Now that we are nearing the end of the year, it’s time for the year end summary! I’m not likely to write anything significant by the end of the month, since it’s the holiday break for us, so it’s as good a time now as any. (Check out previous years: 2018 | 2017 | 2016)
It was a pretty good year, I think! I made really good progress on BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL, my fantasy fairy tale retelling of Beauty and the Beast meets Little Mermaid in Medieval Scotland. I’ve blogged once a month, consistently, and I launched a newsletter. I made some changes to my Patreon as the year went on and it became apparent that I couldn’t keep up with what I had set for myself. And I started a gaming blog!
We’re also at the end of a decade now, and a lot has changed for me since 2010. I graduated college, got married, finished my first novel, had my first experiences with rejection, started a new book, self-published a novel and a novella, submitted my work to a publisher, had a baby, got a three-book deal, published The Brass Giant, The Mechanical Theater, and The Guild Conspiracy, went to therapy for depression and got better, launched a non-profit, started a game blog, and through all of that, kept writing fiction. So, pretty amazing things happened these last ten years!
But for 2019…
BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL Progress
In January, I started reading over the draft I had written back in late 2017/2018, about 75,000 words of material, and began reworking the outline a little bit. I then started a new draft in February, and that’s been my main project this year. I’m currently at 230,749 words for the first draft, and somewhere near the middle of Act III. I’m very very close to writing the final climax of the story, so there’s not much left. I had hoped to finish the draft before holiday break, but with my other work, it just wasn’t possible. Hopefully, after the holiday, I’ll be refreshed enough to knock the rest of it out in January.
Total Word Count: 243,912
February: 68,917 (a lot of rewriting material from the old draft)
I’ve written more than I actually have on paper since I’ve done some editing and deleting as I move forward with the story. I still count deleted words. Even if I don’t keep them, they’re still work.
I’ve managed to write at least one blog post a month this year, which seems to be the right pace for me. It’s not a particularly exciting blog, but at least it keeps you all updated on what I’m doing, and I like writing them up because it reminds me that even when it feels like I’m not writing much, I can look at the numbers and say, yeah, actually, I am writing!
Total Word Count: 16,128
Patreon has been an interesting experience for me this year because I’ve had to make changes and adjustments several times to try to make it easier to manage, and I just kept falling further and further behind. My life changed a lot this year with the non-profit, and that meant less time for writing, which meant even less time to try to post to Patreon. I’m going to keep it going because I know that people care more about supporting me than they care about what they get in return, but I’m going to do it in a way that doesn’t stress me out so bad. So content is going to be less in 2020, but it will be less stress and more time to write what is actually important: my books.
Total Word Count: 9,989
CARTRIDGES & CATACOMBS
I am very excited to add a gaming blog into my mix of writing work. I love games a lot, but I don’t really have a good opportunity to talk about them as much as I would like to. These days, I play video games more hours than I read books, so they’re a pretty significant part of my downtime. Making a gaming blog gives me a space to talk about the things I like or dislike, and maybe someone else will like it too.
I only started in November, so fairly low word counts for the year, but not insignificant!
Total Word Count: 8815
I’ve done a few other things over the course of the year that don’t quite warrant their own section. I did a lot of admin work for the non-profit, which entailed a lot of ad copy and various documentation that I decided to fold into my total word counts some months because it was significant enough to take away from my regular writing. I also dabbled with a few other stories, some brainstorming, worldbuilding, various outlines, that sort of thing. Just getting things out of my head and onto the paper.
Total Word Count: 13,202
Total Word Count for All 2019 Projects: 292,044
I wrote more than a quarter-million words this year! Almost on a single project. I’m really proud of that.
I read a lot less this year than I wanted to. I always enter the year with the goal to read 50 books, but because of my schedule, that was not gonna happen this year. As of writing this, I have finished ten books, and I’m in the middle of reading two more, so I’m likely to finish with twelve, maybe thirteen if I can. It’s far less than 50, but oh well.
This year, in order, I read:
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Voltron: Legendary Defender, Vol. 1 by Tim Hedrick
Crossroads of Twilight (Wheel of Time #10) by Robert Jordan
Knife of Dreams (Wheel of Time #11) by Robert Jordan
The Gathering Storm (Wheel of Time #12) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
Towers of Midnight (Wheel of Time #13) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
A Memory of Light (Wheel of Time #14) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
New Spring (Wheel of Time #0) by Robert Jordan
The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archives #1) by Brandon Sanderson
Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archives #2) by Brandon Sanderson
Mostly epic fantasy, as you can see. I found myself with a rather large book hangover after finishing The Wheel of Time, and had a hard time picking up anything else. My husband recommended the Stormlight Archives, so I’ve been listening to them on audiobook, since that’s the format we have. I don’t enjoy them nearly as much as I did The Wheel of Time, but it’s something to listen to when I’m doing laundry, or driving, or whatever else doesn’t require many active brain cells.
I’m currently reading:
Oathbringer (Stormlight Archives #3) by Brandon Sanderson
Story Genius by Lisa Cron
Next year, I hope to increase the number of books I’m able to read. I have a good 50+ just sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read, so I’m not lacking in choices. I just need to make more time for it.
LOOKING FORWARD TO 2020
I have big plans for next year that will likely disintegrate upon first contact with the enemy that is actual real life, but I am nothing if not ambitious.
Goals for 2020:
- Finish the first draft of BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL
- Edit BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL
- Query BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL
- Finish edits on REBEL ENGINEER (Draft 4)
- Finish the first draft of DARK LORD IN TRAINING
- Brainstorm fantasy world/overarching plot for new series, starting with STARCALLER
- Plan/Outline STARCALLER
Knowing me, I will be lucky to finish, edit, and query BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL by the end of the year, but I’m hoping that I’ll be able to squeeze a few other things in between the various stages of that. I’m itching to start working on the new fantasy book, but I know that I’ll feel better about starting it if I can get a lot of other stuff off of my plate first. And obviously, I need to finish the book I’m working on now. My tentative ideal schedule for the year looks like this:
January: Finish the first draft of BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL
February: Finish edits on REBEL ENGINEER, set aside
March: First pass edit on BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL
April: Finish first edit on BSTP
. Send BSTP to Beta Readers
May: Finish first draft of DARK LORD IN TRAINING, post to Wattpad
June: Brainstorm world of STARCALLER
July: Second pass edit on BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL
August: Finish second pass edit on BSTP
. Brainstorm STARCALLER
September: Final pass edit on BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL
. Query BSTP
October: First pass edit on DARK LORD IN TRAINING
November: Finish first edit on DLIT
. Begin outlining STARCALLER
December: Finish outlining STARCALLER
. Plan overarching plot of series
So, with luck, I’ll be able to get three books finished this year, with REBEL ENGINEER ready to publish (though I don’t know when), BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL ready to query, and DARK LORD IN TRAINING on the way to being ready for querying (if needed).
All this with the goal that I’ll be able to start working fresh on STARCALLER in January of 2021. I’ll be spending 2020 finishing up all of my other projects currently in progress, and while I’ll be dedicating time beginning in June to brainstorming STARCALLER, I’ll likely be working on it at various times throughout the year as well, as ideas begin to coalesce and take shape, though it will be less work on the computer, and more in my head or scribbled in notebooks and sketchpads. I feel like I’ll need the full year to really pull all of the ideas together before I start planning. I don’t want to start outlining until I know I’m ready, even though I want to start writing immediately after finishing BSTP. I’ll need time to think through not just one book but the books after as well.
With extra luck, I will be able to successfully land an agent with BSTP this coming year (a hope, not a goal, since it is outside of my control), and while working on getting that ready for publishers, I can begin the process of getting rights back for my steampunk series, and/or publish the next book in the series, REBEL ENGINEER. After that, I plan on writing one more book in the series, but it likely won’t be released for several years yet, depending on what I decide to do with the earlier books. I know that I won’t be working on the last book until 2022 at least, so it probably won’t be ready for publication until a couple years after that, most likely. In the meantime, if I can, I want to republish the series, either with a new publisher, or on my own, and release REBEL ENGINEER shortly thereafter.
If I can swing it, and luck is on my side, I’ll have a publication schedule that looks something like:
2022: THE BRASS GIANT
. THE MECHANICAL THEATER
. THE GUILD CONSPIRACY
. REBEL ENGINEER
2023: BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL
2024: DARK LORD IN TRAINING
2026: THE CHRONIKER LEGACY
This could very easily all go to shit, so this is mostly me throwing some hopeful dreams out into the universe, but I like to have some sort of idea of how I want things to go. It helps me stay on track. Depending on if I get a new publisher for the steampunk series, or if I self-publish, the dates on those four books are the most likely to change. The rest will depend on publishers as well, but the dates above seem doable.
Moving forward after that, I’ll probably be working on sequels to STARCALLER, and maybe DARK LORD IN TRAINING if it does well. The series following STARCALLER is likely to be four books in total, as currently envisioned, and I have a few ideas for how to expand on DARK LORD IN TRAINING with other characters in that world.
It’s wild to look at this and realize that I wrote THE BRASS GIANT originally in 2011, and it could be 15 years before the series is completely published. I remember THE GUILD CONSPIRACY alone took me three years to write, and REBEL ENGINEER has been half-revised for the last two years, while I worked on something new.
I’ve been working on STARCALLER in some form or another since 2013 or so, just percolating ideas until certain things stick and playing with different concepts and characters, and I’ll finally, hopefully, start writing it in 2021, 8 years later. I’ll probably be working on this series for the entire coming decade, if not more.
I started writing DARK LORD IN TRAINING in 2014, and it’ll be 6 years in progress by the time I finally finish the first draft of it, and it’ll be another 4, at least, before it’s actually published.
BLOOD OF SALT, TEARS OF PEARL has been in progress the shortest, since late 2017.
And here I am, at the cusp of 2020, not knowing what the next idea after these will be, but at least I have at least a decade of stuff to finish and publish before I need to come up with anything new!
Here’s hoping the next decade is better than the last, and we all accomplish our hopes and dreams.
See you in 2020.