2016

Well, here it is, the new year, dawning a bright, sunshiny, summer’s day.

Perhaps you will recall my last post – NaNo-WriMo 2015 – the novel I hoped to update this site with progress reports on, but which I realistically suggested I would probably not actually do.  Well, I seem to have proved myself right on that account. But a successful 50K was reached, and the story continues.  An innocent girl in the court of an ancient and powerful king; along with a childhood friend, seeking to know the world better; even as the great families of the realm compete to make their daughter the next Moon Queen; even as her own family becomes increasingly embroiled in the ugly side of politics, marriage, magic, blackmail.

The story has been surprisingly docile so far, taking off on few of its own tangents, and contentedly following the basic plot structure I started out with.  Perhaps that’s a good thing, perhaps not.  Sometimes the best stories have a mind of their own and demand a whole other direction.  That’s good.  If they want that, I let them have it.  If in this case the story and its originally conceived plot continue in harmony, then my hope is that this can be a good thing too.

2015: not a bad year.  Another couple of stories published thanks to the outstanding editors at 365 Tomorrows and Every Day Fiction, plenty more stories written, a novel finished, another one started.  The professional markets are still shying away from my work, but an occasional positive comment or the knowledge that a story made it past the first round of voting or out of the slush pile allows me to cling to a thread or two of hope.  And I look back ten years: I think maybe – somehow – what I write has been improving.

2016: the time for New Year’s Resolutions.  What do I hope to achieve this year?  I’ve told myself for a number of years now that I will be indie-publishing one of my novels on Amazon – and it is still my intention – I have one partly edited, and the plan is to have it there by the end of the year.  Keep watching as well for the short novel/novella that I intend to serialise on ABC tales in the next few months.  Written but not yet edited.  I’ll be doing a few more rounds of submissions as well, maybe adding a few more markets to my core ones.  Will also branch out a bit more in visual artiness.

At least, that’s the plan……

NaNoWriMo 2015

It’s that time again.

12.05am on the first of November, and it’s time to write another novel.  Once again, a fantasy novel, but this time set in another world, traditional fantasy, a setting that mixes fantasy with a culture reminiscent of Tudor England (more or less.)  It follows the story of a girl come to court at a time of change and chaos: the Moon Queen dying, and the Sun King already preparing to select his new bride – in fact “The Sun King’s Bride” is the present title.

I would like to add that there’ll be regular blog updates on my progress, but who are we kidding?  This is the first entry since June, and despite (relatively) good intentions, I’m not too sure there’ll be any more anytime soon.  I’m signed up to the NaNoWriMo website, so progress can probably be viewed there, but once again, I don’t really picture myself adding a lot of corroborating evidence or interesting information.

In other news: not too much.  Every Day Fiction are the generous publishers now of two of my stories, and appear to be considering two more.  Excellent site – very astute editors, fine taste in short literature…

Oh, well, let the writing begin…..

Harder than it Looks

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…..

Okay, Now, How About Now….?

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…..

Intermission

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.

55K

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……

NaNoWriMo

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:

http://nanowrimo.orgNaNoWriMo

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…..

 

Short and to the Point

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.

www.specklit.com

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.

Success At Last

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.

www.365tomorrows.com/10/3/ReturnsPolicy

Much, much later….

Okay, so it seems it’s been six weeks or so since I last wrote anything here.

Oops.

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.