30 December 2010 - 4:32 pm

Retrospective: 2010

2010 has been a strange year. Wonderful and frustating, with progress both backwards and forwards. I haven’t done many things that I had hoped and planned to do, but it hasn’t all been disappointment.

Achieved this year:

  • Got Starwalker up and running, and completed Book 1. When I started it, I had no idea how much actual story I had to play with. I had 12 ‘chapters’ planned out and had only got through 6 when the 100,000-word mark arrived. The arc worked out nicely, so that became Book 1. Book 2 looks like it’ll only take up the next 2 planned ‘chapters’ (!!!), so it seems that I’ve got lots of material to play with for that particular story. Which means: yes, there will be a Book 3.
  • Started some Starwalker shorts. Got some good ideas lined up here and the groundwork done. Some previews are available – now all I need to do is go back and finish them all off. Ahem.
  • NaNoWriMo – got my 50,000 words done, and did some bewildering ML-stuff at the same time. My co-ML and I had some ambitious plans, added a few things in on the fly, and had a fantastic time. It was bigger and better than 2009, and it all went swimmingly. I was left feeling awesome, and completely drained.
  • Creative Writing Group is still going strong. We had a hiccup in the middle of the year when our venue decided it couldn’t host us any more, but now we have a new home and it’s all looking good.

Things I didn’t manage:

  • Posting Starwalker three times a week. I dropped it to one post a week to give myself a bit of a breather, and haven’t managed to get back up to three posts a week. Even with a pile of NaNo material to use, editing and sorting out the posts in time to get them up three times a week just hasn’t happened.
  • Apocalypse Blog shorts. I promised to do them. I have half of one written, but just haven’t got back to it in months. I am disappointed by this, and I do hope to get back to it at some point. To everyone who has been waiting for them: I’m sorry. It is still on my list. Really sorry. 🙁
  • AB e-books. I am most of the way through editing the first ‘book’ of AB, but various other commitments have got in the way. I will have to attack this again soon.
  • Merchandise. My potential avenue for this is struggling to get off the ground, and it hasn’t happened. Delayed but not forgotten or given up on.
  • Getting business cards and doing more self-marketing. I had hoped to put myself out there a bit more, get some AB/SW t-shirts and go to cons to spread the word some more. Hand out business cards and bookmarks. Still struggling to sort out the graphics/design for these, though. It is still on my list of things to do.
  • WorldCon. Work interfered and I had to be here for a major deadline, so I couldn’t go down to the event in Melbourne. Poot.
  • Novel edit/submit. Haven’t even picked it up. Part of this has been the weight of webfic stuff I’ve been doing, but it also needs something more. I’m not sure what that ‘something’ is yet, but it is percolating in the back of my brain. Once I find that elusive missing piece, I will go back to it, but it’s not something that can be rushed.
  • Other random blogfic. Yeah, didn’t get to this either. Starwalker has sucked up a lot of my creative time this year, and the angel-based blogfic has a lot of prelim work needed before it can start. With my energy levels as they are at the moment, this one won’t get going until SW is well and truly finished!
  • More writing tips posts. I haven’t been posting on this blog anywhere near enough, and with nothing like the amount of ‘tips’ posts that I had hoped to do.

Without trying to make excuses, I will offer some explanations. I think the main one has been my health – I simply haven’t been as well this year as I was in 2009. The CFS is becoming more of a problem, and while I’m seeking specialist help, I still haven’t found the meds that will help kick it back out of my way.

It’s like trying to think through treacle, only not as sweet. Exhaustion is a weight on creative thinking, and I’ve had to push hard to get through some weeks and create something entertaining, for me and my readers. I don’t like that the CFS gets in my way, but I also can’t deny it or pretend it isn’t there, as much as I’d like to. Sadly, this isn’t something I can do a lot about – no more than I’m doing already, anyway. Just keep slogging on, I guess.

The other major factor this year is my work. Since my promotion in late 2009, I’ve had to take on the management of a small team with very little preparation or training, and carry it through a number of changes. Everything has changed, from our deadlines, to our format, to our management, to the structure of the entire R&D department, to the company we work for (we got bought out last month). Between picking up all the things that we’ve done previously and making it work with all the new stuff coming at us… it has been stressful. And busy. And crazy. And yes, very distracting.

I’ve had good stuff come up too. I managed to pull together some threads of various plots and characters I’ve been tossing around for a while. I have plans for the Starwalker universe that will take it beyond the story of the ship. There’s the possibility of a whole offshoot into another facet of that world, and that’s exciting. One particular character that I’ve been playing around with for about 10 years now has morphed in just the right way to fit in. And there’s a plotline that almost got started back in 2008 in a different project that I think I can make work in Starry’s world, too. Plus, of course, there’s the villain shorts that I’ll be working on in the new year, too.

I should probably come up with a name for the universe, to tie all these pieces together. Hmm.

Another couple of ideas have also recently come together, marrying up another long-standing character idea with a previously-separate world concept, with some aspects inspired by other fiction that I’ll mash in for good measure. That one has some background work to go yet, but I managed to get some outline notes down during NaNo (when I was burned out on Starwalker and needed to bulk out my wordcount), and I know I’ve got enough plot for three full story-arcs.

In short: I’m not going to run out of things to write anytime soon.

I’ll post more about my immediate plans in my ‘what I want to do in 2011’ post, which I’m sure will turn up sometime in the next few days. In the meantime… 2010? You were hard work. You weren’t all that I hoped you’d be, but I had high hopes to start with. I achieved some of what I set out to do, and I’m not disappointed with what I ended up with.

Here’s hoping that I can climb a little higher next year.

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  1. Meaghan says:

    You sure know how to keep busy! I hope my 2011 is much busier and more productive, writing-wise, than 2010 has been. I do look forward to any shorts from Apocalypse Blog! I miss those characters! Have you ever considered returning to that world and writing about what happens after Faith has her baby?

    December 31st, 2010 at 6:19 am

  2. Mel says:

    I miss those characters, too! I think I need a plan of attack, so I can work out how to fit in all the things I want to write over the next year. There’s so much!

    I have pondered doing a sequel to AB, though at this stage I don’t know if I have enough for a full blog-type-thing, or maybe just a short story/novella. She still has to go and get her dad back, deal with the situation at Haven, and all that stuff. And have a baby.

    I’ll put that on the ‘definitely maybe’ pile. 😉 By the time I’ve managed to edit and redraft AB into e-books, I’ll be all fired up about it and able to get something down in that world!

    December 31st, 2010 at 10:27 am