It’s difficult for me to express how pleased I am to see the back of 2012. But I’m not going to dwell on it, only to say: 2013, hell yeah! Let the battle commence! I’ve got a number of lofty ambitions for this year and some fun projects to complete and I’ll tell you about them now. Don’t worry, it won’t take long, and you might be interested…
A million words? Wha wha what?
Yeah, *does Dr.Evil pinky thing* one million words! In the calendar year of 2013 no less. You see, last year was a little disappointing in terms of writing. I had large desert like periods where almost nothing was produced. Not even dust. And towards the end of year, as I attempted to escape the world I managed to squeeze out a novel (Artificial Evil) and a novella (Heart for the Ravens), and it felt great to get some projects out there. Also for large parts of 2012 were spent working on Anachron Press’ various releases, which is great, but it’s never quite as satisfying as seeing my own fiction in the wild.
So, I decided this was the year. I would write 1 million cigar-smokin’, whiskey-drinkin’, holy crappin’ words on my own projects. It works out to be 2740 words per day. Totally doable! The thing is I wasn’t the only one who fancied flexing their word slinging bat. Before I knew it a whole bunch of people joined me, and so the Million Word Challenge blog was born tracking our progress.
So what will these million words be I hear you ask? (Or is it that the little voice in my head?) meh, whatevs.
I’m glad you asked. The two main projects are books 2 and 3 of my cyperpunk/technothriller series ‘The Techxorcist’. That’ll be Assembly Code and Alpha Omega and will build on the world and characters in book 1 Artificial Evil. Secondly, it’ll be the year of novellas. I freakin’ love that format. For me it’s a pure format. It distills a single idea down to a length that’s long enough to explore it but not so long that it’s weakened by numerous subplots and multiple point-of-views. Oddly, these days, what we’d call a novella used to be a novel. The massive tomes that we see so readily today were never that common. But I digress.
Aside the novels and novellas, I’ll also be working on a few short stories, but far fewer than previous years. It’s fun being in anthologies and exploring a quick idea, but the main thing I need to do this year is build an income, and unfortunately short stories just don’t do that as well as longer pieces.
Another form I want to explore more this year is serial fiction. Think of TV shows such as Castle, Fringe, Wire etc… each week they have you coming back for more of the same characters that we love, but often with new stories and an overarching arc that runs through each episode. X-Files did this really well, too. You had your ‘case of the week’ format, but within that you had longer stories and real character arcs with Mulder and Scully. We’ve seen from Hugh Howey’s incredibly successful ‘Wool’ series how popular serial fiction could be. So that’s an area I’d like to explore more.
I had a funny chat with a friend only just last night, and we kind of stumbled upon a character and setting for a serial horror/crime story that I think would do really well. So as part of my million word challenge, I’d like to get some stories down for that.
True hybrid publishing
I’ve always maintained that in this new world of publishing there are opportunities for writers to do whatever they want. Take Chuck Wendig as just one example: he has a series of self-published works (Both fiction and non-fiction), small press works and larger press works. I truly believe that is the way of the modern word-slinger. And it’s an approach I’d like to ramp up even more this year.
With the release of Artificial Evil I was lucky enough to have an editor of a fantastic small press read it, and more importantly, enjoy it. He has asked to see some of my work and that’s what my current horror novella is for. Over the course of the year I’d like to get more longer works into the small press to compliment my self-published works. We’ll see how that goes, but the small press is a fantastic area and seems to be thriving at the moment. I truly believe that the most original and daring works comes from the small press, so getting more of my work published with them is definitely one of my main aims for the year.
Changes to the site
Every year I tend to look at what I’ve been doing on this site; what works, what doesn’t; what people find interesting etc. My fulltime writing diary entries were quite popular, but I’ve found that so far I’ve said all I can on the subject. I’m not really into giving advice so from now there’ll be no more regular, structured diary entries. However, I will blog occasionally on how things are going and I’ll be sure to share anything I’ve learned along the way. I’m also thinking of having a design change. Like a wardrobe I think it’s nice to update the look every now and then. I’ve quite liked this format, but I still get the urge to see if I can make it better. As the year goes on, I’ll have more books available and I’d like to make those easier to find and more prominent so a new front page is likely to occur. But all that is to come later in the year. For now, I’ll continue to blog a few times every month and keep you all updated on new projects.
Here’s to a fantastic new year of success and opportunity to everyone!