Since “post mortems” are all the rage, I figure 2017 deserved one.
Actually, I figured NaNoWiMo deserved one. And then more time passed as work added up and I fell further behind, and I figured November and December both deserved one. So why not 2017 as a whole?
Catching Up on the Classics
I did heavier reading this year than I have in past years (discounting 2016’s rough excursion through A Summa of the Summa), and two classics welcomed me into their lush worlds: The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Prydain.
The Lord of the Rings was a long time coming. Despite being weaned on The Sword of Shannara and innumerable Dragonlance titles, and even the enjoyable, if lacking, cartoon versions, I never read Tolkien’s epic. I saw the movies in theater when they released, and quite loved them. And yet, outside of The Hobbit and a brief attempt that never made it past Biblo’s party, I never read them.
Wow. It’s a heavy read, but it’s a great read. It will definitely be indulged in again in my lifetime. For more thoughts, check out my posts on The Lord of the Rings!
Prydain is one I was less-familiar with, beyond being vaguely aware of a lackluster Disney movie, a yellowed copies of the books sitting on my parents’ shelf. As it turns out, The Chronicles of Prydain are fantastic! I still find my mind wandering around Prydain, and will be rereading them before too long. Naturally, I have more wordy thoughts on Prydain as well.
Fantasy Adventures Volume 1
But on to writing itself.
Perhaps my biggest excitement was my first actual publication: a collection of short fantasy stories. As of right now, it has no reviews, and has only put about four dollars into my pocket. But when you’re doing it out of passion, that’s all right! Being able to look myself up on Amazon and see a book right there is utterly thrilling in itself.
While I can’t tell who actually read the book out of the handful of purchases it received, a Kindle Lending Library/Kindle Unlimited reader actually read 117 out of the total 135 pages! I’d love to know what they thought of it, and why they stopped. Was it a specific story that didn’t do it for them? Did attrition take it’s toll and the last 18 were just too grueling?
If you–or anyone else who read my short stories–is out there reading this, let me know what you thought! No offense will be taken here–criticisms are chances to grow as a writer.
I had high hopes for this one: the third attempt at a story I failed at twice already, with a world and characters fairly solid in my head and a general outline to follow. With my social media presence stronger than ever and my blog getting more hits each month, it was going to be a blast! I was going to post chapters as I finished them, and become a two-time NaNoWriMo champion.
Oh, did that fall short! Who knew that a full-time job that thrives on the holiday season would crank out 50-60 hour weeks and leave me pretty darn tired?
This all lead into an unintentional semi-hiatus from social media. Beyond a few Twitter posts toward the end of November, the chapters never came to fruition, I never made it to any meet-ups, and my time became all about moving boxes and preparing for Christmas.
But that’s all right: we only fail when we give up, and I certainly have not!
What’s Coming in 2018
A New Novel: The whole idea of sharing a book as I write the first draft still seems like a lot of fun, and I’m thinking it might be worth another go, with the same story. I’m leaning toward somewhere between March and May, with the same word and time goals as NaNoWriMo. I’ll keep you posted!
An Old Novel, Completed: I actually have two novels that are coherent and in the later stages of drafting. The writing is there, the outline is locked in, and there are just scenes here and there to tidy up. Both of these had their early drafts completed in 2014, and I think it’s about time to get them ready to roll.
Fantasy Adventures Volume 2: No, the first one will not be one of those myriad titles that claims to be part of a series that never arrives. Sure, the first one is not yet a million-seller, but short stories are a lot of fun! They’re a great chance to play around with new characters, worlds, genres, and ideas. A few of the heroes from the first one will still be around: I’d like Rax in particular to become a continuous, Conan-like series of primarily short stories.
And whereas novels require so much attention and focus it’s hard to ever feel them “ready”, these short stories are a little easier for me to send off on their own.
And the Rest: Several novels exist in lesser forms. I have a chapter or two done of a story about warring immortals, and some vague outlines for the first book in a sweeping quadrilogy of kingdoms at war. Pages here and there exist in a third novel centering on a fantasy world trio of a cowboy, a samurai, and a knight.
Beyond that, a few sci fi stories bounce back and forth in my head, one being a space epic aiming for novel-length, and another a series of short stories featuring a bounty hunter talking derelict ships, peculiar aliens, and the more human struggles of a vast, lonely universe.
Big year behind, bigger year ahead. Let’s do this!