Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Theakerly thoughts #8: X-Files, Nanowrimo, Bullet Journal

Thought 1. I was quite disappointed when the X-Files reunion panel at San Diego Comic Con failed to produce any significant announcements, which made the panel seem a bit pointless. That appearance, and the one at the New York Comic Con this week, make a bit more sense in the light of stories like this. It sounds like Chris Carter and the stars want to make a third film, and the current publicity round is to show Fox that there’s interest in one. I hope it works, although the problems with the second film were nothing to do with the budget, and everything to do with lousy logic. (If someone claiming to be a psychic leads you to a corpse, and then fails to lead you to a second one, you wouldn’t kick them out on their butts for being fake psychics, you’d question them to find out how they knew about the first body!) Both actors have gone on to success with other projects which I’d guess makes them more comfortable with returning to those defining roles. Among other things, Gillian Anderson was brilliant in Hannibal, and David Duchovny is brilliant if despicable in Californication. (X-Filers are recommended to watch season 4, episode 10 of that show, if no other.) My hope, though, is not really for a film. I want new episodes on Netflix, Arrested Development-style.

Thought 2. Nanowrimo! It’s been a long, long time now since I succeeded at Nanowrimo. In fact, I haven’t finished writing a novel at all, Nanowrimo or not, since stepping down as one of the Birmingham MLs. I think it’s because I haven’t really committed to it, starting it out of habit most years without really caring whether I get a novel finished or not, and I have been very happily busy with work for the last few years. Two years ago I went offline for a month to get it done, in theory, but never got properly started. Also, I haven’t been going to the write-ins, and I used to regularly write 5000 words in the course of our Sunday afternoons at Starbucks. This year I feel very differently. I’m desperate to write another novel – I’m getting anxious about it again. I’m planning to take a week’s holiday at some point in the month to concentrate on it, and I’ve set aside each night from nine to midnight for writing. I’ve been forcing myself to write at least 250 words a day to build up my writing muscles. Checking the figures, I’ve actually averaged 449 words a day over the last 56 days, which is a way off the 1666 a day needed to complete Nanowrimo but a lot more than I managed during the last few Nanowrimos. And I’ve been working like mad this month to get ahead of everything. I’m also going to stop reading books and comics five days before the end of this month, so that I’m not tempted to spend time writing reviews during November instead of my novel, and so that the only story I’m ever thinking about is my own. I won’t say anything about the plot here, because I’ll probably end up publishing it in character, under a pseudonym, but I’m quite happy with the basic concept, and my notebook’s pages are filling up with plans and ideas. I’ve had an idea for one brilliant twist and I can’t wait to write that bit! I doubt that the novel overall will be any good, because none of the novels I have ever written have been any good, but writing them does make me happy. The widgets below should, once November has started, show you how I'm getting on.

Thought 3. Very good news about the Patrick Troughton Doctor Who episodes being found. I’m on a spending freeze, as I recover from paying for a holiday and look forward to Christmas and paying my taxes, so they’ve had to go on my Amazon wishlist for now, but Boxing Day is going to be wonderful this year. Amazing to think how careless the BBC was with these treasures. All three series of my beloved Journey into Space were thought lost for decades before being discovered, misfiled, by an engineer. Makes me worry sometimes what treasures of the future might be going into my recycling bin.

Thought 4. Our old friend Steven Gilligan once bought John and me matching moleskine notebooks, telling us how brilliant they were and how many artists love them, etc, etc. We were a bit baffled at the time, but I think he’d be glad to know that one has finally become a big part of my life, because I’ve been using the Bullet Journal method. The big things I like about it are the numbered pages, the contents page that builds up as you use the journal, and the page you create at the beginning of each month listing its days and events. My journal’s now got a bunch of pages relating to this year’s Nanowrimo, others devoted to notes from our monthly TQF meetings, pages listing books read and films watched. The system’s worth a look, especially if like me you have a tendency to scatter your notes and ideas around a bit too much.

Thought 5. My writing appears in the magazines reviewed here and here by Terry Weyna. Unsurprisingly, there’s no particular mention of my brief contributions, but I liked this bit in the Interzone review: “There are nearly 30 pages of book and film reviews following the fiction, written by several reviewers and critics, all eloquent and knowledgeable about science fiction and fantasy, as well as perceptive writers.” Phew – I’m still getting away with it!

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