At last I come to the final part of the review. And without much preamble, I'll jump straight into the big question I suspect a number people will be wondering: how is the Dragon novel going?
Well...the novel is still no where near finished. I spent a good chunk of last year working on a few other projects, which did take some of my time away from it, I'll admit. That said, those projects did lead me to be something that I wasn't really before: someone who writes, rather than someone who wants to write.
Somewhat tangentially: a major bit of work that I was quite pleased to get out of the way was transferring the work from SuperNotecard
(not a simple task as it involved a lot of copy-and-pasting from one file to another, and as these programs break everything up into smaller scenes...). It was in fact because of Scrivener that I chose to buy a Mac laptop rather than a PC...and I have to confess I've not at all regretted the move. Well...apart from the time (which came about during the attempted transferal of writing) I managed to wipe the laptop completely. Who knew you could do that to a Mac? Thankful I had the whole thing backed up on my external hard drive via Time Machine, so I lost some emails but that was about it!
So I've been getting very acquainted with Scrivener, and I have to say I love it to pieces. Being able to have all the research files in the one spot along with the text is particularly good.
Anyway...as I was saying, it has been good to feel that I can actually say 'I'm writing' rather than 'I want to write.' The result also has been that I've learned a lot more about my own writing habits, needs, and quirks.
For instance, it turns out I work rather well having an outline and a direction. But whereas when I was a lot younger (pre-teen and teenager) and attempted to write novels, I sat down and wrote outlines before the writing process had started, and then got stuck because the outline felt fixed and immutable. The Dragon novel has had a solid outline for a while now, but solid doesn't mean inflexible. And also, while the outline of the *story* is pretty tight now, after a good two years of thinking about what I wanted the main plot to be and the message to convey, the *structure* is definitely highly flexible (that is, just *how* the story is conveyed is always changing in my mind. Not too long ago, I realised that I'd crammed all this plot info into the first chapter, which actually would be better to appear incrementally throughout the novel and in subtler ways, so Chapter 2 has now become Chapter 1).
Have also reaffirmed my need for word goals...whilst realising that I do not need them to be enormous either. As you'll read below, even the tiniest ones are quite effective.
Another really great thing I discovered was that the more I wrote, the more ideas I got, and the more inspired I became. The constant flexing of the creative muscles did in fact make me more confident at what I was doing. It's one of those aspects of any art or skill you read about, and I finally know what they mean by it. And it feels really good. Really, really good, actually.
Thus in short; Dragon novel still plugging along and the end is still way off in the distance, but I'm feeling a lot more confident as a writer and am happily more consistent with being one.
So...what are my hopes for Writing in 2010? Well, thus far, I've mostly managed to stick to my goal of at least 100 words a day. The brilliant thing about that goal is if I slack off, the catch up isn't so onerous. Put it this way - last week I major slacked off, so come Saturday, I had 1000 words to catch up on. And I can certainly manage 1000 words in a day if I need to.
The other benefit of this goal is that I am so far looking at the novel on a much more regular basis than I have previously. The constant 'contact' with it is proving very good, actually, my mind is more flexible with it and I'm less afraid of taking risks with it then when I was only touching it semi-regularly.
Besides which, I'm generally managing to do about 200 words a session anyway, so the plan is to stick to the '100 words without fail' (even if catch-up needed) till March, then think about setting it to a higher count of '200 words without fail.' Who knows, the mental trickery just might work.
(Note: if you are interested in my word goals, check my blog page itself, and you'll see two counter bars in the column on the right.)
I've also finished (unless told otherwise) the writing for the composition collaboration, and I believe it will be performed sometime in May. I'm waiting eager to hear what the composer has come up with for it.
Also want to get the short story I did the draft of last year finished by March, and then start sending it around to magazines, online or otherwise (online will be good as it means I can easily show them to people). Time also to start thinking about other possible shorter works.
And that brings 2009 in Review to an end. Wasn't meant to take all of January, but at last it's done. Now we will return to regular programming with hopefully more consistent updates throughout 2010. :)