Is it indulgent to have three posts about the end of the year? Maybe, I don’t know. It was a long year, and I wanted to try and deal with it without my usual barely intelligible splurge where topics are thrown together higgledy-piggledy.
So, now we get to the writing – perhaps the most relevant for a writing blog, but it’s all linked. The writing part actually starts in the latter quarter of the previous year. I’d taken a term off from my degree to regroup, save money, and let my creative side out of the bag from which is had been bursting. I focused on two things: finally writing down some of my thoughts on The Dark Tower (OK, still a bit academic, but not of the right kind for my current studies), and making a real push on The Giant. The Giant had been in my head since 2004, and, after several abortive starts, I’d finally fixed on something I was happy to bring along to a critique group. The Dark Tower article had been somewhat longer in the making. I made good progress on both in the Autumn of 2009, and the start of 2010 saw me with a complete (but very raw) draft of the article, and over half way through the story.
Unfortunately for me, I thought I was much closer to the end of the story than I actually was. I’ve spent most of the year squirreling away moments to add something to it, each time finishing with the feeling that ‘There’s only about 2,000 words left – I’m sure I’m nearly done’. I’m still in that place, about 10,000 words on. Fortunately for me, despite the fact that my long short story had morphed into a length that’s virtually unsellable – a novella – I got more and more interest and encouragement in it as time went on. I have thus felt increasingly irresponsible as I continued to fail to finish it. But I’ve kept working at it, even though I haven’t been able to make it the top priority in my life since 2009.
The article went through many drafts. There is so much I could say about The Dark Tower it was a real fight to create something accessible, intelligible, and short. Again, I was fortunate enough to be told I had a place for it if I could get it sorted. I edited and I edited and I split it in two because it was still too long, and finally it was done. Or at least as done as I felt I could get it. Hopefully it will be out in Hub some time this year. I say ‘it’ – I now mean ‘them’, of course, as the article is now two.
Having sharpened my critical faculties, I began to write more non-fiction, although not quite on the same scale as the Dark Tower articles. Although I’ve had several reviews and a story accepted in 2010, only my review of Haven was actually published last year – banking my vowed ‘at least one thing published every year’ that I’ve been maintaining since 2007. I have no illusions – I’m a baby of the small-time, but, like I say: I have other calls on my time, and the important thing for me, right now, is to keep plugging away.
Waiting to go out at some point are my review of Inception, and a review of Tim Waggoner’s Nekropolis. After I got all zombie’d up via the freebie of I, Zombie I received at Fantasy Con, Lee of Angry Robot fame kindly served to stoke the zombie bonfire by sending me Nekropolis, which I very much enjoyed, and had to review.
Fantasy Con was generally a changing point, with me. I’d begun to connect with other writers and reviewers beyond my immediate circle via Twitter, but at Fantasy Con I got to meet some of them in person, as well as catching up with people like David Moore of Abaddon Books, who I knew initially through other geek-like channels. My Twitter followers increased, and I finally got off my arse to create the WordPress blog I’ve been meaning to start for years (that would be this).
I also heard of Dark Fiction Magazine via my new Twitter contacts, as well as their Twelve Days anthology. Although I was not successful in my submission, the prompt poked me into writing a piece of flash fic that, with a little polishing, has now found another home. So, although I had no fiction published in 2010, I did have some accepted, and that’s no bad thing.
The Giant has slowly increased throughout the year, and I now have around 22,000 words, 21,700 of which I edited over Christmas. This morning I made a start on the last chapter. I don’t know all of what this year will bring, but I know I will finish my novella, and if all goes well I should have at least one story and two reviews published this year. And, on and off, I shall be blogging…