A Year in Words – 2021
Well, this is my second year writing and it’s been an eventful year of storytelling. I achieved my goal of publishing my first novella, thanks to Eerie River Publishing and so much more to boot. So, here’s a summary of my twenty-twenty-one word rangling efforts
A second year in the grips of a global pandemic and in the words of Jeff Goldblum, life finds a way. Yes, stilted, often behind closed doors, masked up and socially distanced but, nonetheless, between mutated variants and government corruption scandal, the survivors, on the whole, have adapted. And so it is, with my writing goals. When opportunities present themselves sticking to a rigid roadmap is rarely the best course of action and in twenty-twenty-one I found myself presented with many things I hadn’t planned on, including a novella, radio drama and a children’s story.
I wrote 43 stories this year, approx. 115k words plucked out of the ether and committed to page in some semblance of order. A few of which I even liked enough to be proud of. That’s about par for my yearly word count at the moment, last year being 122k. I take some comfort in, knowing it’s the final edited value. In reality, I probably wrote three times that only to rework in the edit.
My other big distraction this year has been getting to grips with the 3D rendering software Blender. Apart from being a total nerd, I’m aiming to leverage it in marketing, With social media increasingly leaning towards short promotional videos, advertising books is becoming increasingly challenging. Needless to say, when it came to summarising this years haul of anthologies I wasn’t going to miss a chance to practise:
In a year of ups troubled rarely by the occasional down, there are a few milestone stories that I look back on fondly.
- Damned Dwelling – this is a great example of seizing an opportunity. I’d never written a dialogue-driven story before coming across Black Hare Press’ competition. I thoroughly enjoyed writing this as a radio play. This was the first time I got something into print with just my name on it. Details…
- Heart of Thorns – my first novella and my biggest challenge in 2021. Thanks to Michelle at Eerie River for this fantastic opportunity and her boundless patience on this one. Details…
- Candy Capers – I had no intentions of tackling kids literature this year, but Raven & Drake’s charity anthology for the Brain Cancer Trust was such a great cause. It was impossible to say, no.. I had way too much fun writing Don’t Feed the Squirrels. Details…
- Guess Who? – I entered Kent Shawn’s yearly story competition, purely on the basis of the fun promotional video. The competition results reveal video is truly one of the highlights of my writing career. So unexpected and so funny, it had me in tears. Details….
- Anywhere but Elsewear – something about Parsec Ink’s Triangulations: Habit call sparked my imagination and I spent months trying to come up with a compelling story that met the brief. In the end, Anywhere but Elsewear is the story I came up with and it is a dystopian vision I’ll be aiming to revisit.
- Where When Lingers (out in 2022) – a Kate Bush anthology, Well, there was no chance I was going to miss out on this one. A monstrous fan of Kate’s work, I had too many ideas for this one. Selecting just one became the problem. Where when lingers is probably the most abstract and poetic piece I’ve written to date, inspired by the lyrics of the Jig of Life.
What Word Next?
If this post has a message, it’s that plans are all well and good, but if you stick to them you may well miss out on smelling the sweetest flowers. That said my “plan” for this year is to shift to writing longer pieces, ideally a couple more novella’s and my first novel. I’ve whittled down my short story commitments in anticipation. That said, the inevitable delay between writing and publishing means I’ll have a slew of stories coming out throughout the year, including a couple of secret collaboration projects that are always fun.
Time will tell if I hit my targets, or if I get distracted, either way, every day with the opportunity to write is a gift.
Here’s a list of my accepted stories for 2021. I haven’t listed the nine rejections as they’ll end up being edited and recycled (if at first…). It’s also missing four stories out for submission in December and two stories that are part of a group project.
|24/12/2020||One of These Days||Blackhare Press||Haunt|
|04/01/2021||The Modern Medusa||Raven and Drake Publishing||New Tales of Old|
|13/01/2021||The Sleeping Forest|
|10/01/2021||Zigzag||Iron Fairie Publishing||Flights of Fancy|
|15/02/2021||Meg’s Daughters||Beaking Rules Europe||Lost Lore & Legends|
|12/02/2021||Guess Who?||kentshawn.com||Short Story of Doom|
|13/02/2021||The Luring||Beaking Rules Europe||Lost Lore & Legends|
|13/02/2021||The Miller’s Offering|
The Loneliness of a Shepherdess
|20/03/2021||Heart of Thorns||Eerie River Publishing||After|
|22/02/2021||Cut Corners||Death House|
|28/02/2021||Anywhere but Elsewear||Parsec Ink||Triangulation: Habitats|
|03/03/2021||A Family Feast||Black Ink Books||Infection|
|23/03/2021||Up to Your Neck In It|
|23/03/2021||The Last Train into Dodge|
|29/03/2021||Don’t Feed The Squirrels||Candy Capers|
|22/03/2021||The Dreams of Thraic||Beaking Rules Europe||Death Beyond|
|08/04/2021||Tooth be Told||Black Ink Books||Blood Lust|
|08/04/2021||Not a Witch|
|08/04/2021||The Late Shift|
|08/04/2021||Hoppy Ever After|
|28/04/2021||Homesick||Eerie River Publishing||It Calls through the Doors|
|06/05/2021||The Kythera Mechanism||Beaking Rules Europe||
Adventure Awaits – Volume 3
|15/06/2021||Bloody Butterflies||Iron Fairie Publishing||Flights of Fancy|
|17/06/2021||The Valley of the Lost|
|22/07/2021||Where does the time go?||The Drabble|
|31/07/2021||One of a Kind||Red Cape Publishing||K is for Kidnap|
|03/08/2021||Where When Lingers||Heads Dance||Kate Bush: an anthology|
|21/11/2021||Little Stars||Eerie River Publishing||
Monthly Competition: Aliens
Cover photo courtesy of Tom Hermans on Unsplash