Wow, it's been a whole year since I established the Spargoverse! I know it's been a year because Twitter told to tweet about that fact and the greedy Squarespace overlords took money out of my bank account. I mean, benevolent, kind overlords who provide a fantastic service (they really do).
Now that that plug is out of the way, let's continue on to some kind of a review of the year that no one's asked for. It's more for my sake, just to see how the productivity really faded towards the end...
So, in the first year of the Spargoverse, I started off by writing the final forty thousand or so words of the first draft of my first novel. That still remains untouched since then, for almost exactly a year now as I finished that off just before the end of September. Since then it's been growing and changing in my mind. I'm really looking forward to getting back to it, but I have to wait until I've finished other things. Hopefully it will be all the richer for all this thinking time I've devoted to it – I'm regularly writing notes as new ideas and changes occur to my simple little mind and I'm sure the second draft of it will essentially be a complete rewrite of all 140,000 words, not a small task, but it will be much closer to the original idea I had. And you know, much more interesting than the rambling story it currently is.
Then I went to Fantasycon-by-the-sea in Scarborough, where I walked around with wide-eyed fascination, indulged myself in being surrounded by other fantasy and science fiction writers, went to as many panels and talks as I could, made some new friends and connections, and just had a really good time (there was karaoke after all). I really needed that energising hit of being part of a community as writing can be a lonely experience, which is usually all fine by me, but just occasionally one wants to venture out. I wish I was going this year (at the end of this month) but alas, the funds have not made themselves available.
Towards the end of the season I started on the first drafts of a couple of short stories for anthologies I discovered, more on that later. I also began preparations for my next big project: my first NaNoWriMo. DUN-DUN-DUUUUUUUN!
As the cold set in and the heating went on and 1st November rolled around (yeah I know it's more Autumn but it splits out the sections much better if I just pretend it's winter, okay??). That meant it was time to write a novel in a month: National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. I had an idea buried in my head, only just conceived some weeks before the month arrived, so it was perfect timing to try writing 50,000 words in thirty days. I wasn't too daunted by the word count as I'd managed to write around 40,000 in a similar timespan to finish off the previous novel.
Novel number two, Zora's Remorse, did pose its own challenges though. As I had basically just the rough idea, with a few key scenes, and a sense for what the overall shape of the book was, but nothing in the way of an actual plan or outline, it was definitely in the camp of discovery writing. As I went through, at blistering pace, ideas to flesh things out would occur to me but I just noted them down for later, worried that I might lose momentum if I stopped and retrod those steps on the journey. The result was that I got to about 40,000 words, and I was kind of done with the main story. There was plenty more to go in, but I had the main framework of the first draft. Going back into it to bulk it out to get to that deadline was not exactly fun. It was difficult to get my head back in the right creative space for fleshing out those notes I had written as the story had changed a little as I had gone on. That and I might just have been a little burnt out. Who knows?
I got it up to 50,000 words, so job done. I continued to tool around with it, until I made the executive decision, like with novel number one, to just leave it alone for a while. Let it germinate in the brain, let it find its own rhythm. In the meantime, I had short stories to write! WHich is how I spent the rest of the winter, writing and editing two short stories that were longer than any other shorts I had done before – one was 6,000 words, and the other was over 7,000. A new challenge, one that I relished. And rightly so, as they were both accepted for publication! Editing is still going on with them, so I'm not 100% sure when they will be released, but I'm nearly there for claiming to be a published writer.
The slog of adding to Zora's Remorse began in earnest in this season, and continues to this day. It really is a case of going through the book chronologically, adding all the stuff that's in me little head and in me little notes, then going back and doing it a different way all over again. It's slow work. It's starting to take shape. But it's slow.
I also indulged myself in a flash fiction competition, where I had 48 hours to write a story having been given a title, line of dialogue, and a story idea. Not a winning entry, not that mattered. It was delightful to write something that wasn't just wading through the quagmire of bulking out Zora's Remorse. And I put this story up on the website free for y'all to read. Click here to read it!
Outside of writing, I got myself chipped, turning myself into a legitimate cyborg. No, I still haven't got it to do anything yet, I've been busy. It's good for showing off though, as well as getting my cyberpunk on, which is helpful for my writing goals.
The slog sloggeth on, except for when it didn't. I hit a wall after doing some heavy editing on one of the short stories for publication, it was a lengthy and slow process, partly just because of hardware issues. It really took it out of me combined with real life getting in the way, which all resulted in a rather slow patch writing-wise. I seem to have got my mojo back recently, but it's been my biggest challenge so far. And it's also meant that I haven't written much on this ol' thing recently. I have about five different posts planned on the blog and cookbook, they're all sketched out and half ready to go, honest! Real world colliding with the writing world. I'll be sure to correct it asap.
I guess it's resolutions time, in September. Whatever. It's obvious: to write more. Just keep going every day, make sure I'm indulging the writing bug in whichever way I can, whether it's getting through Zora's Remorse, tooling around with a short story, or explaining in detail how to be a passive-aggressive chef.
Here we go!