Sunday, 24 July 2011

Promises finds a home

This month's update has actually some information to update about!

In the middle of last week, Joe Vaz and his magazine Something Wicked accepted my short story Promises for publication. Hurray! Anyone following this blog will know that Promises has been out in the cold for quite some time. In fact it has been rejected 17 times (for various reasons from it being too long to 'not being the right fit for the magazine').

But that doesn't mean it wasn't liked by many of them. Here's what magazines have had to say about it thus far:

"The very strong" - Pseudopod

"Good writing" - The Opinion Guy's Speculative Fiction

"We loved this story. It's melodramatic, romantic, affecting and well-written" - Murky Depths

"An exquisite piece of writing" - Something Wicked

So now it has a home at Something Wicked which has already featured several award-winning authors including Arthur C Clarke Award winner Lauren Beukes, Sarah Lotz and Abigail Godsell. Promises should be appearing late this year or early next year. (I will be asking for early next year for reasons I shall go into another time).

As I have probably said before, my short stories serve a purpose. They are great exercises that increase my skills in writing and plotting, they're a great way to experience that feeling of victory which is especially important during the long hard slog of writing my trilogy, they're great fun to do and some of them bring in some pocket money, which is more than welcome. But the most important, I feel, is that they are steps toward my goal of becoming a full-time writer. All of my writing credits will be going on the covering letter for when I finally send off the novels to an agent and should help me stand head and shoulders above all the hundreds of other hopefuls they no doubt receive every month.

As an update here are my writing credits so far:

Contract                                        Twisted Tongue Magazine

No Longer Living                          RevolutionSF
                                                      Reprinted in Tales of the Zombie War

Kids                                              Electric Spec
                                                      To be reprinted in Bete Noire Magazine (Autumn 2011)

The Old Factory Award                Abyss & Apex Magazine (Winter 2011)

Promises                                       Something Wicked (Winter 2011 / Spring 2012)

Should look pretty good on a covering letter, I think. It shows I'm serious about writing, am not without talent and (hopefully) worth investing time and money in!

In other news the novels are progressing well. I cut out an entire 20 pages this week. 20 pages that were born of desperation and word count padding but are now no longer needed; a little stitching and it'll be like they were never there. An author once said if you can takes something out of a story without having to do much of a rewrite then it should never have been there in the first place. This was definitely the case.

Though my count is now inaccurate with things needing to be revisited and entire chunks being lifted out, I am now 49% through my current stage of editing.

Now, on to things I have read. This will be quite a short list for reasons that will soon become apparent.

The Accident - This is without a doubt the best Linwood Barclay I have read. The characters are good, the pacing is great and the way he threads the themes through the story is masterly. Well done to him for this.

A Red Herring Without Mustard - I have talked on Alan Bradley before. The main character Flavia De Luce is a very well realised character who jumps out of the page. The author is a man of mature years and I think it shows in her personality. She is a wish-fulfillment character, intelligent, precocious, curious everything a man would want to see in a granddaughter. He gets all the fun because he only has to see her seldom, the rest of us have to put up with here all day every day and a good slap around the face would do this girl wonders.

Double Indemnity - one of the few instances where the film is better than the book. There was a radio play called Double Jeopardy a few months ago (based on the true story) where Raymond Chandler is contacted by Billy Wilder to help him with the script for the film. At one point they describe James M. Cain's dialogue as terrible. They weren't wrong. Some of the stuff the characters say don't sound like they're coming out of a human mouth.

A Dance With Dragons - the big one. Most of this month has been spent reading this monolith. It's very well written but I won't have a proper opinion on the story until I've finished reading it.

So that's all for now.

As usual, thanks for reading.

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