No, it's not my birthday. But this Thursday another class of screenwriting students graduates from Screen Academy Scotland at Edinburgh's Napier University. Tutor James Mavor is inviting some of us old lags to come along, catch up and raise a glass. I'm hoping to attend, having gone along last year for my own graduation and the previous year when the first full-time class finished [and I was half way through my part-time MA screenwriting course].
Knowing it's twelve months since I graduated got me thinking about what I've achieved since this time last year. I finished my 19th novel, due to be published in the next few weeks. Read a dozen scripts for Scottish Screen. Wrote half a dozen issues of The Phantom comic for Egmont Sweden. A few bits and bobs of journalism, but that was about all my paying gigs. In purely financial terms, it's probably been my worst year since emigrating to the UK in 1990.
The bulk of my time's been devoted to speculative work, particularly screenwriting. I wrote a trial script for the BBC's daytime medical drama Doctors that got me invited to submit story of the day ideas. Yet to get one banked, but found myself invited on the Doctors shadow scheme for emerging writers [thanks, Caroline, much appreciated!]. Spent months pursuing a tie-in novel opportunity off and on, something that may come to fruition next year.
Wrote a 100-minute script for an audio drama that's due in the studio later this month, but that's yet to be made public. Got one of six places on the much esteemed TV drama team-writing workshop run by Lighthouse in Brighton. Wrote a new spec script that makes me proud. And it looks like I've got a part-time job that will secure my financial futures, freeing me to devote even more time to speculative writing - more details to follow.
All in all, it's been a productive if poorly paid twelve months. Haven't made the big breakthrough I've been working towards, but lots of little victories keep coming my way. Onwards!