Friday, January 04, 2013

2012 Reading and Writing

I was up to two hours of work yesterday, so I'm getting back in the swing of things. Unfortunately, I hit the hard part where I need to start really rewriting scenes. There are parallel plot lines, and one of the plot lines is lacking. I need to find a different way for it to play out but still end up in the same place. There will be lots of brainstorming today.

Now, in my final "year in review" post, I'll look at my reading for the year. I read 101 books, which is about average. My biggest reading month was January, with 15 books. That had a lot to do with me focusing that month on researching mysteries, so a lot of my "work" time that month was reading related non-fiction books either on the genre or on stuff like police procedure, and my leisure reading was paranormal mysteries, which tend to be short. My low month was August, with four books, probably because of the combination of the really fat books I was reading and a busy schedule, with a book in progress, a book being released, the church music camp and the upcoming WorldCon.

As usual, my biggest chunk of reading came in fantasy, with 39 books. Young adult (which had some overlap with fantasy) and non-fiction tied at 18 books. Two relatively unusual trends for me were mystery and World War II-related books (fiction and non-fiction), both at 14 books. I don't normally track things down to that specific a level, but when one particular subject jumps out that way, I take note. I do like mysteries, but I read an unusual number in the early part of this year because I thought I might want to write one. The World War II stuff was also somewhat work-related, as there are some situations and themes that are relevant to stories I'm either working on or planning, but then once I started reading the reference stuff, it made me inclined to fiction stuff.

I had a remarkably low Terry Pratchett count this year, only re-reading one book and then reading the new one (more on that next week). If you don't count re-reads, the author I read the most this year was George R.R. Martin, since I plowed through the Song of Ice and Fire series to-date. Counting re-reads, it would be Rachel Aaron, since I read The Spirit War, realized I was foggy on some of the details of past books and re-read the previous three before re-reading The Spirit War and then reading the final book in the series.

My "books of the year," the ones that really stuck with me and that I'm likely to re-read, were all young adult. There was Chime by Franny Billingsley, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, and Dodger by Terry Pratchett. In fantasy, in particular, there's some interesting stuff going on in YA, once you get past all the generic supernatural love triangle books. I think a lot of it has to do with the lack of genre boundaries. There aren't really genre distinctions in YA at the publisher level, just YA, so you don't run into that "this is too romancey for fantasy" sort of thing, and any romances can play out without it necessarily having to be the love of a lifetime. And without the focus on hotter and hotter sex (again, more on that next week).

As for writing, I did substantial revisions on two books and wrote another book (which may still need substantial revisions). Plus, I went through copy edits on two books and got them ready for publication. I had one book released in Japan (book 6), one in Germany (book 4) and two in the US. For this year, I need to wrap up book 7, both for the Japanese publisher and for US publication. I have the book I'm currently revising. Then I plan to complete my steampunk fantasy trilogy, whether it's for traditional publication (the first book is on submission) or to self-publish it. After that, I don't really know. It will depend on what happens with everything else that's going on, whether I need to write sequels or start something new. I do still want to do something with that mystery idea, but since it requires so much development it's on the back burner. I have another steampunky fantasy story that's eating a hole in my brain that I will probably have to tackle soon, even if it's just to get it out of my head. There's also a more traditional fantasy novel I wrote ages ago that I'm planning to rewrite at some point. The priorities may shift, depending on what comes up and where things are going.

There are a lot of other things I'd love to write, now that finding a publishing niche isn't so much of an issue -- fun books that fall in the gaps between romance and fantasy. I guess that means I have to get to work to get it all written.

And I just got news of something potentially really awesome that might happen, so crossed fingers, good wishes, prayers, positive vibes, etc., would be greatly appreciated. I can't say anything more than that now.

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