So that was 2013?
Flew by for me.
In the last twelve months I've drafted two books (Lord of Wisimir and Elite: Lave Revolution), written and compiled a host of background guides, composed more than hour of music, submitted a competition entry (The Dark Crystal), got a publisher (Elite), edited a book (The Wisdom of Oz), started editing another book (Elite: Out of the Darkness by T. James), started a PhD and learned how to make digital art (Bryce).
In terms of writing, that's nearly three hundred thousand words in a year.
The Lord of Wisimir
Having published my first two Wisimir books in December 2012, I'd always intended to write a third to come out this year. I made a start in January, but the Elite project was distracting me. Still, I got properly into the writing over the summer and hit my deadline to get the book out by the end of October 2013. The Wisimir Tales are planned to be six books, so barring something getting in the way, I'll be working on "The Magic of Wisimir" for release in October 2014.
So far sales have been okay, reviews have been very positive. Its generally nice when you hear what people think, even when its stuff to improve. I've enjoyed writing the series and by doing them, my work's definitely improved. The Wisimir books helped me define a process of writing a pacey story that people want to read. There's a flaw or two and they may not be to everyone's taste, but they've been invaluable in developing me.
I plan to publish more Wisimir content on this website and put in a store for people to purchase paperback copies in the next few weeks.
Elite: Lave Revolution
So, I ran a Kickstarter and got myself another book to write!
Hard to imagine this time last year I was feverishly sending and receiving emails trying to find a way to get involved with Frontier Developments new computer game Elite Dangerous. Looking back now, most of my year has revolved around doing stuff on that project.
In one of those emails, Michael Brookes sent over a map composed by Andrew Gillett, of the proposed campaign starting positions. I noticed a little green (Alliance) mark over the Old Worlds sector, centering on Lave. That sent my mind going. Andre Czausov had already proposed a book about the mysterious Commander Jameson from the original Elite game, what about a book on the planet we all started on?
When I write stories, I try to make sure I have the ending in mind. If I know where I'm going, I find it all a bit easier. So, I suggested this to Michael and a couple of days later, I got permission to run a campaign to fund the writing slot! The Kickstarter campaign is well documented in my other post, so I won't rehash it.
Whilst the campaign went through I kept refining the guidebooks, adding content as I found it, spending my research days sat on the sofa with the laptop, until the sofa springs gave way! When the Kickstarter ended, the guidebooks became my two novels instead and I pressed on.
Looking back, I can't quite believe I managed to draft "Elite: Lave Revolution" along with "The Lord of Wisimir", within the short space of time I've had. I've written more this year than I at any time in my life, but then, when the opportunities are there, you have to take them don't you? I'd originally planned to start writing this book once I'd finished my fantasy novel, but my Muse is a fickle creature and the guidebooks I'd been writing for the other writers kind of sucked me in. I found myself at a live roleplaying event, in a tent writing and writing and writing until the power died on my laptop. I'd booked tickets for a weekend seeing friends and enjoying myself. I'd ended up in a tent, writing.
However, without that weekend, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be where I am now. My project was confirmed months behind the other writers. I had another book to write as well. Somehow, I pulled it all together, hit all the deadlines, etc...
The "Elite: Lave Revolution" draft was finished by the 2nd of October. I'd just finished "The Lord of Wisimir" final edit and launched straight into the next batch of editing. Then I got chatting with Dan Grubb at Fantastic Books Publishing and when I had ten chapters I was happy with, sent them over, he signed me up.
Many of you may have read my post on here about Agents and Publishers. Up until that point, my entire experience with both had been wholly negative. Dan impressed me immediately when he was interviewed by fellow Elite Author, Drew Wagar. His approach with writers seemed honest and straightforward, so I was happy to chat with him about plans for my book and my hopes for the Elite franchise as a whole.
Its nice as well, to have someone who wants to be 'on your side' as it were. I'm notoriously opinionated, cantankerous at times and highly self critical of my own work. My biggest worry over devoting a huge chunk of time to writing a novel in this franchise was that it wouldn't be any good, or that my writing instincts honed over ten years of teaching would be in some way flawed. I had a moment back in 2009 with my writing when I realised I didn't quite have things as straight as I thought I might.
Just to be clear, I'm my own copy editor. Getting comments back from professional critics that say stuff like this helps. I guess I knew really that I was on the right lines, but as a writer you need a benchmark. Each comment when people take the time to look at what you've done is like a marathon runner's water station. When it's family or friends, it helps and encourages you, when it's someone who edits writing for a living, well that's something else. I'm not the greatest person with compliments, but they do make me work harder.
So now, I'm just waiting on my feedback. Apparently its not much more than a proof reading. I'd hoped this would be where I caught up a bit, round the turn as it were, owing to my previous writing experience.
Drew's already got his and no doubt, pulled out his red pen straight away to sort it. I guess mine will be in the next week or so.