Greetings and salutations!
The year is fading fast. As I’m writing this we’re almost down to having only 48 hours left in 2023.
This time of year seems to draw out thoughts of traditions, so I might as well inflict one of mine upon you.
Ramon’s Brownie Calendar was my grandparents’ calendar of choice, and they passed that preference along to Mom. My grandparents used theirs to keep track of their doctor appointments. Mom used hers to keep track of when the newspaper delivery failed in their assigned duty. Half the time, I forget to switch the months of mine, but I usually catch it within six-ish weeks.
But… I’m not sure I can imagine not having one.
Do I really need one? No. Of course not. The Calendar app on my phone keeps all my appointments. Do I plant a garden or go fishing according to the forecast in the calendar? No. I don’t garden or fish at all.
And yet… it’s another tie to my family that I no longer have with me. That alone makes having a Brownie calendar worth it.
I fell off the writing wagon in a way, the past couple days. I didn’t sleep well (or something) and felt rundown and fatigued all day. So, I used the time to sleep a whole bunch and work on switching myself back to a “normal” day/night schedule. As soon as I post this, I’ll be toddling off to bed.
But all this means that I won’t be winning the “Sprint to the New Year with Kris” challenge. Let’s face it, though; I don’t have a strong enough writing habit to really give her or Dean serious competition. That’s why I’m aiming for a measly 1,500 words each day (as I discussed in an earlier post).
Sure… that’s a relatively small amount that I can easily surpass without even trying.
I would rather work on creating a consistent, daily writing habit with a small, easily achievable number of words and build from there, than try to get myself to write 4,000+ words day in and day out with no ‘practice.’ After all, people just don’t wake up and go run the Boston Marathon without any prep or training. Why should writing 1.2 – 1.5 million words per year be any different?
That’s my dream, by the way. By 2030, I’d love to be consistently turning out 1.2 – 1.5 million words of new fiction per year. That would be awesome, wouldn’t it?
So, just in case you don’t agree with me on the awesomeness of that particular dream, here’s some math to drive the point home.
I aim for each of my novels to have 96,250 words. I don’t really write to word count, but I like to have a rough idea of a final word count. So… using that as a rough average, achieving my dream would mean that I write between 12.47 and 15.58 new novels each year. And those decimals? Those “partial” novels? They could just as easily be novellas for the story ideas I have that don’t really fit what I think of as a full-size novel.
If I liked and wrote short fiction (i.e. stories less than or equal to 15,000 words in my view), that level of production would allow me to publish my own fiction magazine… filled with nothing but my stories. I am not that ambitious, though. The main problem is that short fiction simply does not work for me. I have nothing against it, but I grew up reading full-length novels. A short story ends just about the time it gets interesting to me.
Or as one of my favorite authors, David Eddings, once said in an interview, “It takes me a hundred pages just to clear my throat.” (Possible paraphrase, there. Apologies if I didn’t get the quote quite right.)
He’s also on the list of people I’d like to thank but can’t. He is absolutely part of the reason I started writing and love Fantasy as much as I do. It was a very pleasant surprise, though, to find his novels available in electronic form. I hope his heirs ensured that, and it isn’t just someone capitalizing on the Intellectual Property of a deceased writer. It wouldn’t surprise me, but I sincerely hope it’s not the case.
That brings to mind a news article I saw recently.
A guy out in… California (I think)… lost the case when he sued both Amazon and the Tolkien Estate that Amazon Prime’s series, The Rings of Power, infringed on his copyright of an unapproved sequel to The Lord of the Rings.
Yes, I know I write fiction for a living, but a story like this would never have occurred to me. Here, you can read the article for yourself.
It boggles my mind that someone thought they could publish a story that heavily uses copyrighted Intellectual Property–especially such well-known IP as what is owned by the Tolkien Estate–and then sue for copyright infringement! I would love to see the result of a psych evaluation on this person. Talk about a brutal lesson in copyright law…
But thinking of that earlier this evening sent me down the fan-fiction rabbit hole.
Fan-fiction–where you love someone else’s fiction so much that you write stories using their world or characters or some combination thereof–is fairly common. In fact, it’s probably far more common than anyone realizes. And while I’m on the topic of it, I figure I’ll just go ahead and open myself up for all the abuse the internet can provide by stating my stance on fan-fiction related to any of my worlds.
I cannot control what you do in the privacy of your own home. Nor would I ever want to. However! I do not see any viable choice other than viewing published fan-fiction as copyright infringement. If you write fan-fiction based on any of my worlds and then publish it, you should expect a well-written cease-and-desist communication from my attorney in fairly short order… followed by legal action thereafter if you do not comply.
You see, folks… a person’s copyright only exists as long as they defend it. If I knowingly do not defend my copyright, the law essentially interprets that as waiving my copyright. And I make my living from my copyrights.
And honestly? If a person is creative enough to build a well-rounded story in one of my worlds, they’d be far better off making up their own worlds and publishing those stories themselves.
And don’t ask me to publish your fiction, either. Yes, I own a publishing company. Yes, it publishes intellectual property licensed to it by me. But I do not want the headache of publishing other people’s fiction. I simply do not, and there’s no reason to have someone else publish your fiction, either. It’s too damned easy, these days. Why would you willing give someone else a substantial cut of your income?
Okay. I’m going to stop change topics before that grows into a full-on rant. You’re welcome. 🙂
As for writing today, I made decent-ish progress on Hyperion. It will be the second book in the Sorcerous Pursuits series. Dawn of the Sorcerer, which is the first, will go live on Knightsfall Press in January.
Sorcerous Pursuits will be part of a shared world that has been refusing to allow me any peace for a while now. This series starts well before the series that gave me the idea for the shared world, and I wanted to write the stories that will be referenced in that pilot series to minimize the risk of continuity errors. I will write one more title in Sorcerous Pursuits before hopping over to start the pilot series (mainly because one of my best friends really, really wants to read that pilot series). I will then write three titles (-ish) in that series before I give the unrestrained two-year-old that is my Creativity full permission to go play in whatever world it chooses.
So, fair warning, folks… by June of 2024, I will be on a “whatever the hell I want” writing schedule. Yes, I know how torturous it is to be waiting for the next book in a favorite series. I’ve been waiting over three years for the next book in Fourth Fleet Irregulars, but I strongly suspect the author fell to COVID. Doesn’t mean I won’t keep regularly checking her author page on Amazon, though. After all, hope is a good thing, right?
Another series that will never be finished is H. Paul Honsinger’s Man of War series. I know for certain he fell to COVID, but he hadn’t been well for a while before that. I liked that series enough that I’m damn tempted to reach out to the family to see if they’d like me to write stories from whatever notes he left behind. The admiral in that series is a wonderful character. Come to think of it, I actually bought those books twice… at least two of them. Once when Mr. Honsinger published them himself and the second time when 47 North picked up the series.
But I digress once again…
The simple fact is that, for any activity to be sustainable, it must be fun and enjoyable. Which means I’m not going to promise a Round Robin rotation between my series or anything like that. Once I start the pilot series in my shared world, I’m going to write the story that’s fun to me. I will do my utmost focus on one story; I can promise that much. But otherwise? Be prepared for the equivalent of “pot luck.”
Daily Word Count: 3,955 Sprint to the New Year with Kris Challenge Word Count: 34,254 The Great Dean Challenge 2023 Word Count: 279,175 Overall 2023 Word Count: 314,875