Well, things kinda went south for me at the end of 2019 with some health issues. I was forced to slow down and reprioritize some things (like getting healthy again) over keeping up with the blog and some other things. And I’m pretty sure everyone would agree that 2020 didn’t turn out like anyone hoped. But I’m healthy now and ready start keeping up with the blog again.
So, for posterity’s sake, my 2019 targets were:
1) Finish zero draft of current novel.
2) Apply to a workshop with completed novel.
3) Set up at least two promotions for Sunken City Capers.
4) Read 10 non-fiction books
1) and 2) fell victims of my health scare, and honestly 1) was an overambitious goal to start with. The current novel is a sprawling beast of epic awesomeness, but more on that later. I did setup at least two promotions for Sunken City Capers, so that was some low hanging fruit plucked. My notes inform me that I read 18 non-fiction books so I hit 4) as well. 50% success ratio, which given the end of 2019 and the chaos that was 2020, I feel reasonably good about. My notes also inform me that I read 27 fiction books in 2019, and after looking over them the only that stands out to me was The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley. I thought it had excellent writing and storytelling, although it fell apart at the end a bit for me with the politics.
Because of the way 2019 ended for me personally, I had no specific 2020 goals. Once more my notes inform me that I read 32 fiction books and 2 nonfiction books. The skew is not surprising, left to my own devices I’ll always skew toward reading fiction over nonfiction, but I know that nonfiction is a goldmine for story ideas, so I’ll have to correct that going forward.
I read a ton of good books in 2020. A few that stood out were The Three-body Problem trilogy by Cixin Lou, The Sparrow Duology by Mary Doria Russell, and The Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo.
I also continued to chip away at my current novel in 2020. I just finished the second act earlier this week. It’s sitting at 115k words and is 75% done. It’s the longest thing I’ve ever written and it’s still not finished! Oh, oh! I also wrote an 8k novelette set in the same world to better explore the antagonist in the novel. It’s the first story I’ve finished since finishing Sunken City Caper Book 4 back in 2017. I was/am ridiculously proud of myself on finally finishing something. I hadn’t realized I hadn’t finished anything in that long.
This current novel truly is a beast—but I also think it may be the best thing I’ve written to date. I’m an intuitive pantser so writing a sprawling epic is a lot of fun, but a ton of work, since stuff I figure out in the back half needs to be weaved through the first half, etc. Or stuff I thought would be awesome in the front half needs to get clipped out because it turns out it’s just extraneous clutter in an already long novel.
I think I’ll cap this post here for now. I plan on going back to my once-a-month updates, more for myself than anyone as a measure of progress. Next time I’ll layout my 2021 targets.