NaNoWriMo Progress Report

I have excellent news regarding my NaNoWriMo project. Writing it has been fun and progress on it has been successful and smooth. I still don’t know if I’ll be able to meet the technical deadline, but I’d rather write at a comfortable pace and miss the arbitrary endpoint than push myself too far.

I feel like I should also (further) reveal what this is: An alternate history pop epic/mystery set in a timeline where the USSR endured in a reformed form (while a lot of stories understandably have the August Coup succeeding, in this it never happened), and the hypothetical Soviet-Romanian War I’ve mused about on this blog plays a huge role in the plot.

Of course, the unfortunate tradeoff is that by writing, I’m admittedly having less energy to read and review on Fuldapocalypse. But rest assured, my creative engine is still running.

Congratulations Astros

Last night, the Houston Astros won the World Series. I feel especially happy because…

  • It gives manager Dusty Baker a long-deserved World Series championship.
  • It’s a bit of schnaudenfreude for the firebreathers who mocked them for the 2017 scandal, which in my eyes was blown out of proportion purely because they beat the Yankees and Dodgers. If they’d beaten the Twins and Diamondbacks, no one would care. (Should we revoke the titles of any team who had a spitballer/steroid user on them?)
  • They beat the Phillies, my least favorite team in baseball even without Bryce Harper.

Congrats!

Novel Update And An Observation

So, I’m close to the end of The Lair of Filth, the sequel to The Sure Bet King. It’ll take touching up, polishing, and so forth, but I’m in the final arc of the draft. With that in mind, I’m already thinking of the plans for my next novel. While exact details need to be outlined, I’ve settled on “a pop epic about aviation” as the general subject.

It seems like quite the leap to go from sports betting to air transport. Or is it? When looking at the economics, I was a little (pleasantly) surprised at the similarities between the two seemingly opposite industries.

  • First for the most obvious and most unpleasant: Both are volatile, low-margin industries. The revenues from sports betting are dwarfed by other casino games (particularly slot machines), and revenue can swing on events like all the favorites winning. Similarly, airlines are barely-to-unprofitable with the exception of a few outliers like Southwest and Ryanair. And they are an incredibly cyclical, event-vulnerable industry.
  • Second, the barriers to entry are, for the most part, extremely low. Certainly lower than one might think. Stuff like pay per heads and aircraft leasing, or similar turnkey solutions, allow for many entrants, particularly in the less-demanding offshore world. Of course, maintaining that business is a lot harder…
  • Third, the products are almost commodotized. It’s numbers on a screen/an airplane with seats in it. There just isn’t much except for deals and pricing that distinguishes one sportsbook/airline from another most of the time. And both have also been hit hard by the ability of consumers to price shop on the internet.

So maybe it won’t be that different after all…