New Year, New Wordcount

Welcome to 2017.

Pictured: 2016.

It…uh it looks an awful lot like 2016. Especially in that when I look out at the world I can see that quite a few things are on fire, both literally and figuratively. And I can also say that I’m doing pretty well.

Don’t get me wrong, I am as scared for the future as a pasty faced, middle class straight guy can possibly be. But, with that said, stuff for me has been pretty good. I’m as healthy as I’ve been in the last eighteen months (not a high bar to clear but I’m taking my participation medal and limping home with it). I’m actually writing instead of whining about writing and my day job both pays me money I can use for food and shelter and I actually enjoy doing it.

Not that I don’t occasionally want to hurl my computer out a window but you get that with a lot of jobs.

I actually started on my resolutions a little bit early. Not out of some innate sense of virtue but because I ran out of excuses not to. So thus far the goals of write a thousand words of fiction every day and stop eating like you’re trying to grow another pair of legs’ are going well.

The thousand words is the important one*. Assuming I can keep it, I’ll end the year having written 365,000 words (my high school maths teach would be astounded that I could do that calculation without a calculator or computer). Now, let assume that some of those words are pure hot garbage and I have to delete 65,000 of them…even then I’ve still written enough to fill three decent sized novels and several short stories.

Even if half of them are terrible words I am ashamed to have assembled in spite of good taste and good reason, that’s still two novels worth of half decent, non-shame bearing words.

I’ve seen a lot of 1k per day type plans around, so this is not an original ideas, but my take on The Plan goes something like this (if anyone wants to follow along please be warned that I kind of drift back and forth between first and second person):

  1. Write 1000 words every damn day. Non-fiction blogging, writing for work and social media don’t count. 1000 words of fiction. Every day.
  2. If you miss a day, that day is gone. Your goal is still to write 1000 words per day for every day that remains. No playing catch up (if I allow myself that out I’ll just stop because I’m a terrible human being).
  3. You can write more than 1000 words, but even if you write 5000 words in one day, the next day you still have to write 1000 words of fiction.

That’s it. Three steps. No wriggle room.

I wish i could say I dealt well with subtlety and ambiguity well…and I mostly do in my day to day life, but not when it comes to goal setting/achieving.

Can I do it? Yes.

Will I manage to keep going ’til next year? I have no idea whatsoever. Let’s find out.

 

What are your New Year’s writing resolutions?

 

* OK my health is important too in that I have to be alive to write but that’s a different battle**.

** With a remarkably similar solution. In that I have to do some exercise every day. Doesn’t always have to be hard, can just be a stretch and a walk, but some.

 

 

Shilling Envy of Angels and Lust Locked by Matt Wallace

I’m never quite sure how to review books by people I know; whether I know them in real life or I know them only as another voice in the seething internet maelstrom where I spend a lot of my time.

So this isn’t a review.

Instead I am straight up shilling Matt Wallace’s book Lustlocked and in fact the entire Sin Du Jour series. I’ve been a fan of Matt’s (read: pestering him on the internet) for a few years now, and I especially loved the first book in the Sin Du Jour series called Envy of Angels. The novellas from Tor are set in the sweaty, sweary world of professional catering company Sin Du Jour who handle…specialty meals for specialty clients.

wallace-covers

 

 

 

 

 

The Sin Du Jour ingredient acquisition team is a paramilitary unit with its own magus.

Envy of Angels dealt with the problems inherent to not serving lightly battered angel flesh to a party of warring demon clans and Lustlocked is partly about a super sexy goblin royalty wedding and also partly about sex crazed giant lizards.

Such problems are business as usual for Head chef Bronko Luck and his team at Sin Du Jour, but they do sometimes need new staff, and so when cooks Lena and Darren impress him with their performance under stress, they get offered a job working with the rest of the Sin Du Jour team.

Matt writes all of his characters as real people, despite the fantastic setting, and it’s very easy to imagine everyone he depicts on the Sin Du Jour team living their lives even when they’re not on the page (although living is a stretch for at least a few of them). Lena and Darren are the audience surrogates, and despite their mad food skills (and in Lena’s case, military skills), they work well as a way to see into a truly madcap universe.

Despite the truly dire situations presented, the story hinges on Matt’s sense of humor and he pulls it off incredibly well. At least in part this is because he’s struck the right story balance between playing things for laughs and letting the characters react properly to the danger they’re in. That makes the stakes seem far more real, makes it easier to invest in the story and the characters and because of this, makes it all the funnier when things go completely, utterly off the rails.

The Sin Du Jour books are all novellas, and you can get Envy of Angels here, Lustlocked here and the short story Small Wars right here.

I recommend reading them in that order, and I should say that Small Wars  comes bundled with Lustlocked.

Sin Du Jour is a smart, weird, fun, funny and maybe used in Matt’s eventual insanity defense. I can’t recommend it enough. In fact the only real downside of the whole series is that reading Sin Du Jour makes me hungry.  Bring on the next one.