Looking back on 2015

It’s New Year’s Eve, and just over a year since I started this blog! What have I achieved?

Writing

As you may recall, it was my aim to have The Scepter of Ice finished by the end of 2015. I haven’t done this for several reasons: I needed to take a rest for the sake of my physical well-being (writing like a maniac in every spare moment of the day is just not sensible!); I wanted to do more work on the website; I realized that it doesn’t matter when I get the book finished anyway.

I suppose that when I set myself this goal, I imagined people who had read the first book eagerly awaiting the publication of the second. As far as I know, the only person who has read The Web of War all the way to the end is my sister. She’s already reading The Scepter of Ice, and she says that she absolutely loves it (you probably think she’s just saying that because she’s my sister, but I believe her, and it makes me very happy!)

As far as book-sales go, I’ve sold less than 10 copies. Never mind! I never expected my Askamar books to be a great commercial success, anyway.

I’ve completed the 1st and 2nd drafts of The Scepter of Ice, and am now a third of the way through the 3rd draft. Considering that it took me about 3 years to write The Web of War (with long gaps between each draft) I think this is excellent progress.

World-Building

I don’t think I’ve added much new material to the world this year (aside from writing more detailed histories of a few Ankaykari territories), but I’m pleased with the way that I’ve got it organised on the website.

Most of my time has been spent drawing (or re-drawing) maps in CC3 and creating character portraits in CA3. I’ve also illustrated some landscapes and started working on Askamar’s natural history again.

Every Esu territory now has a colored map and illustration. I’ve also drawn a new map of Dakayathar, my first ever map of Maroth, and new maps of several Nayusuru territories. By the end of 2016, I hope it will be possible to take a complete virtual tour of Askamar.

I’ve also drawn CA3 portraits of all the Esu, all the Nayusuru, and a few more of the humans. I’m not entirely satisfied with them, so I’ll probably do more work on them next year.

Finally, I’m delighted with my new website at WordPress.com!

Art

I’ve finished a few paintings this year, and I spent most of October sketching, which was fun. However, most of my new pictures have been illustrations for the website (I’m especially pleased with my paintings of Imbire, Ebzazire and Thasenare, and my forest adagria).

I always mean to do more drawing/painting, but I rarely get around to it. I’m still bad at faces, but I’m planning to create a series of character portraits for the website, and so I hope I’ll improve. Maybe I’ll do more artwork when the trilogy is finished…

In other news, I’ve decided not to spend any more time on online galleries next year. I comment on other people’s pictures all the time, but it’s exceedingly rare for anyone to bother commenting on mine. I know my art isn’t that good, but I’d rather spare myself this constant sense of failure and rejection.

Maybe I’ll return to the online art community in 2017, when I’m feeling more confident.

Blogging

Last but not least, I’ve managed to keep this up this blog for a whole year! I really didn’t think I could do it.

There were long periods when I had nothing to say (because I was writing my book), and there were times when I wondered what this blog was for: was it a marketing tool for my novels? Was it a place to display my sketches? Was it a record of my world-building activities?

As a marketing tool, it has obviously failed (I don’t think anyone reads it except me; at the very least, no one has ever felt inspired to leave a comment). Instead, it seems to have become a world-building journal.

I’m really pleased with it, and I hope to update it more often in 2016!

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