Updated: Dec 31, 2021



FIRSTLY, HOW WAS 2021?

What a year it was. I managed to release zero publications and make zero dollars. Fantastic right? On a serious note, it was never in last year's plan to do any of the above. In fact, my only real goal was to finish the first draft of my first novel BLACK MERCURY, The Architect. I had started the year working on another novel, THE WAYWALKER. A planned seven book series akin to Stephen King's Dark Tower. However, after many coffees and late nights writing, I looked over the 120,000 words I had written only to realise I just wasn't ready to take on a project this large. It didn't help that I decided to discovery write this time, which I know realise doesn't quite fit my style.


12,000 words later, and I had an outline for BLACK MERCURY. I had all my characters done, their plots, their wants, fears, desires. Four months later, I had my 95,000-word transcript ready to be torn apart by beta readers. I was extremely fortunate to find four beta readers, all of which gave me fantastic developmental feedback. After a 2-month rewrite, I had a second draft of my novel sat at 100,000 words. The same manuscript is now sat with my inline and copy editor.


220,000 words written this year, I'll take that.



Image showing how I use digital post it notes to organise my beta-reader comments (Software: Figma)



BLACK MERCURY - The bulk of my 2022

My main project in 2022 will be to focus on the first BLACK MERCURY book and to hopefully have this polished off and ready to launch in the second quarter of the year. Assuming editing can be complete by the end of February, I will only need to complete formatting for the book in order to launch.


Outside the book, there are a few other small items that I am commissioning. I have a map of the world and city of Valadur where the story of Black Mercury takes place. As well as many sketches of items in the world that will be used throughout the book to really bring it to live. Finally, I found a wonderful artist, antu_draws who are putting his skills into the project in a wonderful way. He is bringing to live all the main and supporting characters. A few examples can be seen below. I'm unsure where I will use these. Throughout my website, Twitter and Instagram for sure, however I am considering having these in the books as well as a bonus.



Character art pieces by the wonderful antu_draws. From left to right: Zey, Renn, and Eldentho.



Fingers crossed that I can launch the first book by end of Q2. I might run some ads and push the book a bit, but I really won't be focusing on any sort of marketing strategy until all three books in the trilogy are polished and released. As I've said many times before, writing is a hobby of mine, and although I enjoy the process of writing and self-publishing, this isn't something I wish to pursue full-time. I have a great full-time job which allows me to balance my time, so at least for now this is purely a pursuit of fun.


So book 1, The Architect, is out. Now what? Well, luckily I already have a decent sized outline for book 2 (8,000 words). However, this was completed just as draft 1 for book 1 was done. Since then, many changes, both plot wise and character wise, have been made. Due to this, at the start of Q3 I will need to revisit this outline. I plan to have a full draft of book 2 done by December 2022, sitting at around 130-140K words.

Somewhere in there I have a short story collection I need to write, well write and polish. Six stories are already complete. By complete, I mean a vomit draft is done, but they need a lot of love and care. A further six more are planned, bringing the total for The Sycamore Tree and Other Fantastical Stories to 12.

There's also a spark of an idea for a Black Mercury Novella set before the first book, but unsure if I will be able to pull it off next year.




OTHER PROJECTS

As you can see, I'm not Sanderson. I don't have dozens of projects, in all different fields and genres, going on at the same time. I also can't write 5000 words a day, how does it do it? But nonetheless, like many others, I do procrastinate with my writing. I usually do this the only way I know how, by thinking, planning, and in some cases - starting other projects. So for this last section I'll go into a bit of detail for what I have planned post-BLACK MERCURY.



THE SPLITTING OF TIME

This was the series I started in 2021 with the first entry, THE WAYWALKER. A very early 'vomit' draft is complete, but it needs a lot of work. This series was born out of my love for The Dark Tower series and wanting to experiment a bit with discovery writing or 'pantsing.' Set in a world where different times have been spliced together, the books follow a Shinobi named Tanto and his companions Monkee (quite literally a monkey) and Koe, an engineer from the year 2096, as they attempt to un-splice and fix time.

I think this will be the next thing I work on after the Black Mercury trilogy is completed. It's a longer series and hopefully after completing 2 more books I'll feel confident enough to attack 7 more.



RILEYHEART LOCKE - RUST AND BONE

At some point, in the very distant future, I want to take a stab at something a bit different. After reading a Reddit thread, or was it on Twitter? Maybe Facebook, I can't remember. After reading a thread somewhere about mashing two genres together that aren't usually seen together, I had a nugget of an idea. A murder mystery akin to Knives Out, set in a traditional medieval fantasy world.

Though I plan to have multiple books in this series, I imagine they won't be numbered, and you could jump in anywhere. Rileyheart Locke is a very experienced detective, in some world. Possibly she has a power....of some sort? I dunno, this is no more than a line or two in my head with some imagery.


I'd like these books to be sort, around the 60-70K mark, so I might be able to start on this going in 2023.



PLUNDERERS OF THE BLIGHT

Dare I expand into the Sci-Fi genre? It's a maybe. This was actually one of the first ideas I ever had after I started writing. An engineer onboard a space vessel, it's taken over by space pirates, they kill everyone, leaving said engineer hiding. If things couldn't get any worse, while the pirates pilot the ship, they are attacked again by aliens! Now the engineer must survive two groups of killers....

One for 2027 perhaps....



THE LAST QUEEN

10-part epic fantasy! One can dream. Maybe 2030....



MY AUTHOR PRESENCE

It's important to keep in mind that, like I've said above, this will always be a hobby for me. That's fine, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't mind my work out there in the world. In 2022, I plan on pushing my presence just a bit more. I think this will happen naturally as I finish my first books, and I can release my lead-magnet too. Having said this, a plan here is needed and something I look forward to working on.



SUMMARY AND LAST WORDS

There's a lot on my plate, but that's half the fun with writing. Many will look at the list and think it's a lot, they would be right. It's far too much, and mostly a product of procrastination. In reality, most of these ideas and books won't see the light of day for a very long time. Working like this and planning ahead has been working very well for me, and I hope to continue that momentum into 2022.