"They", or should that be 'they', say you learn something new everyday.
I'm in the process of reading my next module and figuring out what and how I'm going to do the assignment on dialogue, the question of inverted commas, or quote marks, or speech marks came up.
For the past 12 months or so, I've been submitting primarily to American markets and have become very used to using "double quotes" to indicate speech. Within the module, I'm told to use 'single quotes' for speech.
Lucky me was given the sixth edition of the Australian Style Manual for Father's Day so I looked it up.
On page 112 it states: Single quotation marks are recommended for Australian government publications--in keeping with the trend towards minimal punctuation. Double quotation marks are then used for quotes within quotes.
It goes on to say: Direct speech is enclosed in single quotation marks.
Now if I'm not allowed to paste an excerpt like this from the manual, then let me know and I'll remove it immediately.
The reason I'm showing this is because:
a) I was under the (incorrect assumption) we used double quotes for direct speech here in Australia.
b) I thought we wrote "we were moving toward the house" as opposed to 'we were moving towards the house'.
I think I might troll through Tim North's Better Writing Skills to see...........Nope, nothing there that I can see so I've emailed Tim on the quotation marks. I'll post the response when I get one. I'll ask about the 's' on the end of toward after that.
Enquiring minds want to know...
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
"They", or should that be 'they', say you learn something new everyday.
Monday, September 29, 2008
This is an interesting site. Remember the old 2nd person POV books where you read the page, decided on an action and was directed to a new page somewhere else in the book?
They were kind of geeky, but most gamers gave them a go at some point.
Well now you can do it with a movie! Go here (Warning, you need a decent machine and a good connection speed or lots of spare time)
Kudos to Rob at the Undead Backbrain for the heads up on this one.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
I've written 581 words of the next chapter in Newland (Total so far = 11446 words). It's a struggle but the first part of the chapter is out of the way. If broken down into parts, I have a transition from shore to ship, followed by a short voyage, a transition from ship to shore, a transition from shore to where they will spend the rest of their lives. All very boring stuff when put that way.
The first and second bits have been seriously cut down but I've used them to further hint at the growing strength and independence in my female main character. The third bit has some new characters to come into play with some associated action so that should be easier to pen.
The last bit involves playing in some of actual history for authenticity.
I think the hardest part of all of this was getting it going, but now the ship has literally set sail, and I've cut a great deal of left over stuff that just didn't seem to want to play into the story, things should begin to flow again.
So not a lot of words written on Newlands today, but I'm not setting myself a word count for each day/week/or whatever. Nobody's paying me to do this.
The article I completed is for publication so that had to be done--although I need to hold it for a day or three as the topic is a little volatile at the moment and things may change requiring possible tweaks in my article.
Still some good work managed today as far as I'm concerned.
I hope your writing projects are moving along with greater ease.
So far today, I've managed to:
Catch up on all my email
Write the first draft of my article
Critique a flash fiction piece for a friend
Sent out two stories to new markets
Do a partial tidy up of the office
I'm still yet to sit down and work on Newlands but that's all I have left for today. After dinner.
Thanks to Adam Wieland, I also have the WD 101 writers websites to browse through.
Tomorrow is assignment day. This weeks module is titled "Wordsmithing" but requires feedback on my previous assignment in this module. It will have to wait. The assignment for my other module is based on the unit titled "Writing Dialogue" and involves writing a 500 word interaction between two neighbours over the fence. This should be pretty straight forward.
Plenty to do...as always.
Just submitted System Failure to "Weird Tales", I got jealous of everyone over Felicity's blog bragging about their rejections from WT so I thought I'd better get in on the act. I've also sub'd Idolatry to ASIM.
At least they're out there.
Now, onto the article...
Friday morning I checked my email and found another rejection for "System Failure", this time from Shroud magazine. It was encouragingly worded but with no actual comment on the story itself so I'm putting it down as another form rejection.
I'll research a new market for it today and send it out again.
Sent out the latest two assignments, but haven't received any back yet.
Started reading "The Dirty Secrets Club" - starts at a hell of a pace, hopefully it can keep it up.
Today I need to start drafting up my last article for SA50s+ and finally have a look at the roadblock chapter for Newlands.
AHWA had their AGM and all things are looking great for the continued growth of the organisation. I even got a mention in the President's report for the Market Hive which was nice, but I'd love to hear if anyone found a sale by sending to a market from my work - that would make it worthwhile.
Time to get to work.
Speak to you soon.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Unfortunately my eldest daughter had a car accident last night - she's fine as is the other driver - but it pretty much threw any plans of writing out the window.
I did manage to have another look at the assignment and I'm not so sure the first 500-600 words of Mobile will work in this instance. Firstly the assignment asks I use someone in a normal situation - not sure being haunted by a wife and child is particularly normal. Second, it is very much a US targeted piece with mention of a fuse box and basement (among other things) which isn't exactly the standard in Australia. Not sure the Australian lecturers would look to kindly on it.
So I sent out my newly created piece to my 2nd level readers for a technical opinion. I don't think the piece is particularly gripping in its content, but then how much can you accomplish with a normal situation and only showing the first 500-600 words at the beginning of a story?
I've had one response so far with only minor points to check, otherwise they believe I've covered off the assignment requirements.
I'll wait to hear back from my final sounding board before deciding on how to proceed.
In other news...
Next week I have to write my final article for SA50s+ Summer Edition. Last night I heard big news that will effect the article. I've been expecting it for some time, and over the last couple of weeks, all clues pointed to it happening, but when it was finally announced my editor was over the moon and sent me an article confirming things.
I've left the writing of this third and final article for this long (deadline next week) because of instinct. The topic this article surrounds had been extremely quiet up until yesterday. If I'd have written this article at the same time as I'd written the others, it would have been full of possibilities but no clear focus point.
Perhaps in freelance writing, as in life: Timing is everything.
Tonight I need to finish some updates to the website, particularly my biblio and my current work in progress which is well overdue. I've also got to check when I can look at posting full length versions of reviews from Black onto HorrorScope. I also need to clear the current hurdle I'm clambering over with Newland. Depending on how things go, I may have to give golf a miss tonight :(
Still, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and my family are all healthy (some are not particularly happy, but I can't fix everything). Life isn't too bad at the moment. Now if I could just make a sale...
Speak to you soon.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
What I'd give for a publicist...
http://blog.awmonline.com.au/wp-content/uploads/File/publicist.jpg (exits to Speakeasy)
Well...what I'd give for the right publicist...
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Tonight I have been a good boy.
I came home and did some market work for AHWA.
Then the lad and my little one had to go out for a couple of hours exercise. On returning, I organised finishing off preparing the scrumptious dinner my wife had already done for us (insert heat up already made dinner here - it was very nice) while my lad did his thing on the computer.
After dinner, I gave the boy a set time to finish up which I stuck to. At this point I hadn't played golf at all.
I then got to work. I packaged up the resub assignment I'd finished on the weekend and commenced work on my next assignment. It's a wonderful thing when you read a prompt and an idea suddenly pops into existence.
What was strange was this idea had nothing to do with dark fiction. The assignment called for a 500-600 word start to a story that introduced a character and showed my ability to portray tension and suspense, written in the third person POV.
First draft done and is now with my first reader - my wife. Only 3rd, 4th, & 5th drafts leave this house.
The other day I had another thought. I asked my youngest to borrow a couple of YA\children's horror books from her school library so I could read them over her school holidays. She brought them home today. YA\children's books seem to be huge at the moment so I wanted to read a couple to see what they contained and if I would be able to do them.
I don't have any specific ideas for a children's book, but plenty of people keep telling me I should look into them--so I'm looking into them. Stay tuned for reviews.
So my writing work for tonight is done :c) Time for golf!
I got home from my day job yesterday and found my youngest watching the TV in our room, my lad watching movies on the computer, and my beloved working on her latest jigsaw in the dinning room.
I could have kicked the lad out of the study and gone to work on an assignment (as I should have), or gathered up my laptop and gone elsewhere to write with no Internet distractions. I could have opened a book and spent a few hours reading in quiet solitude.
What did I do?
I played golf!
After saying I wouldn't, I did. I took the easy option of not upsetting the household, or at least one of my children's activities, and moving into the unoccupied lounge room and turning on the Wii. I could have gone in there and written or read, but no, I played golf!
Could it be that my writing is reaching a crisis point now summer is returning?
Is there a battle of wills going on that I'm just a spectator to, or worse, not aware of at all?
I can see the opponents circling in a dark and smoky cellar. In the red corner stands a man cloaked in shadow, his dark oily hair obscuring a third of his face. He shrugs his shoulders allowing the black satin robe to pool on the canvass at his feet.
He is huge.
Muscles barely restrained by olive coloured skin. Dark purple veins pulsing just beneath the sheen of oil and sweat that coats his body. He looks up, the single naked bulb over hanging the square ring is reflected in the one red eye not covered by his hair.
In the blue corner is a thin little man in a white shirt and suspenders. His pants waistband is closer to his armpits than his waist. He pushes his thick horn-rimmed glasses back up onto the bridge of his nose and adjusts the pencil protection pouch in his shirt pocket.
The bell rings.
I sit on the only available chair, my hands slick with a cold sweat. The brute of my past charges toward my writer of today. He wants back in the limelight; he wants to stretch his long disused muscles.
My writer, sways deftly under the rain of haymaker blows, each capable of removing his over-sized head from his scrawny neck.
They pause and step back from the conflict. They turn toward me.
They want me to decide. The battle will rage forever, and may never be fully concluded, but they need me to make a decision.
I look around me, casting desperate glances of hopes into the gathering gloom. The bulb overhead flares and explodes. Darkness is now absolute.
I hear something coming closer. It's my past. I recognise the stench of long days in the hot summer sun, too much exercise, and pushing past the limits of an aging body.
Hands rest softly on my shoulders. I flinch but they're firm and hold me in place. A timid voice whispers in my ear. "Take your time. You can still have us both for now. You still need to exercise your inner demons, but don't neglect me or I may not be able to stay."
It's the voice of reason and creativity I can hear; it's the voice of my inner writer.
I can do both. I can enjoy my family, my sport--even my mucking around on game consoles, as long as I do it in moderation and set sometime apart for writing. That time must not be tomorrow because tomorrow never seems to get here.
Tonight, I write!
Monday, September 22, 2008
1. "The Luckpot" by Shaun A. Saunders
2. "Saving Time in the Sunshine State" by Glenn Davies
3. "KSDH 12" by Steve Duffy
4. "Oracle" by Daniel S S Santos
5. "Now You See Me" by Brent Lillie
6. "Fahrenheit 41" by Simon Petrie
7. "Waste Disposal" by Trost
8. "The Empty Swing" by Richard
9. "The Mage and I: You Bore Me" by Wes Parish
10. "The Reaction" by David Schembri
My vote for last month came in 5th, but what do I know? I'm only a reviewer.
For this issue we have:
Future Tense by Ashley Hibbert
An interesting autobiographical take on being an author.
The Holiday by Melanie Rees
A funny scene with a couple (not necessarily human) trying to decide on where to go for their holidays.
Moving onto the bigger fictional offerings...
Follower of the Prophet by Sharif Oerton
A whimsical wish of all those who despise Microsoft, the beginning of the end of the conglomerate that has become the norm for so many.
A living Room by Richard Ridyard
If one ignores the typos, this is a cute little piece about misconception. Everything is revealed in the end and tended to make me smile rather than punctuate any sense of foreboding.
Home for Christmas by Gwyn Gordon (first fiction pub)
Poignant and beautifully written with a theme of be careful what you wish for. This is my vote for this months edition. I look forward to reading more of Gwyn's fiction in the future.
The Day the Sky Fell by Stuart Wilson
Worlds within worlds. A nicely told tale of apocalyptic change on a world contained inside another. We’re not told the whys and wherefores but there is a sense of place and of character that comes across in this short piece. Well done.
Make Mine a ‘327 by Shaun A Saunders
Shaun once again comes through with a nice short sci-fi, set in the past about the future. Don’t understand what I mean? Go have a read J
Stumblebum Productions by Wes Parish (another regular)
Teens in space. Amusing but a bit of a let down in the end.
The Bride by Camile Picott
I could be biased but this is gruesomely wonderful with a nice little twist on the end. Must be something about PARSEC writing contest winners.
Genesis by David Kernot (another regular)
A different way of looking at the current practices of “file sharing”
Booze by David McVeigh
Societal values—in reverse. Funny and sobering at the same time.
Fingertip by Chris Kakris
Another along the lines of be careful what you wish for although this was one line too many for my liking. Well told, fast, punchy.
In "Going Critical", Jan Napier gives a very positive review of Joe Hill’s anthology “20th Century Ghosts”, so positive in fact, I may have to venture out and give this one a once over myself.
Nuke reviews Firstborn by Arthur C Clarke and Stephen Baxter. The words “If you like hard, solid, SF…” puts me off moving forward with investigating this one. I’m much more of a soft SF fan than anything too hard and in need of engineering degree.
Nuke gives us the three laws of Arthur C Clarke and an invitation to use them for inspiration for future submissions. Just for completeness the three laws are:
Clarke's first law: When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is almost certainly wrong.
Clarke's second law: The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
Clarke's third law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Last night was a bust as far as writing was concerned. Maybe my discipline is just going out the window.
Something I've put off for a week and a bit pushed up in the priorities list and took most of my afternoon/early evening to get done. I also had a bunch of things to get done around the house on top of my usual weekly chores. Then Man Utd was playing live, James Bond was on Fox, and I wanted to play a little golf.
In the end, we taped Bond and decided we needed to go out and buy the series. I played golf until the soccer started. Writing got overlooked :(
Just one of those periods of down time I guess. Tonight I'll be looking at my next assignment. Might have to give the golf a miss (that will be hard to stick to).
So not much to report today, although I have been thinking about this next chapter for Newlands and I think half my issues come from not liking it. I think some of the sections can definitely be incorporated into other chapters and the transition could be handled much shorter and swifter. I will have to have a look at altering my outline a little I think.
This is one of the benefits of doing an outline. Much easier to move things around at any given time. For instance: One thing I wanted to include, didn't make it into the first chapter so I moved it into the next chapter. That made the second chapter run a little long and left two things until chapter 3. One of those was incorporated easily and the other I weaved into chapter three and four. Chapter four left another thing until chapter five which had one section (action) take up a lot more space than I thought it would. That's left a fair bit to move into this next chapter. A lot of it, not strictly necessary and so will be culled or severely shortened.
My problems come when I weave in the second story. Things that happen in this one will affect the other one so I can't have dull, dragging sections of my characters just meandering along--which is primarily what the next chapter looks like becoming.
So a quick reassessment is called for and a slight alteration of the outline and then back to the action.
The big thing to remember here is this is only the first draft. The primary goal is to get the story out of my head and onto the page. I can always go back and fix it on the second and subsequent drafts.
No news on submissions, but I didn't check my email this morning either. Something else to do tonight. Must get onto Idolatry too, it's been sitting idle (no pun intended) for too long.
Good luck with your writing.
Speak to you soon.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
In 24 assignments so far this year, I've had to resubmit seven of them. Three of those I've resubmitted for a higher grade on my own initiative. Of the remaining four, all of them have been resubmitted on request of Mr Stone.
Each resubmission has earned a higher grade, but it is extremely annoying to have to go through that process. "Well do it right the first time!" I hear you cry.
I do one assignment every week (or at least try to). The schedule requires students to do two modules each semester, resulting in me doing an assignment for Mr Stone every second week.
Some of these assignments, for both modules, need longer than a week to do. The educational facility suggests we read the whole module through so we know what's coming up and can prepare for it - as if we didn't have a life to do anything else. All well and good for full time students. All students of this course attend once a week, at night for a few hours contact with the lecturer and then have to go off on their own to fulfill the assignment requirements. I have no lecturer contact other than through typed comments pasted to the returned assignments or through rare emails. In short, the students (writers) in this course are expected to do a great deal of it on their own. Why is it, writers seem to be isolated at every turn? Are we not human beings who crave social contact with others of our ilk as much as others of our species?
I chose to do this course and I chose to do it as an off-campus student so I don't want or expect any sympathy for my plight of continual resubmissions, but it would be nice for lecturers to recognise the bigger difficulties off-campus students face. I think Mr Stone has only recently begun to offer more open suggestions because he is now realising I'm in this for the long haul--or I've been lucky enough to strike him in a good mood the last few weeks.
If I decided I was only going to do my assignments and nothing else to do with writing - no more short stories, no more novel chapters, no more articles, no more reading, no more reviews, then I may be able to each assignment once without ever considering resubmissions.
But then how would I improve as a writer? This course (or any other course for that matter), will never make me a better writer on its own. Writers need to live life for inspiration and we need to practise our craft to enable us to convey it to our readers with the passion and emotion our stories deserve.
I think that is an accepted thing in the field. Writers write, and to do so, we need to get out and experience life.
But to find the time to do this, I need to devote less time to structured learning of the craft through courses such as this diploma. But the diploma will help me become a better professional writer. Catch-22: a vicious circle - call it what you like but it's true.
Best advice I can anyone to overcome these issues - do really well at English while young and at school. Read heaps while your job is to be at school. It is really difficult to cram it all in when you're on the wrong side of 35. It's damn near impossible to do when you're on the wrong side of 40 and have a full life already.
Okay, vent and whinge over.
I'll package up this resubmission and send it out next week. Assignment 5 for the short fiction module doesn't look too difficult so I'll probably do that one and send that out at the same time.
I haven't written anything on Newland so far this week. Sunday nights are fast becoming my novel writing night. I've written five chapters (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) so I'll have a go at writing chapter six (11) tomorrow night. This is a transition chapter from one major place to another. Lots of historical scene setting, character building and local flavour to be instilled. This chapter may very well end up being split up between others, but it needs to be written next. This chapter will be the one third completed mark in the old part of this story, which is why all the characters, setting, and the non-absolutely-essential bits need to be concluded so I can really begin to ramp up the main plot points that have been simmering up until now.
Lastly, Felicity Dowker has mentioned me in her blog as being a favourite - thank you Fel. I also found it amusing she titled the post as the "Long and Winding Post" when it's probably shorter than my average posts ;c)
I need to look into what it means to be an "I love your blog" nominee but that would require me taking additional time out from other writing things and from other things in general that currently take up my time, and, to be 100% honest, I'm not sure I want to do that right now.
Still I am chuffed at Felicity's comments.
Okay, I think this "long and winding post" has gone on enough.
Have a great evening and I hope you have wonderful news on a submission acceptance very soon. Hopefully I'll have one very soon as well...
Friday, September 19, 2008
A quick note: I've added another new link to my feed list that is worth a regular visit called Editorial Ass. Lots of good stuff that writers need to know.
Oh dear - I started this post hours ago and then got side tracked. I've only just found it again.
Go check out the new link - very worthwhile.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I am so behind and it's all because of Tiger Woods.
I'm somewhat addicted to the Wii and the golf game I got for Father's Day. It is taking up a lot of my time.
Today I received an assignment back - not good news. I need to resubmit another one. It wasn't totally unexpected. I wasn't really happy with all of it.
Not a lot else to tell - I got my first hole in one on the Wii!
Okay, I'm going to bed now. I promise I'll catch up - especially with you Fel. I do read your blog most days, just like I read Ben's and David's and everyone else in my feed list. I don't find the time to comment a lot though. I'll try to rectify that--among other things.
Speak to you soon.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I began replying to Benjamin Solah's comment below, but it was getting longer and longer so I thought I may as well post instead.
What I need to find is a valve that will allow a slow regular feed of work to come from me. I know that's not how creative people work, but I've said plenty of times before - I'm not a creative person. Yes I write, but I write very methodically. The inspiration behind the whole thing is creative, but everything else is very anal.
I plan 99% of my story. If I make changes, I work through the logic of the change first, if I need something extra to make it work, it doesn't come to me in a blinding flash, it emerges out of necessity due to what's happening in the story and where I want to get with it. My second attempt at writing a book is called Voodoo. I attempted to write it without any planning. Some interesting twists came up, but I got bogged down after a couple of chapters because I didn't know where I was going. It's still sitting there.
I'm going off on a tangent - I don't plan blog posts ;c)
I've finished another assignment tonight. I'll post both of them sometime this week. Back on schedule! Woohoo. I'll get around to updating the website sometime this week as well.
I've got a couple of emails I need to send off tonight and then I'm getting off the computer. I've still got an article to write, books to read, a short to find a market for or edit, and a book chapter to write. Plenty to keep on the computer for ages.
But this is what I mean about slowing down. It's not that I don't have things to write - I've outlined Newland in its entirety so there's plenty for me to write about. It's not that I don't have the drive or enthusiasm - I still love writing. I'm just trying to take back some control of my life so I'm not writing all the time and neglecting any other areas of my life.
Does that make sense?
I have been somewhat slack recently in my blogging: for that I apologise.
Last night I just about finished the first draft of my next assignment and received responses back from those I had sought information from as research for it.
Tonight I intend to finish the assignment so it, and its counterpart that I finished over the weekend, can be sent off sometime this week.
After a few days of beautiful weather, just enough to lull me into thinking Spring was becoming an early Summer, Winter made itself known again. It has been bitterly cold and very windy here, but very little rain. I heard last night that September is supposed to have 60mm+ as an average rainfall here but so far we've only had 15mm or so. I'm guessing this summer is going to be very bad for our water reserves. Some states were dipping below 20% dam capacity toward the end of last summer. I don't think this Winter did a lot to fix that.
I've had no further responses from the markets my stories are currently submitted to, so I'm hoping no news is good news.
I haven't looked at Idolatry yet or read anything new recently. :(
Like I said before, trying to ease up and take things a little slower. We'll see how that all goes.
So in the trying to keep things on the down low, this week I have:
one assignment to finish
one chapter to write
one article to start
and some reading
Much easier to manage.
Good luck with your writing endeavours.
Friday, September 12, 2008
WHO IS JACK SCHITT?
For some time many of us have wondered just who is Jack Schitt? We find ourselves at a loss when someone says, 'You don't know Jack Schitt!' Well, thanks to my genealogy efforts, you can now respond in an intellectual way.
Jack Schitt is the only son of Awe Schitt. Awe Schitt, the fertilizer magnate, married O. Schitt, the owner of Needeep N. Schitt, Inc. They had one son, Jack.
In turn, Jack Schitt married Noe Schitt. The deeply religious couple produced six children: Holie Schitt, Giva Schitt, Fulla Schitt, Bull Schitt, and the twins Deep Schitt and Dip Schitt.
Against her parents' objections, Deep Schitt married Dumb Schitt, a high school dropout. After being married 15 years, Jack and Noe Schitt divorced. Noe Schitt later married Ted Sherlock, and because her kids were living with them, she wanted to keep her previous name. She was then known as Noe Schitt Sherlock.
Meanwhile, Dip Schitt married Loda Schitt, and they produced a son with a rather nervous disposition named Chicken Schitt. Two of the other six children, Fulla Schitt and Giva Schitt, were inseparable throughout childhood and subsequently married the Happens brothers in a dual ceremony. The wedding announcement in the newspaper announced the Schitt-Happens nuptials. The Schitt-Happens children were Dawg, Byrd, and Horse.
Bull Schitt, the prodigal son, left home to tour the world. He recently returned from Italy with his new Italian bride, Pisa Schitt.
NOW when someone says, 'You don't know Jack Schitt,' you can correct them.
Sincerely,Crock O. Schitt
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I'm still getting going after the enforced break. I finally polished and printed the assignment I finished, and today sent it off in the mail. I'm still trying to give birth to the other assignment. I have a few ideas floating around in my head but nothing is bubbling to the surface. I think I'll just need to sit down and bang out a few ideas.
Congratulations to Amy on another sale. I'll provide a link to it when it becomes available.
What else have I been doing - nothing - well, I've played a lot of Tiger Woods '09 golf game on the Wii...it was a Father's Day present and I'm enjoying the hell out of it. At least it's some exercise...
Okay, I know I've been procrastinating a bit lately for all sorts of reasons. I've pretty much written this week off and will start again in earnest soon.
Black magazine issue 2 should be hitting your newsagent shelves any day now so keep an eye out. I received my contributors copy and it's excellent, well worth the small sum at your local outlet.
No comments on yesterday's question is disappointing. Honestly, new writers want to know how much everyone else writes. How much do you produce, on average, per month or over a yearly period? Seriously.
Too Late the Rain took me 12 months to get it to it's current state and that's just a short story. It took me six months to write the first draft of Tiger's Eye. It would take me another six months to get it to a reasonable level of readability - it really was the horrible first effort most writers won't admit to.
I wrote 14 stories in 3 months last year (2007). I'm still working on getting them to a marketable level while writing new stuff. Idolatry, Dark Rose, Grimoire, Winged Shepherd, Mobile, and Wamphyri have all been written (or completed) this year. 6 stories in 9 months. Plus I've written the first draft of the first 5 chapters of Newland (all equivalent to the length of short stories). On top of that, I've done 13 assignments, 4 articles, and 20+ reviews.
So 48 items in less than 40 weeks (I think), and in my opinion, that's pushing it way too hard. I've enjoyed not worrying about things this week if I'm really honest. So I'm not going to push it so hard from now on. If sales come, then they come. Wamphyri is just about done so I can concentrate more on Newland and on my assignments. I think I'll be looking at doing only three or four nights a week at the computer. I'll read as much as I have been because that's simply good, I get paid for some of my reviews, and it helps improve my own writing.
But I'll still be blogging and I'll still be trying to help out at AHWA where I can. I'll also be there for my writer friends whenever they need me to read something of theirs.
It's been a long and physically/mentally tiring, but it's also allowed me to realise that killing myself isn't going to get my writing to the top any quicker. Hard work and perseverance is the requirement to gain any measure of success in this industry and I'll still be doing that, but I'll be trying to do it without neglecting anything else. Writers need to live--where else do we get the inspiration for our art...
So, how much do you write?
And good luck with your submissions.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
It's been nearly a week since I last blogged! That would have to be the second biggest break in my routine since I started this.
About a month ago, I came down with a flu virus--well, about six weeks ago, it invaded my home and family which is where it really all started. Anyway, about a month ago, I came down with it and still have the last vestiges of it but I can now function pretty much normally. Unfortunately, it's been one case of illness after another with my wife being the recipient of the worst of it.
The net result has been very little work over the last week in any form. I haven't been to my day job apart from a couple of hours Monday morning, and I haven't written anything. I haven't been on the computer or picked up a book.
I apologise to anyone I haven't answered emails from, I'm getting to them. I apologise to my lecturers for letting my good start to the semester lapse, I'm getting back on track with that as well.
I'm working with a couple of members of AHWA in a little project and the question of just what do you write came up. Not what genre or even what length, but how much do you produce in a month.
I'd be lucky to write 1 short story a month but when averaged out over the year, it's probably closer to two every three months resulting in eight max for the year. Now this is to a standard that's pretty good - marketable even. I may write twice that many shorts but not all of them see the light of day. I also have lots of other things going on.
I write for my assignments - usually the equivalent of two shorts a month.
I write my book - usually the same as a short or two a month.
Life. Remember that thing you do when you're not banging away at the keyboard.
I was always of the opinion that I still didn't do enough, but it seems I'm just impatient. I need to slow down and take more quality time with my writing. Compared with others, I do a lot already. I'd like to know how much you write. I know of people who've had heaps published this year, and if it was all written since January, they'd be hitting almost one short a month--every month--and managing to sell them too! Bloody awesome display, but is that normal or just a burst of inspiration?
So how much do you write and what is it? Shorts, chapters, assignments, poetry...
Are you of the school where a writer must sit down and write a set amount each day? Do you include how much you blog or journal in that word count? Should you?
Writing is hard work, but many writers don't know what to expect from it. Do they, or should they, produce a story a week, a month, three times a year??
What is a normal output? Normal is different for everyone, but id enough people comment with their own results, maybe we can find a trend.
So what do you do?
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Today I worked long and fairly hard at the keyboard.
An update on where I'm at with my weekly goals:
Two chapters of Newland - One completed today.
Finish Wamphyri - Done
Two assignments - One completed
Finish reading another book - Done and review posted on HorrorScope
Finish article for SA50s+ - Submitted today - editor phoned and accepted as is!
On top of that, I've read all my monthly newsletters, including the last four months of Hub that I hadn't managed to get around to until now.
Even took a quick peek at The Fold and thought I'd better wait till the kids went to sleep before I went any further on that one.
All that and still a day to go. This weekend I won't be seeing the computer at all I wouldn't have thought. Saturday the AFL finals begin and my beloved Crows take on the Pies on Saturday. I need to visit a mate of mine Saturday morning who has the audio version of the Wheel of Time series he's willing to lend me. I've read the eleven books so far released and eagerly look forward to number twelve, but it'll be nice to just listen to remind myself of what's happened in the past.
Sunday is Father's Day in Australia. As the resident father in this household, I'll be enjoying myself doing fatherly pursuits - well I'm hoping to be wasting many hours on console games but we'll have to wait and see on that one. Maybe a good book to loose myself in or heaven knows what else. Some very strange things going on behind my back over the last few days.
Anyway, the net result is tonight could be the last working opportunity of this week. "But what about tomorrow?" I hear you cry - if the weather is as nice as it's supposed to be, and my lovely wife is up to it, we'll probably be out and about doing something other than writing, reading, or watching TV.
Have a good one.
Speak to you soon.
Strangely, I was just catching up on reading my monthly newsletters and I found a little something in Infinitas:
"Blood Sausage" by David Such.
Do yourself a favour and go have a read - very amusing and so true! Well the underlying theme anyway :)
Go on...I'll wait.............................................
Cool isn't it?
No hate mail please - just kidding on the "so true" comment ;c)
Well done David!
I've finished and posted my review of Paul Robinson's "All the Colours of Darkness" on HorrorScope. Bottom line: I don't recommend it as a Father's Day gift this year.
Next book up for review is "The Dirty Secrets Club" by Meg Gardiner. I should have that one for you in about a week or so.
And I need to print an apology to Polly Frost. She is apparently travelling around the place at the moment and managed to pop in and read my blog - I'm honoured she takes the time to look in on little old me. With her busy schedule she has been unable to update pollyfrost.com, but has added the promised links to Myspace, Facebook and Twitter.
So please accept my apologies Polly. Just for that, I'll be looking in on The Fold and might begin doing regular reviews on it. (added 10:14PM - I went and watched episode one and it's not really my cup of tea. Funny and very much over the top, but not my sort of entertainment - sorry)
Well, Idolatry bounced again. Comments like "Interesting but..." seem to be constant companions of this piece.
I'm starting to think I need to expand this piece to tie all the elements into place. I'll not be sending it out again for a while.
Chalk up another rejection :(
At this rate, I may end up with the thickest skin in the business.
Time to finish reading the current book and write the review for HorrorScope. This afternoon/tonight I'll be writing the next chapter in Newland.
All the monthly newsletters began rolling in last night as well so I've got plenty to catch up on.
A very down day as far as the writing goes, but I know my journey as a writer has been very much like a roller coaster ride so far, so I'm seriously looking forward to the next high point.
Speak to you later
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Things are progressing.
Lets review what I wanted to get done this week and where I'm at.
Two chapters of Newland - Not yet, hopefully I'll get at least one done sometime tomorrow.
Finish Wamphyri - Done
Two assignments - One almost complete
Finish reading another book - 235 pages out of 407 (but it's tough going)
Finish article for SA50s+ - Submitted today
Stepping back and looking at it, that's not too bad for a man dying of the flu only days ago. I'll finish reading the book by the end of the week. I'll definitely finish one assignment and I'll write at least one chapter. I'm guessing the article may need a rewrite as the editor will squeeze me on word count. So I end up one assignment and one chapter short of my goal for the week - the week isn't over yet so I may still manage that, but still, I think it's pretty good.
On another note...
I've got some envy I need to admit to and get out of my system. Recently I've heard of a number of people gaining sales or competition wins. I am truly happy for them, honestly I am, but...
That's it - just a little vent.
Okay, just a bit more...
Is one little sale too much to ask for? One little reply in the affirmative to give me confirmation that I can actually write and those who have suggested as much in the past aren't just pissing in my pocket!
Okay, I'm done.
Best of luck with your submissions - honestly, I mean it--would I lie to you?
You'll never believe me again now will you?
p.s. My interview with the CEO of Tennis SA for my article for SA50s+ went really well this morning. I'm very glad I made the time to actually go. The information allowed me to write a much truer article than the one I drafted originally. Just goes to show that a company's advertising doesn't always relay exactly the message you think it's trying to - hmm - I think there's a story in that somewhere.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
While relaxing and trying to prepare for my interview tomorrow, I've been taking the odd break (read here procrastination) and been reading through my feeds. Most of the time, the authors of the feeds a little less regular then I am in posting or don't have a lot in the way of interesting stuff to say.
Still, the feeds I am subscribed to have a way of throwing up regular little gems that need to be shared.
Like this great article by Polly Frost.
Long live the short!
(Oh - and Polly, if you happen to be passing by, I still haven't seen a link to the HorrorScope review you said you'd be "linking to on all your web pages" - I know you're a busy woman but you did say it)
Time for bed.
This flu continues to try and drag me down, but I haven't completely given up yet.
My personal appointments from yesterday have dragged on today for much longer than anticipated. Unfortunately they will continue to stop any of my writing plans from coming to the fore until at least sometime tomorrow. Don't you just hate it when life gets in the way ;c)
Anyway - it has allowed me to continue with my reading. I'm about halfway/two-thirds through my current book. Can't say I'm overly impressed but I'll withhold final judgement until I've read the whole thing.
Congratulations to another writing friend of mine who has snapped up $200 and third place in a competition over in the US. A beacon by name and by nature, and someone who has helped me a lot - well done!
Time to pick up the kids. I won't have a lot of time to write tonight due to life intruding again but wish me luck for my article interview tomorrow.
Speak to you soon.
Monday, September 1, 2008
It's only Monday and I can see this week passing by in a haze of tissues and feeling sorry for myself.
The flu is back with a vengeance. I cough until I'm worried I'll actually lose a lung, I sniff until I can no longer hear, and then I sneeze so violently I'm worried I'm going to put my back out.
I did a little bit of reading today and that's pretty much it. I only remembered to blog at the last minute.
I'm on holidays and I'm still very sick - not happy Jan.
I hope you all feel 300% better than I currently do.
Time for bed.
I managed to complete version of Wamphyri last night and round it off to exactly 4000 words. There are a couple of sentences I'm not over the moon about so I'll let it sit for a few days before visiting it again. I need to reread the module requirements in regards to producing this piece as to where I go from here.
I've started reading Peter Robinson's "All the Colours of Darkness" for my next review piece. I should have it done by the end of the week or the beginning of next at the latest. Stay tuned.
Market newsletters are starting to roll in now. I've already done one load of housekeeping on the AHWA markets. Not a lot to do now it's up and running. Just checking and maintaining - and I grab the odd new market to keep in reserve.
Well, that's it for now - not a huge amount, but lots to come.
Speak to you soon