My 2021 Writing Plans...
I'm going to say it once, and then we'll have no more mention of it. Here goes...
I know! It's like a swear word, isn't it? But 2020 (Damn! Sorry, I said it twice but I swear that's the end of it) was a year we all hated. It was rubbish. But for me, I launched a podcast, wrote a book and decided to finally embrace life as a writer. That's why you can safely bet that I have lots planned.
No surprise that I fully plan for "Short Stories by Chris Morris" to continue as a weekly podcast in the new year. I'm still a few episodes ahead, but I plan on this being the main thing that keeps me writing. I've found that even when I feel like I'm a bit stuck, having a deadline really pushes me and I come up with ways the stories can go that I may not have thought of before.
The podcast will continue to release weekly on a Sunday morning, and there will also be a few specials - you can count on a Halloween and Christmas special, but I'm trying to think of others that might be nice too. If you have any ideas, you can email me!
In a previous blog entry, I mentioned a novel I wrote a few years ago about a high school English teacher who is diagnosed with cancer. I took a long, long time to write this, and I convinced myself that it wasn't very good. Actually, I maintain that it's not very good, but that doesn't mean that it can't be. I've been doing a lot of thinking about what the problems were with it, and I've arrived at a few solutions for them.
The primary problem was that one of the characters (a very important character) was really... flat. Boring, soulless, and worst of all, pretty unlikeable. I knew this as I was writing him, but I didn't really know why he was this way. He felt a little out of my control, and I didn't know how to fix him. I think I've now processed why that was and after a few years of life experience (That'll teach you a few things!), I think I'm in a position in my life to better understand this person, who he is supposed to be, and how important he should contribute to the main character's struggles and triumphs.
I'm really excited about going back to the story. I'm not going to just throw it together and publish it; I'm going to rewrite quite a big portion of it, and of course carefully edit the entire thing, as well as record an audiobook version of it. Which brings me to:
I've nearly finished the audiobook version of Which Way is North?. I'm recording this myself, which has been fun and frustrating at the same time; even though I have a weekly podcast where I read out some of my short stories, I'm actually not very good at reading aloud. I stutter, I mispronounce things, and I say the wrong things. Often. So it takes a long-ish time to record and then edit. But I'm getting good practice at reading aloud, and I'm probably getting better at it (Who knows?), so with some luck, the audiobook will be available as soon as next week. For the abovementioned novel, I'll be recording it as I'm editing it, with the plan being that it will release at the same time as the paperback and Kindle versions.
4. Other books...
There's a high chance that I'll have two new books (and audiobooks!) out next year. Firstly, I had planned a pretty epic Christmas story for the podcast this year, which would have released in five parts and had original music composed by myself featured on it. For some reason, this project wasn't all that ambitious in my mind, and I thought I'd easily manage it... and all my other writing... and my two jobs... and single-parenting... before Christmas.
I could probably have rushed it and put some version of it out on the podcast, but I decided the idea I had was pretty good and deserved a little more attention than that. So I wrote What Might be Shared and Turned to Happiness instead and decided that the Christmas epic I had planned could be a book instead, which will likely release around the 1st December next year.
I have titles in mind for these books by the way, but you'll have to wait for them...
Lastly, there's a small possibility that one of the two following things may happen next year too, although I certainly wouldn't count on it because two books and a weekly podcast might just be all I have the time and energy for! But if not next year, then these two other books will appear at some point:
Firstly, I love the idea of short stories books. I'm really proud of the one I've just released, but I have an idea for a different style of short stories collection. There's a much longer short story I've been working on for years, inspired by a real-life event that I was horrified and deeply saddened by. Not very long after this happened, the great Peter Capaldi acted his socks off in an episode of Doctor Who which had a little bit of a political message. Capaldi delivered a speech as The Doctor which just perfectly summed up how I felt about the situation, and the idea for my story was almost instantly formed. It's not sci-fi and has nothing to do with Doctor Who, but when it's released I'm sure I'll talk about it in much detail, and you'll see how it all relates.
This longer style of short story could be part of another book of stores which are more focussed on how I feel about the world around me, and would not feature in any form on the podcast - they would be book exclusive. I have a few other ideas for it, but much more thought needs to go into it.
The other book is a novel which I've had an idea of for a while. The story is almost completely formed in my head - and on a document on my computer- and as soon as I know exactly what this story is saying, I'll begin writing it. It will be a thriller of sorts about a secret organisation with a warped idea of justice and recruits ordinary people to its cause. The main character is a complicated person who has experienced a heart-wrenching tragedy, and I don't want to say much more than that just now so I'll shut up. My vision for it is a bit like a mix between Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, and the video game Heavy Rain...
So that's my plan - at least two books, maybe three. If there is a third, I'd expect it to be the short story collection, as much of that is already written, but let's just stick with two books, and anything else is a bonus! Thanks so much to everyone who has listened and read my stories this year, purchased my first book or read it on Kindle Unlimted, reached out to me to talk about my writing, and sent me photos of their paperback copy of Which Way is North?. I'm still wrapping my head around the fact that there are now people out there who have a copy of my little book on their shelves at home (or on their electronic device). I write for myself mostly, but sharing it with people has been really fun, and I look forward to continuing to do so.