Writing Update for May

I started writing this on a late May morning. Clouds are the order of the day with a temperature in the 50s – dark spots of rain from yesterday’s shower cover the yard. Last week had more than one day of sunshine and a bit of heat. Oregon weather never can make up it’s mind. Up and down weekly forecast describes how this month’s writing has been.

Real quick: I couldn’t find suitable images small enough to section it up. Some setting to fiddle with.

Here is…

What I wrote in May:

  • More of Just as Human Chapter 7.
  • Love Thy Nerd article first draft, plus editing.

My mood has been a hit or miss writing Chapter 7. As I said in my previous update, it has a tough section I had planned for a while, which Ive tweaked, and that made it better. First, I am going forth with my original idea. Then I am deleting specific lines in favor of a better idea. Further down the plot, this changes a few moments, including the ending in a better way. Editing my chapter spreadsheet showed me where those changes take place. Also showed me that I needed a simpler plot. So, I removed scenes that I could try again later. One or two can be expanded on in the existing chapters later. For the meanwhile, they were overcomplicating things. My chapter content became a bit more streamlined. That really helped put the end of writing this in place for…

later this summer.

Yep! Going to finish the last approximate 25,000 words by the end of August. This misshapen, broken draft of a passion project is gonna be done.

*fist pump*

Sometimes writers need a supplemental project. I need to break up the challenge with another small piece – my next Love Thy Nerd article.

It is my finale for the newer trilogy of Tomb Raider videogames, discussing Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Writing these over the last year and seven months has been a terrific learning experience. Seriously. The two editors over three articles – Madeline and Joey – have showed me how to turn these pieces from crap into something readable. Strong, even. It’s sad seeing sentences that I ooze over get put through the shredder, uh, backspace bar. But.. kill your darlings.

Editing is writing. Personally, I believe it is my strongest article for Love Thy Nerd. And I thought that on my analysis for Halo. Typically happens every time you are ratcheting up the quality bar, you know? You kind of aim high each time. This is my fourth feature-length article; fifth as a contributor. I love the topic of this one. All three of these have surprisingly applied to my life in more ways than one. I hope they apply to readers much more. If they do, that makes me grin.

Work Life

Since the beginning of April, I got hired for a hospital in a non-clinical role, through my temp agency. This contract-to-hire assignment has been a great challenge – a good learning experience. Long story short, I am taking that with me into my next step. For me, it was dull, unfulfilling, but a great brain exercise. Making more sense out of health insurance is a bonus. After the computer’s clock arrived at 5pm, I did not have much creative juice. I managed some writing, even worked my way back up to five hundred or more words a session.

Real Life

Connecting with contract work above, I will be returning to the world of freelance writing. Some of you know that life: that hustle before it all makes sense (literally), clients email you a lets-do-it message, and you try not living paycheck-to -paycheck.

Working these office roles since September 2021 have expanded my skillset. Stuff that intimidated me for a while. I used to think it was all far too much for my grey matter to absorb. Looking back, I can juggle more programs, use sheets of data and information, locate missing tidbits, and communicate with more detail. I am taking it with me into giving freelancing a second try. It’s one avenue into professional writing that I can break in to. With patience, planning, and persistence – and God pointing “Take that job” – I am confident this will work.

Who knows? A full-time permanent position can still jump out of the woodworks. It could work for time, then lead to something more. My game writing goal remains the same. Taking the longer path is the direction I felt an urge to this week. That said, I am coming to terms with an acknowledgement: not developing major video games. Only God knows whether or not I will.

For next time:

  • Wrapping up Chapter 7. Starting Chapter 8, maybe getting that done sooner.
  • Having the last Tomb Raider article published.
  • Re-learn freelance writing.

As always, thank you for reading!

Writing Update. Still here.

Hey all! Matthew here for a fresh writing update. I didn’t go anywhere. So I hope that you didn’t think I fell into a case of writers’ block. Despite lately not getting a lot written, I am doing what I have the energy for and stretching that. Now’s a good time to share word on what I have been working on.

I took a break from updating because I don’t see these postings doing much good. I am tired of churning them out each week. While I like publishing them to keep me moving along, motivated, disciplined, and sharing my projects with readers, I hit a point where I did not enjoy it. As if these don’t really get me anywhere. Ironically, I saw that my past update from April 5th got a lot more views than any of my others.

Simply put, I am moving to updating you monthly. In this way I can write more, take into account of life that happens between writing sessions, and add in some life moments when they arise. Going to see how this works. I think it will work out good for as long as it needs to.


Moving on to writing!

What I have written:

  • Finished Just as Human Real First Draft Chapter VI.
  • Started Chapter VII.
  • Pitched and resumed writing an article.

Chapter seven has been one I have been looking forward to for a while. Some moments happen that I have thought of over and over for long enough. I talked about that in my previous update, which you can find (here). Its an important one for Ellexis and a few characters. I am aiming to tell it good enough that it propels the story into the third act. Chapter eight and onward is when things get even more antsy!

Perfectionist aims aside, it will be good for this draft.

The article I am writing is the last of a trilogy. Instead of unveiling it early, I am saving it for later. Will someone see the context of the story I analyze in a better way? I sure think so.

So… that’s that! Thanks for reading and keep eyes on your email inboxes for next months’ update.

Writing Update and thoughts on marketing

Hello again as is usual! Matthew here with an update on what I have been writing!


As I start typing this, the sun has been out a ton today. It is nice having spring shine horizontally across my monitor. It doesn’t give any glare if I don’t keep the curtains open all the way. So that’s a plus. I just wish I had a window facing me. Having more lighting options in my room would be welcome, but that isn’t what I have right now.


And now to the writing reporting!

What I’ve been doing:

  • The last third of Chapter VI. As of today that means it will be 3/3rds finished soon.
  • Made more tweaks to my chapter outline in Google Sheets.

For once, I am in the page count I want to be. If you saw my last couple of updates, I was mentioning that Chapter VI would be shorter. This last part of it is an action scene. And it is tripping me up! It’s weird! I go to town writing action scenes. Details everywhere! Characters every which direction one reads, gunfire, explosions, charges, military humor, emotion, and my imaginary VFX. Of course, you can’t see the majority of this yet.

This one is short. I think that is the challenge. I normally draw them out, adding and adding and adding until it’s one massive sequence. This one is just different. Without saying why that is, it’s making me write, pause, re-think, edit, and write more. I’m even using a couple of pages from my skeleton draft. The rest of that part is rewritten. It’s better to do it that way.

That’s where I’m at in Just as Human Real First Draft. With having another short-term work assignment this week, and, Lord-willing, a longer one starting next week, I ought to be on to Chapter VII in several days. That one is going to be a far different chapter than the others. And it also means I have about five chapters to write before I finally connect everything to the big action scene happening in the end. And then after that?

The final chapter!

Hell. Yes.

I can go back to video game writing sometime after its done.

Moving on to another topic…


Public Health Strategy – MOPH Qatar by Charith Priyadarshana is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0

Marketing.

It is hard and it is exhausting.

I just do not see that these weekly updates are effective. I see my subscriber count before they get posted to Discord servers, Facebook, and once so far on Reddit. But, I haven’t had much success in the six-plus months I have written them. That’s not to say I will stop updating in some form. I do them to learn how to market myself. It’s that I am not yet seeing interested readers outside family and my social circles. So, on LegendFire – the online critique forum I am a member of – I asked what I can do differently. The head administrator – a published author I know – suggested newsletters. She’s never had success with marketing using social media. I don’t enjoy it, like her. Yes, it is a necessary and useful tool. Many others are savvy with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit. It is just not something I find fun. Newsletters are a way I can clump together life with writing updates. Make things more real. Perhaps more enjoyable. I still wish I had a bigger desk in my room to record these, send the MP4 files to an editor, then upload them to YouTube

You are probably thinking, “He needs to stick with something for a while.” Yes, I need to. When something does not look like it is working, and I don’t enjoy it, I take a step back. A monthly newsletter can be a great way to invite readers into my writing and parts of my life. You’d see me complete this book in larger parts instead of small, 3-500 plus sections every week. With that all spilled out of my brain, I might try that out. There’s also learning marketing from writers’ conferences online. Something works; it will be found.

That does it for this weeks Writing Update. Thank you for sticking with this longer one! I’ll just share this new prose and imagine what you think:

*

Good thing it didn’t reset the message when his signal bar turned into an ‘x.’ He rode crowded in an elevator a handful of stories. The moment the doors slid all the way open, they resumed pushing her bed along with a clear breathing mask, which hadn’t fogged up much. But oxygen did form on the transparent inside. Words formed in his head which he couldn’t muster the energy to mouth. Please don’t let this be the end already. Please. There’s gotta be something to stop it. Oh God, take care of her. She’s breathing though. Good. Her eyes fluttered open. Okay, that’s a good sign.

And for this week’s writing update…

I have a little more done on Chapter VI.

Still training my left fingers’ muscles to proper typing. So far, it is working. My ring finger protests to type ‘e’ instead of ‘w.’ My middle finger forgets how to touch ‘r’ sometimes. Or hitting ‘w’ also means my pointer finger taps on ‘f.’

Dang it, it shouldn’t be. Haha. It’s weird; they aren’t in any pain. Simple muscle memory to make.

Moving on to what you really read these for.

Chapter VI is becoming a pretty tense set of moments. Listening to more orchestral tracks emphasizing build-up opened up characters’ emotions that I hadn’t thought of. What’s going on is more than I first imagined, which is usually the case. Its two villains have a discussion about an outside event about to happen. Even if their thought processes read clunky with this take, it is a necessary step in seeing the whole picture of their goal. And that is just for the first several pages. More crazy things are going to happen with other characters.

In another area of the book, I have a significant moment happen to a certain character Ellexis and Nolan are close to. I always imagined it as a highly emotional moment that would also come around, so to speak, in the very end. It was brought up in a conversation with a friend this weekend. After getting her thoughts on it, I found another way to do it – a potentially better way. It is a sensitive subject. I typed up notes after we talked. This other option could generate, let’s say, lots of tug-of-war emotions in Ellexis that I didn’t think about before. You might be wondering, “Just say it already!” I want to say it. Trust me! But it would ruin a portion of character development. This all makes a tweak to the end of the story that I rather like. The choice is writing either option to see what works or going with this tweak.

That’s it for this week. No preview piece though; maybe next week.