Last week, I finished “Lone Star,” the fifth and longest episode of Space Traipse: Hold My Beer. I’ve been writing this series for over a year now, and for those 9 faithful followers Google says I have: Thanks for joining the ride! Spoilers: There will be more episodes coming, but I’m going to take a break for a bit.

I wrote this mainly to give myself some comic relief during a rather hellish phase of my life, both family- and career-wise – serious illness, underemployment, new state, and a two-year attempt at a novel that didn’t please me or my mentor. There were days when I was hanging on by my fingernails, and it helped to be able to kick back and laugh at my own juvenile and sometimes ribald jokes. If it helped anyone else during a bad day, I’m glad.

Along the way, I grew to love the characters, too. As always, they have now claimed real estate in my brain, live lives that don’t get seen on the page, and occasionally smack me in the head with yet another wacky idea for an episode.

When I started this, the point was to let loose and have fun, but as the year wore on, I found myself getting frustrated by the pressure of the weekly schedule and the mistakes I’d find after-the-fact. And life has slowly moved to normalcy – our child is better, I have full-time work at a job I love (which means steady income until my husband’s start-up gets its full funding), and I scrapped the mess of a novel I was working on in favor of my original idea and it’s going much better (albeit slower) with a crit group that gets what I’m doing.

So Space Traipse has accomplished its purpose, but it’s not done with me yet. Even more, it’s asking more from me than write-in-a-rush and publish. So I’ll be making some changes to start fresh in 2019. Here are some of the lessons I learned:

  • I need a series bible. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gotten confused about some detail. What exactly is Enigo’s full name? Is it Keptarian or Kreptarian? I could say it a hundred times an episode, and each time, I wasn’t sure.
  • I need to write out my rank structure and intergalactic date timeline.
  • I need to outline. This is a tough one for a pantster like me, but while I’m prepared for my characters to go off-script, I at least need to have some direction and idea where each week will take us. Lone Star taught me that one. It was supposed to be a 6-week story!
  • I need better Photoshop skills. I enjoy making images to illustrate the weekly posts, but I’m not good at it, and they take longer than the writing some weeks.
  • I need some good sketches of the characters. I’m going to put some money into this. I’m tired of the stock images. I wish I had drawing skill.
  • I need some checklists and a shortcuts page. I keep making the same stupid mistakes, whether it’s copying the wrong link (Thanks, Tamarah Whilhite, for always letting me know), or saying “transporter” instead of “teleporter.” There are also some things – standard tags for example – that I can just copy and paste instead of retype every time.
  • Most importantly, I need habits. Space Traipse started at a time when I was never sure how the next day would take me, and so it was written in creative fits and spurts or when I needed a laugh. While I still need to write out an idea while it grips me by the brain, I also need to have dedicated time to work, whether it be on an image, an outline or a scene. That way, I’m not trying to shove a week’s work into a day.

I am also going to take this time to compile these stories into two novelette-sized books. More on that later – stay tuned!

I may blog a little over the next two months, but the stories will resume in January.