Besides this website, I’d been posting All There in the (Monster) Manual stories on half a dozen other writing sites to mixed results (largely trying to drive people back to this site – hi, if that’s the route you took). And a few weeks before the end of 2022, I got an “award” for 250,000 words written on one particular site.
That can’t be right, I thought. I hadn’t been keeping track of how long these stories were at all, certainly not cumulatively. Plus this website is kind of weirdly prudish, so it hadn’t accepted all the stories I’d tried to post on there, particularly rejecting any with sexual content – although if you’ve read most of my stories you’ll know very few contain much of anything erotic. At the same time, I had used the account to post some of my older stories pre-2022 so maybe that’s where that number came from?
245,572 words, that’s how many words were written for All There in the (Monster) Manual, 245,572. And that does not include the intros and outros or the blurbs for the stories, that is purely the stories themselves. I was genuinely surprised! That’s a lot of words and most of them I’m pretty happy with. I know it’s subjective but having written a few books now I’ve always considered 80,000 words to be a “proper” novel length, so that is three novels stacked across the entirety of 2022 and that’s not bad if you ask me. I’m not James Patterson after all, and I do have a day job, and a new wife, and a life outside writing, so three novels in one year is pretty good!
My longest story of the year was written for the final week of Dractober, which was five weeks of dragon stories across the month of October. Burn topped out at 13,930 words and was one of those stories that had been with me, as an idea, from the very beginning of the year but I had to hammer through it to get it out for the last week as I didn’t have anything written for it at the beginning of October. Second place was Mimic, at 12,218 words, which along with Burn is possibly one of my favourites of the year. It is just such a stripped back story, the setting is very sparse, the threat is very immediate, and maybe there’s a feeling that more is happening in the background but the conflict is extremely uncomplicated, that’s just something I really enjoy in a story. You can also tell that with the longest stories, I’m really saving letters on those titles.
The absolute shortest of the year was released as the final story of 2022, The Little People at only 273 words. Obviously being written in the style of a subversive children’s story helps but with a work like that you really go over it and over it to try to make sure every word is the absolute most effective choice you can make. Shadows was the second shortest at 453 words and The Brains That Wouldn’t Obey at 569 words was third. With 245,572 words over the year though, you can tell I lean a little bit toward verbosity and that’s certainly been part of the challenge, to rein myself in, to keep myself from writing every idea into at least a novella. Among the shortest, however, was only the second story released in 2022, Fairies in the Garden (fifth shortest at 1,042), and that story really helped convince me I could do this and release a full 52 stories across 52 weeks. I was very happy with the speed of the setup, conflict, and execution, and the story also disturbed the hell out of my dad’s wife, who has been lovely and supportive across the year but it’s always a plus when you write something that seems to genuinely distress people.
Since wrapping up All There in the (Monster) Manual for 2022, I’ll admit I’ve felt a bit lost as I mentioned in an author’s note a few weeks ago. I don’t know how it is for most writers but when between projects I tend to bounce between different ideas until one really latches on and then I knuckle down hard on that project. Since I drive myself to write or edit a certain amount every day, that time between projects can be really draining as it feels like I’m pushing uphill with the writing rather than letting it flow. I probably could have kept going with nothing but short stories but I have several books that have been on hiatus for the entirety of 2022 and I’d really like to do more with them. My main project at the moment though is writing a novel expanding on one of the short stories from 2022. I probably shouldn’t say too much in case it comes to nothing, but I’m pretty happy with how it’s going so far. It’s just that it is taking some pushing to birth it, along with the others I’ve been working on.
But if you’re hoping for more short stories, I promise you they will be coming! I actually ended the year with two additional stories that haven’t been released. One of them was another idea that was with me from the very beginning of the year and it’s probably one of the craziest stories I had in mind but I didn’t get around to writing it until December and there wasn’t a space for it. I also have a few stories and story ideas from pre-2022 that were never released which I kept as backup. I’d figured if I ran out of time on Monster Manual stories I would cheat and release one of those but I never needed to so you’ll see some of those edited and released soon! On top of that, there are heaps of other ideas I never got around to and my lovely wife, who bought me the Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual to begin with, was good enough to get me both Monsters of the Multiverse from Dungeons & Dragons AND the Pathfinder Bestiary for my last birthday, so plenty more fertile soil in there! I’d been restricting myself in 2022 to only creatures you could find in the actual Monster Manual but my personal favourite monster shows up in Monsters of the Multiverse, the Froghemoth.
A huge thank you for reading this far! I’m really grateful to everyone who has shown even the smallest measure of support over the course of the year and to everyone who, with the endless streams of content shoved in our faces in this day and age, still chose to read my stories – that really does mean something to me. The biggest thank you goes out to my amazing wife Tess, who is a talented writer and editor in her own right. She has been a fresh pair of eyes on every single one of my stories, reading them and helping me edit, and hearing about my crazy ideas. I’d like to dedicate them all to her and say that I couldn’t have done it without her as I simply wouldn’t be where I am without her.
If you haven’t gotten around to all of the stories, I hope you’ll go back and give them a read. It’s pretty easy, you just go back to the main page and scroll. Scroll far enough and you’ll start coming across some other stories and some audio pieces from pre-2022. I also have books, if you would like something longer to read! I’m very proud of the Kill Switch trilogy and how it concluded. Tik kind of fits the pattern of All There in the (Monster) Manual in that it starts with a weird monster and I just see where I can go from there with it.
I’m hoping to send some of these stories out to various magazines, websites, and anthologies, so please if you have any suggestions for places where you think my stories might fit I’d love to hear from you! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’m open to any other questions or enquiries you might have as well.Thanks again for reading, I hope you stick around for what the future might bring. Keep your eyes on the website, share it with your friends if you think they’d enjoy it, and you can find more news from me on Facebook and Twitter!