At the beginning of the year I made several resolutions, which included giving up smoking (semi-successful so far; my willpower has been tested but still holds), writing one short story a month (very successful as I wrote two in January and have a short thingy written for February, but we’ll see how that one holds up) and writing down all the books I read this year.

I read a lot of books, but I am incredibly bad at writing them all down. It sounds silly, because surely it can’t be that hard to remember to write down their names?

It isn’t that hard, so I’ve started making more of an effort. In fact, I’ve noticed that a lot of my resolutions and goals for the year involve wasting less time – but more on that as the year goes by. For now, I’ll talk about the books.

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A couple of weeks ago, I started a new writing project. It’s a big deal for me, because I’m attempting something that I haven’t done since last year’s NaNoWriMo: to write a full-length novel.

I began dreaming of being a novelist from quite an early age, and at first I pursued this dream by writing stories based on my favourite books. When I was eight or nine, Midnight Dancer by Elizabeth Lindsay was particularly inspirational, a story about a young girl and her pony. And of course, the Harry Potter books were practically sacrosanct. I actually wrote to J K Rowling, and one of the questions I asked her was where she got her ideas from. She wrote a lovely letter back to me, and in reply to my question she said that she didn’t know where ideas came from, but if she did she would go and live there.

My attempts at novel writing continued sporadically through the years, intensifying when I was around 16-17, and quite into reading fantasy. I started writing stories of my own, usually getting a few chapters in before ditching the project on the grounds that it was too derivative, too predictable, too boring, etc. I had more success with short stories at that time.

Years later, and I still haven’t cracked it. To give some idea of just what that means, I think it would suffice to say that although my NaNo project of last year exceeded the required 50,000 word quota in the allotted time (the month of November), the novel at the end was very unfinished and, well, not very much like a novel, either. My mistake was probably in writing about something very personal to me, and therefore inserting myself into the story as a character. It was probably unwise to attempt something like this for a project which was an experiment to me, anyway. I needed a little more breathing space to do my ideas on that subject sufficient justice. So, no more NaNo sagas for me.

Anyway, that’s the closest I’ve come to writing a novel so far.

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