Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The Year that was Writing Dangerously

So it’s that time of the year where we blog about the last twelve months, summing up the triumphs and the achievements and so on. Well, to be honest I’ve always been incredibly bad at remembering what happened in what year (I know, useless isn’t it? I have a great memory for pointless facts and a terrible one for the actual timeline of my life) so this blog post will be the vaguest sort of summary of 2010, including some of the things that I’m reasonably certain happened this year.

I started and finished The Steel Walk, a sword and sorcery novel about an ex-prostitute turned swordswoman forced into protecting the unwanted child of an evil family, whilst fighting off the evil machinations of the Green Council and their dreaded “dead walkers”. It was a book that didn’t go exactly according to plan, but it taught me lots of lessons that I’ll take on with me to the next book. And I did finish it, always the hardest bit.

Short story wise I’ve had a reasonably successful year, achieving way more than I ever thought I would. I’ve had a tiny wee piece of flash fiction published in Black Static as part of the Campaign for Real Fear- picking up a copy in Alt:Fiction and seeing my name in print was particularly exciting! I’ve been published twice in Hub Magazine and received some fabulous feedback on the stories. I’ve found homes for other stories in the From the Dark Side and Farrago anthologies, had a spot on the Un:Bound blog for Barleycorn (one of my favourites) and recently became involved in Dark Fiction Magazine where I had a lot of fun reading out Sarah Pinborough’s Do You See? I even had two of my own stories included, the second of which was a Christmas ghost story read out by Kim Lakin-Smith (who did a beyond fabulous job!). It’s been a good year for me and short fiction, and I owe a huge thanks to everyone who took a punt on an unknown writer. I hope I can keep it up in 2011!

Speaking of Alt:Fiction, I am pleased that I got my arse out of the house for once and attended a proper convention, meeting many lovely people and hearing so much writerly wisdom that I was filled with huge optimism and enthusiasm as well as dread and terror at the size of the task in front of me. Mostly, I just loved geeking out about books for an entire day with a bunch of like minded people.

I started writing Dead Zoo Shuffle in November with Nanowrimo. DZS was a big challenge for me; it was science-fiction/crime, and written in the first person, neither of which I had tried with a full length novel before. I got through 50,000 words in a month, and of course I’m still writing the bugger. Mainly I’m pleased with how much this book is making me think- trying to figure out the plot of a crime novel at 9.30am in Starbucks really sets you up for the day.

So at the beginning of 2010 I christened it “The Year of Writing Dangerously”, and in many ways it was. I formed a routine and forced myself to stick to it, and wrote more words in one year than I ever have before (the quality of those words is quite another thing, of course). I wouldn’t have had such a fun and groovy year without the help of a number of people, so since I’m here I’d like to say a quick thank you! Firstly, to my partner Marty Perrett (@Boxroom on twitter and go here for his website-http://boxroomboy.co.uk/ ) who has provided endless support and chocolate in the face of my erratic enthusiasm and changeable moods, whilst also putting together some amazing creative projects of his own. Thanks as well to Adam Christopher (@ghostfinder on twitter and go here for his blog-http://www.adamchristopher.co.uk/ ) a friend and writing buddy who has beta read for me all year, always giving useful advice and a kick up the arse when needed. I also owe Adam specifically for his ability to remind me of the right writing competition at the right moment, and for singing my praises to others. I’ve been lucky enough to meet a whole gang of marvellous people on twitter too, including Sharon Ring (@DFReview) and Del Lakin-Smith (@dellakin_smith) in charge of Dark Fiction Magazine http://www.darkfictionmagazine.co.uk/, and Neil C Ford (@nubenu) who was kind enough to lend a struggling writer a netbook, enabling me to construct my coffee shop related writing routine. Thanks also to the lovely Adele (@Hagelrat) at the Un:Bound blog http://hagelrat.blogspot.com/, and the charming Alasdair Stuart at Hub magazine http://www.hubfiction.com/ who were kind enough to give my stories a home. And a general hug and slurred drunken “love ya!” to all the fabulous twitter peeps who have kept me sane and entertained this year- you know who you are!

So if this was The Year of Writing Dangerously, what is 2011? The Year of Getting My Arse in Gear and Finally Editing Something?

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