Friday, August 1, 2008


Last night was interesting.

I received an invitation to the launch of the Salisbury Writers Festival 2008. At the launch, the winners of the 2008 writing competition will be announced. This is the competition to which I submitted Idolatry.

Now information is scarce, but in 2005, the site boasts of having over 200 entries to the writing comp. The comp itself is split into a number of different categories.

There's a section called the 3 Day Novel Race
Junior, Young Adult and Senior Poetry
Junior, Young Adult and Senior Short Story

Now, I believe the festival is actually growing in popularity and prominence so I imagine the competition is also attracting more competitors. I'm hoping they don't invite all entrants to the launch.

So, if all my assumptions are correct (and we all know the old saying about assuming anything), then it's quite possible I've made some sort of unpublished short list.

In the past, they've named first, second and third places for all the above mentioned categories. A total of 20+ people if one includes the occasional honourable mention. The launch party is being held at a place called The John Harvey Gallery. On investigation, the gallery has seating capacity of 80 and standing room for 150. Now the launch party also has keynote speakers and invited guest Richard Maurovic. I'm guessing there will be somewhere between the seated and standing room number of people there which will include dignitaries, invited guests, other competition entrants and general public. So the conclusion is not all the entrants would be invited.

Okay, I'm working myself into bigger and more detailed worlds of fantasy here. I have no idea why I was invited other than I submitted a story there. Maybe they didn't have many entrants and they all did get an invite. Maybe they got plenty of entrants and decided to send everyone an invite because not many accept. Maybe the short list were informed they really should attend where as the rest of us got an invite just to be polite.

Who knows.

In the end, it will be a nice night out for the wife and I. A chance to dress up and act like adults for a while. I received an email from The Teacher last night in regards to her wonderful experience with the anthology in which she won first and second prize. The launch was held at the Conflux convention and she had plenty of good advice for writers who attend such things. This launch party will be an opportunity to trial some of her suggestions (obviously on a smaller scale).

Should be fun (and probably a little nerve wracking as I continue to drift along in a world of fantasy and possibilities. But let's be honest, Idolatry was the story my lecturer first said he didn't think a lot of, didn't think I'd be able to make it work. Imagine if it actually placed or gained an honourable mention--imagine if it won. That would make for an interesting conversation next time I corresponded with him...)

Enough of my rambling fantasies.

Last night I continued to work through Clive Barker's Books of Blood. Gritty would be a great single word to use in explaining this work. Barker is a hell of a writer, with an amazing imagination and a thoroughly gifted ability in using the written form of the language but it is extremely different to what one could consider mainstream horror fiction. It is a little off centre to be considered straight dark fiction, although there are stories in the volumes that do indeed belong in both defined genres. But there is a lot more that begs for further definition, further analysis. His stories linger, disgust and yet allure. They completely turn the reader around.

They somehow how have an older world charm. They seem to capture an age of writing I thought had passed us by and yet he continually thrusts today back into the readers face with use of the language at well chosen points. And is definitely an underlying theme in the work of Clive Barker.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I have around 150 pages of this excellent book still to read, which I intend to do tonight. This should allow me to do a full review over the weekend. I should have a link for you come Monday.

Last bit of news. I considered not posting this news but this blog/journal is about my writing journey and this definitely fits into this so here it is - with self imposed censorship for obvious reasons. I've accepted a position as a slush reader for a magazine. I have no intention of telling which mag, which country or anything of that nature. The only clue I shall give is that it is listed on my submissions page.

I have decided to take this opportunity as it will allow me to gain a better understanding of the publishing industry. It will allow me to see what other writers are presenting to publications. To see what the competition is like if you will. All I will receive is the story. No authors details so I won't know who's written the piece that I'm reading. Everything will be judged on merit alone.

Don't send me stories. They'll just get deleted unread. Use my dark submissions page to send your stories to the correct markets in the correct format (always read the guidelines for each market). Who knows, maybe it'll end up in my slush pile to go through. I warn you though, I'm a hard marker ;@)

Oh, one last bit of news I almost forgot. Last night I also received confirmation of my ABN (Australian Business Number). I am now officially a business. I can now officially claim things on my next tax return. My diploma now becomes a tax write off against any future earnings. I can claim things like research travel, some books, all resource books and a whole heap of other things as I strive to become published. If you want to be thought of as a professional, you need to put everything in place to become one. If you want to write for the love of writing alone, then you need never submit and you need never worry about trying to be professional.

If you'd like to be published and possibly earn a living, then you need to be serious about it.

Strewth, I can ramble once I start (some would say continuously). I think I've said (written) enough for now.

Good luck with whichever path you choose but above all, keep on writing.


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