2021 In Review

No, not that kind of review. I’m not looking at the world. (Scared to, frankly.) Now that it’s December and we’re getting close to the end of the year, I’m looking closer to home: at what writing projects I worked on this year, what I didn’t quite manage to complete this year, and what I want to work on next year.

What I did this year:

–Brought out The Sphere of the Winds in February. I’m pausing to appreciate that because it’s hard to believe that happened this year. It seems much longer ago.

–Brought out Tarashana in March. Oddly, that does not seem as long ago.

–Revised and brought out the Death’s Lady trilogy in May. Now, that seems like practically yesterday. How strange our perception of time can be. I suspect this is because I did so much more fiddling with this one for what seemed a quite extended period, whereas I barely touched Sphere.

–Revised (again) an SF novel called No Foreign Sky and handed it (again) to my agent for her perusal.

–Wrote Keraunani from start to finish and have it completely ready to release early next year (whenever the cover is ready). This is what I’m happiest about, so I’m mentally plastering this item with many gold stars and adding little smiley faces.

Samuel, Smilies, Smiley, Emoticon, Face, Cartoon, Smile

–Wrote complete drafts of three Black Dog novellas (to join the one I wrote a year or two ago). They’re each about 70 to 90 pages, whatever that is in words. I’m reasonably happy with this too, although I didn’t get them all finished and revised as quickly as I’d hoped.

–Figured out how to (probably) (I’m pretty sure) finish the SF novel, Invictus, that has given me enormous trouble for several years, and began revising the manuscript in light of that new understanding. This project is not connected in any way to the SF novel mentioned above.

–Wrote about 100 pages of Tasmakat, though at this point it’s impossible to know how much of that will actually appear in the final draft. Or even the complete first draft.

–Wrote a long, roughly 130-pp, novella set in the Tuyo world, which takes place directly after Tuyo. I’ll call this Suelen for now, as that’s the name of the protagonist.

–Wrote 20 pp or so, plus brief notes, for a possible story from Tano’s pov, which takes place directly after Tarashana.

–Came up with an idea for another story in the Tuyo world, which would take place during the events of Tarashana and Tasmakat. I may not write that, but thanks to Kim Aippersbach for the suggestion that led to this idea (“Maybe you can take that neat character you just cut from Tasmakat and write a separate story about him.”) (Yes, could be!).

–Came up with a pretty clear notion that could supply the central plotline of a novel or series of novels from Tano’s point of view, and thanks to Craig for the suggestion that led to that idea. It would constitute a spoiler to say anything about that idea. I will just point out that, given the thing with the eagle, it would be strange if Tano didn’t have an exciting life.

–Came up with a rough outline for a third book in The Floating Islands series, and I’m grateful to the various people who prompted me to do that by writing me long letters about Sphere.

–Took casual notes about the 5th Black Dog novel, Silver Circle.

I think that’s it? Pretty sure that’s it.

What I did not do this year (that I actually hoped to do):

–Release the Black Dog stories for the 4th collection.

–Write anything at all for Silver Circle.

–Finish the draft of Invictus.

–Finish the Death’s Lady novella that’s been sitting here practically forever. I mean, I wrote the pages I have right after I wrote the main story, so that was a long time ago. Several of you have asked about this story and I have picked it up several times fairly recently and added a little to it. I know the next few scenes; I’ve known those scenes from the beginning. I just need to find time to write them. Also, more difficult, I need to decide exactly where to end this novella, because it could continue straight into a new book in the series, and I’m not sure whether to wave the dangling thread with a dramatic flourish or not. I will add, this story is from Kuomat’s point of view and the dangling thread has to do with who he used to be.

Overall, I’m happy with how much I did this year and pretty much satisfied with where things wound up and how my time and attention was allocated. Obviously I would have liked to do the four items above, but I’m not exactly surprised that I didn’t get to them. I did two fairly major revisions (Death’s Lady and No Foreign Sky), plus wrote, hmm, my rough calculation suggests that I wrote about 850 pages or so, what with this and that. Fiction, not counting things like blog posts. Yep, I think that’s satisfactory!

What I plan (or anyway hope) to do in 2022:

–Finish the 4th Black Dog collection and bring that out.

–Bring out Keraunani.

–Finish Invictus and almost certainly bring that out myself. This is a book I’m pretty excited about, but I’m not at all sure editors would feel the same way. It’s not exactly space opera. I’m not sure what it is. I started with a core concept that’s sort of similar to the central relationship in Tuyo, but also significantly different. And playing out against a totally different background and situation. Still, there is this essential similarity, except that this time both protagonists do get to carry the pov and the older one is a woman. Anyway, I love this story and I really, really, really want to prioritize it for 2022.

–By the end of the year, either see progress toward traditional publication for No Foreign Sky or else prepare to bring that out myself. This is sociological SF with a space opera sort of plot. My first truly alien species! I’d like to see this story out in the world.

–Bring out Suelen in one form or another.

–Finish the Death’s Lady novella — you know what, let’s just call that Kuomat for now — and bring that out in one form or another.

–Possibly finish that story from Tano’s pov, since if I write it at all, it ought really to be released before Tasmakat. If I write it, bring it out in one form or another.

–Write Tasmakat, and here I’m not just saying “finish” because it barely counts as started. I’m sure it will go long, so the 100 pages or so I have now are a small fraction of the finished draft.

–Possibly write that other story in the Tuyo world, the one Kim suggested.

–Make substantial progress on Silver Circle, even if (as seems fairly likely) I don’t complete a full draft. This depends primarily on how fast Tasmakat goes. If that one turns into a completely obsessive project and I write the whole draft in two months or whatever, then obviously Silver Circle is a lot more likely to also get completed in 2022. If I DO finish a full draft of this final Black Dog novel, I’ll be super happy about that. I will add, if I hit the 80,000 word mark, I’m pretty likely to get it finished in fairly short order. That’s the point at which, first, I really feel like with just a little more of a push, I could be there; and second, I usually have a clear idea of the ending scenes and the whole feel of the draft goes from “uphill” to “downhill.”

–Frame out an extended Epilogue type of story for the Black Dog world, possibly something that might appear in a 5th collection.

–Work just a little on the Complicated Epic Fantasy that I have barely started. I’d like to have that actually in progress by the end of 2022, with, ideally (I know, this is probably crazy), some reasonable notion where that story is going. That way I may be able to really work on it in 2023.

–Start a third Floating Islands novel, and I’m sorry that this hopeful statement doesn’t constitute a guarantee because I know quite a few people would like me to do this. I’m adding it here because the odds are fairly good I will indeed move forward on this project. I have this absolutely great scene in mind that would be amazing fun to write and that may make all the difference. I might write the beginning of this book or maybe jump all the way ahead and write that scene; either would constitute “starting” this book, and if I do start it, then I am much more likely to finish it.

And that … is a baker’s dozen items for 2022. That is probably enough to keep me usefully occupied next year.

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7 thoughts on “2021 In Review”

  1. Can’t wait to read Keraunani, Invictus (sounds intriguing), and Tano’s story — and of course Tasmakat!

  2. Thank you, Htet Htet! I’m always REALLY pleased when the Tuyo stories earn an enthusiastic response, as they’re my particular favorites.

  3. Thank you, Beth, and no, you’re not — I’ve seen various nice comments here and there. I swear I’ll get those out as soon as reasonably possible!

  4. I’m looking forward to reading more in the Tuyo series. And the Black Dig short stories!
    Do you have any plans for ‘The World of Tiers’ (from the ‘Swift the Chase’ anthology)? It was an intriguing teaser…

  5. Thank you, Natalie!

    Yes, sort of? I wasn’t super happy with the way this book turned out and basically told my agent I didn’t want to think about it for a year. BUT, one day I will open it back up, read it from front to back, and then hopefully either decide it’s actually basically fine or see how to revise it so that I like it better. Either way, I’ll then ask her to go ahead with it herself or I’ll self-publish it. So, probably not next year — I have so much to work on — but very likely in 2023.

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