January Review

Greetings and Happy February! January flew by here, though it ended just like everyone else’s – freezing cold and covered in snow and ice. 1/10. Do not recommend.

Snowy Road

This is what the roads have looked like (from stocksnap)

Writing

January Words Written: 42,068

Check out that number!  That’s almost NaNoWriMo worthy.  It was a productive month as I fell back into the groove of writing after the holidays.  The first draft of my second novel is almost complete!

I’m looking forward to finishing the draft and starting revisions, but this time I’ll be taking the age-old advice of giving myself some distance. I’ll work on another short story between drafts to submit to Writers of the Future. I have a near-complete idea in mind.

An idea for another novel also popped into my head this month. I hear that is normal. You’re in the middle of your first draft, bogged down in all the words, wondering if it will ever end, and ooh! Look! Shiny new idea! I wasn’t abandoning the draft though, so I’ve taken some notes on the new idea and put it aside for now.

If you’re not a follower of the Writing Excuses podcast, now is a great time to start. They just began the 2019 season, and they’re discussing setting. This is a free podcast. It is only fifteen minutes long. And the people talking know what they’re doing. How can you pass that up? I’ve also signed up to attend the 2019 Writing Excuses Retreat because it was so good in 2018. It is also on a Caribbean cruise, which doesn’t suck.

Books Read

We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations that Matter by Celeste Headlee.  You may have seen an excerpt of this book or viewed her TED Talk.  I recommend both, but this is an excellent read if you have a bit more time.  Many non-fic books of this type seem full of extra filler just to take up space like they ran out of the good stuff after the third chapter but still needed more pages.  We Need to Talk is full of useful information cover to cover.  I’ve applied many of the suggestions to conversations with incredible results.

Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski.  This series is where the Witcher video games came from, and they’re just as dark and violent as the games.  I found it oddly structured, but I assume that has a lot to do with it coming from another country and language.  The most surprising thing was the lack of sexual content, given what I know from Witcher 3.  Oh sure, you can tell it is happening, but it was written in a way to generate interest and then move on.  I like how that was handled.

You’re Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day.  This was quite fun to read, as I’m about the same age as her and felt a lot of nostalgia at the mention of an earlier internet world.  It was also good motivation for my own adventures in creating.  She’s one of the people who helped bring Critical Role to Geek and Sundry, so I’m a fan by default, but enjoyed the book on its own merits.

Games Played

Fitness Boxing on the Nintendo Switch.  This was okay? I downloaded the demo, so it was free.  There was boxing.  There was music.  It was mildly entertaining for the few hours I played it.  The problem is I live on a trail and can get more exciting light exercise by going for a walk.

Witcher 3 on the PS4.  This game is fantastically long, and I’m still not finished.  The story and gameplay are excellent though.  There’s a reason it won many awards and almost every game I read about today is compared to this classic.  Also, it has the most badass trailer:

I’d still be playing Witcher 3, except I got something new on sale…

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on the PS4.  I’m a little late to the party here, but it was half off so I bought it.  I’m having WAY too much fun playing it.  I’ve never been too good at combat, so the idea I can sit in a bush and wait until people walk by me and then take them down is ridiculous fun.  Or I can perch on top of a roof and unleash an arrow to drop guards one by one until an area is clear.  Amazing.

Dungeons and Dragons.  We started a new campaign a few months ago, and now I’m a level 8 druid.  I went with Circle of Dreams and play the healer who desperately wants to tank.

Entertainment Consumed

I stuck with Critical Role this month, catching Campaign 2 on Thursday nights on Twitch and enjoying a stroll through Campaign 1 on YouTube.  I started watching this show because of Dungeons and Dragons, but I keep watching it for the characters, the world, and the story.  Any Critters still reading?  Let me know in the comments.

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