The life of a story

19 Aug

I’ve been thinking about this for a few days.

A lot of my stories start the same way. By that I don’t mean the same words or the same ideas, I mean they start with me thinking of a title.

They also all end the same way, with me typing “THE END”.

I don’t always have a title, sometimes it’ll be something like “Rough outline for ghost idea”. That’s not a title, it’s a vague idea what the story is about. In these cases, the title comes later. Once I settle on a title, it’s rare that I’ll change it.

I’m not saying that I lock in a title forever once I decide on it. Not so. I’ve had stories where I’ve gone through four or more titles before settling on a final title.

Some stories begin life as a dream, or an idea I thought of in bed, or while in the toilet or out walking.

My ideas come from all sorts of places. A lot of them start life in the toilet. It’s quiet in there and you have time to turn ideas over in your head.

Don’t worry where an idea comes from. Toss it about, see if it’s got potential. Scribble it down, type it out. It might never get finished, but at least you’ve got a hard copy to develop later if you need it. There might come a time when there’s a call for zombie girl guides. Or whatever your idea is.

Accept this, some stuff you write will NEVER sell. It’s too weird, it’s not weird enough, they don’t get your humour, you’re too far ahead of the curve. But for whatever reason, know which stories won’t sell. But still, don’t be afraid to submit them.

Heck, I’ve recently sold stuff where I thought “No bugger’s going to want this,” subbed it any way and been paid actual real money for it!

On the other hand there are stories where I think “Everyone wants this,” and no bugger likes it.

Never self censor. If you’ve got a story you think fits, sub it, let someone else tell you no, it doesn’t fit.

Ray Bradbury said in order to write the good stuff, you’ve got to write the garbage first.

So get your title, write your garbage and hope the next one is going to sell.

Giant Fox (an poem)

11 Aug
Giant Fox (an poem) by Ray Daley
I am a giant fox, I live inside a giant box,
I own 500 pairs of socks, and none of them fit me.
I like to walk down at the park, I sit in my room when it’s dark,
I don’t know anyone called Mark, but I would like to.
That is me, a fox called Ron, Perhaps you know my brother Jon,
We’ve both got friends called Don but quietly hate them.
I am a giant fox, I’ve never had chickenpox,
I like to paint boats at docks, then set fire to them.

Waiting For Godot, Again [Flash Fiction]

7 Aug

Waiting For Godot, Again
By Ray Daley

This week we waited in the public bar of The Lamb And Her Shepherd. I didn’t mind waiting here, we at least had access to beer, a decent wifi speed and hot food when we finally needed it at about 2:30pm.

As per usual, shithead tweeted me he was on his way. “Be there in about 20 mins, order me a beer.” So I ordered him a beer.

Which I ended up drinking myself, along with my own when he finally resurfaced at around 9pm via Facebook. “Having an anxiety attack, won’t be able to make it. Sorry. Maybe see you next week? McDonald’s this time?

I’ve been waiting to meet him for almost 4 years now. I’m pretty sure he’s never going to show up. It’s always one thing or another. His cat was sick, his drama with his sister, he can’t find the right shoes to match his jacket.

I get that he suffers from social anxiety but he’s got to get out of the house at least once in his life!

Fuck waiting for Godot. Me and Jill are off home to shag.


My take on Heinlein’s Rules

25 Jul

Heinlein’s Rules


Rule 1: You Must Write

Agreed. If you aren’t writing, you aren’t a writer. Shopping lists and diaries don’t count.

Rule 2: Finish What You Start

Well, you can’t submit ideas or partials so this is a given. But everyone has an archive of things they’ve started and never finished. Mine literally numbers into the hundreds.

Rule 3: You Must Refrain From Rewriting, Except to Editorial Order

Again, I agree. I hate rewrites. Once I’ve finished, I think a story is as good as it’s getting. Most of the time.

Rule 4: You Must Put Your Story on the Market

Again I agree. You can’t sell if you don’t submit. For me, 2017 has been my most submitting year to date.

Rule 5: You Must Keep it on the Market until it has Sold

Not sure about this one. Some stuff will NEVER sell. There’s persistance, and there’s flat out blind stupidy. You’ve got to know when it’s time to stop hawking a story around. It’s not being taken for a reason. That’s why Rule 3 isn’t always right.

Rule 6: Start Working on Something Else

No. Flat out NO. If you’re always writing, you’ve never rested. If you don’t rest, you burn out. You burn out, you start hating the cause. Which is writing. So know when to stop.

And that’s my take on Heinlein’s rules.

Summing up Camp NaNoWriMo July 2017

24 Jul

Let’s start on a high, shall we? It’s day 24. And I have a VALIDATED WIN!

Here’s the breakdown for stats purposes.

Official goal was 40,000. This remained unchanged for the entire time.

Day 01:- 5178 words written, 5178 total.
Day 02:- 1926 words written, 7104 total.
Day 03:- 1829 words written, 8933 total. Bit cheaty here today, mapped out future plot.
Day 04:- 1951 words written, 10884 total.
Day 05:- 2150 words written, 13054 total.
Day 06:- 2122 words written, 15156 total.
Day 07:- 2663 words written, 17819 total.
Day 08:- 2714 words written, 20533 total. Just over half way to goal.
Day 09:- 2125 words written, 22658 total.
Day 10:- 1837 words written, 24495 total. Low count, Eye Clinc appt today.
Day 11:- 2078 words written, 26573 total. Struggled today.
Day 12:- 2302 words written, 28875 total.
Day 13:- 2307 words written, 31182 total. Over 30k, less than half the month gone.
Day 14:- 2123 words written, 33305 total.
Day 15:- 1569 words written, 34874 total. Hardest day yet.
Day 16:- 0 Words written, 34874 total. Took the day off to avoid burn out.
Day 17:- 1347 words written, 36221 total.
Day 18:- 700 words written, 36921 total. Worst day so far for actual output.
Day 19:- 1291 words written, 38077 total.
Day 20:- 2979 words written, 41056 total. Official win on day 20!
Day 21:- 2194 words written, 43250 total.
Day 22:- 2907 words written, 46157 total.
Day 23:- 1344 words written, 47501 total.
Day 24:- 2516 words written, 50017 total. Fully validated WIN.

Well it’s not BAD news, I guess?

14 Jul

GOOD NEWS! My story “Witch Hunt” has been shortlisted for the next round of reading for the Weirdbook “Witches” anthology!

What’s currently in submission #5

6 Jul

It’s been a few months since the last update (back in early May!), here’s what stories are currently out in submission.

What’s currently out in submission?

Write Now (subbed to Anthology of Quitters)
The Catch (subbed to the were-traveller (PhotoFlash))
The Concentration Camp (subbed to Persistant Visions)
The Dionesian Wave (subbed to When You’re Strange (CASFWG))
Witch Hunt (subbed to Weird Book)
Departure Date (subbed to Darkfuse Magazine)
The Legend (subbed to Third Flatiron Strange Beasties)
Muse (subbed to Strange Horizons)
Summerland (subbed to Chiral Mad 4)
Even Stevens (subbed to AE)
Go West (subbed to Flash Fiction online)

That’s 11 stories out in the wild at the moment.