Time for a quick review of reading and writing in 2010.
From a writing perspective, I had hoped to complete 2 books this year, but actually only finished one. My plan for next year is to not set myself a target... what gets written gets written.
Not that I haven't started another book - I have. In fact, I've started four more books, but that then got horribly confusing so I tried to concentrate on only one - which is fine until a story chunk from one of the others keeps you awake late at night and you have no option but to get out of bed and write it before it gets forgotten.
I guess my only wish for the oncoming year, then, is to finish something or, at the very least, make such significant inroads into one of the stories that I can actually see a potential end...
As regards progress of the completed books, they all fall into the "still waiting" category. It's frustrating but not exactly unexpected. I did, however, submit one of them for the Terry Pratchett Prize - short list for this won't be announced until the end of March 2011 so there's a bit of a wait until I'll know whether it's going anywhere.
Although I seem to have done less writing this year, I have done significantly more reading. It's an accepted fact that you can't write unless you read, but with only so many hours in a day it can be difficult to get the balance right. It's important, though, to not view reading time as wasted time. Reading may not advance my word count, but I do find myself much more critical of books I read now, constantly on the lookout for typos, poor grammar, cliches, lazy writing etc., and all of those can only help my own writing.
And so, without further ado, I'll announce my books of the year!
For me, I'm considering books I read this year, regardless of when they were published.
The "Non-Fiction" category only had a couple of nominees, but they were both outstanding. Without a doubt, though, the most stunning non-fiction book was "The Greatest Show on Earth" by Richard Dawkins. Every time I read anything Dawkins writes, I always learn something, and this was no exception. An absolute must-read.
Special mention, though, goes to "The Writers' Tale: The Final Chapter" by Russell T Davies and Benjamin Cook. A thoroughly enjoyable, deeply honest, read, a "must" for writers and Dr Who fans and hugely recommended for anybody who has even a passing interest in the creative process.
The fiction category is a little harder. I've read a decent amount this year, across many genres and there have been some amazing, hard-to-put-down books there.
The winner, though, was never in any doubt. It's such a clever book, a book that I would have been proud to have written, and a unique one too (which just happens to use a plot-device that I had considered but had thought unworkable: this book proved otherwise).
My fiction book of the year is "Wasted" by Nicola Morgan.
And there we have it. I suspect I'll be reading even more in the coming year, and much of that will be in ebook format. The days of e-publishing are well and truly here, a good five to ten years earlier than many publishers seem to have been expecting. E-readers such as the Kindle may not be quite perfect but they are only going to get better and once the pricing structure settles down (and I hope, as a reader, that it settles to a sensible level, because I certainly will buy more books if that's the case) and the public large understand just how convenient having one device is, e-readers are going to do for books what the iPod did for music - make them accessible, convenient and always at hand.