Sunday, January 22, 2012

"An Historic Year Spent in the Past..." (the 2011 Writing REVIEW!)

# "Who wrote the pages of our lives... in black and white...?" # - Adam Duritz


As the old year fully turns into the new and temperatures on the outdoors thermostat begin to switch to the “Arctic” setting, I’m naturally finding myself retreating more indoors and finding I’m in a more reflective state of mind…  So there’s no time like it, then, to think back and look over the in-roads I’ve tried to make over the past 12 months with my writing pursuits…



After my “2010 in Review” post back in JANUARY, I began the year that was 2011 with some writing “previews” (as always in an attempt to spur myself into writing more and fulfil some of those scribbling daydreams) – to see this year’s writing preview, look back on this blog sometime later in Feb for the sequel post to this one…


Back to last FEBRUARY though – and it was then that I set out my intention to “draw battle lines” in the sand, hinting more at what my second planned adventure novel would be – a sprawling historical epic set in centuries past (or so I hope!) – 2011 was to be the year to begin work a-proper on “My History Mystery” (you can read more about how this is developing by going to my Official Writing Homepage and clicking on a ‘sketchy’-looking desk top object!)   I also started the year by adding some “quick-link logos” onto Main Writing Site’s hompage so readers could get immersed in the story more easily.

In MARCH I reminisced about those books which most influenced my early reading years, and which I still think back on when formulating my own books aimed at a younger audience today.  (Although I did miss one particular favourite off my list at the time which was “Jeffy The Burglar’s Cat” – I’d still recommend this one as a good read for anyone who thinks their house cat might be planning a world takeover!)  Also in March, I began to rethink my “Zip Code Challenge”  and released a new “Coming Soon” type animated teaser with some hints to my stories to come hidden inside its imagery…  And the new “suggested reading” links below each of my blog posts first appeared, giving readers the chance to see similar posts to the ones they’re currently reading (take a look at this post’s “You might also like” at the end of this article…)


I also began the task early in 2011 of taking my site into the space age by adding some new-fangled QR Codes as a way to add some sneakpeaks into the worlds of my planned adventure novels… as well as jumping on the latest cinema obsession with 3D by launching my first full-length short story in “Amazing 3D” – Kyle’s Courage. (click on a collection of small objects on my homepage that look like they could make a big splash!)  The redesign of my main homepage continued apace this month too with a redesign for my “Simulacrum” future gamebook… (click on a “spacey” object on my homepage to read more!)

As Easter rolled around and  APRIL took full form, I rounded up my (then) last agents submissions for my first adventure novel and described the process of “Moving on” with what I thought might be my last stop “On the Road to Publishville” for a little while – reflecting about the cold hard fact of sometimes having to ‘move on’ from writing that you’re really attached to…

Beginning in MAY I was in the mood for some nostalgia as my blog and my main writing website reached the grand age of 5 years old.  So I launched a new series of 5 special blog posts over the proceeding months entitled “Blasts from the Past”, beginning with the first, looking back at 5 years of posts which focused on the theme of “Imagination” in my writing.  Also this month, my main website got more of an overhaul as a new background appeared on each page of the site – my excusive doodles which allow readers added insight into my future books and stories… (see the very end of this post for a look at ALL these doodles!)



As summer blazed on in  JUNE I continued my look back at other posts from the past and cast the spotlight onto those that talked about my writing and the influence of “the big and small screen” on my scribbles.  I also updated my main writing site with a “site map” (but also warned readers that it’s more adventurous just to explore the homepage itself on their own!)  Also this month, I reached the grand number of followers of 77 followers across on my Twitter news feed and gave a special sneak peak present to my readers to celebrate… (see the blurry-eyed map above - but where could it be?)

Then in  JULY as the sun properly showed its true colours, I was feeling all inspired by the summer weather and with the third "Blasts from the Past" post, I looked back on the blog entries I'd made which talked about the particular inspirations on my formative writing years.  On my main writing website I was also feeling inspired to launch two further new pages which dealt with other major influences on my writing style and voice - namely "TV Tales" (click on one of the "negative"-looking desk top objects) and "Fan Fiction" (click on an object which looks like it's motored straight out of an old sitcom!)

Another AUGUST arrived and so did another "Blasts" post, this time honing in on the "personal stories" I'd blogged about over these formative years of building my web presence as a writer.  This all happened in the middle of another 'personal' upheaval in my real life of moving house (one of the most stressful events in life, apparently!) but I knew the change of scenery out to the northeast coastline of the UK would provide fresh inspiration and I quite enjoyed reshaping a new study area in the new house (negotiating with my wife for the space, of course!) once all the nervous excitement of the actual move had died down.  Despite this disruption in normal scribble proceedings, I managed to launch more "Short Stories in Amazing 3D" on my Official Writing Homepage with a new "Forgotten Fiction" page (click on a funny black & white object on the desk top picture of my homepage to read more), as well as the new "Adventure Tales" Feature Fiction page on the site too (click on an object that looks like it could be bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside, on my Main Writing Website).



SEPTEMBER saw the last of my posts down memory lane and with the fifth and final "Blasts from the Past", I wanted to explore the times I'd blogged about "fact vs fiction" in story writing, asking whether the best stories had a good mix of both.  I also felt suitably creative this month and created a new "About.Me" page to add to the ever-evolving quick-links banner on my main homepage (the picture I dreamed up holds a lot of clues to many of my current stories and planned novels - why not have some fun and practice writing some creative tales yourself by scribbling your own story from the images on my "About.Me" background?) And as summer came to a close, in my day job working in TV production, I began to get creative with stories for a younger audience than I'm used to writing for as I began training with AVID Media Composer to create video presentations of CITV's "Share-A-Story" competition.



After this, as OCTOBER began, I realised that more than half the year had passed already and I'd not really talked much about my main "writing project" for 2011 which was my second planned adventure novel "my History Mystery".  So on the blog, I took readers on a tour of a little-known castle I'm more than a little obsessed with called 'Dunstanburgh', on the northeast coast of England.  Not content to concentrate on one thing at a time though, I also began the much-needed third (and I hope final!) redraft of Novel # 1 (more on this as 2012 progresses...)

The cold of NOVEMBER arrived and I was in the mood to retreat indoors more, beginning to etch out another entry in my "On the Road to Publishville" series, this time speculating about the pros and cons of writing multiple viewpoint novels.  This month also saw an "HD" release of my Main Writing Website so that readers could see the main homepage image in more detail and some of my more cryptic scribbling clues might become clearer...

The year that was 2011 ended in DECEMBER with me concentrating the majority of my creative efforts in my duties in TV production work (it’s actually quite a joy to be able to mix my hobby outside of work with the day job for once in my life!).  This meant working as an AVID editor on my first full-length children’s book adaptation.  It’s at times a stressful art but worth all the sweat and tears, and with any luck in 2012, I’ll get to hone my AVID skills and see where they might lead in the future…

All in all, 2011 was a useful year in finally consolidating my main writing website – and as forecast at the end of 2010, my Twitter feed became the main conduit for all my up-to-date writing news, leaving this blog journal as a place for me to concentrate more on features about writing… This trend will continue into this new year as I continue my “hunt for the missing agent” for my creative scribble efforts…  So onto 2012 and next post, I’ll be previewing my plans and plots for the next 12 months with one or two surprises (even for myself probably!) in the offing…


Google isn't the only one with pretty doodles!
Ponder on the doodles above
from my Official Writing Website
and watch out in my next 2012 Preview Post
for a very special competition
in which YOU could get writing yourselves in 2012…

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