Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A 2006 Review & 2007 sneak peak preview!

# "Turn the clock to zero, boss, the river's wide, we'll swim across - started up a brand new day" - Gordon Sumner

Happy New Year, everyone! So, how was your Christmas holidays, then? I saw lots of family and mainly had a restful time - this was a sort of "forced" rest due to the fact that I had a chest infection which I'm still feeling the effects of even now, but it was a rest nonetheless...

This respite over the holidays also helped me to think back across the last year and take stock of my writing efforts thus far through my blog, whilst still looking forward to what I hope to achieve in this new year. So in an effort to encourage me on towards new writing goals I want to set down in this post a sort of review of the past year and a preview of the shape of things to come in the hunt for the Missing Reel in 2007...




Overall, I feel that my initial attempts at blogging and getting the website off the ground in 2006, have been pretty successful. I blogged a grand total of 30 times in 2006 (all relevant to the story of Moon Crater if you want to re-read them for clues!), I created 5 blogs for my stories, including this one, and, with Twig, co-created an official site for my writing at http://www.findthemissingreel.com/ - setting up 2 pages there during the course of the year. I didn't achieve everything I wanted or planned by the turn of the year with new website pages being unlocked, but nothing has gone by the wayside - it's all just still waiting in the wings and will add to the excitment and intrigue surrounding the hunt for the Missing Reel which is about to step up a few gears in 2007...

Everything kicked off last May - after finally taking the advice of a friend, who would later become known here affectionately as "Twig", that I should "get one of those blog things" for my writing. So I took the plunge and began enjoying the process of writing down my thoughts about the novel I wanted to write (Moon Crater) for all to see... Also this month, Twig began designing the Missing Reel site and the first "holding" teaser page went up, in an attempt to cause a tidal wave of intrigue among surfers of the web - from what I can tell from Google Analytics, it was more of a light splash than a tidal wave, but even small splashes gather pace, right? And so a second revamped trailer page appeared in late May to tease readers more.


As June swung round, I got into the blogging routine a lot more, settling into the style and began writing features about such diverse subjects as the TV series Lost, Post-It notes, the village I grew up in, my travels in Ireland and Indiana Jones. This month also saw the debut of the relaunched homepage of my official website - an X-ray view of what was to come...

July was a very exciting month because I got married but I wasn't too sure how much blogging I'd get done. As well as writing posts about my worries over the copyright of my work, however, I also managed to find time to create 5 other blogs to display some of my early short stories... They were designed to suit the particular genres of writing that my stories seem to fall into. They're growing all the time and they can be seen by clicking on the links at the very bottom of this page! In July as well, the actual full-colour look of the main homepage over at http://www.findthemissingreel.com/ came to light, quite literally, and the "intro" page was unlocked for the first time.

August was "find the missing month" month because I didn't do any blogging due to the fact I was on my honeymoon and crossing Canada. Divulging from my writing for a moment, on a personal level, 2006 was a fantastic year for me as well - I talked about the fact I got married halfway through the year a little bit on the blog and we had an absolutely fantastic day, despite all of the nerves and anxieties. We even went on a honeymoon that surpassed everything we hoped for - travelling across Canada by train, from one side of the continent to the other... We're coming up to six months married now and I've lost count of how many times people ask me, "So, how's married life?" My answer every time is "I'm loving every minute!" As well as being my wife, Alison, is a fantastic friend and I truly do love every second of our life together. Plus she loves reading and puts up with hearing all of my daft story ideas, so I know I've found my true partner in life...

During August I didn't give up on my writing altogether though - whilst Alison read lots of books on our train journey, I took along what I've come to refer to as my "Moon Crater Bible" - a chapter-by-chapter plot of the book that I use as I write the story so that details and continuity can be kept right along the way. As well as enjoying the magnificent views of Canada's vastly different countryside from our train window, then, I also sat with my Bible and scribbled notes here and there as to things that might not work, and also things that I knew I wanted to add...

Getting back to the daily routine of working life as a subtitler for TV on our return from honeymoon, in September, I busied myself with setting up the "1st Moon Crater Fiction Decisions Poll", in which I wanted readers to help me decide what the two main characters of the story would look like. I had a brilliant response - not only from friends who loyally read my blog, but also from a group of youngsters who fit into the age range the novel is to be aimed at. The class group from Throckley Primary were a great bunch who seemed to come up with, dare I say, more inventive ideas for "Billy" and "Jo" than even I could. I remain indebted to them for their help and look forward to them participating in future polls here if they're still interested!

October was the Poll results month (the results can be seen by clicking the link at the bottom of the page in the Moon Crater quick links section) but I also felt the need for change and decided to overhaul the look of my journal blog here. Across at my official site I was still trying to find ways to add intrigue and mystery and half-unlocked a secret "hidden" page in the film negative strip on the desk top there, and so to tie in with this "secret agent" theme, I went with a new spy-style blog skin for this blog - a "top secret" memo pad. (Ways to unlock that hidden page at the Missing Reel site will be revealed in the coming months, by the way...)

By the time November rolled around, I was adding more stories to those 5 other story blogs I mentioned above - I also made sure each story had a commentary following them from me so that readers could see where I was coming from when I wrote them. It was also the month when I first collaborated with a real live artist, adding Vanessa Stafford's beautiful watercolours to my stories on my literary tales blog (see below for the "grown-up" stories link).

Into December and as well as continuing to write feature blogs about "books within books", I was beginning to take stock of the year gone by and to plan the year ahead. I knew what I wanted to do with the actual writing of the novel, but how would I continue to use my blogs and website to spread the word of the story?

So 2007 is here now and what does it hold for the worlds that spin around inside my mind? Well, as well as more tales of adventure, science fiction, kittwakes, grown-up stories and children's rhyming verse on my other blogs, lots more is planned to help take the hunt for the Missing Reel forward... To start with, over at the official site, there'll be a few new pages appearing soon - first the overdue "contacts and credits" page, but more excitingly, by the end of my birthday month in February (Gah, I turn 30 this year!) the long-touted Puzzle Page will appear - can you guess which object on the homepage that will be in? As to the writing of the actual novel, in 2007, I've got a few irons in the fire so to speak, which I'll let you know as and if they come off, but my one big intention this year is to start my own personal hunt to "Find the Missing Agent" and send samples of my manuscript off to potential literary agents - probably by the summer so fingers crossed for that... To help me with the continued writing of Moon Crater too, I'll be launching another Fictions Poll over the next month or so to ask readers to help me decide the look of the village which Billy and Jo live in. I also intend to keep up the collaborations with the fine artist Ms Stafford on my literary blog as well as searching for an illustrator to help me map out the world of Moon Crater a bit more... Phew! That all sounds quite a lot of work, so I probably better go and get on with some of it! Oh, one last thing I deliberately forgot to mention is the debut of my 6th blog just this week - it's all a bit hush-hush for now, but Moon Crater Adventures will tie into my main novel in unexpected ways from the back end of 2007, so for more info, be sure to keep your eyes on the skies and also on:

http://www.mooncrateradventures.blogspot.com/

Well, that's all for now - I've written far too much (a New Year's resolution was to do shorter blog posts, cos Twig keeps saying, "Your posts are too long to read!") - I guess I've just got a lot to say and so little time to say it in...

Until next time, farewell and happy browsing!

CGAllan - 12th January, 2007.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review of the year - I liked the audio version with the singing penguins ... or maybe that was just my overactive imagination spinning too fast. Again.

    ps where's the next chapter?

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