It’s the retrospective time of year, when we engage in rampant ruing and reminiscing, considering the sum total of the year about to drift away behind us. Though it is an arbitrary point, it’s also the time when many of us look to make course corrections for the coming year.
For me, 2013 was a bellwether year. I published my Twinborn Trilogy and finished the manuscript for The Mad Tinker’s Daughter (first book of The Mad Tinker Chronicles, due sometime Early Spring ’14). I went from a complete unknown to a mostly-unknown, which feels like a bigger accomplishment than it sounds. I’ve gained readers who not only look forward to future books, but actively ask about when they can get them. I’ve met more authors than I ever expected I would without a publishing contract. I’m fairly certain that my writing improved as well.
For 2014, I plan to devote myself to writing full time. Being a self-published author is a consuming endeavor: I can work at it any time, and I can also work at it all the time. While I don’t plan to slow my writing pace, I would like to make sure I take the time in 2014 to keep up with my reading. Anyone who writes fiction started out being a passionate reader. The calm, imaginative state of mind that allows me to envision other writers’ worlds was turned too often to solely the worlds of my own creation (both the ones I’ve written about, and the ones kicking around that I’ll write someday). Yet for all my newfound interaction with fantasy writers and readers, I’ve fallen behind in my exploration of the the works of my more notable and successful brethren (and sistren … is “sistren” even a word? It should be!).
To that end, I got some books for Christmas to help me whittle down the list of “I’ve Been Meaning to Read That” to a more manageable level. I’ll probably take a grazing approach, reading first books of series, then going back once I’ve read all/most of them. Aside from the stories themselves, these are writers that other fantasy fans talk about. These are people I’ve carried on conversations with. I’d like to get an understanding of the works, the styles, the characters, to get back on even footing in a lot of the discussions in places like /r/Fantasy, or on Twitter. Also, I like reading excellent stories, and these are among the ones most recommended (that I haven’t already read, of course).
Just carving out an hour or two a day will be a big leap forward in getting caught up. Cheers, 2014!
Want to follow along? Here’s what I’ve got lined up for this year, in no particular order:
- Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
- The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
- The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
- The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
- Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
- Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson