Sparks Anthology

On Monday Burdizzo Books announced their next charity Anthology ‘Sparks’. Which includes my story ‘The Last Charge’,  my first published story. This anthology focuses on stories of horror, sci-fi, fantasy and bizarro with the theme of electricity.

Obviously I am over the moon at finally being published, but even more so that it’s in an anthology that is raising money for a good cause, in this case Resources for Autism, and the awesome people involved in the anthology. From Editors Matthew Cash and Em Dehaney through to the other writers in the collection. There are some really cool people involved and I can’t wait to see what they’ve all written.

Sparks is coming soon, please like their Facebook page and Instagram for updates, I will obviously be posting here when the book is out, but please feel free to follow me on social media, the links are on the right hand side of the screen.

Sparks Cover
Cover by Matt Hill
The authors in the collection are: Ash Hartwell, Calum Chalmers, Em Dehaney, Betty Breen, Peter Germany, Lex Jones, Christopher Law, Dani Brown, Matthew Cash, Mark Cassell, Samantha Hill, CH Baum, Pippa Bailey, GH Finn and David Court.

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2015 Writing Review

I came into 2015 with a very solid idea of what I wanted to write, but that went out of the window by the end of January. My plan was to re-write Earth, After Liberation so it tied into its sequel, Oppression, better. Then I’d write the third book in the series during NaNoWriMo 2015 and then edit them altogether once the third book was finished. None of this worked out at all. I think I was trying to over complicate the Earth, After Liberation re-write too much and it was beginning to loose its soul.

I’ve yet to go back to them as I don’t want to spend another three months working on something which wasn’t going anywhere. I think there’s something there worth saving but I’d like to get some new fiction done and finished. So for the foreseeable future I think they’re just going to have to wait.

The next major project I wanted to get done in 2015 was Project Apollo, which crashed and burned as well. Owen and I have been trying to make this story work for nearly a decade now and I’ve got to the point where I think it’s never going to work, but a lot of good has come from this failure.  We’ve got the potential to write at least a half a dozen stories directly from Apollo, probably more. We’re basically going to cannibalise it and take the individual stories and characters and build from there. I think what made Apollo such a hard story to write is that we have at least a half dozen Point Of View characters, as many A-level plot lines and equally as many B-level plot lines. Eventually I realised that we were trying to write a story with a huge amount of depth and complexities without building up to it with smaller, more straight forward stories.

I think Owen and I are a few years, and a number of finished books away from being able to pull off a story like that. As I said though its not been a total loss; we’ve got a lot of great stuff to pull from Apollo and we’re going to explore those for the moment.

Now onto my vampire collections. When I started on these again I managed to knock out about 15,000 words of story really quickly and with only a little trouble. I went back to this universe because I thought it would be a good way to rebuild my confidence after two major project for the year had failed, and it was going really well. Then I stopped for NaNoWriMo and lost my momentum for the vampire collection with it. When I resumed it in December I’d found that I was having trouble building a story, writing in 1st person, and keeping the characters true to how they are written in the first book and the first few stories of book two.

I took a break and wrote a short story about a mermaid, which I’m really happy with, but I haven’t been able to get back in the mindset of these vampire stories. I’ve got a few ideas on how to get back into the rhythm with them but that’s something for 2016.

I’m not going to say much about the mermaid story, aside from its written in 1st person and I may edit it to 3rd person as I like a lot of the content and think I could write more in that setting.

I won NaNoWriMo only after a serious kick up the butt from Chrystalyn. For NaNo this year I only had an idea which could be summed up in one sentence, and I will never write another long form piece of fiction based on that again. I got a good start but soon I was struggling and began to jump around a lot and write scenes with huge gaps between them and I soon realised that the story would need an absolutely huge edit-rewrite once NaNo was over.

As I said, NaNo cost me my vampire book momentum but Ive got a lot of good content to play with and I learnt to write more from my dark side and not worry about what people may think of some of what I write that may not be what people would expect.

At about three weeks in I was beginning to loose momentum. I think I’d gotten it in my head that as I’d need to do a lot of work on the story it wasn’t worth adding more to it until I’d read through and done some proper preparation on it. After a few days of me saying to Chrystalyn that I didn’t think I’d hit the 50k she basically told me to shut up and get writing. By this time I was needing 2000 words a day to finish on target. I think I rolled over the 50k with a day to spare, and I realised that I needed to hit that milestone as it showed me when the chips are down I can hit a deadline.

The Residents hasn’t moved forward much but we have done some work on it. It’s still a project I’m really excited about and looking forward to when both Chrystalyn and I are ready to commit the time needed to write it.

I have also written two outlines for Apollo universe stories.

Something I worked on towards the end of the year was creating a universe bible for all of the Apollo universe stories. I’ve written down a lot and just need to start typing it up.

I also wrote a ‘off the hip’ story for the Apollo universe at the end of the year. This is technically the first completed 1st draft that’s been written in this universe that doesn’t need extensive work to get it right. As of writing this Owen has read it and is very happy with it, but wants to add some details to it which we’ll be discussing soon.

I may not have completed many stories in 2015 but I learnt a lot. If a story doesn’t work it doesn’t mean its a failure because I took a lot of lessons from those failures. I hadn’t thought of it like that until Chrystalyn said it.

I’ve also learnt that I can hit a deadline, and can work on outlines without actually writing the story out. I’ve learnt a lot about world building and character development and growth. There’s a lot of other things that I’ve learnt this year as well, but they’re more subconscious and I haven’t realised I’ve learnt them until it occurs to me that I’m not making the same mistakes and so on.

I think I’ll look back at 2015 as a year where I didn’t finish much but learnt a lot more.

 

 

Good Morning, Monday

Last week I was getting myself fired up to get back onto the writing horse properly, then real life needed my attention. It stil does but I can afford to put a little attention back to writing. I tried to do that last night but I was too distracted by Orange is the New Black to really get stuck in.

What I did find was that the short story I’ve been working on needs more work than I thought it did. I’m wondering if I need to do a hand written draft or just sit down with it and make the changes on my computer (The first draft done on my phone). Both seem like hard work and I’m not sure whether the story will see the light of day in the near future anyway. So I’m not sure how much time I want to commit to it.

The AVG rewrite is moving along slowly. I’m trying to decide how detailed I want to make this final part of the story as I’m building up to the ending. The lives of the characters is settling down a little and I’m not sure how entertaining their lives are at the moment. It’s quite mundane activities that I think I may write as a little bit of a monologue till the next important part of the story needs addressing. 

1st Draft Is Done! 

I wrapped up the first draft of the short story I’ve been working on yesterday. It’s topped out at about 3500 words that I’m quite happy with but when I get stuck into the second draft I’ve got a few changes to make and I’d like to add a few words at the beginning of the story as well to explain the situation a little better. I’ve got to add some detail in as well, some of it is a little vague in places.

I’ve had a couple of days off of AVG as I’m a little stuck as to how to connect where I am now and where I want to be to build to the ending. It’s actually bugging me quite a lot so hopefully I’ll find a solution soon.

It feels good getting a draft completed, even if it is only a short story. Feels like progress 🙂 

Finding The Fun

I’ve had an idea in my head for a while now for a short story which has a connection to a WIP and today I took the bull by the horns and started work on it. I know I’m still working on the Avoiding The Game rewrite so this was something I’ll be working on around that.

As I said though, I just started work on it. I was queuing in Subway and the opening scene just popped into my head and I managed to get a couple of hundred words down then, and a couple of hundred between stuff this evening. It was freeing just being able to run with the story and not having any pressure on me to hit a home run with a first draft. 

It was fun again, and that is something that has been missing from my writing recently. I’m enjoying AVG but it’s a story I know quite well, and although I know how this one will end its still a journey of discovery and it’s exciting me a lot. I’m really itching to get stuck into it but I’ve still got AVG to get done, so I may use this short story as a sort of reward for getting a minimum word count done on AVG.

I’ve started writing this short story on my phone, which gives me a lot of freedom as to when and where I can add words. I need to get into the habit of taking advantage of the fact I’m carrying a computer around in my pocket.

Just a quick post tonight, I’m tired and I’d like to get an early start on the day tomorrow.

Have fun, everyone 🙂 

Monday 2nd March

I managed to get some words written both during my lunch break and this evening. In total I wrote about 680 for the day. I’ve dropped my daily goal down to 500 words, for two reasons: 1- I’m writing longhand and its slower for me than it is to type. 2- With how disillusioned I’ve been feeling recently, and being hampered by a stubborn head cold, I decided to drop the target from the 1000 word mark to something that I feel is a lot more attainable for how I am right now.

I finally thought up a title for a short story that I’m planning on sending out to the magazines for submission soon. Titles are a pain in the backside as I don’t find them easy to think up, but when I do I tend to like them and this one I think suits the story really well. One of my Beta readers agrees as well. I’ve sent that story to another Beta reader today and once I get those thoughts back and made decisions on whether changes need to be made I’ll be sending it off to try and find a home.

I did also send a copy of the Earth, After Liberation re-write to Owen to get his thoughts on it. I’d like to hear what he says and decide from then what I’m going to do with the story. I’ve invested a lot into that story and I don’t like the thought that it’s dead in the water, but we’ll see. No matter what I don’t think I’ll be working on it again this year in any real way.

I’ve felt pretty good today, much like what I think of myself to be. This surprised me a little as I got a late night (damn you Game Of Thrones 😉 ) but the day has been pretty good and I’ve felt a lot like my old self again. I’m all but over this cold, although I am going to take cold capsules for the next couple of days just to be sure. And after talking to Owen on Saturday about the short story I mentioned earlier (he liked it a lot) I’m feeling better about writing. I did also have a friend on Friday give me some moral support. I needed to hear what she had to say, just a little moral support and belief in me.

Looking Back at January

I think this January just gone is going to be one that I have mixed emotions about. Before adding in the hand written words I’ve done this last week I’ve written about 17,000 words this month. All of those on Earth, After Liberation. A story that as I wrote more and more of it I felt that it was getting worse with each word. That’s one of the reasons why I’ve stuck it in a draw for a few months before going back to it. I’ve tired to start red-penning it but I was just getting more and more disillusioned with it as I went and that tells me that it’s not anywhere near good enough. I think it’s lost its identity and I think some of that may have been the way I was writing it. At times it felt very robotic and I don’t know if that was because I’m trying to stick to an outline top closely or that it’s where I’m typing it as opposed to writing it with a pen and paper; I simply don’t know. It doesn’t feel like the same story that I began writing how ever long ago it was. Where I’m writing on the Avoiding The Game re-write with a pen and paper, and without an outline aside from the original draft I wrote, it’s coming out quite well even if it is a bit more of a slower process.

Something that has been a bit too much of a distraction this month has been me thinking about how many things I want to get published this year. I think that has taken too much of my attention away from the actual craft of writing and at this stage in my writing I need to be focusing on the writing and not all the other bits and pieces about self-publishing or submitting to magazines. If I can get the writing quality as good as I’m able to and the stories right, then I can look more at the publishing side of things.

I mentioned submitting to magazines in the last paragraph and I have still only made one submission, which I need to change this year. I’ve got a short story that is almost there. I’ve got some grammar edits to make before sending it off to a couple more Beta’s before I do submit it. I have high hopes for this one as I think it’s quite a good little story 🙂

So despite it feeling like January has been a bit of a let down for me I’m looking at the positives and learning the lessons. The main one is that just having an outline doesn’t mean it’ll be a piece of cake to get a good draft done.