Yesterday was an unexpectedly hard day in times when hard days are everyday.
After a Super Saiyan level of effort at the day job over three weeks, I and the rest of the IT crowd got all our coworkers that can work from home for the pandemic, working from home. Last week was a period of adjustment and setup as my department transitioned to this ourselves. We were the last to do so now that we’ve finished equipping everyone else to do the same.
Then— after weeks of busting ass to successfully get the company working from home— I get a video call at noon on a Wednesday and was furloughed immediately and indefinitely.
Smashing job, Mr. Abbott! Now fuck you very much, bring back your company shit, and don’t call us, we’ll (likely not) call you.
And that was that.
It’s not my first layoff, not even the first that’s caught me by surprise. But it is the shittiest way I’ve ever seen it done. Really however, they are a shitty little outfit, so it fits their modus operandi in hindsight. They’re a few hundred employees too big to get government coronavirus relief, so now the axes come out…
But seriously guys, good luck with most everyone working from home on computers now that you’ve slashed the IT department. Seriously. Good luck. I salute whoever might remain on the ground in IT now that I’m gone. But only my middle fingers salute the management.
On the bright side, I’ve hated working there for years. Despite the uncertainty and financial pain this inflicts, it’s an opportunity to find a better day-job as I continue to grow my writing and publishing. In the short term, I qualify for things like unemployment and aid related to coronavirus relief. I’m in the company of millions of other Americans finding themselves without jobs right now, so at least I’m not alone.
And I have more time to write for a while. ¯\_ (ツ)_/¯
My writing and publishing will continue with the goal of it becoming my full-time gig. Currently though, it doesn’t pull in enough money to pay all my bills. But that will change as I get books out. My writing is the stuff that really matters and what I value in life. It’s my actual and most important work. Everything else is just a job.
And speaking of writing and what really matters, let’s talk about A Contract in Azure and Indigo.
February and March were difficult months. Clearing stretches of time to write on Azure and Indigo— and keeping up my energy to write during them— has been a chain of battles. The last two weeks have seen no progress at all. But on Sunday I got things restarted, and it was a good writing day.
I returned to the manuscript with a warm-up edit of chapter four, which I’d decided to break into two chapters the last time I worked on it. I removed the start of the second scene and transplanted it into what will become the midpoint of chapter five. Then I did some rewrites and additions to the new endpoint of chapter four to have it close like a proper chapter. And with a decent cliffhanger too.
Chapter one got some edits again as well. This time a search and rewrite mission to remove pesky gerunds and keep them to a bare minimum. I’m paying attention to this now, after my editor pointed them out as a weakness in my fiction writing and I realized that without them my style of narrative voice is strengthened. My friend D. Wallace Peach wrote a good article on why gerunds are problematic in fiction if you want to lean more.
Finally, I spent the afternoon and early evening on Sunday writing the opening of chapter five. It’s off to a good start. Spinning the remaining two scenes I’d planned to do in chapter four into five gave me an opportunity to set them up better with a new introductory scene. So far, it is really improving the pacing. It also puts forth an important plot point in a far better and less ambiguous way than I could have done before. In addition, the introductory scene gives chapter five a solid three-act (scene) narrative that looks good in outline. Next weekend, things will really get rolling!
As of Sunday night, Azure and Indigo’s seventh draft reached 19,500 words. In comparison, the sixth draft summed 14,400 words. With at least one chapter unfinished and three more awaiting revision, additions and edits from their sixth draft forms, the seventh draft wordcount will only continue to rise. It’s clear that this latest version is going to be a full-blown novella, and I’m happy about that. :-) There will be a much more significant offering of content with it now than would have occurred with the sixth draft version.
Take care everyone. Be safe, and keep writing!
~Jason H. Abbott.