Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year & Reflections on Year 3

The first grey day of 2016 but leaves on the tree – go figure.  Growler, my truck, confirms it's dry.

I enter year the third of writing with what I hope is the light at the end of the tunnel, namely sending Bad Dog out to do the rounds once the final edits are done.  It's been a long hard slog, far harder than I imagined when I started.  While I went into writing full-time with my eyes wide open, I hadn't foreseen the impact the process would have on me.  This all sounds remarkably self-centered, but it's more a comment about the impact of working alone and processing critical feedback from third parties.

With regard to word counts: I've written 64 posts for this blog that comes to 30,638 words, up from last years 23,201; then there's the 45 post for my wargaming blog which amounts to 14,113 words, up from 12,559, which is especially surprising considering that I feel I've been neglecting model making and painting; I revised Bad Dog twice this year for 174,320 words; I'm on my third revision of Strike Dog which makes 245,197 words; and I've started work on Ghost Dog and have gotten about halfway through the second revision for 149,615 words; grand total 622,701 words or not depending on how one accounts generating new words versus editing old ones (see last years post where I discuss whether to count high or low).

Either way I've written about double what I managed last year.

That doesn't mean that any of the writing I did was any good but quantity does have a quality all of its own.  I really wanted to start writing a new story in 2015 but, until I finish what I've started, I have to be disciplined and just knuckle down and get my work out into the market.

However, one consequence of all the work I've been putting into my military SF trilogy this year is that my Call of Cthulhu novel has suffered from a severe case of neglect.

Also, I'm currently in the special kind of hell reserved for writers when faced with editorial changes for my finished novel Bad Dog that's distracting me from thinking about the structural changes I need to make from the beta reader feedback for Strike Dog (like last time, Brian McCue has gone above and beyond the call of duty, and without his sterling work I wouldn't have the tools I need to write the story I want to tell), while trying to complete the second draft of my third novel Ghost Dog.  Cue violins.

So, now it's the time to reflect a bit on what I've read last year.

Totting up my list, I see I've managed to read 26 novels, two of which were non-SF: Team Yankee by Harold Coyle and Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy. I wanted to get around to Cauldron by Larry Bond but failed, maybe next year. These are all part of my research into what are considered successful military novels for my idea of turning my short story Territory into a sprawling military SF novel about AIs in a future war.  Inspired by the Bolo series by Keith Laumer.  On the basis if one is going to steal ideas one steals from the best.

As I only managed to read 16 novels in 2013, and the same again in 2014, reading 26 this year is a big improvement.  However, in 2013 I read eight non-fiction books but only one in 2014, and two in 2015.  So while I'm up on the previous year I'm down overall.  What I take away from this is that I need to be a bit more disciplined about taking time to read things other than news articles and journals.

The point being that reading helps one become a better writer.  Perhaps not as much as writing more but, for example, reading Cherie Priest books made me look at how I structure my stories by manipulating sentence length.  A learning process that I'm still assimilating and making my own.

Let me finish by wishing you all a Happy New Year and thank you again for reading my blog.


  1. I seem to remember someone saying writers write because they like writing and that it's not about having written something. I do my best to take that on board but I guess I struggle with it too.