2020 Writing Log, Part Fourteen

– I decided that Chapter 33 of Malice needed to be over and done with, so I finished it. This took all day on Saturday, from about 9:00am to 8:00pm. I took a short break for lunch and Animal Crossing, but editing this chapter was a solid ten hours of intense concentration. I started with 6,000 words and managed to cut it down to a more reasonable 5,200 words. They are all good words, I hope. I posted the chapter on AO3 yesterday evening.

Chapter 34 was already done and ready to go, so I went ahead and posted it on AO3. In the last chapter, Zelda recounted the bizarre abuse she was forced to endure as a child, which is finally described in detail after being alluded to at several points previously, as well as in the main story description. In this chapter, Zelda talks to her mother for the first time in twenty years and learns that what happened to her was even more disturbing than she thought.

– I put together a lot of notes about The Demon King this week. I decided to cut Hero, who was supposed to be the only fully sympathetic character in the story. I think the fact that Hero is a child would create tonal dissonance, as her coming-of-age character arc doesn’t gel with everything else going on, most of which involves unhappy adults making bad decisions after being forced into terrible situations. Also, Hero never really emerged as a personality for me, while three (adult) side characters have started taking on lives of their own. I’ll write more about them later, maybe.

– I was super lucky to be able to work with an artist I’ve admired for years on illustrations of the two main characters of The Demon King. Ceres was perfect from the first draft, but Balthazar took a bit more tinkering. It was a lot of fun to exchange emails with the artist this week, and I’m looking forward to being able to share the paintings early next week.

– I finished a three-panel gag comic about Ocarina of Time that I started last fall for a Ganondorf zine. I decided not to submit it because (a) the joke is kind of weak, and (b) I cannot draw my way out of a paper bag. At the beginning of this month I rediscovered the draft and decided that bad art is better than no art at all, so I cut a lot of corners and declared the comic finished.

This is all well and good, you may be wondering, but why don’t you put this much time and effort into your academic writing? I totally understand that line of thinking, but the answer is that sometimes I need to focus on emotionally fulfilling work that can be published quickly and receive immediate positive feedback. Although academic writing can be emotionally fulfilling, it only gets critical feedback, often after so much time has passed that I can no longer remember what I wrote. For example, this week there’s a book coming out from a university press that includes one of my academic essays. To give you a sense of just how many years this process has taken, my essay is about… wait for it… Axis Powers Hetalia.

My goal for this coming week is to finish up my online classes. Technically they should last until the end of April – a session or two longer, in other words – but engagement is beginning to wane and attrition rates are starting to rise. A lot of my students this semester are seniors, and they’ve already been deprived of their spring internships, their college graduation, and the jobs they were supposed to start in the summer. I have precious little energy to devote to the task of beating a dead horse, and I think it’s high time to wrap everything up and move on.