1/3/17

Writing Stats for December 2016

Here's the last post updating you about how much I've written in 2016.

I spent part of the month adding material to two novels I'd recently completed. They're both still on the short side, but for now I'm okay with their lengths. I then spent some time assembling some of my series into consolidated volumes, and prepping works for future publication.

In short, I only wrote 72 pages in December. Still, I do have everything ready to be published for quite some time, so that work is done.

As for the year, I wrote a total of 1,483 pages. Honestly, that's about two to three months shy of what I could have accomplished, if I'd stuck to my daily goals. On the other hand, I've written two full-length novels (85,000 words and 72,000 words) and two short novels (56,000 words and 54,000 words). The 85k novel is the longest work I've ever written. I might not be happy with the raw numbers, but I am pleased about having written longer fiction in 2016.

As for January of 2017, I have a new work to start on. Here's hoping for good numbers in the new year!

12/12/16

"English & Scottish Ballads" by Francis James Child


Over this past autumn I read the multi-volume collection English & Scottish Ballads, edited by Francis James Child. The collection is sometimes referred to as the "Child Ballads."

I decided to read through all of them because coming across the vague outlines of a couple of the Child Ballads gave me some story ideas. I felt it would be good to go through all of them in the hope of finding other story ideas, which I did. I also wanted to keep adding to the list of classic works that I've read over the past several years.

Francis James Child assembled his collection during the latter half of the 19th Century. He seems to have gone back as far as he could with his sources. Some of the ballads in his collection have two or more variations. In the text Child hints at reasons, such as trying to get to the oldest possible version, or comparing versions published by earlier compliers to find out what was original in the ballad and what might have been added by the compiler or the first printer.

While some ballads Child printed in his collection date back to the Middle Ages, most appear to come from the Renaissance. One volume of the collection is devoted to the stories of Robin Hood. There's also several ballads about King Arthur. Among some of the more well-known ballads in the collections are "The Twa Sisters," "Tam Lin," "Sir Patrick Spens," and "The Unquiet Grave."

Reading through these volumes was worth my time and effort. Not that I could get through everything. Child printed quite a few ballads in their earliest forms, with eccentric spelling and grammar that made reading them difficult to impossible. The variations printed weren't always that different from each other, so some variations I chose to skip. Still, I feel happy to have read them, and they did give me story ideas.

The ebook editions I read came from Project Gutenberg; find them here.