Thirteenth Notebook

Hardcover notebook with a ribbon bookmark. The cover pictures the famous print "The Great Wave Off Kanagawa" by Hokusai, except the image is mirrored to display the wave on the cover and Mount Fuji on the back cover.

The last notebook I posted about was finished last year, and this one as well, so I’ve been owing you this post for a while.

I bought this notebook at a museum where they had an exhibition with some Japanese art, and they even had one of the prints of this Hokusai masterpiece, “The Great Wave off the Coast of Kanagawa”. I visited the exhibition with one of my best friends some years ago, but just started writing on this notebook last year.

As I’ve mentioned before, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, since I usually prefer smaller notebooks I can take with me, but staying indoors due to the pandemic has allowed me to use bigger notebooks.

I really enjoyed using this hardback notebook by Tushita, so I can definitely recommend their products. Especially if you’re looking for a very solid notebook with blank pages.

But I’m sure you also want to know what I used it for, right?

Well, I’ve kept trying to focus on fewer projects, so I mainly filled it with notes for Academy, Feathers, Sanctuary, Fireflies, Oracle and research. But, in this case, a quarter of the notebook was filled with short scenes from all my projects for Taletober, a writing challenge that takes place in October. I’d participated in something similar (Escritober) a year earlier and enjoyed it, so I wanted to repeat the experience. This time was harder for me, but I might do it again this year if the prompts are good. I post these challenges on my Spanish Twitter account, so don’t worry if you’ve missed them. Because you haven’t!

Anyway, I hope you like this notebook and, believe it or not, I have another finished notebook waiting for its turn here. And I’ve already started a new one!

Art – Feathers Project by funkle420

I hope you liked my last art post, because I have a new one to share with you all. This time, the illustration belongs to the Feathers project:

This illustration has two characters against a starry sky. They seem to be resting, sitting down on something we can't see. They're at different heights.
The one on top looks younger, with darker skin, black curly hair and black eyes. He's looking down, his right arm and leg over the other man's shoulder, holding him in place. He's wearing some black leather armor.
The man below has sad eyes of a vibrant yellow, light skin and greyish hair. He has some grey fur over his shoulders that looks similar to his hair, and he's holding onto the other man's arm and staring at you.

As I said on the project’s moodboard post, this WIP started as a High Fantasy short story that got out of hand. The story of my life, I guess. At least, this time I still think I might manage to make it a novella.

The geography in this project is a bit weird, but there’s a reason for that. The magic is very strong and it shapes the world. Some people are really affected by it, too. Plus there are not many travellers, so the fact that these two could find each other is nothing short of a miracle.

Anyway, these are the lonely and touch-starved main characters of this weird story. In it, you’ll find magic, animals and very few characters, so I hope you like these two.

This compelling artwork was done by funkle420, whose style is very interesting and colorful. They have amazing portraits of humans and other animals, so please do check their art and commission information on the following sites:

Word Count – February 2022

I haven’t posted another word count update since October because there were no changes during these months, but it’s now a new year, and knowing about the bad months is useful too.

So here you go, the last two updates together!

Line graph on a purple background that looks like someone used a paint roller on a lilac wall. On the x-axis, 8 different dates appear: November 2020, January 2021, March 2021, June 2021, August 2021, October 2021, December 2021 and February 2022. The number of words appears on the y-axis, which ranges from 0 to 150,000. There are 8 lines with different colors, and all of them but one overlap.
Blue: It's the highest by far, since it starts from the 100,000 line and keeps going up at the beginning.
Gray: Starts as the second highest, around 25,000 and goes up quite a bit from January to March, then stagnates, then goes up again.
Turquoise: Starts as the third line, but immediately stagnates and is overtaken by all of the rest except one.
Orange: Very stagnant. It overlaps with the turquoise at the beginning, then with the green one, and then becomes the last project according to the number of words.
Green: It overlaps with several at the beginning, with the orange one in the middle and with the yellow one before the end. It has a steep increase and goes from the last position to the fifth position.
Yellow: It overlaps with several at the beginning, then it stagnates, but it rises a lot later on and ends up together with the green one.
Brown: Overlapped at the beginning. It is not known where it comes from, but it ends up in fourth position.
Violet: Goes from the last position to the second position.
All of them have seen a very slight increase in the last two dates.

As you can see, the difference is not very noticeable. I thought I would be able to write more during the winter holidays, but I’ve been very busy, then sick, then busy again.

I need to be careful these days and not get burnt out again, so I’ve been writing a bit when I’m still able to. I guess I should take it as a win.

Another win would be one more project going over 40000 words. Now there’s only one project left under the 40000 line!

By the way, you can see more about my projects here.

Vertical bar graph on a purple background with flowers outlined in a darker shade of purple. On the left, one can see the names of the projects. Below, the number of words. The bars grow towards the right and have stripes with different shades of blue representing the different months.
The bars go from longest to shortest, and there haven't been any noticeable changes in the last four months.
Oracle: Either doubles or triples the length of the others, but it's because of the first stripe, which covers 2014-2020.
Sanctuary: Has managed to surpass 50,000 words. The first to achieve it after Oracle, even though it started recently.
Brothers and Alcalá: usually very evenly matched, but Alcalá has a very wide third stripe, while Brothers has a fifth stripe that helps it go a little further, managing to get third place.
Feathers: It does not have a second stripe, but it has a very visible fourth stripe because there was a month in which I only added words to this project. 
Fireflies: Used to be pretty even with the Heroes Project, but has a much wider fifth stripe that makes it more even with the Feathers Project now. 
Academy: Very narrow third and fifth stripes, while the fourth is nonexistent.
Heroes: has a wide first stripe, but not many more shades of blue afterwards.

In this second graph, you can see how many words got added to each project along the way. Please take into account that the first light stripe on the left covers everything I wrote from 2014 until November 2020.

Also, it would be unfair (to me) to ignore the fact that I started writing two short stories during these months. I wanted to participate in a couple of charity anthologies, but I couldn’t make it before the deadline. Still, I did get to write around 15000 words for one of them, and 10000 for the other one, so I might continue them in the future. Especially if they turn out to be suitable for another anthology.

As you know, I’m trying to make regular Word Count updates like this one so I can check which months are better or worse. You’ve seen the evolution is not going that well, but I hope I can turn things around this year.

Wish me luck!

Twelfth Notebook

A notebook with a beige cover and a plastic sleeve. The cover has pencil drawings of forest animals, like an owl, a deer, a fox and some rodent. There are also lots of plants and mushrooms. Some of them have splashes of colour. Among the plants and animals, there's a ribbon with the words "let's meander and wander and maybe get lost".

It’s been longer than a year since I last posted about my notebooks, and a few months since I finished this one, but at long last I had time to write about it.

I bought this notebook way back in 2016, when I visited London with a friend before Brexit would make it more difficult. I didn’t start it until Autumn 2020 because, as I’ve mentioned before, I used to be inclined to use smaller notebooks when I was away from home. Since the pandemic made me stay indoors, I decided to make the most of it and use the bigger notebooks instead.

I really enjoyed using this notebook by Paperchase. The pages have several illustrations as beautiful as the cover, so I was even more motivated to keep writing in order to see all the beautiful animals. And the plastic sleeve kept the notebook safe and clean while making it much lighter than a hardback.

In this notebook, I tried to focus on a few projects instead of sprinkling words all over the place, so I mainly filled it with notes for Academy, Sanctuary, Brothers, Oracle and research. In fact, a quarter of the notebook was just filled with notes I’d taken at an online conference for and by Spanish writers, which I count as research because they talked about structure, dialogue, fear, routines, revisions, action, characters, diversity, representation, psychology, historical fiction, sword-fighting, query letters, irreverent romance, smut, and magical realism. Yes, there were over 15 speakers and it lasted 10 hours, but it was amazing, I laughed and learnt a lot, and I would do it again.

If anyone is interested, the videos can be found in Spanish on YouTube, so just let me know which one you want and I’ll send you the link.

Art – Academy Project by RedheadTrickster

I hope you liked my last art post, because I wanted to share a new one to celebrate Valentine’s Day. This time, I’m sharing an illustration of the two main characters from the Academy project:

This Art Nouveau illustration has two panels, like two tarot cards or a stained glass window. Inside each panel there's one of the main characters, both facing the opposite direction, but linked by a long scarf the character on the right is knitting and the character on the left has wrapped around his neck.
The young man on the left dresses in red and black. His features and clothes seem Asian, and he's gazing up at the sky, holding out one of his hands to catch the snowflakes while the other hand is touching the scarf.
The one on the right is looking down at the scarf he's knitting. His skin and eyes are lighter, his hair black and curly. He's wearing a blue and white uniform that looks like a tailcoat.
The background is framed by Art Nouveau shapes and depicts different elements from the story: floating lights that look like stars, white cherry blossoms, purple gladioli, and two crocheted circles behind their heads, a bit like a halo.

As I said on the project’s moodboard post, this WIP started as the High Fantasy version of the Alcalá project. Of course, the stories are VERY different by now. The main thing they have in common is that the characters are university students, but in this case it’s a university of magic.

I thought this project would be easier to write because it wouldn’t require the great amount of research Alcalá needs, but then I decided to create a very complicated magic system, so it’s going to take a while. As you can see, I continue to be my worst enemy.

Anyway, these are the main characters of this enemies-to-lovers set in a fantasy world with a university, magic, flowers and knitting. I love the they-were-roommates trope, so I wanted to add a pinch of it to this project as well. I’m hoping it will increase the tension and pining.

This beautiful artwork was done by RedheadTrickster, whose Art Nouveau style fits perfectly with this project. Please do check her art and commission information on the following site:

Art – Oracle Project by Juliet GarcĂ­a Art

It has been a while since my last art post, but I come bearing good news. This time, I’m sharing an illustration of the two main characters from the Oracle project:

Two characters are tending a horse and a mule that are putting their heads out of some precarious-looking wooden stalls. The sun is setting behind the mountains in the background, and a warm orange light bathes the scene. 
The horse is closer to the back. A short  young-looking man with blond curls and fancy clothes in green and gold  is slipping the horse a carrot with his only hand while he whistles.
Closer to the front, a big fellow with darker skin and a scar near his right eye is scratching the mule's chin while holding a bucket with more carrots. His hair is long, straight and black, his eyes are brown, and he's wearing practical clothes and a leather armour.

As I said on my previous word count posts, this WIP is my oldest one. It’s been going on for over 10 years, and I’ve mentioned that I started it in 2014, after my decade-long hiatus. But did you know that some parts of the story were recycled after I scrapped an even older story?

That old story was going to be an Epic High Fantasy trilogy, but the new one is a Fantasy Romance and I’m so glad I decided to change it! I’ve always enjoyed opposites-attract stories, so the new main characters couldn’t be more different from each other.

I’ve spent so much time with them, they feel like family to me. And they’re the reason I started writing for real! I needed to get them out of my head if I wanted to be able to focus on anything else, so I started writing about them, and now we’re here.

This beautiful artwork was done by Juliet GarcĂ­a Art, whose style is perfect for a story that’s heavily influenced by Epic Fantasy sagas, as you can see. Please do check her art and commission information on the following sites:

Word Count – October 2021

I was wondering whether I should post another word count update after the one I shared two months ago because there weren’t many changes during these months. But I’ve made the graphs anyway, so why not.

Here is the updated version!

Line graph on a purple background that looks like someone used a paint roller on a lilac wall. On the x-axis, 6 different dates appear: November 2020, January 2021, March 2021, June 2021, August 2021 and October 2021. The number of words appears on the y-axis, which ranges from 0 to 150,000. There are 8 lines with different colors and all of them but one overlap.
Blue: It's the highest by far, since it starts from the 100,000 line and rises a little more before stabilizing. There is another slight rise towards the end.
Gray: Starts as the second highest, around 25,000 and goes up quite a bit from January to March, then stagnates, then goes up again.
Turquoise: Starts as the third line, but immediately stagnates and is overtaken by all of the rest except one.
Orange: Very stagnant. It overlaps with the turquoise at the beginning and with the green one in the middle, then becomes the last project according to the number of words.
Green: It overlaps with several at the beginning, with the orange one in the middle and with the yellow one before the end. It has a steep increase and goes from the last position to the fifth position. 
Yellow: It overlaps with several at the beginning, then it stagnates, but it rises a lot later on and ends up together with the green one.
Brown: Overlapped at the beginning. It is not known where it comes from, but it ends up in fourth position. Violet: Goes from the last position to the second position.

As you can see, all projects have seen a slight increase, but they stayed in the same position. That might change by the end of December, though.

All in all, I’m glad I keep moving forward, even at my slow pace, because these have been very difficult months. I’m looking forward to the holidays so I can write more!

Now that all my projects have over 20000 words, I want to try to take them over the 40000 line.

By the way, you can see more about my projects here.

Vertical bar graph on a purple background with flowers outlined in a darker shade of purple. On the left, one can see the names of the projects. Below, the number of words. The bars grow towards the right and have stripes with different shades of blue representing the different months.
The bars go from longest to shortest.
Oracle: Either doubles or triples the length of the others, but it is because of the first stripe, which covers 2014-2020.
Sanctuary: It has five distinct stripes and has managed to surpass 50,000 words. The first to achieve it after Oracle, even though it started recently.
Brothers and Alcalá: usually very evenly matched, but Alcalá has a very wide third stripe, while Brothers has a fifth stripe that helps it go a little further, managing to get third place.
Feathers: It does not have a second stripe, but it has a very visible fourth stripe because there was a month in which I only added words to this project. 

Fireflies: Used to be pretty even with the Heroes Project, but has a much wider fifth stripe that makes it more even with the Feathers Project now. 
Academy: Very narrow third and fifth stripes, while the fourth is nonexistent.
Heroes: has a wide first stripe, but not many more shades of blue afterwards.

In this second graph, you can see how words got added to each project. For this new period, I used light blue once more. This way, the pattern will restart now that they’re separate enough. The last light stripe on the right is very narrow, but please take into account that it covers a period of two months, while the first light stripe on the left covers everything I wrote from 2014 until a year ago.

Knowing I had a very long hiatus before 2014 and a shorter one afterwards, it’s not like I was writing much during those six years. Still, I feel like I’m doing much better now that my daily goal is just 100 words and I don’t force myself to stare at a blank page for half an hour every day.

I might make regular Word Count updates like this one just so I can check which months are better or worse.

Aesthetics – Feathers Project

I hope you liked my third aesthetics post, because I wanted to share another one.

This is the one I made for the Feathers project:

A collage with 9 different squares over a sand-coloured background.

First row, left to right:
Footsteps on the top of a dune.
A dark forest with very tall trees hidden by the fog. 
A path among the snowy pines.


Second row, left to right:
A European wolf with yellow eyes.
The central square has "Feathers. Sol Vera" written in a cursive font directly on the background.
A raven.

Third row, left to right:
A fortified city surrounded by an oasis in the middle of the desert.
A green forest; you can see the sun in the background, the light filtering through the trees.
The sun setting over a snowy landscape.

According to the last Word Count Update, this is my fifth project in number of words. I have started a sort of draft because it doesn’t require as much research as my other projects, so I wrote quite a lot this year (as you can see on my word count posts) hoping I could finish it.

Like many of my WIPs, the Feathers project started as an attempt to write a quick High Fantasy short story, just like the list says, but now I think it might become a novella. In it, you’ll be able to find magic, animals, loneliness and very few characters. And, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve finished the outline and started writing a draft of a draft, so maybe I should update the page where my WIPs are listed…

Anyway, I really like the characters, and the narrator is very fun to write, but I know it’s a very weird story and I wonder if people will be able to enjoy it.

Also, there’s a lot of walking involved, and transitions are very difficult to write, aren’t they? Still, I’m learning a lot and I hope I’m making them more enjoyable to read than they are to write.

Writer life goals, I guess…

Disclaimers:

I’ve made all of these collages using free stock photos (and a couple of personal photos) on Canva, so to my knowledge all of them were free to use. Please let me know if that’s not the case for any of the photos.

All of these WIPs are still in progress, so everything is tentative. Things may change as the stories and the characters develop. Also, the images I’ve chosen might not be 100% accurate, but they have some elements that might be important within the story.