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The Writers Aspirant Accountability Thread

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I found the monthly check-ins and annual summaries of the Super Secrets Workshop inspirational. Together we watched as our fellow forumites (read: friends) grew into better writers, both in the craft and the business of writing.

 

With its closure (or, hopefully, its intermission) I thought it could be helpful to set up a new space in which to continue those accountability check-ins.

 

I am not Wulf Moon. I have not won WOTF. I have a single semi-pro sale and an SHM. I won't be looking at your writing and helping you grow in the craft. But I can encourage you to be accountable to yourself, and to work on the business of writing: finishing pieces, submitting them to the best markets, and challenging yourself.

 

So please, in the first week of every month, come here and let us know what you did over the last moon cycle (the lunar one, not the Wulf one). For those struggling to decide upon their goals, we'll set achievable community challenges to reach for each month, too. Personal goals should be preferred, but sometimes we need a little inspiration.

 

This first month, for those without a personal challenge, I propose completing your first draft for Vol 40 Q1, and submitting to at least one semi-pro- or pro-paying market. Now back to your keyboards!

VOL 31: R - HM
VOL 38: HM
VOL 39: HM - HM - HM - SHM
VOL 39 Illus: F/DQ

 
Posted : November 8, 2022 4:29 am
Anna X, Physa/ Guthington/ Amy, catherine and 5 people reacted
ajschultz6
(@ajschultz6)
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I love this idea! For the past month I've been keeping up with the requirements of the Super Secrets Workshop to try and push myself. It's only been a few weeks, but I've written two and a half new stories and feel like it's helped me up my game. I'd love a space to keep each other accountable for this kind of thing for Volume 40.

v37: Q3HM
v38: Q1R, Q2HM, Q3HM
v39: Q2HM, Q3HM, Q4HM
v40: Q1 In Progress
I'm available for critique exchanges via PM. Note: I will not be available for exchanges from 12/17/22-1/1/23.

 
Posted : November 8, 2022 8:33 am
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@ajschultz6 Two and a half stories in a few weeks is awesome!

The anticipation of joining the workshop inspired me to write more, too. Normally I finish my WOTF the piece with only a day or two, or less, to spare, but this time I'm already working on the next quarter and I completed a couple KYDs. I hope this thread will encourage similar results for all those that take part.

I look forward to your check-in at the beginning of December 😉

VOL 31: R - HM
VOL 38: HM
VOL 39: HM - HM - HM - SHM
VOL 39 Illus: F/DQ

 
Posted : November 8, 2022 8:42 am
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Cherrie
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I'm happy to join in here! I was getting a good groove writing a couple shorter stories to submit weekly and I will dive back in to that maybe end of December probably with a Q1 submission. I took a pause to finish the last novel in my series(~160,000 words) This month I'm doing Nanowrimo using it to write a new standalone sci-fi novel. So far I have 12,091words on this novel. I'm mostly keeping up with NaNo word goals but weekends are a bit harder and Q4 results shook me a bit this time. I'm back in a good flow state again now and cruising!

 

3x Finalist Illustrators
5x Semi finalist Illustrators
1x HM Illustrators
7x HM Writers
1x SHM Writers V39 Q3
https://clforsauthor.com
Author of the Primogenitor series: Progeny, Adaptation, Reunion Available on Amazon under CL Fors

 
Posted : November 8, 2022 11:34 am
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Cherrie
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@ajschultz6 Nice work! I definitely feel like writing several stories a month really accelerates my growth and confidence as well!

3x Finalist Illustrators
5x Semi finalist Illustrators
1x HM Illustrators
7x HM Writers
1x SHM Writers V39 Q3
https://clforsauthor.com
Author of the Primogenitor series: Progeny, Adaptation, Reunion Available on Amazon under CL Fors

 
Posted : November 8, 2022 11:35 am
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@clfors Great to hear you're back in a good flow state. And competing in NaNoWriMo is a fantastic goal for the month. And if weekends are a tough cookie to crumble, calculate them out. 50,000 words over 30 days is equivalent to 36,666 over 22 weekdays - still a challenging and worthy goal! I look forward to hearing what goal you decided to aim for, and how much you kicked its ass, once the month is over.

VOL 31: R - HM
VOL 38: HM
VOL 39: HM - HM - HM - SHM
VOL 39 Illus: F/DQ

 
Posted : November 8, 2022 1:56 pm
DoctorJest
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Well, I'll join you guys for this. As of today, I've subbed to three pro/semi-pro markets beginning November 1st, and I'm somewhere around 80-90% done with my first draft for v40.Q1.

I'm also feeling a little exhausted, and a touch of accountability really wouldn't hurt in terms of keeping me focused at the moment, so...yeah, count me in.

DQ: 0 / R: 0 / RWC: 0 / HM: 11 / SHM: 6 / SF: 1 / F: 1
Rewriting Q1.V40, first draft complete
Last four: SHM • SHM • SF • HM
Revised SHM ('Ashwright') at PodCastle

 
Posted : November 8, 2022 5:41 pm
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Nice one, @doctorjest, though I hope you don't burn yourself out! 

VOL 31: R - HM
VOL 38: HM
VOL 39: HM - HM - HM - SHM
VOL 39 Illus: F/DQ

 
Posted : November 8, 2022 5:55 pm
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DoctorJest
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Posted by: @ease

Nice one, @doctorjest, though I hope you don't burn yourself out! 

I'm hoping that too! But I find that writing, by and large, is something that helps me to not burn out...the trouble is, when I'm burning out on other things, it doesn't always feel like that. It's nice to have an anchor now and then.

DQ: 0 / R: 0 / RWC: 0 / HM: 11 / SHM: 6 / SF: 1 / F: 1
Rewriting Q1.V40, first draft complete
Last four: SHM • SHM • SF • HM
Revised SHM ('Ashwright') at PodCastle

 
Posted : November 8, 2022 6:04 pm
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Writhmic
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Sounds like a wonderful idea! I'd be happy to join!

V39/Q2-SHM
V39/Q3-SHM
V39/Q4-RWC
V40/Q1-WIP

 
Posted : November 8, 2022 6:10 pm
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pdblake
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My q1 v40 is already in. I've just finished a short urban fantasy first draft and another story is trying to wriggle out of my head.

I have 11 stories out doing the rounds at the moment, one has been held for a while (they tell me December), two were submitted this month.

I've been a bit down this year so my writing has been all over the place, but I've perked up recently having being told I'm going to be a grandad soon (April), so hopefully my head will start peddling in the right direction again.

I'll join in as much as I can. 

R:6 RWC:1 HM:6 SHM:3
My Blog

 
Posted : November 9, 2022 3:06 am
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@doctorjest, I find writing because-i-want-to restorative rather than draining. But writing for a deadline when I'm not self-motivated... Eek! Part of why I'm glad to be ahead of V40Q1 for once.

@writhmic, glad to have you here! Have you thought about making "choose an idea" your goal for November? 😂

@pdblake, sorry to hear you've had a tough year, but that is wondrous news. I can't wait to be a grandparent, personally. And congrats on your SHM. It sounds like you've already smashed the suggested community goal. What's your goal for this month/the rest of the quarter? 

VOL 31: R - HM
VOL 38: HM
VOL 39: HM - HM - HM - SHM
VOL 39 Illus: F/DQ

 
Posted : November 9, 2022 4:08 am
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@ease This month I intend to let that story wriggle all the way out of my head. The rest will be novel editing and, if it ever stops raining, I may well procrastinate in the vegetable patch giggle . I've a couple of older shorts that I feel will be better for an edit too.

R:6 RWC:1 HM:6 SHM:3
My Blog

 
Posted : November 9, 2022 4:20 am
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Writhmic
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Posted by: @ease

@writhmic, glad to have you here! Have you thought about making "choose an idea" your goal for November? 😂

Haha I should totally make that my goal. But I think I have the idea (subject to change 😅). Maybe I'll make plotting it my goal...

 

V39/Q2-SHM
V39/Q3-SHM
V39/Q4-RWC
V40/Q1-WIP

 
Posted : November 11, 2022 5:36 pm
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Anna X
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Hi! I would love to participate. Thank you for making this thread! @ease

I think I did about 4 KYDs in the past month. I started two of my Zombies Need Brains (ZNB) entries. I started my V40 Q1 entry. 

By the end of this month, I’d like to have both ZNB entries finished and have my Q1 draft finished. 

My goal for next month is to turn in both ZNB and WoTF. I then need to write and finish and turn in two more entries for ZNB. I’d also like to write at least 4 KayDs (one per week) since that’s not too difficult. 

~ I honestly believe that good stories write themselves. You can always start writing a story, but the characters tell their own tales and if you're lucky enough, you get to merely be in the audience watching everything unfold. ~ 8/1/2022
***
WotF - 2022, V39 Q4: R
WotF - 2022, V40 Q1: In Progress

 
Posted : November 11, 2022 7:46 pm
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@annax, welcome! I'm so glad you joined us here.

Very ambitious goals, finishing three stories and writing four KYDs! I'm sure you will pull it off 😁 

Out of curiosity, why the focus on ZNB over all the other markets? (Although that's an interesting question on a forum devoted to WOTF 😝).

 

VOL 31: R - HM
VOL 38: HM
VOL 39: HM - HM - HM - SHM
VOL 39 Illus: F/DQ

 
Posted : November 12, 2022 5:19 am
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Anna X
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Posted by: @ease

@annax, welcome! I'm so glad you joined us here.

Very ambitious goals, finishing three stories and writing four KYDs! I'm sure you will pull it off 😁 

Out of curiosity, why the focus on ZNB over all the other markets? (Although that's an interesting question on a forum devoted to WOTF 😝).

 

 

The focus on ZNB is because I had already committed myself to entering in all four of their submission calls a month or two earlier so I need to stick to my word. 

After that, I’ll look at other submission calls for anthologies. 

KYDs are easy. It only takes a few hours to write one and then get it below the 250-word limit by cutting out all the excess and unnecessary words. At least that’s my opinion. KYDs are starting stories. When you start a story, it’s much easier than finishing writing the story.

Literally anything can be an idea. Something you saw that day. A half remembered poem. Words you heard in passing. Something someone said. A cloud shaped like an ice cream cone. Ideas are everywhere. Throw in a spark of something magical, give it a name, and you’re good to go. We’ve got it easy. We’re science fiction and fantasy. There’s no need for complicated realism. We make things up as we go along and it’s fantastic!

I vote for you to start a thread on creating ideas from anything and everything. And see how much we really can be creative except we don’t because we’re busy or our thoughts aren’t focused at the moment. Ideas are not hard. Stories are not hard. What’s hard is sitting there and writing it out. 

 

~ I honestly believe that good stories write themselves. You can always start writing a story, but the characters tell their own tales and if you're lucky enough, you get to merely be in the audience watching everything unfold. ~ 8/1/2022
***
WotF - 2022, V39 Q4: R
WotF - 2022, V40 Q1: In Progress

 
Posted : November 12, 2022 7:47 am
DoctorJest
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I'm currently stuck with the final crescendo part of my Q1 story, trying to figure out some important specifics. I know generally what happens, and why--I know who does it, and where it leads them. But the specifics of how are proving awfully ethereal and tricky to pin down, and in this instance, they're important, not something I can simply skirt around in summary without it feeling like a cheat. After three days of thinking about it, I'm just not certain of what the correct path here should be. The things I've considered so far feel too obvious--they work, functionally, but they aren't an interesting solution to the problem I've put in front of my main character, and nor do they feel entirely organic within the story. They feel too much like they'll let this climactic build-up fizzle out, when it should be laced through with tension. 

So, I'm going to revisit an old writer's block exercise--simply writing out everything that could happen next, no matter how stupid or ridiculous it might seem, and see if I can't find a new path forward that I haven't considered before, either from one of them, or from some combination.

DQ: 0 / R: 0 / RWC: 0 / HM: 11 / SHM: 6 / SF: 1 / F: 1
Rewriting Q1.V40, first draft complete
Last four: SHM • SHM • SF • HM
Revised SHM ('Ashwright') at PodCastle

 
Posted : November 12, 2022 10:07 pm
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@doctorjest This may not be relevant, but I've heard that when an ending fizzles it's normally because you're closing you MICE quotient sub plots in the wrong order, or not close enough together.

Another option you could try is to crowd source the solution. Tell a load of people (individually, not letting the influence each other): you're in this situation with this goal, what do you do? Then mix and match the best bits.

Or maybe you need another try-fail cycle. They try the obvious but uninteresting solution, but it actually makes things worse, and now they need to be even smarter. If the conflict is more challenging the solution should inherently be more impressive/interesting.

Lastly, that obvious solution might only be obvious because you're the author. You could try writing it out (perhaps super roughly?) and getting a few alpha reads on it?

VOL 31: R - HM
VOL 38: HM
VOL 39: HM - HM - HM - SHM
VOL 39 Illus: F/DQ

 
Posted : November 13, 2022 5:11 am
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There's definitely a lot to unpack with it--it's not exactly this, though I think it is in the vicinity of some pieces of what's described. The basic ending works okay when written, so that isn't wrong exactly, but it doesn't deliver on the themes the way I want it to, and I think it fails to sustain tension in a meaningful way.

I have come up with a few new ideas, though, which I think will let me resolve this. I have a few options ahead of me:

1. Write out the new ideas, continuing on from exactly where I was looking.

2. Return to the immediately prior try-fail ending, and rework it so that the outcome is even worse, then build out from the new ideas (this heightens tension, but also drastically changes the type of tension, and alters the thematic notes of the climax quite a bit)  

3. Change that prior try-fail so that the outcome is completely different, and the final act is completely different.

I'm leaning strongly towards 2 at this point, with a view to trying to think about how I can keep my themes working well in context. There's also a possible fourth option, but it would mean a near total rewrite, so I won't consider it until I've at least given this first draft a fair shake. 

DQ: 0 / R: 0 / RWC: 0 / HM: 11 / SHM: 6 / SF: 1 / F: 1
Rewriting Q1.V40, first draft complete
Last four: SHM • SHM • SF • HM
Revised SHM ('Ashwright') at PodCastle

 
Posted : November 13, 2022 12:33 pm
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DoctorJest
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I'm also curious about how others approach these kinds of things. Mechanically, when I get to this point, I find it very difficult to continue writing that section in the same document or project that contains the original draft pieces. I don't use Scrivener--I gave it a fair shake for a while, found it just doesn't work well for me in terms of my writing flow--so my tendency is to set aside my draft, then write the next section clean in a new document. Something about that just lets me feel like my head is clean going into it, not cluttered up with any of the work I did previously.

I do this quite a lot for WotF entries, actually--writing new openings, new endings, or more rarely new middle sections or scenes, but doing so in completely separate documents, then merging them back into the main draft document I'm using, and discarding the separate one after I've put them all back together. I generally end up with at least three or four distinct drafts (though occasionally something just comes together and flows well from the outset, and doesn't need more than one or two).

DQ: 0 / R: 0 / RWC: 0 / HM: 11 / SHM: 6 / SF: 1 / F: 1
Rewriting Q1.V40, first draft complete
Last four: SHM • SHM • SF • HM
Revised SHM ('Ashwright') at PodCastle

 
Posted : November 13, 2022 1:07 pm
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Dustin Adams
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Rob,
You can call me and talk it out. Or just talk. Or read the phone book. Or War and Peace. I'll listen. hearts  

Seriously tho, after talking to Morgan for a few hours the other night the idea section of my brain is all lit up. Phones are underrated. They should be a thing.

Career:

1x 3rd place
2x Finalist
2x Semi
9x Silver
11x HM
7x R

 
Posted : November 14, 2022 6:46 am
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Posted by: @tj_knight
Rob,

You can call me and talk it out. Or just talk. Or read the phone book. Or War and Peace. I'll listen. hearts  

Seriously tho, after talking to Morgan for a few hours the other night the idea section of my brain is all lit up. Phones are underrated. They should be a thing.

Come to think of it, I don't actually own a phone book any more. Used to get one every now and then where I used to live, but not here apparently...

I really like phone and other voice chat, though, far more than text. Text is convenient, fits well around intrusive schedules or events, but doesn't have the roaming range and depth of an actual conversation.

 

DQ: 0 / R: 0 / RWC: 0 / HM: 11 / SHM: 6 / SF: 1 / F: 1
Rewriting Q1.V40, first draft complete
Last four: SHM • SHM • SF • HM
Revised SHM ('Ashwright') at PodCastle

 
Posted : November 14, 2022 11:27 am
David Hankins, storysinger, Anna X and 1 people reacted
DoctorJest
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Bang, there we go! I spent a week unable to get any traction on this, emotionally deep fried I think. Finally took some time today to step back, and spend some quiet time just contemplating everything...then rolled in on this, and hammered out the final act and ending. First draft is officially complete!

This writing chunk ended up being almost half as long as the rest of the story, but there's a lot of revision to do, and I have strong expectations of reducing the word-count over the coming weeks. I'm very pleased with the overall shape of the story, though, and have been adding some follow-up comments to punch as I work through the story later on.

All in all, really feeling happy with this. I don't exactly know how good a contest entry this story will end up being once all's said and done, but as a story in its own right, I'm definitely happy with it.

DQ: 0 / R: 0 / RWC: 0 / HM: 11 / SHM: 6 / SF: 1 / F: 1
Rewriting Q1.V40, first draft complete
Last four: SHM • SHM • SF • HM
Revised SHM ('Ashwright') at PodCastle

 
Posted : November 20, 2022 10:59 pm
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Fantastic news, @doctorjest! Good effort putting in the work and seeing it through.

VOL 31: R - HM
VOL 38: HM
VOL 39: HM - HM - HM - SHM
VOL 39 Illus: F/DQ

 
Posted : November 21, 2022 3:55 am
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@ajschultz6, @clfors, @writhmic, @pdblake, @annax, there's nine days left of the month! How are we all progressing towards our goals?

Huge congrats to @doctorjest for completing his Q1 first draft. I hope the revision goes smoothly. 

I finished my Q1 first draft and am hoping to complete the second draft this month too. I've had a lot of feedback from my alphas so I'm going into it forewarned and forearmed. I've also signed up for my first ever writing workshop, with Jason Sizemore from Apex Magazine. Part of it includes reviewing the beginning of a short story, so I want to revise the beginning of my SHM in time for that as well.

Regarding submission to markets, I'm a little deflated: I submitted one of my favorite pieces to The Dread Machine and I thought the piece was perfect for them. They held onto it for a long while, rejecting ~fifty new submissions than mine, until there were only three pieces in their queue on Submission Grinder that were over a few days old (and those three were all about a month old).

One got accepted, one got a personal rejection, and mine got a form rejection.

rejection

But I know that if I don't keep submitted and stacking up those Rs, I'll never get to use the "I've sold a story!" smiley, and I really want to. He looks very happy.

VOL 31: R - HM
VOL 38: HM
VOL 39: HM - HM - HM - SHM
VOL 39 Illus: F/DQ

 
Posted : November 21, 2022 5:23 am
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pdblake
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Posts: 324
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@ease Just had a rejection not ten minutes ago. I'll sent it back out later.

 

As for the current story, half way there. Should have a first draft ready by the end of the month.

I did a short <1k flash yesterday. It's terrible but I'll take a shot at kicking it into shape sometime this week.

R:6 RWC:1 HM:6 SHM:3
My Blog

 
Posted : November 21, 2022 6:50 am
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Writhmic
(@writhmic)
Posts: 44
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I've finished plotting my Q1! Now, I just need to write it. I'm hoping to bring a more literary approach to this one but we'll see what the story calls for.

V39/Q2-SHM
V39/Q3-SHM
V39/Q4-RWC
V40/Q1-WIP

 
Posted : November 21, 2022 7:25 am
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ajschultz6
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@ease I wrote most of a story but I don't think it's working, so I'm setting it aside for a while. I've been submitting stories, so I got a few rejections this month. The next week I'm going to focus on revising and submitting one more story, and doing another KYD and hopefully extend it into a longer story.

Good luck everyone! You can do this!

v37: Q3HM
v38: Q1R, Q2HM, Q3HM
v39: Q2HM, Q3HM, Q4HM
v40: Q1 In Progress
I'm available for critique exchanges via PM. Note: I will not be available for exchanges from 12/17/22-1/1/23.

 
Posted : November 21, 2022 9:55 am
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@pdblake, that's the attitude! Once more unto the breach, dear stories, once more! And glad to hear you're on track to finish this month; having all of December to revise would be nice.

@writhmic, finished plotting implies (pretty strongly) that you've settled on an idea! That's brilliant, as I know the decision was vexxing you a little. Looking forward to reading it when it's ready.

@ajschultz6, great work on the rejection collection. Each of those rejections represents a lesson earned and learned, a honing of your craft, a step closer to the goal. I hope that unfinished story spends some time in the drawer thinking about what it did wrong, and comes out ready to atone. Best of luck with next week's story and KYD!

Happy Thanksgiving to all the Americans (and American-adoptees)! I hope you're able to use the time to take a break from writing, or a break to writing, whichever suits you most.

VOL 31: R - HM
VOL 38: HM
VOL 39: HM - HM - HM - SHM
VOL 39 Illus: F/DQ

 
Posted : November 21, 2022 3:18 pm
Anna X, storysinger, ajschultz6 and 2 people reacted
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