.

                πŸ™‚ I know what you mean. I don’t like leaving in sentences that I know are poorly written lol. Awww have you been feeling under the weather for a while or is it more recent? Take it easy and take care of yourself. Hope you feel all better soon :).

                Liked by 1 person

                • He’s doing better thanks πŸ™‚ His new work hours are far more manageable and his new manager is nice too, at least to him!
                  Yeah, I can understand a need for clothes, I need new shoes very badly, but I can’t understand queuing outside clothes shops at 3am when they open at 7! So far only those with existing health conditions under 50 have been vaccinated, but the rollout started in age 45-50 yesterday. I think most of the time it’s rougher in younger people with existing health conditions or those who are overweight, although there are a few anomalies and we were still ill for at least 2 weeks both times we suspect we had it!

                  Yeah, my need to edit as I go is really slowing progress, and I think a large word count goal is stressing me out more than making me productive xD Thanks πŸ™‚ We both have colds at the moment so are a little drained.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Great- that’s wonderful news :). I’m happy for him! Is he also able to take weekends off? I wish him the best πŸ™‚

                    Wow, so people line up for four hours/wait for four hours? Dang. Do people need to sign up for appointments for the vaccine in the UK (or is there a different system for vaccines)? There are also young and healthy people who have died from it, as well as people who have long-run COVID (including in those who are do not have existing conditions). But yes, those who have existing conditions are definitely at higher risk. Hopefully many more people will be vaccinated in coming months in both the U.S. and UK. Hope you and your partner do not have any lingering symptoms (I’ve heard about how rough long-run COVID can be).

                    Aww just do your best. All progress counts. Is there a way to edit the goal to make it smaller and less stressful? Aww you’re welcome, be sure to get a lot of rest. Take it easy.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Thanks, so far it looks like he works every Saturday and gets every Sunday off, which isn’t bad πŸ™‚

                      Yup, I guess people were just that excited about being able to shop again! The NHS contacts people to book appointments for vaccines here: I heard it’s walk in centres in the U.S, is that true, or is it by appointment? Yeah, thankfully the amount of young/healthy people who die is very low, or the pandemic would be even worse. I guess from our perspective, we’re not very afraid of Covid: Working in food retail from the start of the pandemic, and for 6 months before masks were even made compulsory, gave us lots of exposure to the virus, so we figure if we were going to have it bad it would’ve happened by now, and we probably have antibodies too. I imagine people who worked from home/were furloughed are much more fearful though, and rightly so given their immune systems won’t know how to fight it and they don’t know if they’ll be high or low risk. I don’t think we have lingering symptoms, but it was definitely rough at the time, for a long time. The regular cold I have now seems like nothing in comparison!

                      Yeah the beauty of Camp Nano is you can edit your goal at any time πŸ™‚ (Although I’m considering dropping the word count goal entirely and focusing on hours spent instead of words written!)

                      Liked by 1 person

  4. Looks like we hit the reply limit again XD
    Anyway, I guess your partner gets one day a week off then? Glad he doesn’t have to work every day of the week πŸ™‚

    I think it’s usually by appointment, but there are some places that do walk-ins, I believe. But, mostly, it is by appointment. Some pharmacies (though I heard it’s called chemist in UK?) do offer the vaccine though. That helps with finding an appointment. Do pharmacies offer the vaccine in the UK? You’re right that the pandemic would be much worse if more young people were infected. I can understand why you and your partner are not as afraid of COVID, given the higher exposure and possible antibodies. Was your partner’s employer good about allowing time off to recover from illness? Glad that you and your partner do not have lingering symptoms as they are pretty rough (I heard of one basketball player who is not able to play and struggles to get groceries now due to long-term effects from COVID). I cannot imagine how rough it must’ve been, but again am glad you and your partner have not had the long-term effects.

    I support you πŸ™‚ Whatever you choose to do w/your word goal, I support you. Go Louise! :). πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just found this comment in spam for some reason xD
      Nah he gets two days a week off, it’s rare in the UK we have to work 6 days a week πŸ™‚

      Ah I see, yeah appointments are much better to stop people flooding vaccine centres. We use pharmacy or chemist to mean the same thing, and pharmacies offer the vaccine as well as doctor surgeries. Yeah the first few months of the pandemic were super scary, but now for us it’s not so scary any more. His employers have been amazing, they offered 2 weeks full pay for Covid sickness last year, and this year too, on top of regular holiday allowances πŸ™‚ It’s rough how some people get long term effects and others don’t though 😦

      Thanks πŸ™‚ I’ve stepped back from writing for a bit, to focus on other things!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lol I’m not sure why it ended up there. Do you think it’s because I mentioned pharmacies?

        Are doctor surgeries the same as doctor appointments? I was curious about this because of how surgeries usually mean procedures here, but I guess in the UK, they are doctor’s visits.
        Glad his employer has been great :). Are they usually pretty understanding? I agree, it is rough that some people do have long term effects. Not sure why some get them and others do not, but I hope we will find out more as time goes on.

        You’re welcome πŸ™‚ Are you taking it easy? :). Hope you’re having fun.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Who knows? WordPress is a bit odd sometimes with spam!

          Yeah our doctors are called ‘doctors surgery’ and we make appointments there, which is a bit odd as they don’t carry out many procedures!

          The company he works for is usually pretty good, compared to some employers at least πŸ™‚

          Yeah I’m taking it easy, focusing on exercise and household chores and catching up on everything else I ignored during uni πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

          • Lol it’s kind of like email, no? (Flagging legitimate messages as spam).

            Interesting. I wonder why they are called surgery in the UK. They’re called clinics and doctor’s office here. The differences in words is intriguing :).

            Awesome! I’m happy for him; glad he has great bosses and good management overall.

            Nice! Just don’t ask Peculiarexus to help with chores. He is lazy. Haha :). Besides bike riding, what kinds of exercises do you like :)?

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yup, my email does it too! The differences in names for things is strange for sure πŸ™‚

              Thanks, and haha Peculiarexus would watch everyone else do chores πŸ˜› I don’t really like a lot of exercise, maybe swimming and badminton? I don’t think Beat Saber on the VR counts!

              Liked by 1 person

              • Lol yeah email systems are overprotective πŸ™‚
                Differences in names reminds me of how spellings are different too (like color vs. colour).

                Lol Peculiarexus would probably help you with yard work though if it means he could attack trees and cut off branches :P. I’m sure Beat Saber and other games with physical activities, like DDR, count :)!!

                Liked by 1 person

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