From an ‘indie author’ perspective, this has been a year of failed goals, idleness and time-wasting. From a creative perspective, it’s been a great year, full of fun challenges and periods of relaxation. I’m so glad that I’ve given up on wanting to be an author and recognized that I am, in fact, a conworlder at heart.
One of my ambitions this year was to get the first draft of The Ruler of Ruins finished – a highly achievable goal, it seemed. After all, I was already halfway through the book. But then I began to ask questions like: Am I really enjoying this? Is an enormous multi-stranded novel the best way to present this story?
I began to consider alternatives to self-publishing on Amazon. I could self-publish online and be able to edit my work whenever I wanted. Instead of one huge and confusing book, I could write several novellas showing the story from different points-of-view. Or I could divide the novel into dozens interweaving short stories.
I tried out some of these ideas. The result is that, although I’ve written a lot this year, I haven’t actually moved the story forward. Instead, I have about twenty highly polished chapters. I can no longer call the document a first draft; it’s just an unfinished book.
I’ve come to realize that, for me at least, writing a novel is a different experience every time.
I started The Web of War as a couple of stories, which I wove into a book, which I then re-wrote over the course of two years.
I raced through The Scepter of Ice, producing about three or four drafts, and published it after a year-and-a-half (it wasn’t fun working that hard!) During that time, I also gave The Web of War another re-write because I’d decided it was ‘rubbish’.
Now I’m endlessly re-writing the opening chapters of The Ruler of Ruins. This book is not going to have a first draft, second draft and so forth. I’ll probably just keep polishing it as I write it. I have no idea when it will be finished, as I’m tired of grappling with it for now.
As you can see, I am continuing my ‘journey of recovery’ from the stress of self-publishing, self-promotion and all the other misery that comes from trying to be a ‘successful author’.
One of my goals for 2018 might be: take a rest from writing novels altogether!
This has been a great year for world-building (just take a look at some of the maps I’ve done of Yanbuka and Tanurea).
While I haven’t done much work on the geography of Askamar (those Nayusuru territories remain unmappped), I have re-designed the yuyarni, combining them with the bantagri to create just one ‘dragon’ race. Before, Zakrusepi was a lumbering herbivore. Now he has wings, and is more fearsome than ever!
I’ve also redesigned Udaris, attempting to create a more believable mundane world. I’m especially pleased with the rotating globe and the maps of the poles. My goal now is to turn the rough sketches of the new continents into finished maps, so I can combine them into a rotating globe worthy of the website’s Udaris article.
As part of my world-building, I’ve done some more character portraits and pictures of yuyarni this year. I’ve also started a new digital painting with Maggie’s help. She’s trying to get me to recover my confidence. As always, I want to paint more. Maybe next year I’ll actually make time to do that…
Every year, I feel happier and more confident about my blog. I have a clearer idea of its purpose, which is to chart the progress of my conworlding, display my art (when I actually get around to creating some), and possibly to display my short stories as well. Now that I’m focusing more on world-building, I’m sure that I can find at least one thing to write about every month!