I like using the two-act structure. There’s either a peak or a trough at the end of the first act, depending on how you want it to work. I’ve used this structure for Malessar’s Curse – the plot rises to a crisis point – not a cliffhanger as such, but a definite break.
I’m trying to view 2016 in the same way. The first half has been a definite downward curve, sinking to a nadir over the second half of June. Not unexpected, but unwanted nonetheless. I write about gods, but I don’t believe in them, so I’m not going to blame some mystical non-existent deity for the non-stop cull of celebrities and cultural role models. No, you can blame cancer for that. And that means that the Brexit vote is even more stupid than you previously thought, given the potential and probable effects on pan-European cancer research.
But enough of the negative vibes for now – after all, I’m supposed to be looking forward, as the Brexiters have desperately requested, rather than back. So let’s ignore the impending economic and socio-political apocalypse and think about the good shit.
Because believe it or not there is still good shit to celebrate. Some of that good shit even turned up in the first six months of the year, diluting the effects of the downcurve so that it was more or less tolerable (rather than downright intolerable). And because it’s me, most of this good shit has to do with writing. (You see, this is what I was missing through the interminable years with the dog’n’dansette – something to balance out the grind & cliquey bullying.)
So let’s go RAH! for the high points:
Nominated onto the longlist for the main Legend Award at the David Gemmell Awards. (Didn’t get onto the shortlist, but I wasn’t expecting to)
Nominated onto the shortlist for Best Newcomer at the British Fantasy Awards. Now that caused dancing in the streets round our way, I tell thee.
Four (four!) short stories published in the excellent Fox Pockets series. And I’m inordinately proud of all four of them.
Audiobook version of Heir to the North recorded and almost ready to go! (In fact, as I type this it has just been signed off and authorised for sale on Audible. Get ready…!)
Hardback editions in the works!
High King’s Vengeance all set for launch!
And of course July marks the start of my personal convention season – EdgeLit, SledgeLit, Fantasycon and Bristolcon (and this year, Derby Writers’ Day too). Days spent talking SFF with great people and fantastic friends.
This is the list I go to when my brain tries to tell me I’m not good enough (shades of the mother-in-law Jan’s backstabbing imprecation that I’m “not much of a go-getter”). Brain is right, but only in that so much of the above I would never have been able to achieve on my own. The list reminds me that I’m part of a team, and that they’ve got my back. And that increasingly, I’ve got theirs. That’s a damned good place to be in.
It’s not all writing-shaped either. Some of it is cat-shaped. Far from being the corner-hugging scaredy-cat that ran for the attic on arrival, Mycroft has become very attached to us both. He’s a source of giggles and fun every day.
And while I still don’t have a writer’s “office space”, we have at last managed to drag the vinyl (and some of the DVDs) out of the attic for proper display and use. I haven’t played some of these since the late 90s. Even better, the Dreamcast still works too! Shenmue! Shenmue II! Jet Set Radio! Who needs Next-Gen consoles, eh?
2016 may be one of the shittier years, but there’s enough going on – if you look at the basics – to cushion the worst of the blows. Some days it’s easier to get out of bed than others. And some days, if that’s the best you can do, if that’s all you can do, you look at how far you’ve come and you say: you know what? I’ve already won. The rest is a bonus.