First an update on SCC5:
Well, the first half of the plan came through—a Christmas miracle! I wrote ~16k worth of words on SCC5 over Christmas break. Based on my last assessment, that would be put me within 3k striking distance of capping this series off, right? Nope!
Alas, as the third plot point developed it became clear I needed another 10k to wrap things up. I’m currently sitting at 67k on the novel and I think it’ll wrap up around 80k total, which will make it the longest Sunken City Capers book to date. So 13k in one month to wrap it up by the end of January? Possible, but we’ll see. There’s a strong possibility I may have to stop and do an editing pass before the climax to get all my ducks in a row. If that happens, then the zero draft will likely be done in February sometime. Still looking like June/July release date is comfortably achievable.
Now to recap 2021:
Here were my targets at the start of 2021:
1. Finish current novel (this includes drafting and at least the 1st whole pass novel revision)
2. Write one short-story/novelette set in novel world.
3. Create and maintain a series bible
4. Start either novel #2 in current series or Sunken City Capers #5
5. Read 10 nonfiction books
I hit all except #3!
I finished MK1 back in February/March, edited it through March/April, wrote 2 short stories set in the MK world, and started SCC5 in May. As for the series bible. Eh. I didn’t have a good plan for this or good software. I started looking at some software options, but couldn’t find anything that made sense to me. Besides, writing is the fun part, so that’s what I spent most of 2021 doing.
Another 2021 highlight was the first two books in the Sunken City Capers series being produced and released in audio! I love audio so it was a dream come to true to be able to listen to the books. I’m really, really happy about this and the narrator Margaret Mikkelsen does an amazing job bringing the characters to life. I didn’t realize how many accents I wrote in the 2nd book until listening it and she handled them all beautifully.
I read 30 fiction books and 11 nonfiction books this year which is right around my average. What made this year more unusual than previous years, was that there were more nonfiction books I would recommend from the year than fiction. On the fiction side, the only standout for me was the Scythe series by Neal Shusterman. As long as you buy into the premise (and it’s easy for me to push the “I believe” button), it was a really interesting, engaging, and though-provoking read—plus it had one of those antagonists you really love to hate. On the non-fiction side, I really liked Nudge by Richard Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein, Grit by Angela Duckworth, The Unseen Realm by Michael S. Heiser, and Eating Glass by Mark D. Jacobsen.
I also started Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman this past year, but couldn’t get through it in the time I had it from the library. Between that book and Nudge I think I found a favorite new subgenre of behavioral economics—super, super interesting. The Unseen Realm is Christian book about understanding scripture through the supernatural lens of the ancient Hebrews. I found it super interesting to the point that I plan on revisiting it.
Eating Glass is a book about failure that I recommend any artist or entrepreneur pick up. Few people ever acknowledge what real failure feels like and looks like. There’s always a pervasive culture of “fail often, fail fast” or “fail forward,” but few ever talk about how hard it is to pick yourself up again and again. One failure is easy to recover from in my experience, it’s the constant stream of it that wears on a person.
Hopefully, next month’s blog post will have SCC5 either done or within spitting distance of being done. I’ll also post my writing targets for 2022 then.