Thursday, 31 January 2008

None starter for 60 word stories

Remember that my 60 word stories were declined the other day? Womagwriter suggested that I try Woman's Weekly. Unfortunately, I heard from Gaynor Davies today that Woman's weekly have decided to drop the 60 word stories from their fiction specials. Not the news that I was hoping for but I appreciated the email.

A look back at January

So it's the end of the month and I thought this would be as good a time as any to evaluate the the first writing month of the year.
I submitted 12 pieces of work to various places which is well above the minimum of 5 a month that I set myself. Not all of them were new things, some were stories that were from the work in progress folder so that was something else that I wanted to do. I did produce at least one new piece of work each week. I also worked on my novel NMBK. By the time I'd edited and deleted what I'd written it was probably only about 1000 words but bearing in mind that I haven't worked on it for ages it was something to build on.
The only thing missing from this month was an acceptance - unfortuanately there was a rejection or two. But you have to risk the latter to get the former so it goes with the territory.
Overall though, I think I am pleased with the way that this month has gone. I think I give myself an 8/10 which is a high score to live up to.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Mixed news

remember the delicate problem that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. Well I'm happy to say that was resolved this morning and I can look forward to a pay day in the very near future. But you know what? I think there might be something in that whole good/bad balance thing because when I checked my email this afternoon I discovered that 4 stories that I sent to My Weekly in October have been declined (Note I didn't use that r word.)
They were four 60 word stories so if My Weekly don't want them I don't quite know what I'll do with them but hey ho. At the time I wrote them 60 word stories were about all that I could manage so I guess they've already served their purpose.
I know it can't be good news all the time and I suppose if the good news and the bad news come in equal measure it won't be so bad.

Good idea anyone?

I remember Captain Black mentioning that he was going to make himself a writing timetable and I'd love to know how that's working out.
What does anyone else do? Someone else (it might have been Sally) said that they were making themselves a writing calendar and I'm curious about that one too.
I'm not the most organised person writing wise so I'd love to hear some success stories that I might be able to pinch.

Monday, 28 January 2008

6 things about me

Thanks to Sally and Moondreamer for tagging me.

The small print: Link to the person that tagged you. Post the rules on your blog. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on his/her website.

1. When Himself and I were in Prague 2 years ago we were in the Old Town Square when suddenly came round the corner. Bodyguards jumped out of 5 of them and surrounded the little guy who got out of the 6th. We saw the back of the Dalai Lama's head as he walked into the Town Hall.

2. When I was 6 I was hit by a car which left me in a coma for four days and partially paralysed down my left side. I made a full recovery and the only reminder of it is the scar that runs from front to back of my head where they stitched my head back together. Fortunately my hair covers it.

3. Following on from number 2, although the accident was an ordeal for everyone else I have no memory of it. In fact I can only remember 4 things that happened to me before that day.

4. My 2 sons were born in the same room in the same hospital and the same midwife was there at both births. They were also both exactly the same weight.

5. I never wear shoes unless I have to which probably explains why my feet look Fred Flintstone's.

6. I called my first car Jaspar and cried when I drove it to the garage to trade it in.

I tag womagwriter, A Writer and Ginny Swart. I know that's not 6 people but as far as I can see everyone else has been tagged.

I enjoyed this one a lot because it made me remember things that I 'd forgotten.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

A short message

Just wanted to stop by as it is Sunday but I don't have a lot of time as Son number 2 wants to borrow the laptop and it's part of the bargain if i want to watch Dancing On Ice.
Just to say to Sally and Moondreamer who both tagged me for a meme. I've been giving it a bit of thought and I'll post tomorrow when I have more time.
I didn't do much writing this week but then I knew that I wouldn't get chance to. I did manage to write one story though. It's not very good yet but its something to work on.
I did get one rejection this week but I also submitted one story so its still 21 things out there.
Okay, I'm getting the evil eye from the child and I did tell him I'd only be 10 minutes about half an hour ago. However I will be back tomorrow.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

All part of the Apprenticeship

After I'd visited here the other day I did some more work on NMBK. In all I probably wrote about 1000 words. This morning I scratched about half of them. I realised that I had one of my characters reacting to a situation in a way that they wouldn't. It wasn't a wasted excerciseethough because these are characters that I haven't worked with for a while so I need to get to know them again.
I wrote a short story yesterday and edited it this morning. I'll give it a couple of days then polish it again and then I'll submit it. I have a magazine in mind but I'll wait until after the final polish to say for certain.
I submitted 5 things this week so that makes 13 this year. If I can get a positive response to a couple of them I'll be happy. Writing, submitting and getting stuff out there is all part of the apprenticeship. I currently have 22 pieces out there but 1 of those I can give up on. It was to a place that only tend to let you know if you have been successful and as it's been so long since I submitted i guess I haven't been. So let's say that I have 21 pieces out there at the moment.
You know what? I have actually started to think of myself as a writer. Before I was just someone who liked to dabble in writing short stories but in the last few weeks I have started to connsider myself a writer. I'm only on the first rung of the ladder I know but I now realise that I am on the ladder.
Got a busy week at work ahead and Tuesday and Wednesday will be write offs as far as writing goes but I'm going to get some done in the rest of the week and I'll make sure that I sub at least one thing.
How much subbing do you guys do in an average week?
A book is calling me so I'm off now. I am reading Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir. It's about Lady Jane Grey and I can barely put it down. That's the kind of book that I want to write.

Friday, 18 January 2008

A Satisfactory day

Today is an extra day off for me, one that is dedicated solely to me. So it was without any guilt about not hoovering or ironing etc that I gave my morning over to writing. What a productive morning I've had. First of all I submitted two stories to a competition (the same one) then I checked out which I read about in Writers News. I'm not quite sure what I'll get out of it but it was worth a look. It looks like they have weekly free to enter competitions so that might be worth keeping an eye on. Then I pitched an idea to an editor for an article I've been working on. Finally I've just spent the last hour re-accquainting myself with NMBK which is the novel that went on the back burner while the ugly stuff was happening. I read through the last part that I wrote probably back in October or sometime like that and then even managed to write some new words. Only a couple of hundred or so but it's a start. I was going to have a look at the BBC Writers Room website because it's a long time since I was there but I didn't get round to that.

Anyway, just thought I would share my satisfaction with you all. I would be really interested to hear about your writing day.

Must go, I'm off to the hairdressers now. Two hours of pampering - yay!!!

Thursday, 17 January 2008

A Meme

I'm off work for a couple of days so I was browsing through a few blogs that I visit on a regular basis and I found that Sally had tagged me. She called it The War and Peace of meme's and she's not wrong.
Here goes

What's the last thing you wrote?
A short story.

Was it any good?
I liked it, but I've liked a lot of things that I couldn't interest a publisher in.

What's the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?
A story that I started on the morning of the day that the Twin Towers were attacked. It was supposed to be a novel but didn't have the legs for it then. I plan on revisiting it sometime.

Write poetry?

Favourite genre of writing?
I don't know what genre my writing falls into (agents have said the same thing.)

Most fun character you ever wrote?
George in BTL.

Most annoying character you ever wrote?
Ellen's mother, also in BTL

Best plot you ever wrote?
It's still in my head.

Coolest plot twist you ever wrote?
I liked the one at the end of BTL (Sorry to be a bit vague but this is something that I hope to sell)

How often do you get Writers block?
At least once a week.

Write fan fiction?

Do you type or write by hand?
The first draft is always done by hand.

Do you save everything you write?

Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it?
I tend not to abandon work just stuff it in my Work in Progress folder.

What's your favourite thing that you've written?
My personal favourite is Elaine which was published in Sexy Shorts for the Beach in 2006. It was what made me get serious about writing.

What's everyone else's favourite thing that you've written?
No idea, no-one has ever told me.

Do you even show people your work?
Only editors and publishers

Did you ever write a novel?
Yes. That would be BTL

Ever written romance or teen angsty drama?
I've written romance, whi hasn't?

How many writing projects are you working on right now?
Probably about half a dozen.

Do you want to write for a living?
That would be a big yes.

Have you ever won an award for your writing?
I was placed second in a competition when I was 15 if that counts.

Ever written something in script or play format?

Do you ever write based on yourself?
All the time. I think you have to put something of yourself into your writing.

What character that you've written most resembles yourself?
Ellen in BTL.

Do you ever write based on your dreams?
Yes, I wrote something recently that was based on a dream. I only wrote the first couple of hundred words so far so it's more of an idea than anything concrete.

Do you favour happy endings, sad endings, or cliff-hangers?
I like an ending that works. Unfortunately life is not full of happy endings so it's wrong that all stories/books should have one.

Have you ever written based on an artwork you've seen?
Yes. I wrote a story last year that was inspired by a greetings card that I'd seen.

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
Always. Even in my emails at work which winds some people up.

Ever write something entirely in chatspeak? (How r u?)

Entirely in L337?
Excuse me?

Was that question completely appalling and un-writer like?
Possibly, who knows?

Does music help you write?
It doesn't help, but it doesn't hinder either.

Quote something you've written. The first thing to pop into your mind.
"Her dad had said it was too expensive but Helen had bought it for her anyway." Taken from The Purple Pashmina which I wrote recently so that's why I can remember a quote.

Looks like Sally got there before me with most of the tags. However, I tag Captain Black

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Missing payments and defunct machinery

Can you believe it's almost the middle of January already. Where is this year going? I was just kidding but in all seriousness time is short, life is short, time does pass quickly, so if there's something you want - go for it now.
The Festive Season is well and truly behind us now and life is back to normal. It was good to get back to doing the day job normally but that meant that there wasn't so much free time to write. I managed to get a fair bit done though. I edited a short story that I'd written the week before and submitted that. I also re-polished an old story and submitted that and entered a competition. And I started working on a non fiction article yesterday.
I've had fun and games with my printer this week. It will print everything but a Word document or more accurately, anything but a saved Word document. That is frustrating because it holds everything up. I've had to send things to myself and then open the attachment somewhere other than home and print it off there. ARRGGGHHH!!!! Himself was going to reload the drivers yesterday while I was at work. I guess I'll see in a minute if that's worked. I fear the thing may be for that place where all defunct printers go which is even more annoying because I've just bought cartridges for it.
Got a bit of a delicate problem which I'm hoping will be sorted this week. I had two stories in magazines in December and as yet I haven't been paid for them. I hope that I hear from them this week because if I don't I'm thinking that I may have to contact them and okay, I accept that they owe me money for a serivice I provided but it's not a problem I've had before so I'm not sure how to deal with it. The thing is that the filters on my mailbox have been sending stuff to the junk file that shouldn't go there so maybe they have tried to contact me and the message has been sent to the wrong place. The payment would be made electronically so they would ask me to provide information. Working on the premise that they probably pay at the end of the month they will be preparing that payment run in the middle of the month which hopefully will be this week.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Life's rich tapestry

Well, what are we now? Six days into the new year? So far so good. I have written every day and have already submitted 3 pieces of work. Two were short stories and one was a letter which probably doesn't count as a piece of work but it was a submission. I also wrote a short story which would have fit the Mother's Day market but as that falls on March 3rd this year I've probably missed the boat on that one. So I adapted it slightly to fit a more general market and I'll give it another edit and submit it either this week or next.
I think I'm going to revisit NMBK this week. I'll maybe edit a bit of what I've already written and read through it. I need to get a feel for it again and then make some progress.
I had a quick count up earlier and found that I have 15 pieces of work out there at the moment though I can discount a couple of those I think. They have been with their relative editors for so long I'm guessing they are "no's." I know editors are busy people but a quick email saying "thanks but no thanks," wouldn't have taken too long to send and would have been appreciated. I guess though that as they were both sent to small press magazines they may have gone out of business now so I'll not worry about it. It's all part of life's rich tapestry.
My alto ego Roxie has started to wake up last week with a couple of ides so maybe she'll do some writing this week.
So all in all I'm pleased with my efforts in week 1 of 2008. Like I said before I've written every day and I've already submitted my monthly quota. Hoever I won't sit back on my laurels and I'll be writing and submitting more this week.
Exactly what will be revealed next week.