December Blog: Are We There Yet?

I think it’s time to admit that I won’t have a first draft of my second novel, Attrition, completed by the end of the year. That’s okay to be honest. It’s not exactly gone to plan but I’ve still got so much more done than I had a few months ago and I will have the first draft done by the end of January. There have been a few unexpected changes to the story and their knock on effect has taken up more time that I had imagined. All in all, it’s going well. I know I’m being overly descriptive in my writing at times but that’s a first draft issue and will be sorted out in later drafts and editing.

My focus on fiction at the moment has left some other projects in the dark but that too is a temporary thing and will be rectified I the new year. When I look back on the year I have to admit that scriptwriting seems to have taken a bit of a back seat, which has definitely been an unconscious decision. It’s not for the want or desire to progress with scripts- I’ve a litany of ideas waiting to be developed, some more pertinent than others. That’s not to say I haven’t written any scripts, I’ve competed a few short ones this year; The Fruit of Her Hands, Undetectable, and Churching. Once I’ve the first draft of Attrition done I’ll take a break from fiction and get back to my script based on the lives of the Romanov Sisters, which I’m referring to as the OTMA (Ogla, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia) play for the time being. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into it and my research is ongoing even while I’m working on Attrition.

It’s been a bit of a year for meetings and making connections, as well as trying to keep my head down and keep writing, which is a tricky scales to balance. It’s also something I need to continue to do in the new year. Not that it’s a chore or anything but it’s not my usual state of being and can take a bit of effort if I’m honest. That said, it’s usually worth it and I find when I do make the effort I actually enjoy it as well as meeting some lovely people along the way.

I think my writing highlight for 2016 was placing in the Poetry Ireland / Trócaire Annual Poetry Competition in May. My prize funded a trip to the Buxton Festival in the UK where I got to attend several literary events and basically have a great time. Winning subsequently led to me reading two poems in the Chapel Royal in Dublin Castle as part of Culture Night in September, which was a wonderful evening.

In September and October I ran a creative writing course at SEDA College on Capel Street in Dublin city centre. I had run workshops previously and toyed with the idea of a full course so thought this year was as good a time as any to bite the bullet. I’m pleased to say it went very well and although it was a small group I really feel it was worthwhile. This is something I hope to continue on a yearly basis, if not biannually.

It’s been a year since I completed the first draft of Bitten by a Dog on Tuesday and I’m happy to say that with a few more minor tweaks I’ll be able to draw a line under it. It’s probably fair to say that no novel is ever fully finished and I could easily spend the rest of my days tinkering around with it. After several drafts I think I’ll leave any future revision to be carried out at the request of a publisher. On my to-do list for 2017 is trying to take the next step with BBADOT but only time will tell what will happen in that respect. Writing it alone was an achievement and now that I’m halfway through my second novel I can see the merit of simply having written it, regardless of what else happens beyond that.

My usual goal is to complete at least one large project each year and 2017 will be no different. The last few years have been incredibly productive (overall) and I’m going to carry that forward with me. Things have seldom gone exactly to plan but that’s just life, isn’t it? Time the embrace the new year and, if need be, give it a good shake. Let’s make 2017 a good one.


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