Saturday, 2 January 2010

2009 writing year in review

I feel like a humiliating failure, so it’s surprising to look back on everything I’ve done in the last twelve months and say: 2009 has been a kickass writing year.

A year ago I was desperate. I hadn’t finished a novel in two and a half years. I’d put eighteen months, many bitter tears and at least 50k into my third novel, then titled EMPIRE OF HEAVEN, by the time I realised it was irreparably broken. Real writers knocked out a novel a year: I was a loser, a poser and a failure. I had a month’s Easter holiday in March, and if I couldn’t finish my novel in an entire month of writing full-time, I might as well give up.

Happily for my continued self-esteem, I ripped out the genre, setting and antagonist, rewired with new stuff, hammered out about 30k in less than a fortnight and finished what was recognisably THE INFERNAL FAMILY at the beginning of April. Narrow escape there.

Since my writing career consists of short bursts of writing interspersed with long stretches of doom, I spent the next six months ripping my hair out over revisions. I also wrote a query that everyone loved, workshopped the first chapter until it begged for mercy, and worked on my sweet and well-behaved epic fantasy IRONBANE. But mainly I whined a lot.

As Nanowrimo bore down on me like a freight train, I scrabbled to get a beta draft of THE INFERNAL FAMILY done and out to beta readers. I think I emailed it out with shaking hands at one minute to midnight on the last day of October. I even made the tiramisu of glory, my long-promised reward! Then I kicked Nanowrimo’s ass: hammering out over 75,000 words, finishing IRONBANE and kicking off my YA urban fantasy, DREAD MACHINE.

This story would threaten to have a happy ending were it not for realising that everything I’ve written needs to be insulted, ripped up and then burned.

So I guess I ended the year exactly where I started: swimming in a lake of despair near Mount Doom. Except this year I’m two first drafts, a second draft and a query to the good. I call that a win. :)


  1. *bows down to Para's epicness*

    I trunked one WIP after 30K, and whines for the next 3 months. Then finished another WIP.

    Hopefully, I'll write more next year!

  2. Bravo, Para! I'm sure the eagles will be along shortly to rescue you from Mount Doom! XD *is a nerd*

  3. If there's anyone who deserves success it's you. You've spent years writing, not to mention being a huge help to other writers - as I found out firsthand this morning, but already knew from seeing some of your other critiques.

    We're all cheering for you. Grab that literary agent by the balls (with your story of course, not your hands)

  4. You're doing great (and deep down - or should I say up on Mount Doom - yuo know it). As someone who suffers from the same intermittent writing spurts and long streaks of fretting despair (but with far fewer novels under my belt) I'm optimistic that you'll whip TIF as well as your other WIPs into shape this year.

    Keep on rocking :)