Friday, 18 December 2009

Finish Line!

London is carpeted in snow. The ubiquitous tin of Quality Street languishes in the office empty save for the rejects including the random red one (had to laugh Kate!). Carols at the Royal Albert Hall last night and a work do with new colleagues today. I'm finally in the festive mood. Are you?

In view of the cherry brandies that await at lunchtime I feel the need to line the stomach and can offer you the usual array of drinks plus the aforementioned leftover choccies and a fat slab of red velvet cake* with scrumptious cream cheese frosting. Any takers?

Earlier this week we had the fantastic news that Mel (L-Plate Author) has herself an agent - congratulations! This is brilliant and inspiring news and adds to the long list of achievements by Novel Racers in 2009. We’ve welcomed new writers to the race and said farewell to other friends who have become alumni, the most recent of which was Graeme whose insightful and regular comments will be missed. Hope to see you here soon. As the year draws to a close I wanted to reflect on the Novel Racers' writing year. So, what worked for you in your 2009 race and what did not? What are your proudest achievements and what are your goals for 2010?

I feel proud that I've survived a bumpy year between bereavement, unemployment and a series of family crises. In August I sent off a partial to the RNA's New Writers' Scheme and was pleased with the detailed critique that I received which contained not only constructive comments but encouragement and praise from a total (professional) stranger at a time when my confidence in all areas of my life was so low. Though my plans to start subbing the finished rewrite to agents went awry and I'm a year late, my goal for 2010 is to take the plunge and get my work out there so I can get stuck into novel 2.

Merry Christmas and all the best for 2010!

** of the birthday variety because I am twenty-one today. Again!


Leatherdykeuk said...

Happy birthday!

This year I edited a novel, re-wrote a novel and I'm 10K off finishing a new novel. Several short stories sold, several poems published, got an agent, lost an agent and been told seven times by the Eurofiction judges that my writing is dreadful and unsaleable.

Not a bad year, but not a brilliant one either.

JJ Beattie said...

Happy birthday!

2009? Well, after wanting to and then talking about writing a novel for some (let's be honest, twenty years...) 2009 is the year that I wrote my first novel. (I'm nearly there *falls about in hysterical laughter*)

The first 60k were with the support of mentoring from TLC. I developed a habit of writing regularly. I worried a bit when those six sessions came to an end but the last (currently) 43k words (and growing by the day) have emerged entirely under my own motivation. And I am terribly proud of myself for (nearly) finishing.

Dammit, the first draft will be finished by the end of December. (There's a bottle of champagne waiting in a ski chalet in France if I do!)

Thank you to all Novel Racers who have stopped me giving up, made me believe I could do it and cheered on from the side when I struggled.

Fia said...

Wonderful post and Happy Birthday.

Do you think it would be too decadent to have a slice of Red Velvet cake for breakfast? Perhaps with a glass of Black Velvet?

Just read Leatherdykeuk's comments. How dare the judges say that. Your writing is one of my favourites.

Achievements -getting words on paper really.

Debs said...

Happy birthday to you.

Every year I set myself targets and although I rarely do as much as I'd like, this year I've written and learnt a lot, so I suppose it's all progress of some sort.

After my RNA NWS report I rewrote my novel and then completed another for Nano. I hadn't entered Nano before, but when an idea came into my head about a month before I thought it would be a perfect opportunity (incentive to finish) to take part.

I haven't sold anything, though to be honest I haven't exactly submitted much, and was interviewed by Kate Muir of the Guardian, but that wasn't anything to do with my writing and only because my shed (not me) was a finalist in Shed of the Year Competition. Great fun though.

Congratulations to all those who have enjoyed success this year, here's to more of the same in 2010.

Flowerpot said...

Happy Birthday indeed! This year I've managed to get a lot more journalism work which is good for confidence and bank account (and just as well as Himself has had verylittle work). Having had 3 requests for full reads by agents for my novel and been turned down by all three of them, I decided I would NOT give up on that one and am making more progress courtesy of Cornerstones and a new writing group. Hearing about Chris's success gives me hope - well done Chris!

Lane said...

Happy Birthday CC!

I think writing wise, for me this year is best pretty much forgotten. Next year I aim to get Novel 1 out so I can finally concentrate on #2.

Leatherdykeuk - I can't believe you've been told this. Ridiculous.

I'm sad to see so many Racers leave this year. Happy Christmas to all our crew, past and present.

Helen said...

After the arrival of my little girl at the very end of last year, I should probably have taken the year off. But I didn't - then started to beat myself up when I didn't have time to write.

Writing wise it has been a mixed year. I've got 35,000 words done on my novel, had two articles published almost finished my journalism course but lost my freelancing job at Trashionista as the company went bust.

I have big hopes for next year.

Helen said...

And Happy Birthday to CC. Also Merry Christmas to Novel Racers past, present and future.

Kate Lord Brown said...

Happy Birthday CC!! And well done on surviving what seems to have been a tough year for a lot of us. Achievements? One (temporarily) abandoned novel, one completed and submitted. Met Alan Titchmarsh :) (and knocked out of the People's Author comp). A bit two steps forward/one back ... but will keep trying. Seeing a few of you have done the RNA NWS has made up my mind to apply this year. Enjoy the cherry brandy :) x

CC Devine said...

Thank you all re b'day wishes.

Leather - what a prolific writer you are! And stuff the Eurofiction judges quite frankly.

JJ - the taste of that champagne will be all the better for it!

Fia - I just love your style. Words on paper is absolutely right and velvet everything all the way!

Debs - I'm in awe of you entering NANO. I've promised myself that I'll do it next year.

Flowerpot - good progress on the journalism front. Three agents is nothing - keep going because yours is still waiting for you!

Lane - here's to getting our first novels out to make way for novel 2

Helen - goodness, you've had a chocker year. Great achievements in a time of juggling so much. I'm in awe!

CC Devine said...

Thanks Kate! Pleased to hear that the novel is only temporarily abandoned and what fun with the People's Author competition.Can't recommend the NWS more highly!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday CC! I'll pass on the naughty cake, as I want to go running later today.

On the subject of running and races, I guess you could say I'm a "DNF". I suppose I can still list a few achievements, by way of a kind of swan song. According to my statistics, since February 2007 I've written nearly 240,000 words. This breaks down as 30 short stories, 23 overall writing projects including four novels, 2 novellas and 2 serials. Submissions: 1, publications: 0. Oh well.

I thoroughly enjoyed this little diversion in my life, especially the camaraderie and collaboration with the NR and other groups. As most of you know, I made the (very difficult) decision to stop writing back in August. My goal for next year is simply to become employed. Until that happens, there's not much I can set my sights on.

On the plus side, I still enjoy blogging and commenting so I'll continue to do that, whatever else I come up with. I'm also very proud of all your achievements; it's been an amazing year for NR. I look forward to reading about your further successes. And reading your books too.

A couple of procedural questions, if I may. Would we like to have an "Accomplishments 2009" list at the bottom of the blog (and probably drop the 2007 one)? Do people actually scroll that far down? The other question is about Denise who is waiting patiently in the wings to become a new Racer. As there are now three free places, isn't it time she joined the starting line?

Now the festive season is upon us, so I wish all you bloggers a MX and a HNY. Soon it will be time to start another race!

HelenMHunt said...

My only resolution for 2009 was to enjoy my writing. I'd had so many short stories rejected at that point that I didn't dare to set any goals about achievement - just to keep writing the stuff and sending it out there.

This seems to have worked as I have sold three articles and five short stories and had one short story accepted by a non-paying market. It might not sound like much but for me it is my best year since I started writing in 2006.

I have also completed my first novel. I'm hoping to get it out there in the world early next year.

I've also written loads of book reviews for Bookersatz which has been great fun.

Happy Birthday and here's to 2010!

Karen said...

Leatherdykeuk - What?? How bloody rude :o(

Writing wise this has been my best and most productive year - I've sold quite a few short stories, finished my novel and got an agent! Still a long way to go, but have started novel 2 and feel like I'm beginning 2010 on a writing high.

Happy Birthday and have a lovely Christmas :o)

Cathy said...

Happy Birthday CC!

I've had a very mixed year. On a personal level it started well but the last six months have been very difficult and I lost a lot of writing time through ill health.

On the writing side I have been quite pleased. I earned my OU Diploma in Literature and Creative Writing. The first draft of my novel is now about 75% complete and although I must be the slowest Racer the end is in sight. I've even had some initial thoughts about novel two.

I only submitted four pieces of writing during the year but had two successes...a poem in First Edition and a flash fiction story selected for the Even More Tonto Short Stories anthology, to be published next year.

Merry Christmas, everybody.

Rowan Coleman said...

Hello everyone, happy birthdays and congratulations on all your achievements thus far. This has been a year of up and downs for me. I achieved writing two novels, and an Americanisation all before giving birth to my darling baby boy. I moved house twice and haven't gone THAT insane. On the up side. On the down side this had been a tough year in publishing, sales were down and the industry itself has taken a big hit. Of my three editors I lost two, one to redundancy and one to pastures new. Out of contract, for a while I wasn't sure I'd be published by anyone for a few weeks there! Then the good news, I have a new US editor who I really like and who seems to like me, a new children's editor who is full of youthful enthusiasm for my ideas and best of all I have agreed a new two book deal with Arrow for two more adult books. When I complete that contract in 2012 I will have been a published author for ten years. Knowing that I have got that under my belt in this notoriously fickle and difficult industry is probably my biggest professional achievement this year and possibly ever!

Ellie said...

Happy birthday! And Happy Christmas to everyone.

In 2009 I managed to actually finish the first draft of the novel I started during NaNo 2008. I've started revising it, but am looking forward to a bit of uninterrupted time over the Christmas break, which should help me crack on with it. Basically, my 2010 goal is to revise it into a fit state to start submitting to agents. My second goal is to decide which of the two tempting ideas I'm going to develop, and at least start writing one of them! I can't wait.

Graeme K Talboys said...

Blessings of the Season to you all!

L-Plate Author said...

Happy Birthday CC and thanks for the mention in the post, although I'm far from the only Novel Racer with news this year if the posts above are anything to go by.

Last year I wrote the second half of book two (the draft I started in 2008), redrafted the whole book for a second time and wrote the first third of book three. I was hoping to do more of book three but quite franly at the moment I'm just enjoying having a break. In the New Year, I'm planning on starting a new book in a new crimes series, once I've finished drafting out book three, that is...

Seasons greetings to you all x

B said...

Writingwise this year has been mixed. Got a grade 2 pass in my Advanced Creative Writing course and got my Diploma in Literature and Creative Writing, but despite sending off quite a few short stories I've had nothing published. And personally it's been a year of highs and lows too. It's ending on quite the low, so I'll be glad to say goodbye to the year.

In 2010 I hope to get a short story published. I'd be happy with just one. And you never know... maybe this will be the year that I manage to sit down and actually get further than 12k into a novel....

Happy Christmas to everyone. And Happy Birthday CC!

Serendipity said...

Lots of happy birthday wishes.

I'm a newcomer to Novel Racers but I just know already I'm in very fine company.

Wishing you all a very creative, prolific and simply brilliant 2010! :-))))

Fia said...

Hear, hear Captain,

Post an intro Denise! I'm sure the paperwork can be done later.

liz fenwick said...

It's been quite a year and we, the NRs, have had much to clelbrate and to morn but we are here still writing and still supporting. That's the thing that gets to me everytime. Yes, some of us have now met in person but many have not and yet i really on the NRs as the back bone of my keep on going...Thanks.

This year writing wise well - rewrote August Rock, rewrote A Cornish House, rough draft of Penderown and 12,500 of Pilgrimage wich I guess isn't bad.

Moving into the New I will look at A Cornish House an as two agents have said they would like to see the reworked version but I begin to think that this isn't the book to break me through. I also know that Penderown isn't wither as the heroine is too old which leaves Pilgrimage. This will be interesting as thus far my voice is quite different in it. So 2010 could be an interesting year.

I do know that i am wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and energy to grab 2010 and make it our year.

Belated happy birthday CC.

PS - Leather - they just don't get your humour. It's too clever for them :-)


CC Devine said...

Wow! What a productive lot we all are. Thanks for the birthday wishes and all the best for 2010. CCx

ChrisH said...

Seasons greetings to you all, sorry to be late but I've been catching up with the rellies.

2009 seems to have been a very mixed year for us with some sad, bad and downright mad news (Rachel?? Dreadful and unsaleble??? Pah!). I'm very thankful to have 'broken through' this year, but, do you know what? This is the first novel, apart from a couple of M&B, that I've actually completed... and then rewritten and rewritten. So I
also regret the fact that it's taken me so long to realise that in order to get published you first have to have a complete novel. Although I joined the Novel Racers with that in mind, I've gained so much more. Thanks all of you for commiserations during the bad times and congratulations when it came good; here's to the Novel Racers going from strength to strength.