Hiatus from Blog Activity

I’ve been thinking quite a lot lately about the long term future of this blog. To be perfectly honest I read through my reviews and I can’t help but think that I could improve on the quality somehow. Every time I read through my posts I feel that there is something missing, especially now that I want to make the transition from a hobby writer to a professional writer.

As a consequence I’ve chosen to take a hiatus while I figure things out and what I want to do with my time spent blogging in the future. I like to think that I will keep doing this blog in some capacity but I can’t say for sure. I can’t say how long this hiatus will be but I will update you all regardless of what the outcome is. I thank you all for your patience and understanding during this time.

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2016 in Retrospect

This is going to be the last post before the new year so rather than do the standard fare I’m going to do a little retrospective type thing. This is especially appropriate since it is in fact nearing the blog’s first anniversary, which falls on the 11th January. I’m quite impressed that I have lasted a whole year on this and it almost feels like yesterday that I was starting this blog for the first time. It’s a strange thing to think about and I’ll admit I haven’t given the anniversary a whole lot of thought. To me this has been a hobby project of sorts. With over 100 posts since then I feel like I’ve made some good progress with this blog.

That aside I feel like I’ve done a lot of other things in 2016 as well. For the first time in over a year I went about writing prose, producing a story which I am still proud of to this day. I also wrote two film scripts, one of which got me a first degree in the BA Professional Writing. In terms of writing I feel like I’ve done a fair amount.

Of course I also got my degree in BA Professional Writing. I got a first class degree overall, something which I did not see coming in the slightest. I can say I’m quite proud of that. The degree as a whole was quite the experience and I’m glad that I did the three years. This final year was one of the best. With regards to my master’s degree, the MA Creative Writing which I am doing at another university I can see it hasn’t been quite as impressive so far but even so it is pushing me to new depths.

With these new depths I will of course be reading through a tonne of novels and books as per usual and so long as I am doing that I am optimistic that this blog still has a lot of life left in it. I tend to refrain from making resolutions for the new year since I find that can jinx things, but I would like to be able to complete my first professional novel by end of this year if possible and start submitting my work to agents and publishers. Overall this year has been one of the best, the host of celebrity death and Trump not withstanding. I’m hoping that next year will be even better.

No post this week.

I’m busy with university work for my Master’s Degree. Due to disorganisation on the part of the establishment this assessment has been unusually stressful. As a result I am having difficulty focusing on the blog. I intend to complete the first draft of the assessment by the middle of next week so I should be able to make a post. I usually don’t post about delays (usually because they stem from me forgetting) but since this is a planned delay I figured I would notify you all. Everything should be back to normal next week so thanks for understanding.

(Personal Post) On Graduation From a Writing Course.

It’s not something I usually mention on this blog, but up until June 2016 I was enrolled on a writing course. Having attended the graduation ceremony last week, it gave me a lot to think about, specifically on how it has affected my writing. My writing is another thing which I’ve chosen not too talk too much about on this blog, though I have talked about it a few times in relation to my Camp Nanowrimo entry back in July (still editing it so no chance of doing the one for this month).  As a result I think it might be worth mentioning about my writing and how this course has changed it.

I know that there is a lot of stigma attached to writing courses and speaking from experience it can be hard to find one which works for you. When searching for my BA I went through the universities within travelling distance, starting with the ones with a reputation but ultimately found them lacking. In the end I found the one I was looking for in a rather humble University block attached to a college campus (for you Americans, college in the UK typically refers to somewhere  which gears towards practical courses aimed at training for 16-18 year old who have just left Secondary School). This BA course offered what I was looking for, namely variety.

You see, as a writer my interests have always varied beyond prose fiction and have extended to things such as film and comics and have had as much experience writing comics as a kid as a did prose, if not more so. This course offered everything, scriptwriting, prose and comic writing, in addition to a non fiction module which I didn’t have too much interest in but nonetheless suited the interests of some of the people attending the course. As a whole it offered everything I could want as a writer and played a key role on how my writing developed an introduced me (or reintroduced me in the case of comics) to subjects which I would otherwise not have considered viable writing paths.

There was also a bit of crossover between the various modules as well. For example, learning how to write film scripts improved my prose fiction since the simple, concise style bled over to my prose as I spent more time writing in the script format. Prose was not my strongest subject in terms of assessment results and realising I could take what I’ve learned from the other subjects helped me get back on my feet with it when I decided to get write short stories in my spare time. Yet the best part of it all was the feedback and the opportunity for a tutor who knows what they’re talking about to to pick apart my work and in the process point out flaws within my creative process that needed to address. The feedback from peers and tutors alike gave me confidence in my writing and showed me ways of looking at my work that had never occurred to me before. It wasn’t all smooth sailing but I think it changed my writing for the better.

I wouldn’t say it’s turned me into some perfect professional who can instantly write perfect pieces of fiction and I still suffer from a lot of the same problems I did when I started, but what it has taught me is how to deal with them and to recognise them whenever they pop up. The one notable change in my approach is that I now spend longer editing longer pieces, which is in part why my current novel is taking so long to write in addition to the fact that I am still trying to find my voice within the prose format. If anything I would like to say this. Writing courses aren’t all bad, there are good ones out there and if you are looking don’t hesitate to take the plunge. At the end of the day you don’t truly know if it will work out for you until you try.

Update on Novel

I should update you on the novel I started writing at the beginning of July. My goal of creating a first draft as an unofficial Camp Nanowrimo) (or National Novel Writing Month) challenge was a success, much to my surprise. Though I would hesitate to call the novel finished, I have completed the first draft and have met my 50,000 word target. Since it is still  far from being a finished product I will not post too many details yet but rest assured I will be editing it very thoroughly over the coming months. I also have a few ideas for projects relating to the current one which I may also pursue depending on how things proceed.

I prefer to keep things quiet, particularly at this early stage of development, so I haven’t posted the novel on the official Nanowrimo site nor have I posted it anywhere else. It is likely to remain that way until the novel gets a publisher or when I begin to approach a final draft so please respect what will likely be months of silence on the project. For now I will continue updating the blog on a weekly basis since I want to give myself time to pursue these new creative avenues.

Change in Update Schedule

This is a quick post to notify you all of some changes. As of today this blog will update weekly, as opposed to every three days. There are a multitude of reasons for this, including the fact that I review books faster than I can finish them. However the main reason for this, is that I plan to do my own personal Camp Nanowrimo (or National Novel Writing Month) challenge this July, starting this Friday.

Hence I will be cutting down to ensure that I can make the challenge, but it is likely that the change will be permanent. I am unsure what day I will be posting but it will likely be either a Thursday or Friday, starting this week. Whatever day I choose, I will probably stick with until further notice. Hopefully this will make writing this blog seem less like a chore to me and will allow me to put more time into picking out books for review.

Another short story

I mentioned this on my twitter but I’ll mention it here too. Got another short story published in  in Voxx Magazine. This time it’s slightly longer. It is on page twelve of the magazine, which can be found here: http://www.voxxonline.com/voxx-58/

The story was quite interesting to write since I expected a bit of worldbuilding would have to go into the story, which isn’t always great for a story of such a short length. However I was surprised at how I kept it to a minimum. My villain the Phantom didn’t need a huge amount of background to function, you only needed to know he was a supervillain whose powers are putting the mob out of business. I also wrote this as a bit of a trial since I have been toying with the idea of a modern day superhero story for a while. My plan is to eventually write a novel around the idea, though I have a great deal of other things on my to-do list before I tackle the project.