Normally today would be the day when I do my reflective post about the past year. However, given what a bloody amazing year it’s been, there’s a danger that it could all turn out a bit smug. So I’ll just confirm that it has indeed been absolutely bloody amazing, and I hope yours has been too. But if it hasn’t, hang in there because there’s another year around the corner, and it might just turn out to be the one where wonderful things happen to you. No guarantees, mind, but see you in 2012 one way or another.

(But before you go, take a look at A J Ashworth’s selection of book voucher beauties- several there I recognise, including – ahem – one in particular…)

 

Good grief, is it January 5th already? I’ve been more offline than on for most of the break, although judging from the extra weight I seem to be carrying I haven’t been using the time away from my desk to get any exercise. So there’s my first goal for 2011 lined up. Either that, or give up and buy some baggier clothes.

If 2010 was something of a breakthrough year, 2011 is going to be the year that establishes whether or not that breakthrough actually meant anything. But whatever happens, this is the first year I’ve begun with a finished novel under my belt, let alone one that’s scheduled for publication. It’s surprising what a difference that makes. Actually, it’s not surprising at all.

Here are a few things I’m going to be working on this year:

Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens – The first task of 2011 is going to be to go through the edited manuscript that Steve Haynes of Proxima sent back to me just after Christmas. And then I guess it’s going to be a question of seeing what I can do to help with the promotional effort leading up to the launch in September – which seems a long way away right now, but I’m sure it will arrive all too quickly. I also need to decide what I’m going to do with www.mrsdarcyvsthealiens.com now that it’s no longer the serialisation blog.

Verulam Writers’ Circle Anthology – The other first task of 2011 is to get this one finalised and printed. There’s some cracking stuff in it.

Mrs Darcy versus the Monster – It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Pride and Prejudice sequel in possession of a cliffhanger ending must be in want of a further sequel. Obviously.

Project X – Here’s a strange thing. Before I wrote Mrs Darcy I started several novels, every single one of which (barring a couple of children’s books that staggered on for a bit longer) spontaneously imploded after the first chapter – sometimes not even making it to the end of that. The reason was always the same: lack of a coherent plot that I could commit myself to. However, back in November I had an idea for something new and since then it’s been buzzing away at me, demanding to be written. It could well be the best thing I’ve ever written, although it will be very different from Mrs Darcy. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Short Stories – Having said that, I’m not about to give up on the short form. There are still loads of markets that I want to crack and it would be nice to actually get into the winners’ enclosure somewhere this year, too.

Poetry – No idea. I need to learn a bit more, I think. I may not have time this year, though. But I’ll keep playing.

I think that will do for now. I’m feeling tired already.

Around this time of year it’s traditional to reflect on the year that’s been and set some goals for the year to come. I tend not to write down the latter, because there’s a massive element of hubris involved in doing so. I did in fact post a list of targets here at the start of 2009 and then took the list down straight away and moved it to the private forum of my writers’ circle because it looked a bit silly (although I did in fact hit five out of the nine specified goals). This year they went straight to the private forum.

Anyway, let’s see what happened with some of those ten goals for 2010, shall we?

1) Finish Mrs Darcy versus The Aliens – well, can’t argue with that.

2) Either get it published properly or get a sufficient following on the serialisation to make merchandising a possibility – well, the least said about merchandising the better, but I did get a publisher.

3) Get on the shortlist for either Fish or Bridport (left over from 2009) – somewhat unexpectedly, I got on both shortlists this year, although the fact that the Bridport one was for poetry was a bit of a curveball. For some reason, I didn’t mention either the Bristol or Sean Ó Faoláin in my list, because that would have looked a bit greedy. Oh well.

4) Win a poetry prize – thank you, JBWB, for that one.

7) Do more live readings, including poetry – well, I did do some more live readings (principally at Sparks), and I did read some poetry at one open mic evening. But I still need to work on that in 2011, I think. This will include developing some voices for reading extracts from Mrs Darcy. Ahem.

So that’s five out of ten goals achieved, which I suppose isn’t too bad. Oddly, the one goal that I failed to mention in my list at all was “Get something broadcast on the BBC.” Must have thought that one was completely out of the question …