Sunday, January 1, 2012

My writing week: Issue one, year five.

Hi all,

This is my annual best of the previous years science fiction and new year’s resolutions post.

2011’s Science Fiction Books.

The best science fiction book I read last year was The Year of the Flood, by Margaret Atwood, a prequel to her equally as good Oryx and Crake. It’s not about global warming, the flood is a genetically engineered plague. I also enjoyed Stephen King’s Under the Dome – which did sag a bit in the middle - and Dave Kitson’s self-published ebook Turing Evolved, which had a great story, it just needed a good edit.

Overall, I made very good choices for reading in 2011, except for the very much overrated Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville. Its story took way too long to develop into anything interesting. It should have been cut to half its 600 pages. 

2011’s Science Fiction Movies.

Apart from the excellent Rise of the Apes, was any other science fiction movie released in 2011? At least that’s the question I asked myself. When I checked what else was released, I did remember other movies I had seen last year.

Source Code was good, but not the sort of film that got my imagination going. Paul was a good laugh. I expected more of a Philip K. Dick story with The Adjustment Bureau. X-men Origins was a good but instantly forgettable movie. The same goes for Super 8 and Cowboys and Aliens. There currently seems little appetite to make science fiction movies that get a viewer thinking. I want more movies with grand themes and ideas like Inception, Moon and District 9.

Two absolute stinkers released last year were Battle Los Angles and I am Number Four.

2011’s Science Fiction Television.

Easily the best science fiction on television last year was series four of Torchwood: Miracle Day. It was a ten part miniseries that slowly built up the tension before reaching a satisfying conclusion. A series that made you think about the prolonging of life for those with little quality of life.  

Doctor Who improved as the year went on. There were some good episodes, but none as good as those with the previous two doctors. Suspense has been thrown out the window with the current doctor. As we all knew the doctor wouldn’t die, although I was hopeful he would regenerate, the continuing story of his death generated zero suspense. I did enjoy the non-alien invasion Christmas episode.

Terra Nova is too predictable and like Falling Skies has been made as a family drama (soap), rather than a science fiction series. The lead characters and families in both series act exactly like other current television families. They even have the same clichéd dialogue. The writers seem to have put no effort into exploring how families might behave in the future or in a world destroyed by aliens. Instead, the writers have said, let’s write characters who today’s teenagers can identify with.

I enjoyed Fringe, and look forward to its return this year. I also enjoyed the low-brow Warehouse 13, Eureka and Chuck. I think the last two will struggle for originality in future episodes.

Two movies I saw on cable stood out, both British. Monsters was an excellent character based movie, set in Mexico, where two people get to know each other as they try to cross a no-go zone full of aliens to get back to the US. I also found Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel very funny, and clever for a story about a group of drunken yobs who step into the lavatory and find themselves in the future. 

Last Year’s Resolutions/Goals

I didn’t make any writing resolutions last year. The previous year I had a goal of writing every day, which I did achieve.

The only new year’s resolution I made last year was to download no ebooks that were less than $5. My next post will tell you how I went with that resolution.

Last year I signed up for the Goodreads reading challenge. My goal was to read 26 novels/anthologies. I only read half that due to tiredness and choosing long books – they averaged 400 pages. This year I will again challenge myself to read 26 novels/anthologies, hopefully the tireds won’t intervene again.

2012 Writing Goals.

My writing goals for this year are many. I want to finish the first draft of Jack Logan, Astronaut. I am about half way through it at 67,000 words. I then want to rewrite it, get it critiqued, rewrite it, and then edit it.

I also hope to edit a 25,000 word novella, get it critiqued, and rewrite and edit it. The same goes for a 6,000 word short story.

I want to do all that writing before NaNoWriMo in November which I plan to do again.

If I have time, I want to return to rewriting another novel, which I was halfway through rewriting last year. 

When I am writing new words my aim is 1000-2000 words a weekday. When I am rewriting and editing, obviously the word count will drop.

I also aim to again get 12 paid articles published in DiVine magazine and to look for other freelance writing jobs.

I want to critique a lot more this year and be more of a contributor to a couple of writing communities I am involved in. In the last two years I have only critiqued a couple of novels and a few stories. I need to do more.
I want to do all this before the world ends on December 21, according to the Mayans anyway.

1 comment:

Anthony J. Langford said...

Sounds like a big year Graham. Your novel sounds huge too. First time novelists do have trouble selling big books, that's what 'they' advise anyway, which doesn't mean it cant be done.

Congrats on all your work.

I agree, not much in the way of quality sci-fi last year. I enjoyed Apes and Monsters too, felt disappointed by pretty much everything else. Hope that changes.