2021 Writing Log, Part Five

– I edited chapters one through four of The Demon King, an original fantasy novella about a garbage wizard and his awful friends. I sustained heavy psychic damage from some of the typos and inconsistencies I found, but the story isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It’s really fun to read, but I don’t know whether I’m saying this because the story is actually good or because it’s bespoke to my specific set of interests. In any case, you can read the draft (here) as I continue to edit.

– While I was in editing mode, I went back and edited the stories in Night of the Final Day, a collection of five short pieces based on Majora’s Mask. I know it’s a bit weird to say this about my own work, but these stories are pretty good, especially the last one. I planned for this series to include thirteen stories, but I ended up dropping a lot of side projects when I started writing The Demon King in November. I might return to this series one day, but I figure that it’s probably for the best to go ahead and label it as complete for the time being.

– I wrote and submitted the first draft of my story for Fated, a Legend of Zelda fanzine. You can follow the zine’s progress on Twitter (here).

– I finished an almost-final draft “Ms. Weaver’s Halloween Candy,” the short story I’m submitting to Midnight Gathering, an upcoming collection of original horror fiction, comics, and illustrations. I’m really proud of this story, which is the most Stephen King thing I’ve ever written. More on this project as it unfolds.

– I wrote and submitted an outline for “The Kumo Diary,” the short story I’m putting together for Carpe Noctem, an upcoming collection of illustrated historical fiction about vampires. The outline was approved by the editors, so I started writing the story, which is about a Meiji-era scholar who has discovered an interesting medieval manuscript. This is something I’ve been wanting to write for years, and I’m enjoying myself immensely. You can follow the project on Twitter (here).

– I submitted a review of Yoshiko Okuyama’s monograph Reframing Disability in Manga to an academic journal called Pacific Affairs. I’ll post a link to the review once it’s live, but let me summarize by saying that it’s a wonderful book and an extremely welcome addition to the body of scholarship on Japanese media and popular culture.

– I posted a review of the game Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (here).

– I recorded my panel for the 2021 Conference of the Association for Asian Studies, which involved a ton of preparation in terms of editing my paper, putting together a slideshow, and practicing the presentation itself. I’ll post more about this closer to the conference itself, which is at the end of March.

– I redrew an illustration of Balthazar from The Demon King to track how much progress I’ve made on my art style during the past year. When I put the images side by side on Twitter (here), the difference is striking. I mentioned this on the tweet thread, but being able to leave a toxic work environment made such a world of difference to my self-confidence, which in turn bolstered my level of creative energy. So much of developing a creative style involves experimentation, and it’s hard to take risks in any aspect of your life when you’re constantly being judged and criticized. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that changing my job changed my entire life.

– I started drawing three comics during the past few days. I made something of a breakthrough when I realized that, ironically, it’s much easier for me to visualize images through words. I therefore started writing out formal scripts along with storyboard-style annotated thumbnails, and this has made it much more comfortable for me to make progress on the art side.

– And finally! I picked up the Legend of Haiku zine project again! I don’t want to jinx it, but it feels good to be making progress again.

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