I notice in passing that I haven’t been very successful in keeping up to date with this blog. So, before I forget how to….
My latest writing project is a return to a short novel I wrote in 2010/2011. Its working title, The Prisoner in the Tower, will probably have to change into something a little more interesting – and hasn’t that one been taken anyway? – if I ever decide to do anything with it. It’s a short novel of 116,000 words, in a fantasy setting, about a nobleman man condemned largely for the actions of his family, awaiting his execution in a prison cell. The story delves into his friendship with the young king who ordered his exectuion; with his wife; with a servant (this part wasn’t intended from the beginning, but the kid just sort of wormed his way in there); and with a common woman who is – probably unwittingly – far more than she seems. There are three sequels that could potentially follow on from this, taking up the story in the viewpoint of other characters.
But first things first. Having read over the story and made up a scene list, I can see where there are scenes I could cut. There’s also a lot that is less clear to me reading it now than it was when I first wrote it – and even less clear of course to any potential reader. So some of that’ll have to go. I think the basic structure is probably going to remain the same, although it seems a bit slow in some places, so I’ll have to consider more drastic changes when I see what effect cutting some of the scenes has.
And what am I going to do with it? Maybe nothing. Probably nothing. I’m toying a little bit with the idea of putting it on Amazon as an e-book and just seeing what happens, but I’m not sure if it’s the story for that, or even if I’m the writer for that. Time will tell, I guess.
Okay, Okay, I admit it. I like reading people saying nice stuff about my work.
It might not come with a cheque, and I don’t get to ‘casually’ throw into conversations: ‘oh, you might want to read my story being published in [insert magazine here] when it comes out in November’, but it still works for me.
Anyone who’s been keeping up with this site – so far: me, and ‘keeping up with’ is perhaps generous -may have noticed a couple more links have been added to the Stories page. Both of these go to www.abc.tales.com, where I have been enjoying adding new stories. I’ve had a number of comments on them, which have all been nice so far. And I have to admit my ego is really appreciating it.
I’ve found the ‘Inspiration Point’ feature to be particularly useful. The latest stories are works based on that. It’s a weekly writing cue to inspire contributors. The previous one was “guarded letters” which inspired my story “unguarded letters”, and the latest has been “divide the world” from which I came up with “fifty-fifty”. And apparently there are people out there who seemed to like it.
I am working as well on editing a few more stories for (hopefully) publication. All going well I hope to be submitting a couple of stories to Interzone and Black Static magazines in the next few weeks……
If you’ve been reading this website – somebody, anybody….. – then you may have noticed that there’s a new story been posted called Alien Interviews (go check it out on the stories page, it’s there).
When you click on this link, rather than going to another page on this website, with my ‘cool’ title ‘artwork’ it goes to another site altogether: www.abctales.com. This is my first foray into using “free-to-internet, publish-what-you-like” (terms I think I made up) websites. And I have to say that I’ve been fairly happy so far. Thirty-eight people have read my story last I checked (and only three of them were me checking the layout etc), there have been two comments, both saying nice stuff, and although I couldn’t find out exactly what the cherries mean I think they might be a good thing.
Abc Tales seems like a good site: you keep all rights (relatively standard) and it looks fairly well-organised. There’s plenty of genre categories, as well as competitions and regular themes (under the heading “Inspiration Point”) and since one of the nice people who wrote comments said I should post something again soon, maybe I will…….
So what is the milestone at which you decide you can consider yourself a real writer? Completion of your first story? Completion of a first novel? Maybe it’s the first thing you submit for publication? Or does only publication itself (I hope not) count?
Got my first couple of rejection letters recently – one the day after the other – from Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Apex magazine. Not that they should come as a surprise or anything – how many writers get the first thing they submit published? Was still a tiny bit hopeful when I saw the emails in my inbox though.
I think this is the milestone (at least for now) that I’m going to say separates the amateur from the would-be professional. Now I can say that I think I’m finally doing this for real.
So Pavlov’s dogs vs Schrodinger’s cat has turned out to be a piece of flash fiction of 795 words about a couple of scientists exprementing with controlling dogs by stimulating their brains. The stimulus sounds somewhat like a bell, and salivating is one side effect. They want to catch the cat – and eat it – but when they all race into an alley, out of the view of cameras, who knows if the cat’s alive or dead?
Moving on – rather slowly – with this bestselling-author career of mine, I’ve sent another couple of stories off: to Apex magazine and Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
Apex (I think) were once a print market but are now electronic only (except for some print anthologies). You can read most of their stories on their website (www.apexbookcompany.com), but get a few extra if you purchase a copy or subscribe. Not a bad system.
Beneath Ceaseless Skies, display all material for free on their website (www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com), they’re “literary adventure fantasy” set on other worlds – a niche that seems kind of under-represented out there, and exactly what I’m looking for.
And so, as since 365 Tomorrows, the waiting game continues……
In the meantime, I’m about to embark on a new short story with the working title “This Darkness.” It’ll probably be pretty short, about the secret life of the things that go bump in the night. And speaking of titles (sort of) I wonder what I could do with “Pavlov’s Dogs vs Schrodinger’s Cat.” Hmm…..
I discovered by chance the other day that amongst the formatting that doesn’t seem to copy from Open Office to WordPress is scene breaks. By scene breaks I just mean the extra blank line between scenes in my stories. Even tried putting them in manually in WordPress, but no luck. The problem is fixed with a # mark now to mark where scenes break – maybe one day I’ll create a little symbol or something in GIMP to put there instead – or a mini illustation if I ever get good at art.
Ah, well, dreams are free.
Also discovered that some of the links to my stories are linking to the same story on my test website. Luckily tech support – and by that I mean my beloved husband – was able to fix that problem. So all is good. Full steam ahead…..
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
So the single step of today is this: a small step for man, a drop in the ocean for mankind, but today I submitted my first story to an actual market. Not a paying market as such, but the website is still pretty cool.
I’m talking about: www.365tomorrows.com
This is a website that publishes a piece of Sci-Fi flash fiction every day of the year, and has been doing so since 2005. They seem to have staff writers as well as accepting stories by submission. It’s a simple story (given the 600 word limit it sort of has to be really) about making the right decision. So here’s hoping. It takes somewhere between four weeks and four months to hear back, so keeping reading I guess…..