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Summing up Camp NaNoWriMo 2017 (with deleted scenes for blog readers)

2 May

So I decided to try doing Camp NaNoWriMo this year. Because I actually knew it existed now. My goal was established before I started.

Here’s the goal post I made in out cabin:- I’ll be writing at least 30,000 words, ideally 1 story a day (of 1000 words) or more. 

30,000 words in 30 days, a fairly achievable goal.


Day 1) It’s 12:40 UK local time, or just after lunch. I just wrote 1705 words. So I’m ahead of my goal. And I had a great laugh writing “Lemmy Goes To Mars“.

Day 2) 21:17 UK local. Just got done writing for the day. 1962 words today giving me a total of 3667.

Day 3) 13:40 UK local. 1982 words written, 5649 in total.
Very happy today.

Day 4) 2225 words today for a total of 7874. (After proofing)

Thankyou to the Manic Street Preachers. I misheard a line in “A Design For Life” and it made for an excellent idea to write. It even ended up going in a slightly different direction than I had originally intended, but it felt right and it felt organic.

Day 5) I’ve already passed my day 10 target. 2482 words written today for a total of 10356. All from a dream about a hug.

Please note, I wrote an extra 8 words in later edits. This is why Facebook & twitter numbers are different. These totals will be out by at least 8 from here onwards. I will be showing the CORRECT amount here in the blog.

[Subbed “We Three Kings” to UFO 6, an anthology of funny SF]

Day 6) Today I wrote 2050 words for a total of 12,406. First day using an image prompt which panned out well.

[Claimed my win for 2016, The Impossible Lean, my first novel! Received a no back from Broadswords and Blasters on “Party Of Five”]

Day 7) 2160 words written for a total of 14,566.
The thing says at this rate I’ll reach my goal on April 15th.

[No’s back from Cicada on “Practical Magic…” and Mad Scientists Journal on “The Thinker”.  “Practical Magic” subbed to Podcastle.
“Uncle Ping” subbed to Insignia.]

Day 8) 2106 words for a total of 16,672.

[“Uncle Ping’s Evening Farewell” has been accepted by Insignia for their Asian Cyberpunk/Dystopia anthology! It’s also officially my fastest sale ever, in less than 24 hours.]

No automatic alt text available.
Day 9) 1680 words for a total of 18,352.
Day 10) 2907 words today for a total of 21,259.
[A no back from UFO 6 on We Three Kings. Subbed “In Search Of The Elusive Nigel” to Mithila Review.

Day 11) 1829 words today for a total of 23,088.

Day 12) 3114 words today for a total of 26,202. It’s the anniversary of the day I joined up next week, so I wrote “Uniform”, using my memory of recruit training.

Day 13) 1392 words today, for a total of 27,584. A weird story about dogs, by a dog. I don’t even like dogs, so I’ve no idea where that came from. Personally I blame Madonna.
Day 14) 1580 words today for a total of 29,174. Close, but no cigar! I’ll hit and pass my target tomorrow then. That’s gonna hurt my OCD for the rest of the day.
Day 15) 1355 words written for a total of 30,259.
And that, dear cabinmates, is a WIN!  Win on day 15.
[A polite no back from Podcastle on “Practical Magic”. The Dionesian Wave subbed to When You’re Strange (CASFWG). Mistaken Identity (subbed to Timeless Tales).]
Day 16) No writing done.
Day 17) No writing done.
Day 18) No writing done.
[Rejections received from:- SONOFAWITCH! For “Witch Hunt”, Electric Spec For “Where’s The Dog?” and Stories for Homes Vol 2 For “Welcome To Your New Home”. The Legend subbed to Fireside Fiction. The Thinker subbed to Daily Science Fiction.]

Day 19) No writing done.

Day 20) Camp NaNoWriMo 2017 win verified and claimed. No writing done.

[Final edits & rewrites on “The Parting”]

Day 21) No writing done.

Day 22) No writing done.

Day 23) No writing done.

[An official no from SONOFAWITCH for “Witch Hunt”. Subbed Witch Hunt to Weirdbook.]

Day 24) No writing done.
Day 25) 3552 words today, for a total of 34,313.
Day 26) No writing done.
Day 27) No writing done.
Day 28) No writing done.
Day 29) 2900 words today, for a total of 37,213. I typed up a couple of completed hand written stories to bring up my overall total today.
[“The Parting” subbed to Lightspeed for their fantasy call.]
Day 30) 1100 words today, for a total count of 38,313.

[A no back from Bete Noire on “The Next Best King”.

So after 30 days I wrote a total of 38,313 words. I wrote 19 stories.

Camp NaNoWriMo 2017 Rules

22 Mar

Okay, as promised, here is the post about Camp NaNoWriMo.

In order to have a little order, I need to establish rules and guidelines, these are they.

OBJECT:- To write at least 30 stories of 1000 words (or more) in length in 30 days.

This does NOT mean that I have to write 1 story every day.

Not writing a story each day WILL NOT deem the challenge to have been failed. Failure is to not write 30 stories in total, with 30,000 words (or more).

There is no daily goal, just a goal for the whole month.

Between the period of midnight April 1st 2017 and 23;59:59 I MUST write 30 stories totalling 30,000 words.

If by May 1st I have not done this, I have failed.

I am allowed to write stories longer than 1000 words, there is no upper word limit.
I am allowed to write several stories in one day whose combined word counts are equal to or greater than 1000 words.

Stories can come from image prompts or word prompts.
I cannot use stories I have already started & merely type them up or finish them.

Stories do not need to be spellchecked or proofed but MUST be word counted using a wordprocessor and an online word counter which must both state the story is 1000 words or longer (not including the title, the date, my name or THE END).

And that’s the bottom line, ’cause Stone Cold said so!

(cue breaking glass effect)

Summing up 2016

31 Dec

So to sum up my year:-

Started (and finished) a new job.
Wrote a novel in 28 days (it’s still in edits!).
Submitted over 25 stories.
Sold nothing.
Received 2 free contributor copies of an anthology I’m in.
Wrote 87 new short stories.
Moved house.
Tried & failed NaNoWriMo.
Got older.

NaNoWriMo 2016, Lessons Learned

6 Dec

So I thought that now we’re almost a week into final month of 2016, I’d tell you how my NaNoWriMo went this year. It failed.

I did not write 50,000 words of novel. In fact, I bailed on day 4.

On day 1 I wrote 2212 words.
On day 2 I wrote 2288 words.
On day 3 I wrote 1730 words.

I called my failure on day 4 having written a total of 6230 words towards a new novel. So why was this?

I called the close of play for several reasons.

1) I knew I couldn’t sustain a narrative with only 1 character.
2) I hadn’t done any prep work.
3) The research was digging into my writing time.
4) I decided too late to actually take part.
5) I’d not long moved house.

So what did I do for the rest of NaNoWriMo?

I left it a few days before deciding I’d still like to write stuff, so I went the NaNoRebel route aiming for 50k of anything that’s not a novel.

How did I fare with that task? Again, I failed.

To be precise, I wrote 20 complete short stories totalling 28,887 words. While this may not be 50k, I counted it as a personal victory for me.

It’s 20 stories that I didn’t have before November.
20 stories I can potentially send out to submission.

I didn’t write every day. But I made a lot more words than I expected to.

I don’t see my not hitting 50k for either reason as an actual fail.
I’ve written stuff that didn’t exist before. I wrote anything at all!
That’s a big thing for me, considering how my brain gets on certain days.

What I’m saying is, take what you will from your NaNo experience.
You might not have written a novel, or reached 50k but what ever you DID accomplish was through your own hard work.

Kid J [flash fic]

24 Nov


Kid J

By Ray Daley

7th August 2016

Completed 22/11/16

(inspired by A Boy and His Dog by Sandara)

“When I was a kid, you had to be careful when the battery finally went flat. Several million tons of metal falling from the sky at high velocity is deadly. But kids manage to find the humour in any situation. You could hear them shouting from miles off into the distance ‘Big Dogs! Landing On My Face!‘ It always made me laugh. Until it almost happened to me. It’s not a laughing matter.”

That was Old Ken, spinning his war stories to anyone that’d listen. Rocking in his busted up rocking chair, missing one leg below the knee and a right arm. But he’d always say “Shake!” and offer his stump, just to freak the normals out.

You don’t see the big ones very often now. It’s mostly the wreckage of those long since crashed.

That’s why I became a scrapper.

Three million tons of metal don’t just get up and walk away, and we’re pretty lucky they don’t. I never could understand why those old Military programmers gave Big Dog the ability to jump over a mile straight up. Yeah, admittedly it made for easy going when you came across ravines, cliffs and chasms but how often was it a patrol was going to come across a mountain they couldn’t just blast the shit out of?

Almost never. And those photonic laser cannons were always charging, as long as there was daylight.

Did I ever mention that Rendii has three suns? If if ain’t solar powered, it ain’t worth shit these days.


So I’d spotted this new wreck, came down about a month ago now.

The dust clouds had only just cleared the day I headed out there. You gotta get up pretty early if you want the primo pickings, scrap-wise.

It took the best part of a day, heading out to the crater on foot. Man, if I could just find one of those old thruster packs! I’d be the envy of every scrapper from here to Mansoor Prime. Kid J, King of the Scrappers.

Most wrecks, I normally got there third or fourth. There’d still be some good pickings but all the best systems would be long gone, stripped by the first comers. At least I was never a Lucy Latecomer. They were left with the raw metal. Man, I hate those bastards! If I ever start heading down that rocky road, shoot me in the fucking head, okay?

So there I was, walking through the last of the falling dust clouds, all my sensors hiked up three points past the safe limit.

But safe limits are for infants and Lucy Latecomers. “No risk, no reward!” as Old Ken always says, in his lucid moments. He don’t get many of those these days, I can tell you.

So like I was saying, all my sensors were racked up in the red zone.

And then I got a ping.

That’s a bad thing, before you ask.

The thing about a wrecked Big Dog? They’re all supposed to be dead, no functioning tech. Made ’em that much easier to strip down.

Yet here was this one, pinging away like a fucking alarm clock or some shit like that.


Wake up, kid.”


I said wake the hell up kid, I need your eyes.”

What the hell? I opened my eyes and I could see… shit, no way. “Big Dog?”

In flesh. So to speak. You fully functional again then kid?

No way. It wasn’t possible. This hulk had fallen three miles and hit the ground hard. No way was it working. They never worked!

Yet here I am, kid. Who ya gonna believe, some old one legged drunk telling his war stories or your own eyes?

I’m dreaming. I must have tripped over a rock and hit my head. Yeah, that’s it. This is all a horrible dream.

Pretty lucid, if it is kid. In fucking three dee, too. And colour! You know how hard it is to dream in colour?

I looked over at the metal beast.

Can that shit kid. Call me Big Dog.”

“I can hear you in my head. What’s up with that?” Old Ken had always told us they spoke, just not like this.

Tech Sergeant? Nine stripes? That old fart still alive then? Boy, is he gonna lose his shit when he sees me.”

“You know Old Ken?” I asked.

The damn thing laughed. How can an AI construct laugh?

It’s fucking funny kid. That ain’t what I used to call him though. Are we gonna see him any time soon?

I looked at Big Dog. I could see its running lights blinking off and on. It appeared to be mostly intact. “Can you give me a systems report, Big Dog?”

Minor hydraulic leak in my front left leg. Main sensor array needs a reboot. That’s why I hijacked your sensors. Sniffed a bunch of real good cerebrum coming my way then piggybacked myself on top of you. Right now, your ass is mine, so to speak. Go ahead, try to move.”

I could look left and right, I could breath and I could open and close my eyes. And I could talk. Nothing else was responding to instructions. “Ah, I did fall and hit my head then. I guess this is a dream? Must have damaged my spine, that’s why I can’t move. I must be paralysed.”

Then without any notification by me, my right arm started to wave up and down.

“I didn’t do that. And I can’t feel my arm moving either. I should at least feel the wind.”

Big Dog laughed again, that weird synthesized chuckle. “Hi mom! Look, no strings!

Huh? What the hell is wrong with me?

It’s me, you dummy! I’m moving your arm. And that breeze feels pretty damn fine. Eleven degrees. Been a good long time since I had access to such fine tuned sensors, I can tell you!

That was slightly disturbing. “Okay then. I guess you’re in my head, right?”

Fucking A.” Big Dog had an odd way of talking. Almost human, or heavily influenced by same.

I groaned. “If that means yes, okay then. At least give me control of my arms and legs so I can get up and see if I can get you going again?”

And just like that, it was like a switch went on. I stood up and walked over to Big Dog. “Everything appears to be in order. If I recall, there’s an inspection hatch in your left rear ankle, right?”

That’s right kid. That’s you then, Kid J, according to the ident?

“Fucking A.”

Big Dog chuckled again. I guess I was getting used to him now. “You can open the panel now kid, I deactivated the shock field. By the way, there’s a rifle in there. Best you gear up. I’m getting feedback. And that can only mean bad things are heading this way. Have you got any comms with your home base on that headset of yours?

Ah. So Big Dog hadn’t had access to everything then?

I ain’t no snooper, kid. I just checked the basics. Who you were and what gear you had. Headset weren’t listed on the manifest.”

Good to know. Big Dog seemed like an honest sort. Time for me to reciprocate. “Because it’s busted, just wearing it for show. Plus it does a good job of keeping the sand out of my ears. I think if you bypass primary buffers you should be able do self repair on that leak. It should get you fully ambulatory again. We going for a walk then?”

I got a double beep in my ear.

Estimating completion of self repair in about sixty seconds. Here’s a free piece of advice kid, start pulling back now. I’m tracking forty sand tanks heading right towards our location. And they sure as hell ain’t coming to wish us a Merry Christmas, okay? I calculate they’ll be here in about eight minutes. That’s more than enough time for you get to a safe distance. As soon as I’m fixed I’m gonna bounce. That don’t mean I’m leaving you, I’m just attacking them.”

“But I could…”

No buts kid. You wouldn’t last ten seconds against one sand tank, let alone forty. I calculate my chances of success in destroying them all are two percent. Now be a good kid, get your ass to safety. Tell Old K9 I miss him.”

“K9?” I asked.

Old Ken. It’s an old joke, he can explain it. Repairs complete. Start running back the way you came. Maybe ask Old K9 about that tech he’s got in his trunk, okay? Big Dog out.”

And just like that, he was gone. Launching himself off towards the incoming sand tanks.

As I was running, I could hear him firing everything in his arsenal down at them.

Then their final transmission. “BIG DOGS! LANDING ON MY…


We never saw those sand tanks. I guess Big Dog under estimated his abilities.

“What did he say, Kid?” Old Ken just sat there in his rocker, laughing his ass off.

“Two percent, K9. And that he missed you. You gonna explain what’s so funny?”

Old Ken just pushed the metal trunk over to me. “Just take it. If Big Dog thought you could use it, I guess I can let it go. You’ll need to fix it though.”

I flipped the lid open and read the ID tag.

Mark Four Thruster Pack. Solar Powered.

“You know something Kid. Me and Big Dog, used to have a saying, back in the old days. He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day.”

As I slung the thruster pack over my shoulder I shrugged at Old Ken. “And that applies how?”

“I’m still here ain’t I Kid? And so are you. Think on that, and spare a thought for old Big Dog.”

I smiled. “Big Dog. You sympathetic bastard!”

Old Ken laughed. “That he was Kid. That he was. So you want that thing?”

I nodded. “Sure. I think I can use this.”


One Man Against The World (flash fic)

22 Nov

Ideas can come from anywhere. Lucky for me, the Post Office WAS open today. But this occurred to me as I was walking there:-

This being the tale of one man against the world,
told by Ray Daley, humble scribe.

Our party set out on an epic quest this fine day.

However, whilst still within sight of our noble house, my troops were recalled, leaving only myself to undertake that most perilous mission.

Across barren fields I trekked, with only my thoughts for company. Strange beasts roamed the byways and I had naught but my wits to protect me.

I was brave of heart, stout of arm, wise of mind and fleet of foot. Using my common sense alone was I able to reach my destination.

Only to find that the fucking Post Office was shut for half day closing.

I will camp here tonight, and send out the good word on the morrow. Then slaughter them all for not being open when I needed them most.


Not all short stories are

20 Nov

Short, that is.

So I just got finished writing “The Lanyards”.

After 6 days of writing (off and on, some days no writing happened at all) I came out with just over 7000 words. 7328 words in total.

If you know me, you’ll know that’s a lot of writing. Normally I average around 1500 words for a short story, sometimes even less.

I had the idea way back in January, it was something I noticed when coming home on the bus one day.

I didn’t use everything I wrote in my initial outline, a couple of large plot points were changed, mostly due to organic growth of characters and plot development.

My brother Gareth forwarded an idea for the end, I didn’t use it exactly, instead it inspired me and I used a heavily modified version.

I think it came out well and I look forward to reading it in a few months for proofing and final tweaks.

Nano rebelling

16 Nov

I may not still be writing a novel, but I am still writing.

While I’m not writing every day, and I’m not about to reach 50,000 words written (maybe if you include blogging, tweets & Facebook posts?) I am still writing stuff.

Currently I’m working on “The Lanyards” which was an idea for a dystopian short which is naturally evolving as I write it. I see it reaching around 5000 words, possibly.

You’ve seen me post 2 flash pieces here but I’ve finished several other things since throwing in the towel with “On Reaching The Beach”. It’s possible that I may revive that at some time and just finish it as a short story.

The Marching Men By Ray Daley

11 Nov
The Marching Men By Ray Daley
I can hear them singing before I see them, they don’t come into view for at least another five minutes. And they’re singing the old songs I used to hear Daddy singing.
And some of them are crying, just like he used to when he was singing.
I can see a young boy standing near me asking “Why are they crying? Are they sad?” so I tell him what Daddy used to tell me before he went away forever.
“They’re remembering their old friends. They aren’t sad tears, those are happy tears,” I say.
Then the boy smiles, he’s glad they aren’t sad tears.
Back when Daddy used to cry, I’d always hug him and he’d hold my hand oh so tightly. “Never gonna let you slip away Johnny. Stay with me Johnny, just hold on a few more minutes.”
I was 12 before I found out who he was really talking to.
A man in a uniform knocked on our door one day, asking to speak to my mother. “My father gave me this, he wanted you to have it now. I’m sorry for your loss, Ma’am.” He’d given her a medal won by his father, someone Daddy once called brother and friend. but mostly called him Johnny.
“He saved a man’s life once, you should know that,” Mother told me.
So we come each year to watch the marching men go by, singing their old songs, remembering their old friends. Each year there are less of them, so it’s our job to remember their faces, remember their songs, and above all to remember their stories.
So we never repeat their mistakes.
So now I remember Daddy. And I remember Johnny too.
And we hope we’ll never have to march this way again.

NaNoWriMo – Day 4

4 Nov
NaNoWriMo – Day 4.
I’m calling it over and done for me.
My story doesn’t have enough to make it to novel length.
It was fine as a potential short story, I think I bit off more than I could chew to try and it into a novel.
Only having 1 character for most of it simply doesn’t provide enough to push the narrative forward.
Stick a fork in me. NaNoWriMo2016 is over for this guy.
I was crazy to even start.