Tuesday, December 08, 2009

2009: my year in review [part 1]

Seems a bit early in the annum for a review of my writing year, but I feel the need for a bit of throat-clearing, so here goes. I didn't write a novel during 2008 and the same thing happened again this year - could this be a trend? I'm starting to think so. Isn't always easy to identify a sea change in your writing while it's still happening, unless the new direction is a result of conscious choice.

In part my move away from prose stems from abortive projects in 2008. I spent way too much time on a putative novel for one publisher and got royally dicked around. Waiting three months for feedback, then got some half-hearted comments. Another week spent rethinking and reworking the lengthy proposal - only to be left waiting another three months for a response.

By that point I'd had a gutsful and walked. I don't mind being given blunt feedback, in fact I kind of prefer it [must be my Antipodean background]. But weak-arse nothings or radio silence don't do much for me. For example, I spent much of 2008 developing the first in a proposed series of novels based on one of Britain's most popular TV dramas. That also came to naught.

As a consequence, I've walked away from prose for now. I did write a Judge Dredd talking book for Big Finish this year. Enjoyed myself once I finally grasped the nettle and actually sat down to write it, but can't honeslty say I'm itching to get back to pulse-pounding right now. So my 20th [or 21st, depending on which ones you count] novel remains unwritten.

Besides the Dredd talking book [Stranger Than Truth, out now], I also had a Doctor Who audio drama released on download and CD this year. But Enemy of the Daleks was really a 2008 project, so that's old news. Come to think of it, I've been moving further away from the tie-in market. No more Big Finish on the horizon, no tie-in novels in the offing - and that's fine by me.

Back in 2005 I started a screenwriting MA because I was sick of doing so much tie-in work. Hackwork may bring in the bacon, but it's not that satisfying creatively. I chose to challenge myself, learn some new skills and make a concerted effort to get a winklepicker-clad foot in the door of TV drama. If that meant abandoning the world of tie-in books and audios, so be it.

That change of direction came to fruition in 2009, in more ways than one. I'm a lot poorer financially poorer for my choice, but much happier with my writing. Even scripting comic book adventures for The Phantom - one of my bread and butter jobs as a freelance scribe - has taken a back seat this year. I've only written a two-parter, although I've a synopsis to flesh out.

So, what have I been doing instead? Come back for part 2 tomorrow. Got a two-page pitch that needs my attention. Onwards!

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