This Year in Writing

In 2016 alone I must have written over 500,000 words. Less than 80,000 had gone to my works-in-progress. The rest went to the broadsheet I work for. A small, but significant fraction goes to the website that I co-founded.

This year in my writing feels like a good one, in an odd sort of way. I didn’t finish anything. But I managed to pick up a few scraps of ideas here and there from the old notebooks and quick, short conversations with friends, and managed to reconstruct a thing or two out of it.

In a rushed job, between August 2015 and January 2016 Project Ashes has 30,000 words. But it was a mess of a job. I skipped chapters and entire arcs, from the early events I jumped to the climatic battles that had been dancing in my head for months, I developed too many characters in a book I targeted to have 70-80,000 words. I rewrote scenes, leaving the original texts in the first draft, and redid entire chapters within the same chapter. I thought it was fine. Then I focused on my wedding preparations, the wedding itself, and the post-wedding events, plus moving in to the new apartment, and other things. By the time I went back to Project Ashes, I realized to my mortal horror how much of a screw up I did. May to September was spent on editing the first draft to make it coherent and have a smoother flow. More than half is going to be culled and I’m going to need reduce some characters’ roles, if I want to retain a 70,000-80,000-word novel.

As if I didn’t learn, between sorting out all the chaos, I jumped way ahead and started writing Book 2 to relax my aching head. It turned out well. In fact, it flowed so well, I am seriously considering abandoning Book 1 and focus on Book 2. And why not? It starts out in media res, with a new character, in a very different location. The original characters became an afterthought and their current situation feels like an even better hook than how they were introduced in Book 1.

The thing about Book 1 is: It’s an underdog tale. It’s “The Lord of the Rings” with a touch of “The Hunger Games” and a bit of “Ender’s Game.” It’s a montage how the protagonists rise and find their way into Books 2 and 3. So, no matter how tempting it is, I can’t simply abandon Book 1, not with so many foundations needed for Book 3.

With Project Ashes being so disorganized, I had to set it aside and work on something fresh, something a little bit less dark. That’s how Project Sherlock was born. Right now it has a sturdy 10,000-wordcount. This is a story I hope to get done between writing Project Ashes’ Books 1 and 2. It’s going to be a massive book.

Then there’s the “Year of the Red Whale.” The second half of October to the entire November I was able to put 30,000 words into the story. There is a strong potential for expansion. I’m excited about it. But for any of those plans to reach the light of day, I need to finish this book soon. Here’s to a hopeful first quarter to 2017 into completing it.

Somewhere down this year a bunch of new cool stuff went into my head and has been brewing there for a long, long time. Older concepts are getting revisited and newer ones are being forged. I’m really excited to get into them.

For my writing in 2016, it was all about exploring ideas and hoping they would work. Now in 2017 it’s going to be about pushing through these ideas and make them work.

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2 thoughts on “This Year in Writing

  1. I totally get it, friend. Writing a fantasy series… I swear I’ve completely scrapped and rewritten mine maybe five times in the past several years. Here’s to getting it done soon!

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