NB All writing herein ©C.G.Allan 2006 to 2020. All ideas remain the Intellectual Property of C.G.Allan.

"Sound as a Pound... or Penny!" (the 2013 Writing REVIEW!)

# "Everybody's talkin' 'bout the new sound, funny, but it's still rock and roll to me! # Billy Joel

I've titled this post with a kind of sarcastic tone, not to take the mickey out of myself (although all scribblers probably need to do that from time to time to keep a level head!) but more to remind me where I'm at in my writing life... I've been jotting down ideas and scribbling wild-eyed notions for nye-on 15 years now but in writing years that probably translates into me still being a toddler (hence the "penny", rather than the "pound" in the title).  I'm up on my feet as an amateur writer but still need to steady myself now and again on the furniture around me, and 2013, looking back was a brilliant year for helping gain confidence in walking tall as a scribbler (but in 2014 I need to make in roads with an agent for my writing to be able to properly start running around the place!)  So I think it's worth a look back on the old year that was, to reflect on my minor achievements in writing and to help spur me onwards into this new year...



I wanted to begin the year on a bit of a strong point in JANUARY 2013 by getting straight on with the next adventure novel I had planned (after completing the final draft of my first adventure novel by the close of the previous year...) So I devised my very own "scribbling kickstart" programme to at least attempt to get into a regular routine of new writing for the new year - it was simply this: 6 months planning and 6 months writing.  That wasn't to say I'd be aiming to finish a complete draft of this new book by the end of 2013 but I wanted that year to be the launchpad for this new as yet unnamed book which I was tentatively calling "my gnome gnovel"...

In FEBRUARY last year I set out an even grander plan for my scribbles with "13 things I wanted to achieve or at least get off the ground during the 13th year of the new millennium.  (Exactly how successful I was at ticking all of these off my list as the year went on, I'll let you know in my February preview post!) 

As the spring began to emerge in MARCH, I found I was hitting a bit of writer's block and a scribble lethargy was setting in so I decided to dig out some old writing to redraft, so to speak - way back sometime when myself and some friends had written a series of wacky radio comedies and I was keen to get some sound stories launched during 2013, so I dug out The Mysterious Case of the Missing False Teeth on an old C60 audio cassette (look it up on Wiki, kids!) and began the task of cutting and splicing it into a digital format (chuckling all the way...)  On this blog during this month too, I opened the flap on "the things I carry with me" on my day-to-day sojourns - be it to the day job or out and about on a scribble field trip, I tend to take my trusty knapsack on my back...

During APRIL I began to immerse myself in the storytelling worlds of the moving image with a course for my day job at the Adobe UK headquarters, learning the tools of the trade for video and sound editing which I'm happily finding myself moving into at work... And I also blogged about this and other recent writing experiences in a post called "Getting Animated", exploring the influence animated books and films have had on my creative impulses over the years...

I had a grand plan for the summer of 2013 because it marked the 10-year anniversary of an epic journey I made with my then girlfriend (now my wife) across the continent of mainland Europe, so in MAY, I began that plan with the first "lookback" post, reproducing articles here on the blog that I sent back to a local newspaper about our travels... 

During this month too, I began to begin to make my voice heard, experimenting with setting up my own "SoundCloud" page, using The Mysterious Case of the Missing False Teeth crackly archive audio that I'd rediscovered back in March, I also started to add to my track list by going back through some old recordings of a local community radio station I once co-hosted and was interviewed on for my creative writing, posting up readings of a few select short stories which also appear on my Official Writing Homepage.

Also during May at my day job I was getting creative and was able to do some scribble research at the same time by working on a video editing job for a new exhibition on the life of Enid Blyton for Seven Stories - the Centre for the Children's Book.  Late in the month, I met up again with Rich Windass, the illustrator extraordinaire who I've been collaborating with for a number of years on an original concept for a brand new space adventure story called "Simulacrum".  We'd decided to concentrate on a 'prequel' story to this tale which is actually evolving into a graphic novel, and we managed to make some real in-roads into establishing the style of this last year...

Moving into JUNE and the beginning of summer proper, I blogged again about our continuing adventures backpacking around Europe a decade ago and I also upped my game on the "sound" stories front by having a go at "Audio Booing" (a mini-audio cast that Stephen Fry has popularised in the past few years...) and after a few false starts I was able to begin launching my very own Audio Boo page, deciding to use these "sound bite" 3-minute segments each month to bring news of how the writing of my third adventure (g)novel was progressing (There's a list of the back catalogue of my Audio Boos to catch up on NOW, if you go across to my Official Writing Homepage and click on the Radio or the Gnome object...)


Speaking of my writing website, in JULY I decided to attempt to make the design a bit more accessible so that readers could navigate it a bit more easily, so each sub-page now has a small picture at its top of the particular object that's been clicked to reach it, to remind the reader how to get back to it...  In July too, the writing of that third book I'd been plotting and planning since the beginning of 2013 got started on the blank page!  So my "gnome gnovel" was officially born and it's something I'm elbow-deep in now as 2014 begins...  In an attempt to both get a bit fitter on the journeys to and from my day job as summer deepened in July I purchased a new mode of transport in the form of a folding bike, making half the trek to work on overland rail, with my bike folded up and in the luggage rack, and the other half (about 3 or 4 miles) on the bike along the brilliant banks of the River Tyne.  This past 6 months cycling here and there has been really inspiring, seeing all sorts of early morning wildlife on the river and also getting to view my hometown from a completely different perspective...



AUGUST arrived with a flash, bang, whallop, as I began adding a lot more images to my writing Flickr page including a new set showing those inspiring views I'm lucky enough to catch glimpses of on my folding bike each day of the week on the way to my day job.  It was at the day job too that there was a frenzy of creative activity during August as I began video editing and animation work on a pair of spooky stories, in preparation for Halloween on the "Signed Stories" App...

When SEPTEMBER rolled around, I finished off my my Euro '03 trekking retrospective series of blog posts, re-evaluating the trip and what it's meant to both myself and my wife in the ten years since our return (we certainly haven't lost the travel bug, in the years since, that's for sure!), and I particularly reflected on the bearing that that epic journey had on myself as a writer too...

And talking of journeys that change you, as OCTOBER began, I thought it was about time I reflected a bit more on the first few months of my "Summer of Cycling" here on the blog, writing a recap of my "wheely" good adventures on the folding bike...  Also this month, I began volunteering for a new heritage charity in my home town which was centred around the medieval and mysteriously-titled "Black Gate" which connects to the old castle keep and ruined city walls (an area of the past I'm still doing research on for my planned second adventure novel "my History Mystery"!)

In NOVEMBER, I took a bit of a break from the blog as we took our late (yes, very late!) summer hols - travelling to the Peak District and France over a fortnight, but I still took my scribbles pocketbook with me and did some valuable field research for "my gnome gnovel" as well as drafting (what I think) is a very funny and entertaining animal short story (more on this in the 2014 Writing Preview next month!)

As DECEMBER began and the year began to draw to a close, so did my jottings, but not before I rounded off the year with a look back at my other creative output for 2013 - video editing at the day job, where I'd learned not only new skills of my trade but also picking up new storytelling tricks along the way...

So that was the year that was 2013 for me and my creative writing... A rather modest year in terms of me advancing my first adventure novel into the agent stakes (although I did work on the redrafting of this - there'll be more in a future "On the Road To Publishville" post during 2014) but one in which I really do feel that I began finding my voice, moving from a humble whispering, mumbling secret scribbler into the big wide world of making myself heard with my "Sound Stories", further practising my chosen art form in its various glorious variations...

If you're still with me after all that, the second part of my annual review/preview routine will be next month, with a honed and focused blog post on what's on the horizon for me and my writing in 2014...

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