WRITING ON THE WALL
I’ve started 2011 feeling upbeat about the future. I have finished the plot synopsis and draft chapters of the detective novel and will be sending it out this month. I’m pretty pleased with the way it’s turned out. Prose is hard work and I’m beginning to hate the text I wrote last year but I am going to persevere. It’s a character I created for a short story that I wrote to submit to a competition in 2009. It’s also a way for me to flex different muscles than the journalism and it’s something I’m finding satisfying…

LOOKING BACK (AND LOOKING FORWARD)
As is customary this time of year, I thought I would talk about what I’ve managed to do this year and what I hope to achieve in 2011. It’s been a very interesting year:

•We published another issue of TRIPWIRE, packed full of diverse features and content. With each edition, the aim is to improve on the previous and hopefully we succeeded. I am very proud of this issue. We didn’t get it out more frequently but the fact that we brought it out at all in the current climate was something.

•I brought out a number of photo books through Blurb (London Eye, Stone Gardens and Black & White). I took tons of photos in 2010 and at last I am seeing that I am developing (pardon the pun) as a photographer. I am now trying to consider what I am taking and things like composition and framing. I even did a photography weekend with a friend of my brother’s, which I found very enjoyable. Two of my photos ended up in the monster 75 Years of DC that Taschen published at the end of the year, so that was very cool.

• On the freelance front, I had a very good year. Despite beginning it with what I thought was a year’s contract at a consumer ‘champion’ magazine (I won’t tell you Which), one that ended after only five weeks but on both the subbing and feature writing front, 2010 was a very good year. I got work into Future’s new comics-focused magazine Comic Heroes, continued to write for The Judge Dredd Megazine and got some material into Sci-Fi Now as well as another piece for The Word. I also subbed and did production work at a lot of new places (new for me) including Digital Arts, Apollo and The Week.

• There were a couple of book projects including a followup to Studio Space and a number of photographic books that seemed as if they were going to happen but they fell through because of a number of different factors. It’s an occupational hazard so there’s no point getting stressed about it.

•Following on from writing a detective short story for The Sunday Times Culture competition in 2009, I begun work on a novel featuring the same protagonist. While prose is hard, I am pretty chuffed with the results and intend to carry on with it.

So 2010 was a good year but what would I like to happen next year?

• I would still like to take TRIPWIRE more frequently and we are in discussions with a couple of people to try to make this a reality. Nothing may come of it but I live in hope. We do intend to try and do something electronic on a semi-regular basis.

•I would like to find a publisher for the detective novel. I have been chatting to an editor and a agent so it could happen. It wouldn’t see the light of day until 2012 at the earliest even if it did but that would be fine.

Studio Space 2 would find a home. I am talking to someone to see if we can get this off the ground. We have a fantastic provisional list of artists (Sergio Aragones, Frank Quitely, Frank Cho, Dave Dorman, Glenn Fabry, Bryan Hitch, Frazer Irving, Dave Johnson, Mike Kaluta, Roger Langridge, P Craig Russell, John Paul Leon, Ben Templesmith, John Romita Jr, Mark Schultz, Charles Vess, Matt Wagner, Chris Weston and JH Williams III) so I would like to get that closer to being a reality.

•I shall continue to take more photos, do more books through Blurb and I would like to set up an exhibition of my photos and also do things like sell prints and calendars of my work. I would also like to get at least one photographic book off the ground published by a regular publisher.

•I’ll keep on subbing and doing the freelance writing because it’s a good way to keep my hand in with the field of film, TV and genre in-between doing TRIPWIRE.

• I shall still be writing here at this blog as I have done since 2006 as it’s still a great place for me to talk crap about whatever I want to talk crap about.

•In 2011, we’ll be preparing for the 20th anniversary of TRIPWIRE. It’s scary to think that we started publishing it in 1992 but we intend to do something very special for 2012. The current plan (and it is in the very early stages) is to produce a 200 page book that will include the cream of our content so far plus lots of brand new, exclusive material.

So to everyone who reads this blog: Have a great New Year and I’ll see you all in 2011

ON WRITING
San Diego is now a distant memory as I’ve been back a month now. In between freelancing as a sub, I’ve been trying to make progress on two novel ideas. Fiction is bloody hard. For me, it’s a lot tougher than journalism. With that you have the structure and the protagonists (for all intents and purpose) already there for you. I’m also finding that, the more I read about writing novels and talking to other people about it, the more confused I get. I do feel like I’m making progress but I almost feel that I should just sit down and write something and see where it leads…