Business planning and New Year’s resolutions have a lot in common.
You look back at what you’ve accomplished over the past year and try to envision a better tomorrow. How can I improve? What are my goals? How will I be spending my time in 2022?
That last question fills me with excitement and, if I’m honest, some exhaustion. I tend to push myself pretty hard on the fiction front, and as mentioned last month (Even fantasy needs a reality check), I have more ideas than time.
At the same time, I know I’m going to be working on The Curse of Er’Mah’Gerd, my first tabletop roleplaying game (TTRPG), for many months yet. So creating a production plan for 2022 is relatively straightforward—at least for the first half of the year.
But what about Q3 and Q4 2022?
Confession: I don’t know.
What I do know is I have a no shortage of options. Here’s a snapshot of my Project Pool:
Barking up the Wrong Tree
Ideas come and go. The ones that excite me get added to the list of possibilities, but deep down I realize I’ll likely never invest the time, money, and energy into bringing them into existence, such as:
- “Changelings” — I attempted to write this standalone novel about faerie-blooded people who have to save two worlds back in 2020 but abandoned the project when I couldn’t compose a compelling outline.
- “Genre Wars” — This card game would capitalize on popular tropes from established book, television, and film genres (such as fantasy, sci-fi, Westerns, romance, paranormal, and more), forcing players to craft a crazy narrative to reach their happy ending.
- “If Souls Can Sleep: The Movie” — Writing a script based on my novel of the same name could possibly be the first step in bringing The Soul Sleep Cycle to the big screen—but I’d have to learn how to write a screenplay first!
Sometimes the safest ideas aren’t the most appealing. Repurposing content could bring in more revenue, but when push comes to “love,” my passion pushes me toward creating new stories—which is why these not-so-hot dogs have been relegated to the back burner.
- Audiobooks — I’d love to offer audiobook editions of all my novels and have flirted with narrating and producing The Lost Tale of Sir Larpsalot on my own, but the temporal and financial demands outweigh the potential joy of such a journey.
- Collections and compendiums — Back when I published The Renegade Chronicles, I released a three-in-one e-book collection of the entire trilogy plus some extra goodies. I could easily see myself doing the same with The Soul Sleep Cycle and/or producing a companion resource for digging into the “science” of the phenomena detailed throughout the series, though none of that would truly challenge me creatively.
- More TTRPGs — As much as I’d like to create a D&D-compatible module set in world of The Renegade Chronicles and Magic’s Daughter or transform one of my preexisting homebrew adventures into a purchasable format or even explore my latest vision—a one-shot called Trapped in the Tavern—I know I’ll need a break from game writing after The Curse of Er’Mah’Gerd goes to market.
Leaders of the Pack
Starting a completely new piece of fiction can be incredibly time-consuming, and I strongly suspect that once I’m done with my debut TTRPG, I’ll want something a bit more bite-sized than any of these contenders—which is not to say they won’t rise to the top in 2023.
- Short story spinoffs — While I have thoughts for a book that follow Nic and Bettie from “The Fix” and a so-called utopian sci-fi saga starring Miranda from “Anthropology in Apogee,” it seems unlikely I’ll revisit these characters before the year’s end.
- “Curmudgeons & Flagons: The Card Game” — I’m not sure why the idea for card games keep popping into my mind, but I may have already mapped out exactly this one would work. Alas, while I have the tools to make this, I suspect I’ll be craving a more traditional means of storytelling later this year.
- “The D-Team” — What happens when Earth’s most capable superheroes mysteriously disappear, leaving only those possessing paltry superpowers to pick up the slack? This novel will answer that question—just not in 2022 probably.
Returning to an already-started series seems the most prudent path forward, as far as efficiency is concerned. Anyway, it would give me an excuse to revisit my old fictional friends and reward loyal readers with the next installments of their adventures. Among the contenders vying for alpha dog are as follows:
- Magic’s Disciples — This sequel to Magic’s Daughter follows Selena Nelesti on her quest to make a difference in the world, picks up two new spellcasting protagonists, and takes all three to setting very familiar to fans of The Renegade Chronicles.
- Tales of Altaerra: Lost Lore — Speaking of The Renegade Chronicles, it might be fun to take a peek at what happens in Port Town after Klye and his rebels fled or what the Renegade Leader from “Reputation” does after learning of the true threat to the island or even where a couple of pirates end up following the climax of the trilogy. This short-story collection could bridge the gap between my first sword-and-sorcery trilogy and the next.
- The Soul Sleep Cycle, Vol. 4 — A new generation of dream drifters, including Daniel’s daughter, must decide how best to use their gift to defend not only the dreamscape, but also the waking world from a new mind-bending threat.
Naturally, I also have ideas for a second Sir Larpsalot book, and I’m tempted to publish the first volume of Curmudgeons & Flagons webcomics in paperback—and/or dive into Volume 2.
It seems “The End” is never the end.
Best in Show
So there you have it, a fairly comprehensive collection of projects vying for my attention. While I’m leaning toward pursuing a new novel set in Altaerra today, that could easily change between now and this summer. I might end up exploring a fresh cast of characters or sidestep novels altogether and finally dive into my first video game.
Or something completely different.
Rather than commit to what comes next, I’m going to embrace the uncertainty and try out a new resolution: enjoy the project currently on my plate and take comfort that when the time comes to move on, I’ll be in a better place to decide what comes next.
Here’s to a productive—and fulfilling—2022!