Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End of 08

Today started on a downer - Too late The Rain has been rejected.

Some nice comments and one that completely contradicted earlier feedback. Isn't this industry wonderful.

I won't be changing it though. She'll go back out the door early in the new year.

So the rejection of a piece I think should be published has dampened my enthusiasm to write today, which means my work for 2008 has finished and therefore the end of year post can now be penned.


Biggest achievement this year has been the completion of the first year in my Advanced Diploma of Art for Professional Writing. It was a huge surprise to not only pass, but to pass with Credits and Distinctions.

I gained "writing employment" with HorrorScope, SA50s+, and Black magazine. HorrorScope has published a dozen or so of my reviews, while five of my reviews have been published in the first three issues of Black (another three to be published next month). I had five articles published in SA50s+. I am also "working" as a slush reader for an Australian publication.

On the fiction front, I've had four pieces accepted. "Lounge Sweet" and "Service Call" were accepted in February for a British erotic anthology to be published in May 09. "Winged Shepherd of Innocence" was accepted in October at Fear & Trembling to be published sometime in 09, and "Murky Depths" was accepted at 52 Stitches to be published on June 7th 09.

I've written 5 new short stories this year which are all currently out on submission.

I worked with the critique group called The Prose Nest at Authors by Design and met some wonderful writers before time became ridiculously tight and I had to give it away. While there I work shopped four of my new stories and four of the stories I wrote last year. I think all of them have improved because of this interaction. It also allowed me to meet Pharosian, a writer of unique talent and a critiquer of exceptional ability - a definite bonus. We still work together on occasion and I consider myself lucky to be able to call this particular writer my friend.

I continue to work with Amy Treadwell, an emerging writer of speculative fiction I expect to be published in the longer format in the not-to-distant-future. Amy and I have a solid working relationship which I know improves my writing and hopefully has some positive impact on her own.

I've read 27 novels this year, numerous issues of print magazines, and countless issues of online publications. I haven't read this much since I was a nurse working night duty.

I created and continue to maintain the Market Hive database for AHWA. I also had input into the creation of the first AHWA critique group.

I came to the conclusion my first completed manuscript "Tigers Eye" was a good learning experience but nowhere near good enough to ever again see the light of day. One day I might rewrite it, but that day is a long way off.

I began writing "Newland" in July 08 after visiting Victor Harbor with my family. A pensioner working in the information centre told us the story of the first settlers in the area, which fired off an idea for a story. That story has slowly grown to become a fully fleshed out historical novel with a decidedly dark side. It currently stands at a touch under 20,000 words. Obviously the first draft won't be finished by the end of the year (unless I can write 75,000 words in 10 or so hours - but it would be a long shot), so I need to set a realistic and attainable goal for completing it. Goal setting has been something else I've learned a bit about this year. For "Newland" the goal will be to have the first draft completed by the end of April. I will let it sit during May. I will begin polishing and sending out for critique by July 09 - 12 months after starting it.

I currently have 28 books on my "to read" bookshelf, 11 of which I received for Christmas.

I began to make connections with other writers at a similar stage in their writing career. The importance of this for all new writers cannot be overstressed. Writing is a lonely enough vocation without forcing yourself to forgo interaction with other writers of similar skill. Family is important but they will never truly understand what it means to have a need to write. You must be able to interact with others who intimately understand that addiction.

Cate, Aaron, Jamie, Felicity, David, Ms Sin, Ben, and the many others who comment occasionally on my blog and whose blog's I regularly visit - I wish you nothing but the very best of success in everything you do during 09.

To everyone who visits my little bit of the cybersphere - thank you for reading and for driving my counter over the 5500 mark. I posted a whole 38 posts in 2006 over a period of about six months. This year I've tried to be a little more regular with my posts resulting in over 350 posts - almost one a day which is pretty good seeing how I don't post most weekends.

I'd like to think a good number of my posts this year have dealt with my mandate of providing information about writing. I hope many of you found my posts amusing/educational, or simply engaging enough to keep you coming back. Hopefully there will be more of the same next year.

I'd also like to thank those established writers out there who have allowed me to interact with them. In no particular order: Alexandra Sokoloff, Polly Frost, Shane and the rest of the gang from Black and HorrorScope, Stuart Mayne, Stephen Dedman, and David Wellington.

Lastly, I'd like to thank my family, particularly my wife, Jodi, for all the support they've shown me this year. It can't be easy to have dad/husband disappear into the study for long periods of time to bang away on the keyboard about people and places only he can see - and not have much remuneration to show for it. Jodi has celebrated my small successes with me, and has proudly told her friends that her husband is a writer. She has been disappointed with each rejection but is quick to bolster my ego back to a position where I can resubmit that work elsewhere.

Thank you, my love.

So it is to 2009 I look with the same determination I faced the beginning of 2008, but I am (I hope), a little wiser and a little more skilled in the craft. My goals will be fewer.

I would still like to win a competition so I will enter at least three
I will finish Newland
I will pass the second year of my diploma
I will continue to circulate my current batch of stories
I will write at least three new short stories
I will get at least four acceptances
I will go to the writers conventions held in Adelaide if I can afford it.
I will read at least two books a month
I will continue to write reviews for HorrorScope and Black
I will keep my blog updated

Actually that seems like quite a lot. The diploma and writing Newland are my two main priorities. The rest will take care of themselves.

Submitting to competitions requires I write new shorts so that should take care of a couple of points. Continuing to circulate my current stories is a given as is updating my blog. If I continue to improve in the craft, the acceptances will come. Reading is a requirement of giving reviews and of being a writer. See - most of my goals are natural extensions of what I'm already doing. Even writing Newland is an extension as I need to write a novel as part of year three and four of my diploma.

In the end, by 2012, I should be skilled enough, and polished enough, to be a professional writer. Professional means I should be earning a living at it. That's the ultimate goal.

That's it for me for 2008.

See you next year.



  1. You've had a fabulous 2008. And here's to 2012 - or earlier. ;)

  2. Good luck and I second Cate's comment, especially the earlier than 2012 part. It's weird, as I write this it is still 2008 in my house, but I watched the fireworks in your neck of the woods bringing in the new year. I'll catch up on the calendar tomorrow.

  3. For all your talk about not writing that much, you sure did achieve a lot in 2008.

    Here's hoping to another successful year then.

  4. Thanks guys - not as prolific on the acceptance front as some of you or others, but I'm aiming low to give myself a good chance at reaching goals.

    Cat - let me know if want any further work done on TPA. Happy to help if I can.