Well, it’s been far too long since I last wrote a blog post, and I won’t pretend that it hasn’t been a frustrating time from a writing point of view. Ultimately, my fourth attempt at ‘Ghost Ship’ hit another brick wall, and for the present, I’ve had to abandon it - but this is a very temporary measure, I assure you, and it does mean that ‘The First Duty’ will be finished a lot sooner than I had expected. The writing process for this one is the smoothest of any Alamo I’ve yet written, after I got a quick false start out of the way, and I expect to have the draft finished in about a week, which means a release well before the end of the month!
Once I’ve finished it, I intend to go back to Ghost Ship again; I’ve had some new ideas for taking a crack at it now, and with a little luck I should still have that completed by the end of the year...so while it is now early November, I still hope to have two more books released in 2014 - which will take the total to nine for the year, a little less than I had originally planned, but still not bad! I already know that next year I intend to try for twelve again (which boils down to NaNoWriMo every month, but I think it is quite possible - I lost two months in the middle of this year moving house, which didn’t help…) That means that I will be sticking to my schedule of an Alamo novel on every other month, starting at the end of January. I’ve just about managed that since I originally moved to that schedule in the middle of the year, and I’m quite comfortable writing them at that pace.
Needless to say, there will be some changes - after Alamo gets back home, I’m planning to do a few more one-shots again, before settling down into a longer arc. Nothing can remain static in an ongoing series, I think, or else it can risk getting stale. I know that one of the complaints about shows such as Star Trek has already been that the same people are stuck doing the same jobs for years - which makes characters such as Riker, supposedly eager for command, appear as if serving on the Enterprise has suddenly brought his career to a screeching halt. (This isn’t a place to say how I would have handled it...oh, why not. After Best of Both Worlds, Picard should have been promoted to Rear Admiral, with Enterprise becoming his flagship, Riker serving as his Captain. Or perhaps after Redemption would have been better, but it would have served the characters, introduced new challenges, yet kept the dynamic.)
The important thing is that characters must grow, change and adapt, especially in an ongoing series. Alamo set out on a three-year tour of duty, and that will expire just before Alamo finally makes it home. If this was a normal ship, at this point a lot of the people on board would be looking for changes - people would be getting promoted, transferred, and the like, and I will say now that Alamo is no exception. I think realism is very important, at least the feeling of reality, and that means...change. Naturally, there are certain characters that are ringfenced, at least to some degree.
While Blake’s 7 might have managed to get away without its lead character for half of its run (and arguably, had a more interesting leading character when it was Avon in the diving seat, but that’s an argument for another time) I don’t think it would be the same without Marshall, and since Price of Admiralty, Orlova has been a key character, as well. I’m not going to give any spoilers here - especially as there are quite a few details that I have yet to nail down, but I will say that I am working on a planned ‘crew list’ for ‘Not In My Name’. No, I won’t tell you what number it will be, but I’ll probably be working on that book sometime in the middle of the year. I do know that Alamo 10 will be called ‘Shrouded Stars’, and I don’t think it’ll take much imagination to work out what that book will cover!
Anyway, that is six books, and there are six more projected in the pipeline - which will be a new fantasy series, I have decided, though I have a lot of details still to work out before the projected February release of the first book. This will not be in the ‘Swords of the Damned’ setting, but something new - and I’ll be going through some of the process here on the blog over the next three months, in preparation to writing. Something you are going to see a lot more of, therefore, is gamebook reviews...as I feel it important to revisit my roots, and I’m hoping to post one tomorrow if I get half a chance. The ‘Sorcery’ playthroughs I did remain some of the most popular on my blog, even a year down the road, and that suggests rather that I should do some more of them...and I’ve been ordering Fighting Fantasy books for a while now. I also want to finish the ‘Golden Dragon’ reviews, have the ‘Lone Wolf’ and ‘Way of the Ninja’...
Suffice to say, hopefully, lots more to follow!