Have you seen this? Have you heard about this?
A lot of us are writing journals and making polls and things partly looking back on 2017, but I have noticed that the main focus seems to be on looking ahead to 2018. Perhaps that has something to do with so many terrible things happening last year; we must certainly hope that the world in general fares better this year.
For me, 2018 means completing my teaching qualification in May, so that's what I'm mainly focusing on besides lazing around and procrastinating (which I always do in the holidays, no matter how much work I tell myself I'll do). Hopefully I won't regret saying that I see no reason why I shouldn't complete the course with relative ease; in theory, I suppose I could be stopped by something catastrophic, but I certainly hope not. Assuming, then, that life goes on as normal, I'll get my work done in plenty of time despite putting it off (which I'll try not to do... oh wait, I'm doing it now
), and I've never yet submitted something my teachers aren't delighted with. I don't wish to brag; it's just that I try hard and I know what's going on, which seems to be just about impossible for a surprising number of people on the course.
Even if I hadn't had those ear infections last year, studying and time spent travelling might very well have made me decide I couldn't (well, wouldn't) do NaNoWriMo as I mentioned I might, but this coming November there really will be no excuse. A few of you have reported your success from last November, which is amazing, and I think (though I can't remember specifically) a few more of you reported trying but not making it, which is still better than I did. Well done to all of you!
Now back to me... I have two NaNoWriMo novels lying around in a disgusting state. Both of them I think have to potential to be quite good one day, but with the state I've let them get into, I haven't had the stomach to try and sort them out. Well, I've figured out the solution. Start again!
Of course, I don't mean scrap everything I've already done and consider it useless. Well, I'll tell you about my Boudica novel, which is the one I'm hoping to make workable in the foreseeable future. For NaNoWriMo 2014 (when I had two eyes, was not studying and started work at 4pm every day except Tuesday - just sayin'
), I did some research and figured I'd work around the gaps, wrote steadily through November and produced a lot of absolute bilge and a certain amount of decent stuff. Since then I've had some of the decent stuff critiqued by a few of you, done some more research which didn't fit with what I'd written, tried to edit and made a disgusting mess, left the whole thing alone for long periods and felt like a horrible time-waster, and I don't know what else!
So I figure I just need to open a blank document and start again. The decent bits will go in again, hopefully becoming really quite good bits with the advice I've had from some of you. The bad bits will be gone and more decent bits put in their place. I have wonderful visions of getting together all the historical research I need (including the stuff I still don't know about, like, what really was
the life of the teenage son of a Roman merchant living in a client kingdom?) over May and June, and putting it into a fresh notebook, clear and beautifully organised. Then writing the book will be a breeze, right? The end result won't be perfect, of course, but it will be workable. That's what I'm hoping for, anyway.
Last year I asked you what fictional releases you were looking forward to, myself mentioning Wuthering Heights
, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
and Watership Down
, and a couple of you answered me. Well, I was shocked and disappointed when I got my Christmas TV guide to see that there was no sign of Watership Down
! And there is no explanation whatsoever!! After looking online every day for a few days, all I could find was an article by PanMacmillan about them releasing a tie-in edition of the novel when the series is aired in the second half of 2018! Er... what? A few days later, this was cited on the series' Wikipedia page
when someone updated it with this very vague information about the postponement. So what the hell happened?!
The show has been fairly well publicised (for those who Google 'watership down' on a semi-regular basis, anyway), and to postpone it without explanation when I've been looking forward to it for so long... well, it's nothing to what some people have had to suffer, but it is nonetheless annoying. Some consolation, though, was the BBC's new mini-series of Little Women
, which I wasn't expecting at all. No adaptation of Little Women
is perfect, but I've liked all the ones I've seen, including this one.
I've got some books to look forward to as well. I've been waiting for Alison Weir's Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession
to come out in paperback, which it will this month, but Sally Nicholls' Things a Bright Girl Can Do
I seriously considered buying in hardback, and probably would have done if I had known about it a few months earlier but I became lax in checking her website for new releases over the autumn. As it is, I have the paperback on pre-order, and it's due out on 1st February. It's a historical YA novel about the Suffragettes, basically, surely (though I don't think this has been explicitly stated) in honour of the centenary of the first British women to get the vote.
Have I ever gushed about Sally Nicholls here? Well, she is without doubt my favourite author who's alive at the moment. She writes stories about lots of different things for children of various ages, including children in their 30s like me (check out her website
if you think it sounds as if you'd like her too). She's got me very excited for this year because she also has one of her quick reads for younger children coming out in April, and in August she's publishing the first in a series (wow!
) with Nosy Crow
I remember when Nosy Crow was a brand new children's publisher some years ago... at least, I'm pretty sure this was them. They published about two or three books in each age category, including a YA fantasy trilogy very much in the same vein as Twilight
and whatever else was popular, commissioned by them from a friend of one of the founding members. I remember feeling rather furious when I read something she'd said/written for the website - an about-me or an interview or something - about being asked to write the books when she had never thought of writing a novel before! It just seems so hard on those people who think every day about writing novels, and do
write novels, good ones, some of them really really
good ones, which are destined to get no further than the 'slush piles' of various agents and publishers for miles around. I thought something along the same lines with Youtuber Zoe Sugg (whom I've liked whenever I've seen her on TV, incidentally - I don't want to come across as bitching about anyone
here, just moderately annoyed with the system in general), who explains that she was approached by Penguin without ever having thought of trying to write a book. I felt less bitter about that one, though, because it was more recent than Nosy Crow and my ideas and priorities have changed.
Inevitably, Nosy Crow now have a notice on their website saying that they're not accepting unsolicited manuscripts (just idle curiosity when I looked - I've yet to discipline myself to polish a damn manuscript!), because of their own slush pile of course, and I'm sure they expend less labour on that than sniffing out established authors when looking for new works to publish. I get why; they're a business and, well, they were smart to take on Sally Nicholls. I love her writing, and I like how she got to where she is by honing her skills on a creative writing MA, having the talent to write an extraordinary book (Ways to Live Forever
- watch out because it very well might make you cry) and somebody cutting her a break by publishing it. It wasn't Nosy Crow who took that chance on her, though.