Sunday, 31 August 2008

Spot the difference

I've just been going through my list of what stories have been sent where and I realised that 2 stories were rejected by the same magazine. One took 6 days to be rejected and one 3 months. What was the difference and what can I learn?
I ask this question in the hope that I can try and work out what makes an editor tick.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

What works for you?

I've read on several blogs recently aboutwriters who are plotting their novels some to a very detailed stage and I was thinking that I envy them. So far I have two novels (both sadly still sitting in the bottom drawer) and a third in progress. On each occasion I have gone about the writing process the same way.
I have started with a premise and I have known where I wanted to end up. I also have my central character. Then I start to write. Sometimes, especially in the second novel things develop in a way that I hadn't anticipated but when the pen was in my hand it just felt like the way it would be.
The odd thing is that when I'm at my day job things are planned with military precision and I have to be in control of any situation that I am responsible for. But then, I suppose when the pen is in my hand I am in charge in tat situation too.
My most recent efforts is at an early stage but i am trying something slightly different. Normally i would write in long hand and then type up in sections of 5000 words or so and edit as I go along. This time I plan on writing the whole thing in a first draft before starting to type it. Thats the plan at the minute though I just finished a passage last night that I've been writing for a while and have found quite difficult to do and I was tempted to put it to one side and start typing on more than one occasion. However that's done now and I can move on to the next part. However, and this goes back to the planning thing. When I first started writing the passage I didn't like the character that I was wrting about but last night when I put the last full stop in place I found that I sympathised with them and they really weren't hat bad. Thw whole book took a different direction.
So I don't know if working in a more structured way would work for me.

Sunday, 24 August 2008


How distracting is the internet????
I came back from taking the little fella for a walk almost an hour ago and decided to check my emails with a coffee before getting down to some writing in the spare time that I have this morning. Yet here I am, still logged on. It's Sunday morning for goodness sake. Who did I think was going to have emailed me since I checked them late yetsreday afternoon? My good friend Tuesday Moon might have as she lives in a different time zone but no-one else. Well nothing that I would want to read anyway.
Then once you're actually on the internet you might as well do a bit of surfing.
But can anyone explain to me why time seems to go faster when you're living in the virtual world of the internet? Why is it that what felt like 10 minutes was actually nearer 40?
I think that's a question for Captain Black. It's probably something to do with the vibes given off by computers.
However with that said I am going to spend the next hour and 40 minutes writing. I am turning the computer off now. Well I might just look at one more website first.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

A dilemma

I don't know what to make of an email that I received this morning.
Remember that I told you last week that I chased up on a story that had been with an editor since December? In my experience this magazine either reject a story within 10 days or accept it after 6-7 months. As they had had this particular story for almost 9 months I just queried the state of play. Bearing in mind the length of ime it had been with them I have to say that I was hopeful of a sale. However this morning, a week after my query I received an email saying no thanks so to speak. It was the standard curt email rejection that I have had several times before but like I say it has always been within 10 days before.
So my dilemma is, should it have been rejected before Christmas but the message either wasn't sent or didn't arrive or have I hacked off the editor by querying the story?
I do hope it's not the latter because she is sitting on two more of my stories.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Back on the road again

I haven't submitted much in the past few months. There's been too much going on with the day job to give much time to my second job. However, that's sorted now and I've had a two week break so I'm feeling recharged and ready to go back on the submission road again.
This week I've submitted two stories to magazines, entered one competition and chased up on a story that a magazine has had since December.
Said magazine has published three of my stories before and I'm used to them taking a long time to decide but they've never had one of my stories for eight months before. They've actually had two more stories for five and six months respectively but they bought my first story after seven months so I'm not chasing up on those two yet.
Even though it feels great to submit again and be full of expectation I am of course risking rejection but we won't dwell on that. We'll just keep our fingers crossed.

Knowing when to stop

I've spent the morning editing a couple of stories for submission.
What a nightmare!!!
I go through the text looking for errors in spelling and grammar and correct them. I change the odd word or phrase. I'm on the look out for any inconsistencies. Then I go through the whole process again and I might change something else. God help me if I go through it a third time because I guarantee that I'll find something else to tinker with.
When do I stop???
I think that if you keep going over a piece of writing there is always something that can be changed. It's hard to know when you are fiddling with something just for the sake of it.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

My Downfall

One final post (I promise) on "wanting it more than life" etc etc.
I've had a lot of thinking/relaxing time over the past two weeks and I have spent some of that time thinking about my writing, why I write, what I want from it yada yada yada.
I thought about what I had written here in the last week and I asked myself "Do I want it enough?" Well I clearly think that wanting it more than life is a little excessive so maybe I don't. Maybe not wanting it enough will be my downfall.
But those of you that have been visiting for a while might remember the dark time that I went through last year. That darkness started a year ago yesterday so I have been thinking about it a lot. While I am happy to report that the world is bright again I think that remembering last year is what makes me feel the way I do about "wanting it more than life." There are so many more things that are more important than writing - for me anyway. If I was offerred the chance to be a best selling author OR some of the things that I know are really important I know which I am going with everytime.
So after accepting that I am unlikely to succeed in the best selling author stakes because I don't want it more than life , will I stop writing. DEFINATELY NOT. I enjoy writing, I enjoy seeing my name in print from time to time, and I certainly enjoy the odd payment that I receive. Nothing will stop me from doing that.
If there is anyone reading this who is likely to be asked to give advice on how to be a successful writer can I ask a favour? Please tell us something that will really help like, how to make our submissions stand out from the rest or how to impress an editor or ( and this is a problem for me) the mother thing. Is it M or m?
Anyway enough of this. Like they say in Russia - Moscow.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Although I'm off for a couple more days I now consider my jollies officially over ya boo hiss!!!
Anyway, just to follow on from what I posted last week.
I was reading a magazine earlier in the week which was published a few months ago. I found it and realised that I hadn't finished it. There were still a couple of stories to read. There was also an interview with an author who's books are regularly found on the shelves of all good book shops. Anyway they were asked what advice they would give to any would be writers and they said and I quote, "You've got to want it more than life itself."
It's not the sentiment that I'm on about. Obviously we all want it, maybe not as much as life itself, but we do want it. But this is someone who earns their living from writing and I would have hoped that they could have come up with something less cliched.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Taking a break from the holiday

Just taking a break from the holiday. Doing nothing is very hard work. Actually we have been doing something, we had three days shopping with pub lunches and wine in the afternoon and three days of therapeutic work on the kitchen. Himself is doing the hard work, I'm just nesting really which is a bit of a worry. We've been off a week so there must have been another day but as I don't remember what we did it must have been nothing. Phew!
I haven't really written anything at all apart from an hour or so editing yesterday morning which I spent editing when everyone else was still in bed. The same thing this morning but instead of editing I thought I'd check out what was happening in blogland.
I thought that I'd have a muse while I was here.
I have often heard/read people say that they just "have" to write. At the risk of offending some people which is not my intention I would like to challenge that.
As a person you "have" to breathe, you "have " to eat, you "have" to sleep etc etc but you don't "have" to write. I know the point that they are trying to make but I just think that its a bit OTT.
I personally love to write and would love to earn a living doing so. I say earn a living not necessarily my living. Lots of best selling authors still have jobs that they do in the real world. And people that do write for their living don't just write and write all day, every day even though that is what I fear many would be bestselling authors aspire to.
No, as I said, I love to write and if my lottery numbers came up last night and I didn't have to go make to work a week tomorrow I would still write. I would have more time so I probably would write more but I wouldn't "have" to. I would be doing it then for the same reason that I do it now and that is because I enjoy it.
What brought all this on was something that I read recently where a woman said (I am paraphrasing here as I no longer have the article to refer to.)
"I just have to write every day, I couldn't live without it. It is as vital to my life as anything else in it." I actually wanted to shake this woman and tell her to get a life. Writing is great but living is better
She also went on to say that she was certain that her perseverance would pay off and that one day she would be a best selling author. She said that she would like nothing better than to sit at her desk and write all day long. Where would her new ideas come from? What would be her inspiration? How would she ever have clean clothes?
Sorry if I have offended anyone. Sorry if one of you recognises your words in what I paraphrased and feel that I've been unkind. I wouldn't hurt anyone's feelings for the world.
I just wanted to share my opinion on something with you all. It is of course only my opinion.
Must go - very busy day ahead.
1. Take coffee back to bed and read for an hour or so.
2. Walk the dog.
3. Eat breakfast.
4. Read for another hour or so.
5. Make lunch.
6. Eat lunch.
7. Have a nap.
8. Have a bath.
9. Share a bottle of wine with Himself.
10. Relax.

Its all go!!!