Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Idol Con

I've posted "The Idol Con" to TPN.

The group has been extremely quiet recently, so this may have to go in as is. The moderator is usually good to at least pick up the punctuation issues and make a comment so I wait in hope.

Tomorrow, I'm due to begin the revision of "Tigers Eye"--I'm not really looking forward to it. There are so many other things I'd rather be doing. Time to see if I can roll out that discipline I keep telling my kids about...

Tonight I want to write the first draft of my article and read. I'm finding it a struggle to get through "The Elements of Style" by Strunk and White. It assumes knowledge of grammatical and punctuation terms by the reader which I know little or nothing about. This is supposed to be the great style guide touted by some of the best writers out there. Now that I think about it, most of those writers were teachers at one time or another. I guess they already knew the terms and use the guide as a reminder.

If you're really good at the English language, or happen to be an English teacher, I guess you have a big head start on the rest of us poor schleps.

The language, and the proper use of it is the most important tool in a writers arsenal so it's something we all have to come to grips with. I think the style guide of choice though, is for someone who has grasped all the fundamentals already. I'll get through it, but the review will be some way away yet.

Body, Mind and Psychic Expo

Today, my wife and I went to the "Alternate Living" expo. I went primarily to experience something different--dare I say alternative.

I have a deep mistrust of people selling a belief and a healthy skepticism for those that deal in the spiritual world. I am not, however, a disbeliever of there being something else out there.

I have very strange dreams and I've had more than my fair share of strange, unexplainable incidents to not think something beyond what we understand, is "out there". Now this something could simply be the vast areas of the human brain, and the even bigger human mind, that has yet to be fully mapped by science. Or it could be a whole other world. The writer in me likes to think it's the latter.

So we paid our $12 each to get in and wandered around the stalls. We stayed for about an hour, maybe 90 minutes. The array of merchandise on sale was amazing. Every fourth or fifth stall was a fortune teller of some sort. One would be a standard reader of palms, another astrology, wax drawings, animal spirits, native American Indian guides, coffee grounds, auras, tarot or numerology. The exchange to the spirit world must have been log-jammed from all the activity!

Then there were the healers. Water, self, ice/heat, touching, non-touching and massage areas by the dozen. I'm guessing nearly everyone that entered the pavilion, had a massage (or two).

I bought a book a while ago called "Animal Messenger" by Scott Alexander King. I brought it in case I ever wanted to use that type of imagery in a story, I'd have a ready made resource waiting. I heard the author speak today. What a load of rubbish! He gave it away when he pointed to a woman in the crowd and said he saw bats hanging above her. They were restless. He went on to explain what that imagery meant. Fair enough. Then he had a joke as he pointed back to where the bats were supposedly hanging, and a number of heads within the audience turned to look at the bats he was pointing out. He thought it was a great joke that they couldn't see the creatures, but took his word for it that, "there were three or four of them there."--well, which is it Scott? Are there three or four of them? You can see them after all; it isn't difficult to count to three or four surely? I walked away in disgust.

The whole experience left me saddened. Some of those there, the witches in their plunging neck lined dresses, the hot dog sellers and the Chinese massage practitioners, probably believed in what they were peddling. All the rest are preying on the hopes and dreams of others.

I remember when I was nursing. If a death occurred during the night, it was usually the male nurses (if they were around) who were asked to help with the rolling of the deceased so they could be washed and prepared for loved ones to say their final goodbyes, or for their trip down stairs. I remember the feel of those rooms. I remember the distinct feeling that I wasn't alone in there. I could feel the patients essence still hovering around.

Now if you have a whole bunch of psychic practitioners in one place, a few spiritual mediums and the odd ghost whisperer (I kid you not, that's what they called themselves), then a person who is attuned to feeling the presence of those that have passed, would feel it strongly in their midst. I'm not a medium, or psychic, but I have had a lot of weird experiences and what some (not me) would call visitations--and I felt nothing.

Beliefs being sold and hope being preyed upon...sad.

We won't be going again.

An Interesting Interview with Clive Barker

This makes for interesting reading. It's an interview with Clive Barker by the Couriermail.

Read it here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Interesting Insights

I've had a good day, and so far, I've written absolutely nothing!

My wife and I went into town today. We went book buying and looking for a particular charm/pendant for my necklace (more on this shortly).

I got home, logged on and was presented with the Allen & Unwin eWriting Newsletter. May I suggest you subscribe and give their website the once over while you're there. Some good stuff. Anyway, in the newsletter i found this little gem of advice:

Extract from "The Writing Experiment" by Hazel Smith

'The popular belief is that writers have a special talent is innate, that good writing is something that ‘just happens’, and that most aspects of the writing process are inaccessible both to the writer and to outsiders. However, this belief is fundamentally flawed, since talent partly arises out of the learning of particular skills, and awareness about the choices available in the process of writing. The main special qualities writers must have are perseverance, motivation, the willingness to search for methods which suit them, energy to push themselves out of their own comfort zones, and avid reading habits. Failure to produce creative work is often due more to lack of stamina, or insufficient commitment to the process, than a paucity of talent. Self-awareness about the writing process is therefore crucial. Writers who develop this awareness will be able to intervene more effectively to develop their work, or change direction. It is important to try a wide range of different techniques, since a writer who achieves average results with one technique may obtain excellent results with another.'

On the way into town, I was trying to explain exactly this to my wife. I'm not a particularly creative person. I have an imagination but it is very structured. In my last story "Mobile", I wrote a very mundane first line in response to a competition. That line sat there for two days. I eventually sat sown and pulled together the bits I wanted and used a friend's wife as inspiration (may the situation in Mobile never occur to her--touch wood). It could be argued, that is creative in its own right, but I don't think so. I know what goes into making a story. I'm still learning what goes into the making of a great story. A slight difference but a big one in becoming successful.

I think Hazel Smith hits it pretty much on the head with the above paragraph. I may even go out and buy her book because of it--next month.

I can't buy it now because I've just spent this months budget for book purchases.

First up is H. P. Lovecraft's "Omnibus 1: At the Mountain of Madness"
"Books of Blood: Volumes 1-3" by Clive Barker
"Too Die For" by Kathy Braidhill
and finally two books in "The Quentaris Chronicles"
"Quentaris in flames" by Michael Pryor
"Vampires of Quentaris" by Paul Collins

The last two I brought for purposes of one of my last two assignments. Plus they're only small books at 157 pages of fairly large type, targeted at the 9-12 market. There may even be a market opportunity in there for me.

I decided against any more resource books at the moment and against any recent releases, because rather than worry about my reviews for HorrorScope or myself, I want to grow as a writer of dark fiction. Clive Barker and Mr Lovecraft will help with that more than those who ply the craft today. And the Chronicles may help me to understand the dark YA market and therefore open more opportunities for me. See what I mean about structured. Reasons for everything.

As I work my way through these, I will, of course, post reviews. I'll run it by the head honcho at HorrorScope first to see if he wants any of them posted there but they'll eventually end up on my review site as well.

Before I sign off, I promised to tell you about the charm/pendant. 20 something years ago I began playing cricket. I love the game with a passion few other things in my life come close to (my wife and family, and writing being the other things). A little over 15 years ago (I think) a friend brought me a charm for my necklace. It was a cricket bat. I've worn it ever since. Last season was my last. It's time to hang up the cricket bat or pass it on to my son. I need a new charm. I decided on a feather quill to represent my writing. I don't want a book because to me that signifies reading, and it's not my goal. My goal is to write very well. In doing so, I should be able to make a living out of it. But it should all stem from my writing. A pen is a symbol for writing as are letters, a typewriter, things of that nature. But originally it was the feather quill and maybe an ink pot. that's what I want. And, of course, nobody sells them. If you find a place where someone sells them (in gold), please leave me a comment to let me know. Much appreciated.

Well, I'm off to firstly review those feeds I've subscribed to that have new material, and then to finish reading "The Elements of Style". I want that, and its review, done tonight so I can move onto the juicier purchases of today!

Remember: writers write, but to know what's come before, and what's out there today; writers must read.

Good luck with your writing and don't forget to, occasionally, pick up a book when you have a break.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Assignments Seven Done

Yes assignments, plural. Module 1 and module 2--both assignment seven have been completed now. I haven't sent the first one off yet as either my wife or I keep forgetting to pick it up on the way out the door. It'll get done tomorrow - for sure!

Only two more assignments for this semester. To be completely candid, I don't feel I've gained a huge amount from the two modules. I've pretty much done all of them within a few days and usually on only one draft and one good copy. Not particularly taxing. True, I haven't exactly scaled academic heights with a cluster of Bs and a lonely C, but I'd be very surprised if a single student managed an A from either lecturer. Honestly, I think they grade down so students aren't over confident to begin with. Put the little bricks back in their place. I can see them plotting in the staff room now...okay, I'm going off on a tangent again.

Critiqued a story for "The Teacher" today and received one back from her yesterday. Interesting on both accounts. The story I sent her (Grimoire) was written last year and is still catching up. I don't really want to retire it, I just want to update it and sell it. Her thoughts were somewhat different to TPN members. I'll need to think on things.

Her writing has also improved, although the story she sent me was a lot different than what I critiqued for her last year. Very interesting--I hope she'll still talk to me when she reads my comments.

I started to read The Elements of Style today. Haven't got far and probably won't until the beginning of next week. Watch the review space :)

I'm going out to buy a new book on Saturday. I want a novel in the dark fiction sphere but I'd also like more resource books. It's a toss up at the moment as to which will win out. I'll let you know--of course!

Also coming up on the weekend is the Adelaide Body Mind & Psychic Expo. If I cant find a few people to base characters on for paranormal stuff there, I won't find them anywhere.

If you haven't noticed, the majority of posts about my many WIP and things I think you'd like to know, are now short. Only posting like this, about the diploma and general musings will be longer. You should end up with more information and more targeted labels for easier searching. Well that's the theory :)

Okay, time for bed.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft

Enough said - This is brilliant and every writer should buy it. I haven't been able to put it down.

My review has been posted here.

On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft

On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by Stephen King has replaced Suffer the Children by John Saul as my current book.

At 291 pages (of which I'm up to pg 187) this is, as everyone has told me, a must read for all writers. Not just horror writers or those that dabble in the slightly dark side of fiction.


I'm sorry for the bold, red shouting but I wanted to make sure I got that point across. Apart from an amusing story, it has some real insights into writing in general, and into Stevie's (as he calls himself in the book) writing in particular.

Flicking to the back - there's also a booklist! A veritable goldmine of titles to add to the list I'm putting together. I will of course give credit to the resources I find these lists in. Including Stephen's list, I have close to 150 books. I intend to go through reviews for all of them to whittle it down to the best 100 titles all writers of dark fiction should read, and perhaps the top 20 resource books, of which On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft will be a part of.

I should have this finished and a review posted sometime over the next few days and then I'll be moving on to Strunk and White's classic.

Review: Suffer The Children

I've posted the review for this book here.

Dark Rose

Has also been submitted this morning to Midnight Echo. Submission dates for this publication also end at the end of this month so you need to be quick.

Too Late the Rain

Has been submitted to the AHWA competition. Just a few minutes ago I packed it up and sent it out into the big bad world of the public. I ended up choosing this one because it isn't dealing with a particularly well used trope.

I'm happy with it and don't intend on any further rewrites (famous last words).

Wish me luck.

You have until the end of this month to get your submissions in so you better be quick. Details can be found here.

Good luck!

Chat Session with Mort Castle

Last night, AHWA hosted another chat session with Mort Castle of "on writing horror" fame (among other titles).

It was a very informative, well run session with everyone asking good questions in an orderly manner, which is rare for us. I've been to a couple chat sessions now and the previous times, it was difficult for the guest to keep up with the questions.

Last night, I think just about every question was answered.

I gained a few extra titles for my horror reading list as well as some great information on writing shorts in particular. I'll post the link as soon as the transcript becomes available.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More Fine Tuning

I've been playing with the blog settings again. All the links in the sidebar should now open in their own windows, so you don't have to keep clicking on back. I've also played around with the "Label" display, and the labels themselves. You'll now find it at the very bottom of the posts and streamlined so there isn't so many of them. Should make searching for a topic a lot easier.

Going through the labels has also made me realise I need to write shorter blogs but have more of them viewable. So I'll look at that too.

I hope everyone is happy with the new additions.


Monday, May 26, 2008


I've just finished rereading "Suffer the Children" by John Saul. The first time I read it was over twenty years ago, and I was serious moved by it.

Now I know a lot more about writing. I'm learning the rules that newbies are supposed to learn, before being allowed to bend them as much as we choose. Or as much as John Saul breaks them in this novel.

I haven't written up my review of it yet but it will definitely be along the lines of: John Saul throws out all the rules of writing as he jumps from one point of view character to another, leaves a vague ending, and completely enthralls the reader in this tale of the supernatural.

It will of course be much more in depth, but I'll leave that for you to read once I've done the review.

Anyway, as you may have read by my venting in the previous post, I have been extremely frustrated recently. Not only with my crit group (although they bore the brunt of it) but also with my lack of progress. Tonight, I decided while reading my previous rant, after having finished Saul's book - I know what voice I want to write in.

I agree with Bruce Holland Rogers when he said "...each piece needs to be in it's own voice" (on writing horror) but my style that will influence that voice has become very apparent to me.

Unfortunately, I believe the majority of my crit group won't really appreciate it anymore than my current lecturer does. Why aren't I listening to my crit partners or my lecturer--because they don't know everything anymore than I do (I'm sure my lecturer would argue strongly against that).

So, I'll write what I write. I'll take on board the technical corrections and suggestions. I'll consider suggested changes (some of them are very good) and then I'll present it to the world as I see fit. No more doubts on whether I'm right or should I be listening to others. If they want a story to end a certain way, then they can go write the bloody thing :)

Grimoire has gone to my friend for crit. I can't keep calling her "my friend" and yet I don't want to publicly name her. I think I'll just refer to her as "The Teacher" - with apologies to Dan Brown and the Da Vinci Code.

The poetry assignment has been finalised. I'll package that up after I'm finished here.

Tomorrow night, I'll be finishing off "Dark Rose" and deciding on the markets for it and "Too Late the Rain".

I'm sending "Winged Shepherd" to work, because if my day tomorrow is as boring as it was today, then rewriting it will give me something to do :) I think I'll send the "The Idol Con" too!

I was just browsing through what work I've got on and found an old piece I wrote called Senses End. I have just this minute, submitted it to Antipodean SF.

That's enough of my rambling for now. You all know I do way too much stuff to do with writing instead of actually writing itself. That changes very soon.

Now to package up that poetry assignment... In all the carry on, I totally forgot. I received the assignment back that contained my effort at a 1 Act play. Mr Stone wasn't overly impressed--again--but I did receive a B-. If I can pass the last two assignments with nothing less than a C grade, I'll obtain my target of a Credit for the semester.


Post Detour

I was going to post this on AbD but thought better of it. It occurs to me that if I want to think out loud (or at least publicly in print) then my blog is the place to do it.

This is what I was going to post:

"I'm currently a member of The Prose Nest here on AbD. I am learning a lot and enjoy my time within the group. The members are good people and I highly recommend it.

My problem becomes that only two of us currently write in the horror or dark fiction genre. People who don't read or write within the genre look at things differently. They interpret things differently or are simply repulsed by the imagery used. I was wondering if there were other members out there, possibly in some of the other crit groups, who are in a similar boat.

Now I'm only new to AbD. I've been participating in TPN for around three months. The moderator is a wonderful person who tries tirelessly to help me with my writing weaknesses. But I still crave discussion with other writers of the genre.

There are two positions still vacant in TPN. I'd love to see additional writers of dark fiction come into the fold.

Having said that, Utopia would be finding horror writers with skill sets, that are willing to come together for the benefit of all involved. People who love to critique others, people who have a good understanding of grammar and punctuation, people who are willing to work with an author through the evolution of a piece, people who are diplomatic but not afraid to attempt to convey a message."

It was at this point I took a step back and decided I shouldn't post this on AbD.

Let me supply you with some background. I've recently been working solidly on four specific stories - as regular readers of this blog would know - and am about to release them onto the markets with high hopes. These are all stories well within the boundaries of dark fiction. The current membership of TPN is not filled with writers of similar stuff. Dare I say, I don't see eye-to-eye with a a large percentage of them. I think a few of them also read this blog - at least occasionally - so I continually pause as to what I should or should not put into print here, for fear of offending someone or for being taken out of context.

But then, I'm a writer and I should be able to convey what I want, using only the printed word. Recently I've been struggling to gain feedback on my stories. It seemed the closer I came to a deadline, the less response I'd receive. A couple of the members do try and provide me with timely feedback (which is appreciated) but one is heavily into the technical side of writing while the other is not a horror reader or writer. The result is excellent feedback on my grammar and punctuational short-comings (of which I am already aware of, and which there is plenty to pick up in a critique - I am trying to improve), and a deficit in understanding of the horror genre.

Now that last comment will ruffle more than a few feathers and will be seen as sour grapes as a direct response to recent feedback. This is not the case. My comments here are due to a build up in frustration.

12 months ago, I worked with another writer of dark fiction. She was encouraging in her critiques and commented more on the overall story than anything else. I thought I was improving. It turned out my technical skills were seriously lacking. I moved on to another critique forum where the members lacked any real writing knowledge and a total lack of diplomacy skills. I didn't learn anything from them. I moved again back to a single writing partner (different from the first) who offered detached critique of the plot line but nothing technical. I improved a little but moved on. I joined Critters. Critters is a very good place for new writers to go and for experienced writers to occasionally go. Unfortunately I learned a lot more from critiquing than from being critiqued, and the length of time between critiques was not in line with my output. I moved on. I joined TPN. My technical difficulties are now being worked on but there is a lack of overall understanding of the genre I'm trying to work in. My voice is being watered down through the critiques.

My horror/dark fiction, is disturbing. It's in your face and extremely unpleasant. Let's face it, who really wants to read about bad things happening to anyone aged under 18. Yet it's like a car accident. Everyone slows down to have a quick look at the carnage beside the highway, while at the same time, thanking their God that it wasn't them.

I don't choose what to write. I write what comes into my head. I'm not sick or demented. I'm a normal father of three, happily married man, information technology professional. I have a normal day job and love my wife and kids. I don't peek in windows and I don't harm kids, animals or anything bigger than a fly. I just write horrible stuff.

The eternal question writers get asked is: "Why do you write?" The answer is because we have to. This is the same answer to "Why do you write what you write?" - because I have to! I write across a lot of different genres and in a lot of different fields because writers write. Writers do not write in a single genre. You name a single author and I can guarantee they don't write in a single genre. We all write, essays, narratives, fiction, nonfiction, shorts, flash, novels, poetry, scripts - everything. We may not always be published in all areas but we do write in all areas. Writers dabble across the stars, in bedrooms, with history, in crypts, with dragons, alongside the police, about themselves and other real people. We write about everything. We choose to concentrate and be published in specific areas.

So in the end, I'd like to find like-minded writers who value feedback and are trying to improve their craft. I'd like to keep my technical guru, but I'd love to find their twin who writes in horror. I'd love to find the horrible clone of most of those I have learned from in the past, who have also gained some benefit from my comments, and gather them all together to form a wonderful crit group. Alas this isn't possible.

I need to write my stories. I need to take on board the comments made by others, but not necessarily, or so readily, dismiss my own. I need to continue to improve my technical skills. I need to ensure I never write poetry again. I need to find one or two horror writers, that are willing to work with me in a small and intimate crit group.

This blog is all about my musings and I guess this post qualifies as exactly that. I ramble when I get going, I know that. I forget punctuation or use it inappropriately, I'm aware of that too.

It's lunchtime and I'm hungry. In the words of Forest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that."


Sunday, May 25, 2008

It's Finally Finished

"Too Late the Rain", the short story that I've been working on solidly for the last month, which was first penned back July 2007, which has had an extra 1470 words added and at least 9 versions later--is done!

Some of my fellow critique group members believe otherwise. We have a difference of opinion on the ending. We'll see. I've had positive comments back from previous submissions of shorter versions but have never quite managed to find the right home for it. Fingers crossed I now will.

Still waiting on comments for "Dark Rose". As soon as I do receive any, or come Wednesday night, which ever happens first, I'll decide which story I'm sending to AHWA.

Another version of "Mobile" has been done, but I'm waiting for any further comments before I resubmit this one to the crit group. Deadline is 30th July, so I still have some time.

"Grimoire" has been revised some time ago. Rather than re-post this to the crit group, I'm sending it out the door as soon as I target a suitable market. I'll keep all future submissions to TPN under 5000 words.

My poetry assignment is still not quite there. Playing around with a few lines of the second poem before I submit it. Not far away. I expect this assignment, and the next, to be submitted before the end of this week.

I've emailed my teacher friend from the states, so we should start critiquing each others work again soon.

So I have a busy week of submissions ahead of me. At least four pieces to go out the door. Next week there's a good chance of at least another three following them. Plus the revision of my manuscript begins and I need to find an article for SA50s+.

Wish me luck--as I do for all your submissions.


Friday, May 23, 2008


Yes I've had another play around with things. A change is as good a a holiday, they say...whoever they are. As I can't afford a holiday, then I figured moving some of the page elements around would have to suffice. It's easier than moving the bedroom furniture :)

Absolutely nothing has happened with my writing today. I've received no word on my poetry assignment. I've received no mail from my course coordinators. I've received no word from my critique group.

I've read more of John Saul's "Suffer the Children" and I'm not enjoying it as much as I thought I would. I'm about halfway through and I keep picking out the lack of contractions in his descriptive passages. The writing comes across as quite stilted in places. The story is still good: the building tension, the unique way he jumps into the head of all the characters through a single paragraph. It's an amazing juggling act that new writers are told not to do, but Saul manages to pull it off. Still I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll save all my thoughts and comments for the review at the end.

AbD want to have a look at my writing list for new writers of the dark arts. The first 21 will come from the "on writing horror" handbook by HWA but I'm going to add a whole lot more to it. Keep an eye out for it.

Nearly time for me to go do the weekly shopping and watch the Friday night footy. Hopefully I'll hear something from someone about my writing, over the weekend. I intend to post my short story "Mobile" to the crit group tomorrow. Fingers crossed I get some feedback on that one.

Speak to you soon.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Todays Writing News

Apart from getting serious about my manuscript:

I received input back about my poetry assignment. Apparently it's not too bad. One poem is good to go and the other needs a little massaging to technically work. I know nothing of this side of poetry and want to know less. I'm eternally grateful for the help I'm receiving.

More good news - strike that - great news. I received my assignment back on punctuation and grammar--and received another B! If there was ever an assignment I was sure I was going to fail, it was this one.

I emailed Mr Jonathon Stone today with a few questions on the next semester. I asked who was going to be the lecturers for the next two modules, what was the official last date for external students was for this semester and about registering for electives.

I'm up to date with all my crits and I've been posting a lot of suggestions for the TPN member I'm trying to unofficially mentor. Synopsis stuff, opening paragraphs, what needs to be done in a piece of flash fiction length to make a good story--that sort of thing.

I had almost zero sleep last night so it's an early one tonight.

Good luck with all your submissions. Remember the deadline for Midnight Echo and the AHWA competition is fast approaching so you need to get your masterpieces in now!


Getting Serious

Take a look to the right of this post--at the very top of my sidebar. That there is my revision progress meter. Beginning June 1st, it will commence (if not sooner).

I will work my way through, from start to finish, the entire manuscript as it currently stands.
I will have the entire manuscript critiqued and revised.
I will not find other things to do.

I figure I can revise a chapter a week. Tigers Eye currently stands at 30 chapters. So commencing June 1st means I should complete this task by the 30th of December! I just figured that out on the calendar. How's that for fate. So my pledge becomes:

I will finish the full revision of Tigers Eye before 2009 begins. To accomplish this, I commit to revising at least one chapter each week (a week being judged as between one Sunday and the next), commencing on Sunday, June 1st. The first chapter will be revised and ready for critiquing on Sunday, June 8th.

There it is, in wonderful forest green (fluorescent green and vibrant red didn't look too good on the blog, and was a little difficult to actually read) for all the world to see.

If you see my progress meter looking a little stuck and no blog indicating movement on the manuscript front, I encourage you to post comments and use terms like loser, hypocrite, and failure. taunt me for all you're worth. I'll do my best to keep it moving and to keep you updated.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Strangely Quiet

I can see the clouds rolling in as the storm approaches. There's a change in the air, and I'm not happy about it.

Things have just about come to a stand-still at TPN (my crit group). I was warned by the moderator that there had been a quiet period before my joining. Seems, after a brief flurry of activity, another lull is upon the group.

One is extremely busy with work, another has had a family tragedy and my thoughts are with her. Another I think I may have upset. Another comes and goes like the proverbial wind and the moderator has just returned from a writers workshop, and is therefore understandably in a digest mode. The "professional" partners have also gone quiet after a quick exchange of posts.

But it's more than just everyone being busy. Posts have sat idle, uncritiqued for weeks. One of the members posted a story that has received a comment from me (it was very good and needed more than my clumsy hand for line editing) but nothing else. My posts have received similar treatment.

Tonight I offered a critique to the only new piece of work I've seen from a regular member for some time. That member is apparently as prolific as myself, but it's also the member I think I upset. Hopefully this crit goes down better.

Could be difficult to gain critiques in the short term. I was warned so I can't complain, but the suddenness of it is astounding. I hope it doesn't last long.

I've put together the first draft of my poetry assignment. I'm just waiting on comment from my poetry guru. Hopefully I shouldn't have to change too much before I can package it up and send it out. "Mobile" is ready for crit whenever I've finished and submitted my current batch.

I began to organise and revise "Tigers Eye" today. (Let the doves loose) Finally sat down and stopped procrastinating on it. I got to page 5 before I wondered if I'd really written it that badly. The story is good but technically the writing is bad. Lots of work to do.

Read the next assignment, "Internet Resources for Writers" - should be a snap. As soon as the poetry one is out the door then I'll do that one. That should put me nearly two weeks ahead of the curve.

Emailed the South Australian Olympic Committee today for information to help in my article. No response to this point in time. I may have to write a backup piece, just in case. maybe on the telecast options for viewing it. Let the target demographic know of their viewing options ahead of time. Could work...

Had a quick look at my new competition piece (which will also require critiquing at some point). I haven't updated it since I wrote the stage play version. I know it needs some revision, but I want to wait for my lecturers comments on the play. I'm sure he will have some pearls of wisdom for me to add into the mix--he always does.

Well, I think that's about it for today. I seem to be spending a lot of time doing things and not going anywhere. Kind of spinning my wheels. Only 10 days to go till the end of the month. things should start to pick up again come June. At least a whole lot of stuff will have gone out the door and I can commit to my novel more.

Had a sneak peek at the next two modules for the rest of the year today. "Write Fiction 1 (The Short Story)" and "Write Articles for Publication 1" - sounds strangely like what I do now. Six short stories currently on the go and I write articles for SA50s+. Should be an interesting second semester.

Okay, that's definitely it for now. This has turned into a huge post and it's making me sad. I have no idea how I can write so much about what I've been doing and have nothing solid to show for it. I didn't even receive assignment returns in the mail today.

Here's hoping tomorrow is a better day for everyone.


AbD Chat Transcript

I've posted the transcript from my chat session on Authors by Design. As it's fairly long, I haven't posted it here, but rather on the web site. Go have a look here.


I've been a little under the weather for the last two days. Couldn't face work so I stayed home and rested, and wrote.

I finished module 2, assignment 6 yesterday and have packaged it up ready to be posted this afternoon. Last night I managed a revision of "Mobile" and the first part of module 1, assignment 7. This morning I revised that first part and drafted and completed part 2. These have been sent off to a friend, who seems to know their stuff on the poetry front. It'll probably get ripped to shreds but my sole aim here is to pass the assignment and move on.

Part 3 of this assignment is to describe what I've learnt in doing this. I am revising my first attempt at answering this by removing the negative comments and hateful inflections I've inserted. I'm sure that whoever invented poetry really had a father and his mother was probably a wonderful woman.

If I can get this assignment posted by the end of the week, then I can concentrate on clearing the decks of my short stories next week.

Then it's months of revising Tigers Eye ahead. Having looked at the dates on the files, I last looked at my manuscript in August/September of 2007. That's nearly 9 months ago! I imagine I'll look at it and think "what the heck was I thinking when I wrote this drivel" or words to that effect.

I've learned a lot over the intervening time period, and for those who have read this blog or visited the website regularly, I hope I've imparted something to the writer within you as well.

I've been writing seriously for 18 months now. This blog has been around for the last 8 of those. The website a touch less. I've found some wonderful friends in that time and gone through some rough patches. I had a few successes and a lot of rejections. I've grown a tough skin and an open mind. I've been incredibly busy. And I've loved it all.

I've read many answers to the question "Why do you write?" --There can be only one true answer: "Because I have too."

Reveal in your obsession.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Module 2 Assignment 6 Done

Finished another one. That'll go out the door tomorrow. Thanks to my teacher friend in the States for letting me use an old version of her manuscript for the editing section.

Four assignments left to go for this semester.

Poetry - joy--not!
Internet resources for writers - should be a soda
Life Writing - should be interesting.
From publishing idea to book proposal - should be able to learn something worthwhile.

I've already started reading the poetry assignment and I'm not enjoying it. Early in the piece it has a quote from an unknown source: "Don't write [poetry] unless you absolutely have to". I think I'm in total agreement with that line of thought. I'm trying to keep an open mind as I read through the assignment, but the examples it uses go straight over my head. I just don't get poetry and I never will. No great loss in my mind but I'm guessing my lecturer, Mr Jonathon Stone, would have other ideas. I'll do my best and produce something at the end of my reading but if it's the last bit of poetry I ever do, then I won't lose any sleep over it.

In Module 1, I have 4 Bs and 1 C grade. With two assignments left, I need only produce 1 B and 1 C and I'll gain a credit. In module 2, I have 3 Bs and 2 assignments still waiting to be marked. If either of the outstanding assignments come back as a B then the same applies for me to gain a second credit. This may only be the basics of writing in term 1, but it's far from a walk in the park for someone who's been out of school for 20+ years.

Tonight, I'll finish reading the poetry assignment and do a second draft of my new competition piece "Mobile". I had two guys from work read the first draft of this. Neither are writers so a completely unpretentious view from a reader is nice occasionally. Of course they also don't want to hurt my feelings so I take all comments with a pinch of salt - sometimes a very large pinch. One of the readers thought it was good. The other doesn't like horror and this piece confirmed that for him. The fact that his wife's pregnant didn't help as that's a major plot point in the story - a pregnant woman that is--not his wife. Too close to the bone I guess.

I also need to transfer data from an old family computer to the new one. That can happen in the background as I write.

I've already cooked dinner and fed the kids so the rest of the night is pretty much free!

Time to get to work.


Monday, May 19, 2008


I've emailed my crit group and my other crit friend and asked if any of them would be willing to supply me with two pages of their work for me to edit in the confines of my assignment. I'm thinking if I can get old versions of some work then I can mark it up for editing and revision without too much drama. No responses yet.

I've completed the second part of the assignment which dealt with TOC and index creation as well as tables and figures within documents. I created a report on some of the advantages and disadvantages of using the automated system compared with manually keying in the information. It has its own TOC and index :)

I think I've upset one of the TPN members again. A different one this time. Perhaps I was too blunt with a critique. I thought they were all pretty much used to the way I do things now. Maybe not. Maybe I'm just reading too much into things. We'll see. I've been on TPN for three months as of yesterday. I've got some great stuff from them on reworking four of my shorts. One is already out to market while the other three will be shortly.

I'd hate to lose the contact I've made with the moderator. Trust and respect built up over an online crit group is hard to come by. I wonder if they'd still keep in contact and work with me if I one day had to leave? Hopefully that day is a long way off too.

Time for an early night.


Quick Post

A number of worthy things today.

First has nothing to do with writing at all. Gabriella Cilmi - remember this name. If you have been living under a rock, check out the new video bar I added at the bottom of the blog. I haven't been able to get her song "Sweet about me" out my head since yesterday. She is a 16 year old kid from Melbourne who is going to be huge all over the world. She could be the female Elvis record producers have been looking for. Such a unique voice in such a pretty package. Do yourself a favour and go listen to her clips.

Second, I received an email from my lecturer today. He believe's if I continue in my current fashion, I will receive an credit for this semester. Having looked it up - he's right. As long as I get mostly B's and nothing lower than a C. I thought I needed nothing lower than a B! Excellent news. Seems I'm back on for two credits this semester which was my original goal - yay!!

A very quiet day at work has allowed me to catchup on a bit of TPN reading. I've read the reposting of four chapters that a member has put up and I'm very disappointed.

Maybe it's the new found confidence I'm finding with grammar and punctuation, maybe I'm just improving and learning more about writing, but it's annoying when things are pointed out to someone and they ignore it. It's worse when a few people point out something and they still ignore it. Writing a lot and gaining crits, only to rewrite it quickly to put back up, is not good writing.

But then I read the latest chapter and all the previous lessons seemed to have been more closely followed. I don't get it.

I also read a new piece from one of our professional partners. It's obvious he's experienced and knows his stuff. To be honest I was a little intimidated to think of doing a line edit. He asked a few questions on the end which I answered truthfully - hopefully he gets something out my answers (they weren't all about blowing sunshine up his proverbial).

I've updated the assignment page on the website, but I'm still working on my reading list and I have some research to do on my article. Tonight is ear-marked for Assignment 6 for Module 2 "Editing on screen".

Last note: Not feeling all that flash at the moment. I may have to consider a day home in bed tomorrow (I think the phone line for the laptop will stretch that far) >;-P

No doubt I'll post again tonight to let you all now how I get on.

Speak to you soon.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Time flies...

Where has the time gone?

It's Sunday night here - 11:38 as I write this entry. My eyes are hanging out of my head and my bed is calling to me loudly.

Friday I figured I'd earned a day off so I chilled out on the computer playing a game. Saturday, I worked on BJ's new dog mansion (not looking too bad, even if I do say so myself). Sunday (today) I was at work. I would have logged in and updated the blog then but the Internet connection was down so I was restricted to actually working :(

I've touched base with my school teacher friend in the States and she's got more great news. She's received an honourable mention in the latest round of the Writers' Of The Future contest. I feel like she's leaving me behind. I must polish this latest round of stories and have them accepted soon.

My friend has also agreed to swap work for critique. I trust her judgement and I think she trusts mine. My problem is time. I don't have enough of it. We'll see how we get on. I may have to drop something if it becomes too difficult to manage.

I need to get stuck into my next assignment tomorrow night. I haven't looked at it yet. It's titled "Editing on screen" so it shouldn't be too difficult. My assignment after that is on poetry. I am not looking forward to that.

Okay, that's it from me for tonight.

I hope your writing is going well. Don't give up. Someone, somewhere--will love that story you've been trying to find a home for. You just need to keep sending it out.

Good luck.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Assignment 6 Done

Module 1, assignment 6 has been completed and will go out the door either tomorrow or Monday. Depends on when my wife or I remember to go to the post office to send it.

At 18 pages long, it's one of the longest I've done so far.

Each of the two modules in the first semester has 8 assignments. My kids have 7 weeks of school left this term so I suppose that also means I have 7 weeks of this semester left. Once this assignment goes out the door, I have 5 assignments left to do in a little over 6 weeks. Somehow I ended up in front - cool!

This assignment started way back as part of assignment 4 in module 1. I wrote a 600 word story beginning from a prompt. In this assignment, I completed the story, then changed it into a one act play and then polished it, extracting an 800 word, dialogue-rich fragment. If I was to put the play on, I think I could just about recite all the lines by heart already. I was out in the backyard reading it out loud to see if it sounded right. BJ (the puppy) was looking at me very strangely.

Dark Rose received input from another Aussie writer today. The majority of his comments were good but he did think it needed a bigger twist. Time is against me to add that bigger twist at the moment. His suggestions were interesting though so I've added them to the folder for future reference.

No additional crits on the latest version of Too Late the Rain which is disappointing.

I'm up to date on all my current crit requirements so I managed some reading last night, which was nice for a change. I'm now almost halfway through John Saul's "Suffer the Children" - an excellent book but I think my increased knowledge in writing is damaging my enjoyment. I'm starting to pick up areas of the writing that could be done better. Good for my writing, but bad for my reading enjoyment. Over all though, the book is still a very good story. I'll post a review on my normal review page when I'm done. As it's an old book, I won't post it to HorrorScope.

Well that's it from me for tonight.

Good luck with all your writing endeavours and may all your submissions be successful.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I apologise for not posting yesterday. Sleep got the better of me. I got home from work and crashed into bed around 6:30 last night. I didn't get up again till 6 this morning. I guess I needed it.

I gained another B+ for the assignment on speech writing which was a nice surprise. I struggled a bit with that one, so a positive outcome was good. Still struggling to find an angle for my next SA50s+ article. The editor and I are going to discuss it tomorrow.

I'm still working on a reading list to post both here and on the website. Currently it stands at twenty something books. Stay tuned.

Nearly time to take the kids to school. Tonight's reading night so I won't have a great deal to post this evening either. Fingers crossed I receive additional assignments back in the mail. One lecturer is still a few behind in returning them.

I hope you all have a wonderful and productive day.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Stage Play

Just to see if I could, and to see what it would come out like, I turned the first draft of the new short I've written for the local writing contest, and turned it into a one act stage play.

It's not too bad, and it's good practise for any scripts I need to write down the track in my diploma. So I've decided not to use the "Confused Love" fragment for the latest assignment, instead I'll polish the new stage play with the working title "The Idol Con". It's not a mis-spelling, rather a play on words.

I've received more feedback on Dark Rose and Too Late the Rain from TPN members. Interesting thoughts. I don't agree with all of them in regards to this piece, but there is definite food for thought in regards to future pieces.

That's it for me for tonight. I need to do a quick update of my assignments page on the website and then it's off to bed.



Have you all been playing with feeds? I have. Very cool. I found a new blog today that is definitely one all writers should keep track of.

D.L. Snell's Market Scoops, is an exceptional resource for information on possible markets. Go have a look.

Got another assignment back from Ms Inverarity today - another B+ - also very cool!

Stumbled across a competition today as well. I am trying very hard not to write something for it, but it's only a 1000 words and it's firmly set in the horror genre. At $50 + a t-shirt for first prize, it's paying professional rates--for the winner, of course!

Outside of writing: Congratulations to Manchester United for winning the English Premier League for the 10th time. I'm not a Johnny-come-lately fan. I've been following the Red Devils since 1973. And congratulations to Ferrari, and Massa in particular, for winning the Turkish F1 GP last night. I was very much a JPS follower way back when the black and gold cars were around but when Shumi arrived at Jordan and I saw him drive in the wet, I couldn't help but recognise the brilliance. I followed a single driver for the first time from that moment and ended up a Ferrari fan.

I've indulged enough. It's time to do some work.

Good luck with your writing.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Drinkers - aka Dark Rose

It's done. Dark Rose (as Drinkers is now called) is ready for market. A couple of subtle changes from the last revision and she is now ready to be unleashed onto the Australian market. Cool.

I've also written the first draft of a new short story. I know I said I wouldn't be writing anymore new ones for a while but this didn't start out specifically as a new short story. A couple of assignments ago, I had to write the first 600 words of a descriptive short story. A day or two ago, I received information for entering into a local short story competition. My next assignment requires me to use a 600-800 word, dialogue rich, fragment of a story.

For the last few days I've been pondering what to write for the short story. I'd already decided I would use an 800 word fragment of another story I wrote, sometime ago called "Confused Love". In this assignment I need to provide a draft and a good copy. I figured my old story would suit that bill as I'd only written two versions and it definitely needed further revision to be useful for the assignment.

Then I had an idea. I took the first 600 words of my assignment from a couple of weeks ago and expanded the story that my lecturer thought I may not be able to expand upon. True, I changed the focus and the direction a little - well, a lot actually. In the end, I came up with a dialogue rich story that also fits into the word limit of the local competition. So, in writing this story, I've achieved two things - 1) I have an entry for the competition, or will have once it's been polished and 2) I have a piece to work with for my assignment.


* * * * *
In response to a comment I received from Karen, whose first line of the comment goes like this: "It would be interesting to read some of your stuff on-line."

Firstly, thank you for the interest Karen. Now, I currently have a number of examples of my work available. To view pieces I've had published electronically please visit my bibliography. You will find links to everything I've currently got floating around the net in there. None of it is dark fiction however. I also have a couple of examples of my early work listed here. One is my very first effort at writing a short story. The second is my first effort at entering a contest. The contest piece is dark fiction.

They are early efforts though and I've improved somewhat since then. I have put them there as reminders to myself of where I came from.

So why don't I post some of the later work I keep writing about? Because I want to get paid for it. If I post it onto my website or this blog, I'm giving away my first publication rights. Why would an editor want to pay me for a story everyone can read for free? I won't do it. Everything I write will one day turn up on my website - promise! But if I can sell it a few times first and make some money for the effort I've put into it - I should be entitled to do so.

So, if anybody wants to see examples of my stuff, have a hunt around my website. There's plenty there; from a drabble published by AntipodeanSF - to my 600-word start to a story included in my application for enrolment into my diploma. I'm yet to expand on that one. One day...

Thank you everybody for reading. It's nice to get the occasional comment, too. It's also nice to see little red dots popping up all over my counter map. People from all over the world now visit this blog to partake of my ramblings and occasionally to visit the website. Although the website doesn't get updated as often as this blog, it does contain a lot of stuff writers of any form of fiction will want to know about. I encourage all of you to visit at least every now and then.

Well, that's it for Mother's Day, 2008. I hope every mum out there received wonderful presents and had a great day - like I said before, you all deserve it!

Good luck with your submissions.


Happy Mothers' Day

I hope all the mums out there get all the things they wanted from their kids/husbands/and significant others - you deserve it for putting up with us.

New feature coming on the blog. I'm going to add a link list that holds all those links I keep in my Feeds menu. I figure, if it's something I think I need to know and update myself on regularly, then it wouldn't hurt for other dark fiction writers to know about as well.

I would suggest you subscribe to all the feeds on the sites I list so you know when new content is available.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Been A Productive Two Days

I've been busy.

I've finished this weeks assignment (the one on grammar, etc), I've revised Too Late the Rain so it is now ready for submission to TPN. I've revised Grimoire so that too is ready for TPN. I've just finished revising Drinkers, which has now been renamed Dark Rose.

I've also received an entry form for a local writing competition where the theme is open but the word count is for 2000 words or less. I need to work on one of my other stories - maybe a fantasy one this time round to prepare me for getting back into my manuscript.

I haven't received word back on my request for information about my next article for SA50s+ yet, which is a little annoying but there's plenty of time before I have to submit an outline.

Good luck with all your writing.



As those of you who read these ramblings often would know, I've been feverishly working on four short dark fiction pieces over the last month or so. Winged Shepherd of Innocence has already been submitted to PARSEC. Drinkers, Too Late the Rain and Grimoire are the other titles. I have three weekends left before the 31st of May (not including the weekend that includes the 31st). This is important as my critique group (TPN) begin their schedule on a Saturday (Sunday in Australia). It is also important to note that two of the targeted markets have their submissions close on the 31st - and they are Australian based.

Now the "fly in the ointment" comes when my crit group has a word limit for posting. At 5000 words, it's fairly generous. Anything over that limit and it must be split over two weeks. There's my dilemma. Grimoire is over 5000 words. That means I need four weeks to get the three stories critiqued. Four into three doesn't go very well :(

I've posted the question on the forum and now await their decision if I can break the word limit for one week. They've all read the story in its two parts before, so they know what they're in for. We'll see. If not then Drinkers and Too Late the Rain will be submitted to the AHWA short story competition and Midnight Echo--not necessarily in that order.

This is a big step for me. Nobody in the Australian horror scene has seen anything from me before. The judges and editors of these two markets will be the first. Some of them I interact with on HorrorScope, others on an email group I'm involved with. They are published authors, respected in the Australian scene. I have befriended them and now they will judge me against other published Australian authors and a few international submissions. There will be other new writers submitting, but I'm guessing few will be Associate Editors of HorrorScope and AHWA members and unpublished within the genre.

If these submissions fall completely flat - I'm guessing they'll be looking at me somewhat differently. I'm confident these pieces are good stories but I don't know if they'll be good enough.

This is the self-doubt all writers experience on releasing their baby's into the harsh world of the marketplace. Big bad editors and competition judges can be pretty scathing in their assessment of a piece.

But they may also love it and want to pay you money for it. They may just want to publish it so others can fall in love with your words as well. If you don't submit, you'll never know.

Am I anxious about what I'm about to expose my work and myself too? Hell yes, but what am I putting all this effort into if I'm not going to try and put my work out into the public eye. Besides, I'd like to get paid for the amount of work I've done on these stories at some stage.

Now you know that I have the same issues as you do. Time to bite the bullet if you haven't already. Time to submit your carefully nurtured baby into the harsh world of publishing and see if it can stand among its peers.

Good luck.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Too Late the Rain Revised

A few days ago I posted that Grimoire had been updated. I have just this minute completed revising Too Late the Rain as well.

I'm much happier with both of them now.

Drinkers to be done next.

My contributors copies of SA50s+ arrived today. With it came vouchers for a camera place and for a book store. I'm sure my wife will happily use the camera store vouchers and I'm sure I'll be able to find a book I want to buy - on the huge list I've so far compiled on my "To Read List".

I may have to publish that list on the website as it would be a useful list for all wannabe horror writers.

I have got to stop giving myself tasks to do!

I worked (my real work) from home today because my car had to go into the mechanics. I've just been told that the part hasn't arrived today and he needs to keep the car till tomorrow. Not happy. Now I have to email work and let them know I need to work from home again tomorrow - my guess is they won't be happy either.

I hope your writing is progressing in at least the same manner as mine, and that your car works a great deal better than mine.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Website Overhaul

I have just finished updating all the pages on the website. I've also deleted the e-book page.

When I first began all this, it seemed like a good way to possibly make a side income. Now I'm thinking less and less of the income from the Musings Of an Aussie Writer sites. The book store is still there as there are good books to be found that can help all writers. I have many of them on my bookshelf and intend on getting many more.

New goals have been listed and all the major pages have been brought up to date. I've also made a commitment to track down additional writing tips.

Go have a look.


I'm sorry I didn't blog yesterday, it's been a bit hectic round here and I've gotten a little behind on my web commitments.

I need to update the website too.

I received another assignment back from Mr Stone and surprisingly got another B. More surprisingly, I got a few really good comments and only one strange one.

Haven't received assignments back from Ms Inverarity though. She was the lecturer who informed me that I was a little behind in my work. Now I've caught up and she's two behind in marking them.

I've almost finished the latest assignment for her - the one on punctuation and grammar. Still struggling with a couple of sentences. I'm working from home tomorrow so I should be able to get it done.

Still haven't heard anything back on Winged Shepherd. Results aren't in till the end of May and notifications could take as long as mid June. Not expecting great things here as I've spotted some mistakes in the submitted version. Live and learn.

I need to do a final revision of Grimoire tonight but I need to do a final revision on Drinkers as well. Too Late the Rain has been shredded on TPN but I've got a new draft marked up. Just need to rewrite and submit for critiquing one last time. Not sure which one I'll send into the short story comp on AHWA. Whichever one I don't send in, will go to Midnight Echo. The others will start doing the rounds of the horror markets.

Optus has finally connected my Internet connection. It is heaps faster and well worth the wait. Their customer service is crap and the wait for installation was bad (one delay after another) but the service itself is very good - so far.

I'm up-to-date on all my crits and have an outline to research for SA50s+, things are moving forward.

Time to do some work...

Good luck with your submissions.


Monday, May 5, 2008

Grimoire Update

I've just about finished revising version six!

It was ripped to shreds in my Crit group - and rightly so. I knew absolutely nothing back when I wrote this. No wonder it was rejected from the anthology I originally wrote it for. I still know enough to fill a pinhead in regards to punctuation and the terminology used in explaining it, but I'm trying to learn the rules. I have no hope of learning the lingo but I should be able to remember what not to do - I hope.

So version six has been rewritten but I'm letting it sit for the next day or so. Then I'll reread it with "fresh" eyes before penning version seven which will go for crit next week.

Tomorrow night I'll start my next assignment on drum roll please punctuation, grammar and usage! That should be fun.

Time for bed.

Good luck with all your writing endeavours.


Interesting Times

I've come to a decision to stop writing short stories for a while - after my current batch has been sent to market.

Drinkers is almost ready to go out. Grimoire I'm revising at the moment. Too Late the Rain is getting a serious shake up in the crit group and will require serious revision. Winged Shepherd I still haven't heard back from.

The month of May will be dedicated to getting them all finished and out the door.

I'm going back to Tigers Eye, it's been nearly a year since I looked at my manuscript (MS). My short story writing is slowing down, but my assignments are relentless, so I don't seem to have the time to invest in new shorts. I figure I can slowly work my way through a revision of the MS, with the help of TPN, and do my assignments without having to stress so much and without changing what project I'm working on every week.

We'll see.

Spent the weekend doing handyman stuff around home. Turned a window into a passable doggy-door. Once its finished I may even post photos :)

The editor of SA50s+ phoned last night. She's sending me the first issue of the new mag for my files. I now need to write a second piece. This one will only be between 500-700 words. Apparently advertisements are chewing up heaps of room. That could be a good, and a bad thing. Less room to write articles may mean less people wanting to read the issue, however more advertisers could mean more money, which could result in the contributors actually getting paid.

Hope springs eternal.

I hope all is well in your neck of the woods and all your submissions are successful.


Friday, May 2, 2008

Assignments Done

Today, I completed the resubmission for the pamphlet and the speech assignments. Both will go in the mail Monday.

My next assignment is titled "Grammar, punctuation and usage", if there is one area of writing I sadly lack in - it's these three areas. Pray for me.

Seriously - I'm not particularly proficient in these areas but it's past time I became so. Time to really go back to school.

Tonight, I'll gather together all the crits of my current work and get stuck in to finalising them. They need to go out the door. Still no word on my competition piece although I know of other entrants who have had some feedback. Here's hoping no news is good news.

Still no movement on the Internet front. This is getting ridiculous. If it takes much longer, I'll have to start naming names.

No news from the editor of SA50s+ either which is a little sad. The first issue was supposed to hit the streets back on the 25th of April. Since I cut my column down to size, I've heard nothing. Time to email her and find out what's going on.

I stumbled onto an agents blog today. There is some very interesting stuff there. I'm still working my way through it but you can expect to see a new set of links to industry professionals appearing on Musings and I'll be highlighting any pearls of wisdom I come across.

I still want to highlight some points of interest I got out of the recent chat session with Jonathon Maberry. Stay tuned for that one.

Well that's the update for now - I hope everything is progressing with your own writing.

Good luck with your submissions.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bad News Follows Good

Isn't it always the way?

I gained a B+ from the lecturer I've been having all sorts of issues with. From the lecturer I've had no issues with I suddenly have a need to resubmit.

My assignment on producing a brochure/pamphlet for joining your local writers' centre was slick and contained all the information a prospective new member would want. Most of that information is on the website and so I faithfully reproduced it in the pamphlet. Apparently I wasn't supposed to. I need to write it all myself. I need to rephrase and reword all the information and then produce the pamphlet - Question: if a client came to you and wanted an advertisement produced for them - in a week - that contained all the information they already had on a website, would you reorganise that information into a brochure for them or reinvent the wheel?

So tonight, I'll attempt to reinvent the wheel.

I'm still struggling with the speech writing assignment. I have a speaker in mind and a situation or gathering. I need to find the topic and write the speech. Still a long way from done.

Still have one more crit to complete on TPN and have received my first crit for "Too Late the Rain" from the group. Another comment of confusion on Chrissie being a ghost. In the last edit, I changed the subtly to more of the sledgehammer approach and apparently, it still isn't enough. I'll wait for the others and use the punctuation suggestions, but there needs to be some serious persuasion for me to change it further.

Updated the biblio, the assignments and the reviews pages on my website. Links found to the right ->. I need to finish work on my latest shorts in progress (SIP), and get them out to market. Things are starting to stagnate.

Still waiting on my bloody new Internet connection. Heads are about to roll!