First things first: Unless a miracle or a frighteningly unhealthy caffeine high happens, a July update for Silver Standard isn't gonna be a thing. My rough estimate for the upload is the week of August 7th, probably. If it's longer, I'll tell you, but judging from where I stand now, it shouldn't be later than that.
Right, so writer's block sucks. But it's also necessary, I think. Block takes many forms (this one took all of them at one point) and for many reasons, and one of the lessons in being a writer is figuring out what those reasons are. From there, you can see how to fix the block and move on. That's how you learn.
So, what did Patch learn the past three weeks?
A) Triple digit temperatures every day and being a habitual walker murders productivity. And also people. Stay hydrated, folks.
B) Becoming too concerned with my deadlines and schedules distracted me from what actually matters: the writing. I like keeping on schedule of one chapter a month, because it keeps a steady rhythm, prevents slacking off, and assures readers the story's not dead/keeps interest. That's all well and good, but it's lower priority to the integrity of the actual chapter, and because I'm a very immersive writer my head has to be in Silver's head and not Patch's head.
C) I need to chill the heck out with my word count worries. Similar to reasoning of section B, when I worry too hard about word count*, scenes can get rushed or cramped when they don't need to be. Economizing prose is an asset, but that's a job for final draft and rewrites, not the rough. However, stories are organic and I need to let it explore and screw around to find footing. And sometimes, a chapter just needs to be long and there's no getting around it.
D) The above points are especially important because I now realize Standard has entered a new (the last?) arc, and thus the core place I'm traveling to is different, the checkpoints I need to hit are different, the vibe is different. Refocus and realigning usually happens organically, but not always.
E) It's been said there are two types of writers: architects and gardeners. I spent a long time as a gardener, and entering this chapter, I fancied myself to still be one. This, despite knowing damn well I'm a topiarist. I don't plan every little detail in a story, but I DO need structure. Even if it's a chapter to let off some tonal pressure and let characters bounce off each other, I still need to know how it functions in the overall story and how/where/why it's going to end. I need an endpoint. I don't believe in filler; if I'm gonna cram some horsewords into your eyes, it's gonna be there for a reason. This, I already knew, but had to relearn.
F) Aside from being structured around an existing episode, "Tempus Pecunia" was planned, structured, and brainstormed weeks and months before the fact. I brainstormed the scene where Silver decides to ruin Scootaloo at least a year ago. Now it's all new again, so writing it will be harder, but that's okay.
E) Outlines change. Outlines can grow. That is what they are supposed to do. Outlines are a guide, not the law.
F) Writing a mane six character as the main character is hard*, no matter how easy she was to write in cameos. Especially this one, who is at once easy and impossible to get down correctly in prose. While rewatching episodes helps, nothing beats actually sitting down and learning how to write them. This takes time. This is okay.
G) Forcing a half-baked outline solves nothing. Back up, attack from a different angle. Nobody needs to see every single second of every event, improvise. Try something new. Remember what the core of this chapter is, get there however you can.
H) Do not forget Rule One. Rough drafts are ugly, rough drafts are garbage, write the fuck out of that garbage. Embrace the garbage. Love the garbage. Take the garbage to dinner and tell the garbage how pretty it is, but remember don't get fresh on the first date.
I) When in doubt, let Silver Spoon be a classist jerk and observe/complain about whatever's going on. This usually solves everything.
*It's a personal bugbear of mine that chapters ought to be 10k or less, unless it's a major chapter. Aside from being trained to keep stories short in general, a decade of reading fics that waffle around for 20 thousand words not saying anything and making a slog of the pacing. And while many readers disagree and will insist otherwise, I know for a fact that giant tomes of text look intimidating and just take a darn long time to read, in general. The fic itself is already 100,000 words long, and the last thing I need is stupidly long chapters on top of having a million of them. I split up mega chapters for a reason.
**Honestly, writing ANY established canon character for the first time is hard, unless they're one of those magical ones you instantly know. Cheerilee and Babs Seed took at least three tries and two rewrites. Thank goodness I already had practice with Luna way back when.