So, yesterday I submitted a story to a market in the UK. Sounds simply enough, right? Only problem, the market was one of the few that takes only snail mail applications. Still, fine. They wanted a SSAE to accompany the submission. No problem.
Until I reached the post office. I have recently learned that you can no longer buy an internation reply coupon – that in fact such things have not been used for about six months. Also, the post office don’t sell foreign currency postage. Might I be able to get the recipient to pay for return postage and then reimburse them…?
Okay, well thanks to Google (and Tech Support/Admin Support – my husband) we were able to learn the correct postage. Across the road from the mall the stamp dealer still sells british stamps ‘for postage’ and seemed only mildly surprised by the request.
It’s on its way as we speak. All in a day’s work. But it does beg the question: is this how things are done now? Surely there should be an easier way…..
Am I a real writer yet?
Another story just come out on a website today. The site is Every Day Fiction, and the story is Don’t Do It – a flash ficiton piece about how the smallest things can change the world. And since EDF is technically a paying market (even though donated my payment back to the site) I do feel as if I can wander around now referring to myself casually in a conversation as a “professional writer.”
So check out Don’t Do it, at www.EveryDayFiction.com, where there are also lots of other cool stories to read.
And FYI: finished writing The Wolf in Me about a week ago. Not sure what (if anything) I’m going to do with it yet, so for now I’ll just let it sit there and percolate for a few months/years etc, and just see what happens…..
So, I’ve decided to take a break from writing this novel. You might remember the one: The Wolf In Me – the great inaugural NaNoWriMo project, which is still a work in progess. At about 140K, ten chapters, with probably two chapters and an epilogue to go. All signs are that it will at least (eventually) be completed. And that’s a good thing: some years ago now I was struggling to finish the novels I started and several were left in the middle, after deciding there was no point in throwing good time after bad – if I can’t dredge up the enthuisiasm, how can an imaginary reader? Since those days I’ve completed two short novels, and this one will be the third.
Am I tempting fate then, taking a couple of weeks away at the end of chapter 10? I think and hope not, but I have been in the mood lately to brainstorm some ideas, to write a few short stories. Well, a new short story appears on ABC Tales, called Spring Where You Are (feel free to follow the link).
I think there is just something very satisfying about posting a story. And I like to think that it’s more than vanity. No doubt in the world but that I like to get some praise, a few positive comments to soak my ego in. But more than that, it gives writing a point. I don’t need to find myself wallowing in the self-pity of why-do-I-even-bother-when-no-one-is-ever-going-to-read-this-anyway; the readers are no longer imaginary. Some people write for themselves, for the sheer joy of writing – they are awesome, centred, psychologically adjusted people. Me: I like to think that somebody out there is being communicated with.
Or do I just like signing up for stuff? 10,000 steps to take, 3.2 more kg to lose; 1667 words to write today.
A month ago, when I started writing my novel, I had in my head the idea that I would keep some sort of running update on my blog of how things were going. You can see how well that worked out.
On the bright side, I have achieved my goal, writing over 50,000 words in the time alotted. I’m up to about 55k now, and completed the magic 50 on the 26th of November.
So how much of a breeze was all this? Well, it started out pretty well, I was up to nearly 25K by the end of the first week. But then reality set in, life got involved, and I had to go back to work. Stupid day job. That slowed my pace quite a bit. But I’ve had some pretty successful days as well, where I’ve written about 4000 words, and other days when I haven’t written any at all. Form reading the forums it appears that other people can relate – there are some who never made it past the first couple of thousand words, and then others who’ve done hundreds of thousands, and one I encountered who’d written a million. A million. That I can’t explain.
And the story itself: well, it goes on. I would guess that I’m about a third of the way through, and as a first draft it’s not going terribly. So far I’m still interested in the characters: troubled and exotic (really exotic) Novan; privileged and sensitive Berlin; loyal and nearly unfazeable Tommie. They’re still holding out so far, but things are about to get dodgy……
A new day begins. It’s late spring, the trees are green, there’s a light breeze out there, and the sun is at least considering shining.
It’s November the first.
Time to write me a novel.
National Novel Writing Month: this phenomenon began in the late 1990s in San Francisco with 21 participants, and fifteen years later and now boasts over 300,000. We begin on November 1st, and by the stroke of midnight, November 30, will have written 50,000 words. It’s that simple. If that’s your idea of simple. Sounds like fun? Then check out the link below for more information:
This is my first year undertaking this project, and I’m not really sure how it’s going to go. I have a novel in mind, it’s working title is “The Wolf in Me.” It’s about a young man grappling with his dark side, his inner demons, his need for redemption. It is about the child of a far distant world, stranded, cut off from all but threads of memory. It is about those dark forces that roam at night, conjured in equal part from far away, and painfully near. It is boy meets girl. It’s about friendship. Love. Loss. Sacrifice.
Or at least that’s the plan so far…..
I have just (okay, a couple of days ago, but I hadn’t gotten around to blogging about it) submitted a few stories to a site I’ve discovered called ‘Specklit’
Specklit is a great site, with very exacting criteria. A Fantasy/Sci-fi flash fiction site, they have a word limit of exactly one hundred words. No more, no less.
I’ve submitted eight (very) short stories, and await the results.
Whether or not I’m successful with these ones, I have to say that I recommend the exercise: having to edit a story to exactly 100 words makes you think quite carefully about every one you use, and allows you to surprise yourself with how much you can cut out when you have to. Which is a big thing for me, because as anyone paying attention to my stories (somebody out there, somewhere, anyone…..?) knows, one of the main challenges I have with writing is in getting to the point.
So the point: check out Specklit, this writing process can lead to some interesting results. And watch this space (or rather that space) – because you never know, one or two of my stories may show up there someday.
Nb: after writing these “drabbles” – as the site likes to call them, I went back over one my failed submissions to another market and edited it from a bit over 2000 words to about 1300. So maybe I’m onto something here.
Finally. After all this time, somebody actually wants to publish my work. On purpose.
I have just been informed that one of my stories has been accepted by 365tomorrows.com, which is a particularly awesome sci-fi flash fiction site, whose editors turn out to have impeccable taste in literature. Needless to say I am very pleased with this development. My story, Returns Policy, appears on the 3 October page: a futuristic piece about a woman who did not get what she paid for.
What can I say? Yay me. And check it out.
Okay, so it seems it’s been six weeks or so since I last wrote anything here.
I suppose it must have been because I’ve been lazy – busy – did I say lazy?. Or perhaps rather than imitate art, life has more a tendency to get in its way.
When we last left our intrepid heroes….. I had just set out to do a round of editing on “The Prisoner in the Tower” – not renamed as yet. That first round of editing is completed now, I’ve cut a few scenes out, as well as parts of scenes, shaving about 5000-ish words off the total. I think a chunk somwhere in the middle was repeating a lot of what I’d covered earlier. So good riddance to those bits.
I started writing in diary form, which I strayed away from here and there as the story progressed. This has also tended it towards a patchwork of tenses. I toyed with the idea of using present tense for the main thread of the story, and reverting to past tense for the flashbacks, but in keeping with the diary-entry format the main thread has ended up employing both past and present tense, much (I hope) as it would read if the protagonist had written it over the course of his imprisonment.
I was also able to correct a few errors with names and hair colours and so forth, but will probably need a few more round of editing to make sure I have family connections, numbers of siblings, compass directions etc behaving consistently. I can only assume there are many other mistakes that I’ve missed and will continue to miss.
At this stage, I think I’ll return to that story sometime next year, when it’s had time to settle in my head, and I can read it fresh again. In the meantime, you may have noticed a new link to a new story “Under the Bed” – so I haven’t been completely idle. Also, this is a side affect of having a website: 500 or so emails are sitting in my inbox right now all supposedly pertaining to one of my blog entries but in fact having more to do with selling me stuff.
Sorry guys, not buying.
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……