How about this pandemic, huh? I’m grateful to be on the really lucky end of the spectrum so far: healthy, working remotely at my relatively secure job, an introverted homebody with plenty of company in the form of a family that includes zero school-aged kids. That acknowledged, the stress of this crazy time is not nothing. My mental capacity for spending time on an amateur work of speculative fiction has, you know, seen better days.

But I’m back, or at least I’m going to try to be. After the initial mondo sprint of NaNoWriMo, I’ve never really put huge chunks of time into this, but I’ve been pretty regular. The slow and steady tortoise, carving out a couple of mornings or evenings each week to sit down at the laptop and open up Ulysses and chip away at this thing. Those have fallen off, but I’m going to try to get back to them. In fact, I’m going to try to spend at least a little time on writing every day (I know, resolutions, bleh, but I’m aiming for a “most days, that’s fine” attitude more than a I’LL DIE BEFORE I BREAK THAT CHAIN one).

The Writers’ League hasn’t officially cancelled or online-ified June’s Agents & Editors Conference, though I can’t imagine it will go ahead as planned. So that’s a big milestone for my year gone. I submitted a synopsis and first however-many pages to their manuscript contest; I hope to still get feedback from that, regardless.

I’ve given the full manuscript to a small number of people, and haven’t had any of them finish it yet, which I’m trying to be cool about. It is a very small sample size, and I knew all along that reading this whole unpolished, unprofessional rough draft was a big favor to ask. I have gotten feedback that it has a slow start, and I’ve been worried for a while that there’s more going on than there needs to be. So I’m thinking that before continuing with lower-level edits – I want to bring the narrative voice closer to the protagonist’s point of view – that I should read it over from a higher level. Try to judge the pacing of the story, character introduction, world-building, etc., and not get bogged down in touching up the words and sentences. To that end, I just exported a PDF with a really small font and margins, and sent it to the on-demand printers at Office Depot. Tomorrow I’ll pick up 70 double-sided pages crammed with text, and start it all over again.