Sunday, August 17, 2008

Out On My Own

Well something had to give, unfortunately it was either my writing time or the time I spent on TPN. So I'm down to having two gifted individuals who have said they'd be happy to read my stuff. In a perfect world, I'd be able to find one last individual who writes in my genre to help, but I'm in no hurry. If the proposed AHWA critique groups get under way, then maybe I'll be ready to try another group. Maybe I'll have all my commitments under better control by then.

But that's in the future. Tonight I sat down and got stuck into my short story for my diploma - current title, Wamphyri. It needs to be 4000 words or less. I've written the opening twice and then rewrote the outline based on feedback from my lecturer. Tonight I started for the third time and in a few hours, among doing the washing, I've knocked off 4300 words.

I'll let it sit for a few days before coming back and editing it, hopefully down to 4000. As Felicity would say, I found the hole in the page. I literally fell through it. I could see what was happening and just wrote what I saw. It's the first new thing I've written from start to finish in a while. I'm tired but very happy.

Tomorrow and Tuesday are assignment days, and I'm looking forward to doing them, not worried that I have so much other stuff to do, because of my relaxed responsibilities toward others.

One of my goals for this year was to win a writing contest. I don't think that's going to happen now. I'm not giving up on it completely but I'm changing my targets a little. I will aim only for genre specific contests from now on. The only two exceptions to that are PARSEC and the Salisbury Writers Festival. These are more literary, more mainstream, but Amy was kind enough to send me the anthology that resulted from this years PARSEC contest so I'll know what they're after better (if I can get around to reading it - it's next on my list, honest--keep an eye out for the review) and I'll do some research into the Salisbury contest to find out what they want. The other two contests I want to look at is AHWA (of course) and WOTF.

AHWA contest has already gone for this year but I'll see what they want once Midnight Echo comes out. I've already read one of the runners up. This will allow me to shape something for next years contest. I've got a bunch of WOTF anthologies I haven't got around to reading.

So assignments, SA50s+, and reading (+reviews) will be my focus for the next few months. I currently still have 8 shorts doing the rounds. As far as my writing goes, I won't be idle there either. I'm still working on Newland and Wamphyri and have a growing word document on other ideas I have (had a big one the other day while watching an Italian movie).

So I'm sad that I've parted ways with TPN and thank them all very much for the help they offered along the way. I've written a more detailed thank you to them on the site so I'll leave my public thank you at that.

Writers need feedback, and when I joined TPN, I didn't really have any outlets, and I wasn't doing anywhere near as much. Since joining them, I've been lucky enough to find two people who want to continue reading my stuff and are happy for me to comment on theirs, joined HorrorScope, joined Black, joined SA50s+, offered to be a slush pile reader, and increased my course load.

The fun just never stops.

I look at a lot of this "volunteer" stuff I'm doing as paying my dues, learning the trade, networking, a kind of education in the trenches if you will.

I am learning and becoming a better writer because of it.

I hope I'm sharing that with you. I think I've been pretty open with my journey so far and I hope because of that, others have managed to step over a few potholes I missed, or found a piece of advice useful to help in their own growth.

If yes--great, if no, then this journal still helps me and provides entertaining reading for at least a few. I hope it's a little of both.

Good luck with your writing.



  1. Congrats on finding the hole in the page and tumbling through, BT. I can't take credit for that particular turn of phrase, though - it's a Stephen Kingism that I am but a humble admirer (and plagiariser) of.

    And please, rest assured that your blog is appreciated. I find your thoughtful and honest posts refreshing and charming. I'm sure many others do, too.

  2. Yeah, I know it's from King but I don't interact as much as I do with you ;), he just won't return my calls!

    Thanks for the thoughts on the blog. knowing people read it and like what they see, is nice.

    I'd do it anyway , but it's still nice - should be more of it! ;)