Sunday, 29 November 2009

Would be interested

I know that the Weekly News can sometimes be hard to come across (I haven't found a copy yet) so you may not have seen my story "Just the Job," that was in this weeks issue but if any of you have I'd be interested to know what you think. I don't show my writing to anyone but editors and occasionally Jan so I rarely get feedback.
Having said that, if it's not a publication you would normally get please don't feel obliged to buy it on my account.

Distracted again

I was sitting in my chair, laptop on my knee, coffee by my side looking out of the window instead of preparing the submission I should have been doing when look what popped into my garden (see top right hand corner of trellis.)
I nearly had a heart attack when it first appeared because it just leaped (I originally wrote "leapt" but the spell checker corrected it) out of the trees but isn't it cute. I'm not sure the birds would agree as they didn't get a look in for the ten minutes that it was there.
The dog wasn't as impressed as I was though. He never even opened an eyelid.
Fantastic! Just what I need - another distraction. Nonsense! life is short - enjoy the good stuff when it happens - even the little things.
It's not a great picture or even a good one but considering it was taken through 2 panes of glass and sleet its okay.
In conclusion I will just point out that I have completed the submission that I was working on and it will be posted in the morning. Who said you can't have everything.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Just the Job and Christmas shopping

My story "Just the Job" is in this weeks Weekly News. Yay!! I haven't seen it yet so I don't know if its been changed much but I'm told it's definately there.
On a different note, Himself and I did the bulk of our Chritmas present shopping today - presents that is. Just another couple to get. Hope they're not expecting much this year because I've (I'll not say "we" because I know I'm the skinflint) have cut back this year. I'm personally trying to reinvent the notion that its the thought that counts.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Is that the phone ringing?

I have to be honest and say that my mobile phone rarely rings especially when I'm at work. The Hogs used to ring it sometimes and tell me to get off the phone when I was talking on the land line but that's about it. So it was a bit of a surprise when it rang today especially as there's not a great signal in the basement. Anyway I digress - sorry. My mobile rang this morning and when I answered it, it was someone from Prima magazine saying that an article that I sent them has been shortlisted for a competition that I'd forgotten that I'd entered. Well it was April when I sent it to them after all.
I know it's only shortlisted but I've never got that far in a competition before so I'm feeling ever so slightly chuffed with myself. So now I just have to wait for someone to get in touch with the results.
Come on - fingers crossed everyone.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

This post over on Olivia's blog got me thinking (no wonder I've got a headache).
I think that writing is a casserole. You take the basic ingredients and then you add this or that to taste and you let it cook for so long or maybe a bit longer depending on your oven or the way you feel. Writing, like the casserole is an extension of you and the way your feeling on that particular day. The casserole is made up of what you've bought from the grocer or what you've got left over in the fridge. Likewise what you write comes from what's going in in your head and what research you've done or what it is that you want to say.
When the casserole comes out of the oven or the piece of writing is finished, it may be perfect it could be okay or maybe the only place for it is in the bin. Either way you'll have learned something. Perhaps you realise that you have found the secret to perpetual success in which case you carry on doing what you did or you try a new recipe.
Like the casserole writing is not a precise formula. It is not cake.

A bit more about me.

Those of you that have known me a while will know that in blogland I was originally known as "Gonna be a Writer" and all I talked about was writing and what I was doing connected to it. Well I have decided that the time has come to share a bit more. For a start the name of the blog has changed so maybe the content should expand a bit. Not that I think it will make the blog any more interesting because I am one of the most boring people on earth (officially) but I think that the time is right. So here are a few "interesting" (I laugh) things about me.
1. I work in charity retail though I probably shouldn't mention the charity. Suffice to say its a biggy.
2. As well as writing I love to cook. I'm more of a savoury girl but I can bake when the mood takes me.
Can't think of a third one so we'll have to stick at a couple.
Told you I was boring.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Postal strike over

Its good to know that the postal strike is well and truly over. On Tuesday lunchtime I submitted a story to a magazine that I won't name only to have it returned to me today - less than 48 hours later. Oh bottom!
On a happier note though at least we won't have to worry about the Christmas cards we post not getting there on time.
Every cloud has a silver lining as they say.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Some hope?

In my last post I mentioned that for a few years before I tried to get serious in 2006 I submitted probably a story a year without any success. One of those stories was recently accepted for publication and I have asked myself why.
The truth is that when I looked at it a few months ago I could see why it wasn't accepted the first time round. I don't remember who I submitted it to because I didn't keep records in those days but I can almost guarantee that it was sent to the wrong market.
But despite all the things that I could see wrong with it I still liked it which is why I decided to play around with it a bit. I looked at it and saw what it for what it was and decided on the "right" market for it. Then I tweaked the word length, took out the cliches, gave it a better ending and hey presto.
I think that a lot of the things that I wrote in the early days was cliched. I would say that was my biggest failing back then. But I can see that now so maybe there is some hope for the stories that were dumped unceremoniously into the "archived" file.

Best year?

This post over on womags blog got me thinking and prompted me to have a look at my own submission spreadsheet and I noticed several things that have also made me think. (Note to self - spend less time thinking.)
1. My first paid acceptance came in November 2006 (8th to be precise so i just missed the anniversary.)
2. In the first three months of submitting "seriously" (I'd sent out about 1 a year for a few years before 2006) I had 3 stories accepted. (God I must have thought I had it made - if only.) sadly the next acceptance did not come for another 10 months.
3. In terms of pieces accepted 2009 has so far been my best year - currently sitting at 4.
4. Since 2006 I have submitted 116 pieces of work which includes everything even poems and article pitches and of them 14 have been accepted = 12% success rate. In 2009 I have submitted 33 dfferent things and like I said have had 4 pieces accepted which oddly enough = 12%.
So much for it being my best year to date!!!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

All Russian to me

Anybody else getting comments left in Russian. It can't be good and God knows what they're offering me but I'm sure I don't want it.

Is 1 page too short?

I'm taking a leaf out of Karen's book and getting my own book ready to go out into the big wide world. I have gone over and over the synopsis and covering letter polishing them til you can see your face in them. However my dilemma and you knew that there had to be one is that my synopsis is only one page long. Am I really doing it justice in one page? But it says everything that needs to be said and gives all the relevant information about the story (I think) so I really should leave it alone - shouldn't I?
Anyway, I forgot to buy a padded envelope when I was out this morning so it will probably be off either tomorrow or early next week.

How very odd.

Can't remember who told me about the google alert thing but I thought why not and occasionally I get an email that someone has googled me. Except it isn't me of course - it's usually a doctor in Dakota. So when I got an email saying that there was a google alert I gave it a cursory glance as I usually do (just in case)only to find out that it was me afterall. Someone had googled this blog, the full address and everything. How very odd

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Problem solved

Remember the problem I had with the words I needed to find , well the answer came to me last night just as I was climbing into bed. I now know how to the story to the length I need. I'd just pulled the duvet up to my chin when the metaphorical light bulb went on and I knew what I needed to do. I had a note pad by the bed but sadly not a lamp so I had to hope that it was still in my head this morning. Luckily it was.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

A different editing problem

Normally I have to edit down. That is to say that I usually have to trim the odd word or phrase here or there to make a story fit a word count requirement. Just for a change I have the opposite problem today. I've typed up my first draft only to find out that I am 500 words short. Now that's a sizeable chunk. The problem isn't so much the padding out but padding out without waffling. This could be a problem.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

When oh when...

will I ever learn.
Picture the scene.
During the week I started to type up the short story that I had finished a day or two earlier wuth the plan of polishing and getting out a few days later. About 400 words in I hit a snag. There's something about the story that's not right. It's just a paragraph but it's an important one that's central to everything that comes after. So I tweak a bit here and then a bit there and I'm still not happy so eventually give up on it and go to bed. As it was about midnight then and my alarm goes off at 6.30 it seemed like a good idea.
However I digress. This morning when I am walking the dog I tell him my plans for the morning. I am going to check emails and see whats happening in blogland and be ready to get back to the story by 9am. It's a good plan. So at 10 o'clock (trivia and surfing got the better of me) I opened up Word and got to work.I have to be honest, I'd thought about how I was going to reslove this issue a lot and I hadn't worked it out. yet when I read through the 400 words that were already there 200 more flowed quite naturally from my fingers and hey presto they problem is solved in less than five minutes. And what do you know, I had to come right over here to blogland (now 10.10am) to tell you about it.
So in answer to my own question of when will I ever learn the answer is now.
A. Don't force it. If forty odd years of life have taught you nothing it should have taught you that you always work better on gut instinct. Give it time and the answer will come.
I should also try and learn to not be so easily distracted.
Back to the story.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Loses the raffle again.

This has nothing well very little to do with writing but I was here so I thought I might as well tell you.
There are 3 things that I need (okay want) to do today.
1. Write up a short story that I finished the other day.
2. Go into the kitchen and be a domestic goddess - cooking and baking for England.
3. Iron.
Decisions decisions.
After careful consideration I have decided that I can type up the story later when I'm on my own and won't be interrupted and cooking would be beneficial to everyone (in the house not the world obviously.) It would fell the house with (hopefully) nice smells provide (potentially) delicious things to eat and will fill the freezer. So cooking it is. Might even stick a bit of Il Divo on at full blast just for fun. Sadly once again the ironing fails to win the raffle.
Apart from needing to get on with stuff (as usual) there's not a lot happeneing on the writing front. A couple of editors promised to get back to me in a couple of weeks time but I'm not holding them to that cos we're all busy people and I'll hear from them when I do. This writing lark has taught me patience if nothing else.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

What will be will be

Thanks to everyone who gave me advice on what I should do about my facebook issue and I just wanted to update you on what I had decided to do.
Basically it is in the title of the post. I have decided that so what if certain family members get to "meet" some of the writers I know? So what if they find out that I keep a skeleton called Writing in the wardrobe? It's part of who I am and what makes me the person I am and I should embrace that.
I'm not going to announce over the family airwaves that "I write this that and t'other and have been published here there or wherever" but if it should come out over time then so be it. I think that the reaction from some will be why do you bother and what do you think you're going to achieve by it but you know what that's fine. I bother because I enjoy it and I'll achieve whatever I can.