Tag Archives: writing

Camp NaNoWriMo July 2018 Rules

15 Jun

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

OBJECT:- To write at least 50,000 words (or more) in 31 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 at least 50,000 words in the entire 31 day period.

There is no daily goal, just a goal for the whole month.
But more than 1667 words each day would be a good idea.

Between the period of midnight July 1st 2018 and July 31th 2018 23;59:59 I MUST write at least 50,000 words.

If by August 1st 2018 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. There is no daily word count to reach.

Stories can come from image prompts or word prompts.
I can use prewritten outlines, as long as they aren’t actually started stories.
I cannot use stories I have already started & merely type them up or finish them unless they were created in the above time period.

Stories do not need to be spellchecked or proofed.

These are the rules, to ensure fair play and no cheating.

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Let’s Talk About Novels

11 Jun

As my 2nd novel is currently being read by an agent (thankyou #Pitmad!), I thought I’d take a bit of time to talk about my other novel and the ones I’ve either never finished or never started.

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Successful novel #1 was The Impossible Lean. Written during Camp NaNoWriMo of April 2016 (despite not knowing it actually existed!), this was the first novel I actually finished, and also did it in under 30 days.

Impossible Lean is a YA survivalism spec-fic piece set on a distant human colony where the occupants struggle to survive. It’s still in edits, and if I’m honest, it’s probably always will be.

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Obviously, Impossible Lean wasn’t my first attempt to write a novel. The first attempt started WAY back in 1986 before a lot of people reading this were even born. And I’m actually still writing it. Sort of.

The first novel was actually a Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy fan-fic piece called “Don’t Panic!” The story was my idea, it was written before the 5th Adams book came out. It was an attempt to combine TV, radio & books into one definitive world. I created a few new characters and used existing ones in new ways than they’d been seen before.

It still exists, it lives on my old blog.

http://allaboutanythingatall.blogspot.com/2008/06/dont-panic-my-hhgttg-fan-fic.html

It’s there, if you feel like reading it. I had an idea for an end too. I just never finished the whole thing.

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My second attempt at a novel started while I was in the RAF. I owned an electric typewriter and I started getting back into writing seriously. I wrote at least 1 poem most days, normally more.

The second attempt was a fantasy/SF cross-over (this genre didn’t even exist in 1992, when I started writing it) called The Saga Of The Invisible Knight. It’s set about 1000 yrs after a nuclear war where the remnants of society have reverted to a medieval style existance. I typed some of it, I handwrote some of it. There’s an absolute shit ton of notes for it. I was lucky, in that I found it when we were moving house having thought I’d lost it many years ago. I could literally pick it up tomorrow and start writing it as an actual novel.

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My next idea for a novel came off a short story I wrote about 4 years ago, The Space Museum. It’s a story about being the last American woman left alive after a global war/pandemic. I hadn’t decided which. There is a brief outline that exists, I’m not sure if I’ll ever write it.

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My last attempt to write a novel failed 3 days into the task, that was another try during NaNoWriMo of 2016. It was a story of someone who ran aground on what he thought was an island that turns out not to be. I wrote about 6000 words but it died on its arse because I couldn’t sustain the plot with only one chararacter. I’ve still got what I wrote, and I might finish it as a short novella or novelette one day.

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There’s one last collection of notes and ideas that exist almost as an outline, which I’m considering writing for this years NaNoWriMo. It’s more a dramatic piece, with a little dystopian twist. I don’t want to give away too many details as it’s a good idea that would be easy for anyone to write themselves.

So there you go. The novels I started, or didn’t start, or gave up on.

#Pitmad, Lessons Learned

8 Jun

So I took part in my first #Pitmad on twitter yesterday.

I made plenty of mistakes, which I’m going to share here so you can avoid making them when or if you decide to try it for yourself.

Mistake #1 – I didn’t know #Pitmad was even taking place that day!

I spotted the event fairly late in the day. #Pitmad only runs for for a 12 hour period, if you are going to take part and want to have your pitch seen for the longest possible time, be ready to get in when it starts. Mark your calender!

Mistake #2 – I didn’t have a pitch in place.

I literally had to find my novel query, and massively tailor that to fit in a tweet with the hashtags. If you know #Pitmad is taking place, have your pitch ready & waiting.

Mistake #3 – I didn’t nail my pitch down on the first tweet.

I made a comment to someone about my novel, I felt it sounded better, more of a hook. That actually turned out to not be the case.

Mistake #4 – Know what to do if you get an agent like.

As it’s my first rodeo, I had NO CLUE what to do when I got a like from an agent. Luckily for me, the agent had posted instructions on their profile.

Mistake #5 -Send the agent your FINISHED novel.

Oh yes, I did that. I made the mistake of sending the first 50 pages of an earlier revision. I had to dig myself out of that hole by apologising for my mistake and sending the first 50 pages of the finished version.

These were my mistakes, and I hope you don’t make them when you decide to try #Pitmad for yourself. Either make your own mistakes, or learn from mine and don’t make any at all.

I’ve made a spreadsheet!

1 Jun

Earlier this week, I took about an hour to create  a spreadsheet to keep my “out in submission” details on. It’s a lot easier to use than the current text based system which involved a lot of manual renumbering on my part every time a new rejection came in.

I inputted all my old entries, and am now solely using it to track new subs also. The old text system will be phased out after the last entry on it is accepted or rejected, whenever that is.

I’ve already used it to remove a rejected piece and I’m happy to say it worked EXACTLY as I had hoped it would. No more laborious manula renumbering for this guy, frees me up to write.

So This Was May…

1 Jun

We’ve already reached the end of the fifth month of 2018.

So what’s happened so far?

SALES:- I’ve made 3 sales so far, to Third Flatiron; “The Doomsday Machine Retires” for their Monstrosities anthology and to WolfSinger Publications; “Muse” for their Cat Tails anthology.

I still haven’t been given permission to announce the third sale yet, I’ll tell you who it was to and the story when I am allowed. I have signed a contract, I’ve got a rough date of when it will be published too, based on their previous releases last year. I haven’t been able to do what’s out in submission this month because of this contractual binding.

SUBMISSIONS:- I’ve already submitted 124 stories this year.

REJECTIONS:- I’ve had 114 rejections so far.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS:- In the pipeline is the publications of “Uncle Ping’s Evening Farewell” from Insignia. Still no official date on this. I’m sorry I’ve not got more news on this. I’m just as anxious to see it come out as you are.

Credits for Cat Tails – War Zone and Monstrosities are now listed on my ISFDB entry. I’m trying my best to keep that as up to date as I possibly can.

I’ve finished 4 new stories since the end of Camp NaNoWriMo bringing my total of new stories written this year so far to 35.

I’m hoping to get as many subs out as possible this month and I’m hoping to get a few more answers back before the end of the month too. Fingers crossed for more sales.

So this was April…

1 May

We’ve already reached the end of the fourth month of 2018.

So what’s happened so far?

SALES:- I’ve made 3 sales so far, to Third Flatiron; “The Doomsday Machine Retires” for their Monstrosities anthology and to WolfSinger Publications; “Muse” for their Cat Tails anthology. I haven’t been given permission to announce the third sale yet, I’ll tell you who it was to and the story when I am allowed.

SUBMISSIONS:- I’ve already submitted 103 stories this year.

REJECTIONS:- I’ve had 91 rejections so far.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS:- In the pipeline is the publications of “Uncle Ping’s Evening Farewell” from Insignia. Still no official date on this. I’m sorry I’ve not got more news on this. I’m just as anxious to see it come out as you are.

Third Flatiron released the “Monstrosities” anthology featuring “The Doomsday Machine Retires”:- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079Q9N7Q1?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660)

Cat Tails – War Zone from Wolfsinger (featuring my story “Muse”) is available to buy at Smashwords:- https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/802052

I had a fairly successful Camp NaNoWriMo this month, I wrote over 40,000 words, 18 new stories, especially as I’d set my target at 30,000.

There are a few places opening to subs this month and I’m hoping to get a few more answers back before the end of the month too. Fingers crossed for more sales.

The Story Behind The Story #1 First Impressions

19 Apr

Welcome to the first in an on-going series where I explain how my ISFDB listed stories came into being.

As most people only ever normally see the end result; the story itself, I thought it would be fun to tell the story of what caused that story to exist.

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First Impressions, published by The Sirens Call, April 2014.

Contains spoilers for original story, so if you haven’t read it, go do that first, link as below:-
http://www.sirenscallpublications.com/pdfs/SirensCallEZine_October2014.pdf
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A bit of spoiler space.
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Spoilers coming up. If you haven’t read the story, do that first. Then come back.
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Did you go and read it? I did ask nicely.
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Story ideas can strike at any time, this one happened to occur to me on a Sunday evening as I was preparing my sunday tea. I was cutting up things for a salad, and the strangest of thoughts struck me.

Wouldn’t it be fun to take a really well known story and turn it so far around, it became an entirely new idea?  Then I thought again. How about taking said story, retaining as much of the original content but completely subverting it into a new direction no-one had ever tried before?

And there was the birth of First Impressions.

I wouldn’t say I am obsessed with the Red Riding Hood mythos, but you are more than welcome to accuse me of that. I won’t deny it either.

It’s a simple idea, but I was asking myself this question, “Don’t you think that cloak reminds you of something?

So I stood there slicing up tomatoes, saying out loud what that red hood cloak reminded me of.
When I stumbled across it.

Vampires. The classic Hammer vampire always wore a black cloak with a red lining.

Then my brain asked this, “What if Red Riding Hood was a vampire?
That’d explain why she was so confident about walking through wolf-infested woods to Granny’s house.

I finished making my salad, I went off and ate it, and then started writing that story.

Apart from the addition that Granny was also a vampire, the idea stayed exactly as it started.

That was the first horror story I ever had published. And as of today 19th April 2018, it still is.