Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"From the space age to the dark ages" - (the 2010 writing review!)

# "'Now, what think you to this, my friend Pybus?" # - Jon Boden

One of my favourite TV shows at the moment is the modern take on “Dr Who” – it still (as it did as a kid) scares me in just the right amounts, the sfx (as you’d expect) are out-of-this world and the twists and turns of the scripts, I think, make it some of the best writing to watch and learn from at the moment. And it’s as I start to type up this first post of 2011, I’ve got a particular line from the newest episode in my head: “halfway out of the dark”…

It always seems like a good time at the turn of the year, while still in the depths of Winter, when the night and mornings are too dark to do much outside in the fresh air, for me to type up a post that both “reviews” the old year, gone by but also “previews” the new year, and what lies ahead for my creative scribbles...




But I’ve decided to do something different this year with my Review/Preview post – and that’s to split it into two parts! So here’s my review of the past year, and in Feb (sort of when my new year always begins, cos it’s my birthday month!) I’ll post up my plans for the year ahead – this is all mainly because I tend to type a lot and I’m well aware that shorter blog posts hold readers' attention better!) So without further prevarication about the bush, here goes...

After last year’s review’preview post in JANUARY, I gave a short stories preview of some brand new tales I was working on and had planned for the coming year… (you can see my last post of 2010 for an update on how those are coming along – as well as checking out the "preview" post in Feb too!) During the first month of last year I also finished work on the designs for the “Contacts” page of my Official Writing Homepage, giving a sitemap as well as feedback info for readers.

As FEBRUARY dawned, it was beginning to dawn on me that I’d be turning 33 (an irreversible number), and I wondered if it was time to start growing up yet, but then I began having delusions of grandeur for a “Moon Crater” ‘franchise’, later in the same month…

In MARCH there was another in my occasional blog post series entitled “On The Road to Publishville” in which I moaned a little and explored the phenomenon of “self doubt” as a wannabe author and the importance of “keeping the faith” in yourself and your writing. Also that month, I began to get all “technical” with one particular aspect of my writing as I learned how to add captions to my “Quick Study” video on YouTube (I knew my skills at the old day job would pay off sometime!) and I kept rolling along with adding yet another new page to my Main Homepage as I attempted to take readers travelling in time…

In APRIL, I was in the mood for new beginnings as I reached the grand old age of 100 (blog posts, that is!) and held a celebration post here on my online writing journal which looked back but also focused in on my plans for my very own podcast (I’ve got the initial recordings saved in the archive but this sonic series of grand sound designs are still in the development stages as of the beginning of 2011 so that I can get the project just right – and due to the fact that I’m waiting for technology to catch up with some of my more ambitious ideas for the venture!) Added to these celebrations, I also held a “Moon Crater week” on my Twitter page, giving some sneaky hints to the story that includes a cryptic mention of the annual “Earth Day”…

As MAY rolled around and the weather got a little warmer, I opened up a sealed box that my granddad left me and wrote a blog post about the contents… It was all about reminiscing and wondering about the importance of history, both personal and global, and how history is of utmost importance in my writing too… I also received some rather shocking news in May, in that the day job as a TV Subtitler that I’ve worked at for 10 years was going to come to an end as our office was to be closed and redundancies made – I had mixed feelings about this, knowing I’d miss the chance to work in television each day but also sort of knowing I was ready for the next professional challenge in my life, whatever that turned out to be…

As it turned out, I was to spend the next 2 months out of work so in JUNE I attempted to use my free time constructively (apart from applying for other day jobs of course!) by launching my 100 days of Writing, which I subtitled “2010: an odyssey in space writing!"

And then in JULY putting the extra free time to even more good use, my wife and I completed an epic trip across the final frontier of Ancient Rome – hiking across the 84 miles of Hadrian’s Wall in a week, which conveniently happens to be right on our doorstep in Northumberland – I found the fresh air and hilltop views were great for inspiring new kids novel ideas like “7/11” and “Shh! They’re Coming!” (but more on this in the preview part-2 post in Feb!)
Thankfully when AUGUST arrived, I was beginning a new day job (still in TV, a field I draw great inspiration from in my writing AND I even get to help work on a fantastic kids’ book site too!) and I also past another signpost "On the Road to Publishville” talking about how, ironically, not having a regular day job to support my still developing hobby of writing had borne a real period of “writer’s block” for me. But with the new job and fresh starts abounding, I celebrated with some “exclusive tweet-hints” on my first novel’s story...

By SEPTEMBER it was just about time to provide a midway update on my 100 Days of Writing project for the year, and I tried to be honest about the pitfalls of committing to doing too much at once while fitting in real life and all the busy-ness it brings with it. But it wasn’t all bad news, as I had made some headway on the story of Simulacrum, thankfully, and I even discovered a video clip to hint as to what one of the big monsters of this story (and others) could be! I also made a major overhaul to my Main Writing Homepage to help readers navigate more easily, by adding a "handy links menu bar" to the bottom of the main page...

I couldn’t let OCTOBER pass by without talking about one of the most influential films on me as a kid (one which quenched my thirst for storytelling and to be a storyteller myself as I grew older). Back To The Future was celebrating its 25th Anniversary and this month was a chance for a bit of good old fashioned nostalgia and a trip down memory lane for me…

NOVEMBER has always been the traditional “reporting month” for how my “Seal Your Own Fate” online gamebook is coming along and so to round off my 100 Days of Writing the first Adventure Simulacrum, I posted a celebration post and recapped on the main “tweets” that I’d used to document each of these century of furiously-focused scribble days. I also unveiled a new "plastic-wrap" look to my blog (and still have this 'skin' into the new year).

To finish off 2010, in DECEMBER, I began to sum up the year and reflect on just how much of a strange 365 days it had been… But writer’s love “strange” because it makes things interesting and definitely makes for a great story… As the year drew to a close, too, I took quite a big decision for myself in switching the main “news” announcements on my writing to my Twitter page, and resolved to reserve this blog journal for more “feature” focused posts and articles on writing (where there’s simply more space to expand on the news exclusives hinted at and previewed in my tweets).

All in all, the year that was ’10 was a good beginning to my attempts to become more professional in my approach to my creative scribbles as well as giving me a good insight into how the modern publishing world works. There weren’t as many “published” stories of mine out there as in recent years, but that’s all about to change as I go into 2011...


Be sure to check back here in early Feb

for my sequel post to this first story

as I go adventuring into the past
to discover my future!

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