The awesome and radical of 2009 (part 2) and my New Year’s Resolution

Two down, seven to go. Tonight it’s just one, and it’s the big one.

Writing

I don’t have a competition running against Jennifer Williams, but we do egg each other on a bit. In 2009, she wrote 120,000 words, and if her novels (one completed, two in progress) are anything like her short stories, she’s going to snap up an agent and deal in next to no time. At which point I will be very jealous, and may have to take up some form of Black Magic to make her laptop battery die at inopportune moments. Jen has christened 2010 the “Year of Writing Dangerously”. I like it.

For me, 2009 has been the “Year of Writing Seriously”. It started with me completing my first full-length novel, Dark Heart. I had started this in 2008, or even earlier, but after a year of faffing had reached 30,000 words or so. In 2009, I Took It Seriously, and churned out the next 70,000 words in just two months. Taking It Seriously seemed to work. Dark Heart (first draft) came in at 118,743 words. I even got the manuscript printed up as a trade paperback via Lulu, providing myself with a bound, portable manuscript that I could edit wherever and whenever I wanted.

Taking It Seriously worked so well that I applied the same general technique (sitting down and writing) to my second novel, Seven Wonders (originally called New Gods, but so harassed was I by Jack Kirby fans – and rightly so, and myself included actually – that I changed it). I didn’t keep a track of time on Seven Wonders, but the first draft of this, my second novel, was done at the end of August and came in at 111,073 words.

I took a break after that, and started to edit Dark Heart, but after hacking at the first third of the book I realised it was still too soon. The text was too fresh, and I remembered nearly every comma, which made it hard to judge whether something – a scene, a chapter, a character, a plot point – was actually working. So I shelved that Lulu paperback and moved on to book three.

Book three is my current work-in-progress, Empire State. I was going to write the second in the Dark Heart steampunk series (I have books two through five plotted), but I felt I needed to stretch my writing muscles and write in different styles and genres. And if I spent another three months writing book two, only to never be able to sell book one, I’d kinda be stuck. It wouldn’t have been a waste of time, far from it, but as a new writer it made more sense to have written three books and be able to pitch each of them, rather than having written three books and be able to pitch only two of them.

Empire State, then, is a SF detective noir fantasy thing. Hmm, I think I need to work on the elevator pitch… the draft stalled in November/December for a variety of reasons that I have posted about before, but the file will be cracked open tomorrow as part of my New Year’s Resolution. Empire State stands at 35,387 words. The target is, again, 100,000 words, which leaves me about 65,000 to go. It started as a NaNoWriMo project, but November is where it all went wrong, so I didn’t even crack the required 50,000 words that month. Eh. What can you do?

Aside from these three full-length novels, I wrote a short story – The Unpopular Opinion of Reverend Tobias Thackery. This Lovecraftian horror was written in June 2009, and is 7,143 words long. It was rejected by Weird Tales, and is currently with another publisher, but if there is no luck there I’ll put it up here for free, and also as another Legends iTunes eBook alongside The Devil in Chains. Short stories are not my thing – I find them too hard to write and I rarely read them either.

That’s my writing for 2009. A total of 272,346 words written. Two complete novels and one complete short story written, and one novel at the 33% mark. The Year of Taking It Seriously seemed to have paid off.

For 2010, I have just one New Year’s Resolution (I’m not sure if that is supposed to be capitalised or not… I’m assuming it should, because that makes it Important, and Important is a Good Thing). If 2009 is my Year of Taking It Seriously, 2010 is my Year of Taking It Professionally. Okay, that grammar isn’t the best, but in 2010 I will have more time to devote to writing, which means I can think and act like a Writer.

My goal therefore is 1 million words in 2010. I think I got the idea from something Scott Sigler said, that he was going to write 1,000,000 words in 2009. I’m not sure whether he hit it or not, but Stephen King also said that you need to write 1 million words before you get to the good stuff. He might be right, and it looks like I’m 25% of the way there already. One million words is 2,740 words for each and every day, which is actually quite achievable considering on a good day I can get to 5,000 words at a push. So those one million words will be, more or less, the last two-thirds of Empire State, plus seven more novels, plus revisions on two novels.

That’s the plan anyway. And it all starts tomorrow. All I need is my ass, a chair, and my computer. And tea. Lots of tea.

More of my awesome and radical things of 2009 tomorrow. Happy New Year everyone! See you in the Amazingly Utterly Awesome 2010. See, capital letters, 2010 is Important.

  • Jennifer Williams

    Ha, dude, you’re too kind! 😀 I can feel it though; this is the year we’re gonna get our work out into the wider world and surprise ourselves with what we accomplish. Whooo!

  • I feel certain that it is only a matter of time before I can stroll into my local bookshop and spy a book on the shelves with ‘Adam Christopher’ on the cover. Then I’ll have to resist the urge to tap complete strangers on the shoulder and tell them, “Hey, the guy who wrote that is a friend of mine.”

  • edifanob

    Fingers crossed for your 1 million words goal.

    I really hope you find a publisher for DARK HEART and the other books in the series. I like to read steampunk.

  • test comment #giannii

  • AdamChristopher

    Test comment.