Every year, I try and work out what I am going to focus on, and every year I end up surprised. As the year starts, my two primary focus points are Battlecruiser Alamo and the Westerns, but there are other projects that I want to work on as well, once I’ve got moving up to speed again. The first four projects are Alamo 10, Westerns 1 and 2, and Alamo 11, in that order, and likely Western 3 after that, but then I intend to get a second series up and running, one designed to complement the other works.
One thing I am certain of is that it won’t be ‘space navy’ again; I’m doing that with Alamo, and the last thing I want to do is clash with myself. I’m still in the early stages of planning this one, but I’m currently exploring a few different ideas - there’s a good chance it will be military sci-fi in some form, and in a different universe than Alamo. Right now, I’m considering a ‘ground-pounders’ series; I’ve enjoyed writing Espatier scenes, and working on something more ‘infantry’ in focus might be interesting, though a ‘rebels against the government’ series is also on my list, as is a more conventional ‘rogues in space’ set-up; I’m still playing with ideas, though I suspect in the long enough term you’ll see some version of all of these series coming out.
That’s something I’m currently planning for April, but if it doesn’t pan out in my head, there are some other things I’m playing with in any case. There’s a trilogy of books I want to write on the Mercian-Northumbrian War of the 660s, something I’ve been interested in for some time, and I even have the covers ready to go on that one - it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that it might end up as the summer project, instead of the new sci-fi series. I’ve also got a series based on the Crusades in my head, and with all the castles around, there’s likely something based in 12th century England coming up too.
Something I have given serious consideration to is writing some shorter historical pieces, at the novella length, maybe ten, fifteen thousand words, and releasing them as bundles. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this happens over the course of the year, though I wouldn’t expect to see the bundle for a while; I’d want to have sufficient to make it a decent collection of stories, which means at least sixty thousand words, I feel. I do want to work in the shorter format at some point - hence the Alamo novella, and if I come up with a second idea for a short piece in the Alamo setting, the odds are high that I will write it.
Ultimately, writing at three thousand words a day on average - something I am pretty confident of sustaining over a long-term basis - gives me a good deal of flexibility. I think that I should be able to write an Alamo, Western, and something else in-between the two in length every two months, maintaining what I consider a reasonable release schedule. I’m starting with two Westerns really to give me a good run in with the genre, allow me to play around a little, and to start off with monthly releases rather than bi-monthly. (Little tip for those starting a new series - that’s often a good thing to do, and something I would recommend.)
There are a host of other potential projects in the pipe, though I suspect they are going to drag back into ‘2016’ - just as they already dragged back into 2015 last year! I’ve got all the research material I need to write my Soviet Space History - that’s just a question of a couple of months to collate and write it, but I don’t think I’m going to have the time. There’s a trilogy of alternate-history ‘Space Shuttle’ novels that I’ve had in the planning stages for three years now, but I think they are likely to stay there for a while, and I’ve got vague ideas about an epic fantasy series...but at the moment, I think a lot of people do!
At the end of it all, my goal remains to try for a million words of published work this year, which I hope will translate to at least a dozen published books, possibly more. Setting such a high goal is partly a means to an end - better to reach high and fail by a little than to reach low and succeed. Besides, I might actually make it yet! I won’t publish daily reports or anything like that, but I probably will do something on the last day of each month to let you know how things are going.
On that note, I suppose I’d better get back to work. Ghost Ship isn’t going to write itself...