The next chapter weekly: Jan 1-7, 2023

Greetings, all! Welcome to the revamped next chapter weekly 🙂

I’m going to try something a little different. At the start of each week, I’m going to draw a tarot card and a Celtic oracle card to see if they offer any guidance.

This week, I drew the ten of swords, inverted, and Blodeuwedd.

The ten of swords represents fear of betrayal in relationships or fear of financial ruin. Inverted, it can represent temporary success.

While I don’t think there’s any problem with any of my significant relationships, there has been a little financial insecurity in my life recently. The two-year acting assignment as an instructional designer I achieved in November 2020 came to an end at the end of November 2022. Though I had been successfully deployed to my current division, it was an “at level” deployment, at a step lower in salary. So, I’m doing an instructional designer’s job for a courseware developer’s pay.

I have been working through another assessment process that should get me into a qualified pool from which I could be assigned to a position at my acting (or actual) salary, but as a business analyst. There’s also another possibility that I could have my salary bumped up by other means, or by an assignment to another team in my division.

I’m interpreting the inverted ten of swords to mean that this unfavourable financial situation will be resolved, one way or another, in the near future. It might involve some change, which I’m rarely comfortable with, and perhaps several changes, before all is said and done, however.

Bloddeuwedd represents a claiming of one’s own power, steering your craft, or directing your fate. I’m seeing this divination in terms of my vocation as an author. I’ve been taking steps to improve my craft and those steps will lead to success. The card could also support the resolution of my financial difficulties.

We shall see where these oracles lead.

This week also saw the full wolf moon. I did a little ritual to help rid myself of a bad habit. As the moon wanes to new, I hope to do a little better around my sleep hygiene/routine. Again, we’ll see how things go. I’ll let you know how it’s going in a couple of weeks.

The week in writing

I’m starting off 2023 slow and steady. I took New Years Day off except for posting my next chapter update and year in review. My two goals for the week were to continue mapping out Alice in Thunderland and work on the first three chapters of Reality Bomb.

I’m pleased to report that I’ve added 7 chapters to the Alice map (not recorded in the spreadsheet). This brings me to chapter 16 of 28. This work is in anticipation of a) finishing the last four chapters of the draft and then, after a brief break, b) revising the novella. I’m trying to incorporate some of the lessons I’m learning while working on RB with Suzy.

With regard to RB, the work is going slow. I’m definitely lacking confidence, but I’m finding my way. Made a belated discovery: I can input negative words in the spreadsheet. D’oh! It does give a better idea of my progress, or lack thereof. This week was a lot of back and forth, up and down. I’m trying to cut a bunch of pages out of chapter two (which is three of the previous draft’s chapters smooshed together). It’s challenging but rewarding. I’m definitely feeling that the draft is improving.

Here’s how the week broke down.

Revisions on the first two chapters of RB have resulted in a net gain of 3 words (!) Also, note that I only entered the net gain or loss for the day. There was often a lot more words written, then deleted, or vice versa, on any given day. It’s been weird.

On the blog, I wrote 420 more words on the last monthly next chapter update before posting it, 236 words on tipsday, 218 words on thought Thursday, and 1,150 words on this next chapter weekly for a total of 2,024 words. The total shown on the spreadsheet includes my tipsday and thought Thursday posts for the coming wee, which I prepare and post on Sundays.

Filling the well

I signed up for “Write that Book Already” from The Narrative Project and Sidekick Press from January 2 to 6. Interesting sessions, but three a day, so it was a challenge to keep up.

I also took my mom to another hair appointment and did some minor shopping.

What I’m watching and reading

In the viewing department, I finished watching Dickenson (Apple+). Just a delight.

In another surprise, two more episodes of The Shining Girls appeared on Apple+, completing the series. Very different than the book. Beukes’ novel didn’t include any of the time shifting and changes that the series does. To explain, every time Harper murders one of the other shining girls, Kirby’s world changes. She may not live in the same place, have the same job, or the same relationships with other people in her life. Visually, her hair and clothing style changes as well.

There are other shining girls that are characters in the series that are merely victims in the book. In the series, some of these women take back their power when Kirby kills Harper in the story’s present. She then uses the house to travel back in time and prevent Harper from ever moving in. Ultimately, she saves Dan (who was killed in the series and whose fate was uncertain in the novel), and all the other women harper had killed. Interesting.

While I was in Apple+, I checked out what else there was to watch and got a lovely surprise. They’ve done an adaptation of Charlie Mackesy’s The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and the Horse. So much the sweet self-care I needed in these still dark days of winter.

I watched Strange World (Disney +), a charming eco-fable wrapped in generational drama about fathers, sons, and legacies. Some things were a bit “on the nose,” but I enjoyed it for what it was, and I really appreciated how Ethan’s having a boyfriend is no big thing, even to his ultra-macho explorer grandfather. Refreshing and light.

Moving on to the week in reading, I started off 2023 by reading Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Yes, another classic I’d never read. I loved it. Dickens really does comment on the ills of his world in multiple respects.

Then, I finished Rachel True’s True Heart Intuitive Tarot. I quite like her take on the tarot and may pick up the physical book and deck she designed.

And that was the first week of 2023 in this writer’s life.

Until tipsday, be well and stay safe; be kind and stay strong. The world needs your stories!