Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Time...Doctor Freeman? Is it really that...time again?

Custom dictates that I spend the first paragraph after a lengthy silence explaining what exactly has caused said silence. Well. It's been more than a little bit of a lengthy silence. In fact, I haven't babbled at anyone about anything since the end of September. Which is really where this all begins. But first of all, I wish to attribute the quotation title - the magnificent G-Man from the Half-Life series of games. This quotation specifically from Half-Life 2. Though I suspect a great number of you already figured that part out by now. So, without much further ado, time to explain where I've been the last few months. Just to warn you, it's not terribly exciting...


I think the most dramatic way to phrase it would be to say that I've been immersed in The Writerverse. Immersed...I like that word. Don't use it often enough. Ahem. Moving swiftly on. Okay, so a long, long time ago, in a blog post far, far away I talked about the notion of The Writerverse. I babbled quite a bit about my journey through The Writerverse, where I was going, how I was getting there. That was June 2012. An awful lot has happened since then.

One of the most important things I talked about in that blog post was the sense of...fundamentally interconnected community there is in The Writerverse. There is a great community of writers I know from my days at university, but I have also met some in the course of my current paid vocation. That being a front of house dancing monkey/jack of several obscure responsibilities at Boston Tea Party Bath. In the course of my work, I met an awful lot of interesting, bizarre, wonderful people. Oft it is said that my job is a brilliant job for a writer, all those characters. I can't help but have horrible flashbacks to Daisy Steiner in Spaced*...

(*Author's Disclaimer: I really, really love Spaced. It's awesome).

Anyway, getting on with it...

Over the many years I've slaved away at Boston Tea Party, there have been a gaggle of steadfast regulars. Some have gone to my lament, leaving me with no one to write nerdy quotations on the side of their cup for. Some have remained throughout the years and it is one of these men I speak. He is a gentleman by the name of David J. Rodger, a fellow science-fiction author, though he beats me on account of being published. I'm still pining for the fjords on that one. Anyway. One fateful day, 24th September I suspect, which is funny to me for various reasons, I'm chatting with Mr Rodger as he sips at his dark side coffee, talking about his rush of writing/re-writing short stories (for further info, check out his website, look up his page David J Rodger on Facebook. Including a link to that but not sure it'll work, but you all get the gist). In the course of discussions over his recent flurry of activity, I mention my months and months of inactivity. I mention potentially going back over short stories I'd written a long time ago, wanting to rip apart the ones I did in my teens and put them back together again with the skills I have now. I say all this in that off-hand, "Yeah, maybe one day" kind of voice. I am promptly informed that I should get frakkin' to it (no one but me says frakkin' though, alas) and near ominously, Mr Rodger informs me that he is now officially on my case.

I cannot tell you how important and motivating that was. The next day, I come to work armed with a short story I wrote at the beginning of 2012 and many told me I should expand into a novel. I showed it to David, he skimmed it, came back to me and told me I could easily cut the 8,000 word story down to 2,000 words. We agreed upon a deadline of next week to regroup with a finished, 2,000 word short story. When I finished work that afternoon, I returned home, sat down and using David's suggestions on how to condense the story, blitzed through 2,000 words. Upon its completion I sat back, let out one of those "Holy crap, I just did that!" sighs (might be embellishing slightly here) and realised to my complete and utter surprise, I had just written the chapter one I had been wanting to write for so long. Not contended to just sit back and write that, I launched into chapter two, completing 1,000 words before I succumbed to the need for sleep. I printed off the triumphant chapter one and reported to David the next day. Suffice it to say, my improvements met with his approval.

Over the next couple of months, whenever David drifted into work for his dark side coffee, I would report my progress and if there was an lack of progress, an explanation of why and what the frak I was planning to do about it. Finally, on the night of Sunday, 29th December 2013, it all came to a head. 109,894 words later, the first draft of the novel was finished.

While it might somewhat go without saying, (a funny turn of phrase, since it is always proceeded by that which allegedly doesn't need to be said) I owe a rather huge debt of gratitude to David J Rodger for giving me the push in the right direction I so sorely needed. Undoubtedly, should my book ever be published, much kudos will go to him in the acknowledgements at least. Fun fact though, I appear in the acknowledgements of his book The Social Club, as do several of my Boston Tea Party colleagues for our coffee fuelling services.

So there you have it. For the last three months, I have forbidden myself from writing anything but the first draft of my novel. I'm taking a brief break, then conning people into proofreading it before moving on to the massive editing process. And while I await feedback, I intend to be working on some short story notions I have brewing, as well as work peripheral to the novel.

Now in my three month silence, many things have happen, TV shows and movies watched, etcetera, but for me the biggest thing, the thing that I must note because it is so frakkin' worthy of it, is the tenth anniversary of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica.

I marked the occasion with a rather nerdy status. I used the words "So Say We All", which I can barely do with a straight face. A fact that became so much worse when I discovered a parody video of Katy Perry's song "Fireworks" on YouTube, entitled "Cylon". It's incredibly catchy, really rather awesome from the perspective of a Galactica-obsessive. Also sung by a beautiful redhead, who evidently loves Galactica and is also British. Knowing my frakkin' luck or lack thereof, she's on the other side of the country with a boyfriend who possesses ten-megaton biceps the size of Belgium with which to crush my puny mortal frame. Still the biggest Galactica nerd in Bath, just not the country it seems.

Oops, think I digressed from the point there.

Back on track now that I have publically sealed my own doom, suffice it all to say, I want to make a big deal of Battlestar Galactica's tenth anniversary. On the tenth anniversary of season one's first broadcast, I may even have my own little Colonial Day. Oh and Quantum Mechanix are so on my wavelength (or I on theirs, depending on existential perspective), because they are releasing a tenth anniversary print in celebration, much as they did for Firefly. Honestly, I squealed like a giddy school child when I saw it. I will be obtaining it, framing it (octagonally) and putting it up right next to my framed Firefly print. Must also get my Map of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol octagonally framed too.

Anyway, with some level of mercy, we have reached the end of today's babble. As it is the 31st December 2013 when I write this, I wish everyone a Happy New Year. A 2013 retrospective will appear soon, as will a review of Iron Council once I've blitzed my way through the last thirty-odd pages. Been resisting that too because I knew I'd want to blog about it straight away.

Right then.

Ladies and menfolk, Cylons and Colonials, Happy New Year. May 2014 bring us all good fortunate, be it in a clever disguise or glaringly obvious.

So say we all.

(Almost had a completely straight face that time...)