Firstly, let’s see what I achieved in 2015:
1. NaNoWriMo. I ‘won’ NaNo again – my 11th win in 12 attempts, writing over 56,000 words of a political conspiracy thriller. This year, I used a slightly different method of planning the book. I had the whole novel planned out in broad terms in advance, then detailed plans were drawn up a few days in advance of me writing them, changing the specifics of the plan according to how the narrative changed as I actually wrote it. If that makes sense to anyone else. And it seemed to work really well. I’m going to be using this planning method as a basis for a ‘How To Write That Novel’ ebook, sometime in 2016. Probably.
2. Literary Roadhouse. I began as a co-host to the Literary Roadhouse podcast, where we read one literary short story a week, and then come together via a Google hangout to discuss it. After a change of host around halfway through, we now have a settled group – Maya (whose idea it all was to begin with), Anais, Rammy, and myself. If you have an interest in reading, writing, or expanding your understanding of the written word, it’s worth popping in and giving us a listen. Links are available at http://www.literaryroadhouse.com/
3. Literary Roadhouse Book Club. Along with the weekly podcast, Anais has started a monthly novel book club, with associated podcast. So far, we’ve recorded one discussion – of Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Heart Goes Last’. I was surprised at how different the podcast felt compared to the weekly short story version. If you’re more into longford writing, give us a listen, or just use us as a book club. We don’t mind. But if you do, you might as well listen to the podcast.
4. Word count. I wrote over 150,000 words during the year, across a whole variety of projects. Somewhat crucially, I wasn’t able to complete anything except the NaNoWriMo project, although after completing the ‘novel’ (draft zero), I then moved back to something else I had started but hadn’t finished, and moved closer to completion on that project. So this is a movement towards a ‘Complete Something’ state of mind that I want to encourage.
5. Writing groups. I began attending two local writing groups – one a more traditional writing group, with challenges and a ‘good news’ portion of the meeting; the other was a critique group, aimed specifically at novel writers. Two great local groups, with a strong core of members.
6. Pub book club. I continued my membership of the Pub Book Club (I know, a book club that meets in a pub – what could be better?) Members suggest books that the club might consider, and the leader of the group speaks to the local library, and between them, they choose books which are available through the local library network. The members are split roughly 50-50, between the Kindle readers and the tree book readers, and all mature adults. What’s that about ebook reading dropping?
So, all in all, it was a busy year, creative fiction-wise – a real mix of different projects. Emotionally, I’m both pleased and disappointed with the year. Pleased that so many new things have been achieved; disappointed that I didn’t get any more of my writing into the outside world.