Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Season's greetings, recap of the year and a nice bit of news


Happy festive season! 

Well, it's been a very busy year for me, and as a result I haven't blogged much, in spite of periodic resolutions to get back to it. Since January I've radically redrafted two novels I've had on the stocks, and struggled with a commission for a contribution to a book on writing - one of the most difficult things I've ever had to write, and it's not right yet! - and of course there's been the publication of Used to Be. (Plus we had our house re-roofed, which was naturally very disruptive.) When I went to get the Christmas decorations out, it seemed to me that I'd only just put them away after Christmas 2014!

When you're that short of time it's so much easier to post your news and share your thoughts about writing on Facebook or Twitter, but I have missed the chance to mull things over in the more contemplative way that blogs allow, and I hope that in the next year I'll have more time for that. Come the New Year, I'll be working on typing up and revising the longer of the two novels I worked on last year (I rewrote it in longhand, which for me, is the best way to feel the rhythms of the story and get into the dream-like state I need to imagine it: as I reported earlier, the reason I had to rewrite the other, shorter novel was that I had tried to write it directly onto the laptop, and it just didn't have those rhythms and juice) and of course I'll be trying to finish the ruddy commission. But both of these will be basically polishing jobs, so I'm hoping I'll have more headspace from now on.

That headspace thing is so important - I've constantly felt that I've had nothing to blog about, but of course it's not true, I've had loads of thoughts about writing, but it's all gone into the other things, the commission and the novels. It is also true, however, that being so cocooned inside the creative process, I've done less in the outside world, so have had fewer events to report. (That's the see-saw of writing, particularly with novels: you need the time shut away in order to do it, but then you need to be in the outside world to gather the material!)

As it happens, this morning does bring me some nice writing news to report: Scott Pack highlights a story from Used to Be on his 'Me and My Short Stories' page and gives it four stars. The story he picks out is 'The Choice Chamber' (which Katy Lumsden previously picked out as a favourite in her review), in which a woman thinks back to her younger self and the alternative possible futures she had then. Scott likes the fact that although this might seem to be a familiar situation, there's a 'killer last line' that turns it all on its head. Which, needless to say, leaves me feeling pretty chuffed!
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