Tag Archives: novel writing

The End is Only Just Beginning

I haven’t written in the last week, not so much because I was on holidays and gorging myself as I was busy. In fact, I didn’t gorge myself except for some wine imbibition. Otherwise, I was finishing up the rewrite of my novel The Fool’s Game. It’s languished for a long time and I always meant to rewrite it…again.

Then I read about the Terry Pratchett prize by the famous humor fantasy author in England. The contest was free to enter and it was for a manuscript that takes place on Earth in some way. My novel fit the bill and I’m of a Commonwealth country, one of the rules for entering. The prize is a publishing contract and 20,000 pounds. That would be lovely to get.

I used the deadline, today, to work on the novel over the past few months, getting down to the wire and the nitty gritty today. I had to rewrite and shorten the synopsis as well and that was a good thing. I also added nine thousand words to the novel, changed a few things and gave more description. Will I win? That would be nice but there could be hundreds, even thousands of entries. I’m a competent writer or understands the techniques of writing. That will give me a better chance than probably half of the entries, but then it will depend on the uniqueness of the story and how well it’s told. I won’t know until March so no point worrying about it now. It’s winging its way across the ether to the other side of the pond.

Other writing news includes that the Evolve anthology http://www.vampires-evolve.com/with my well-received story “An Ember Amongst the Fallen” is number five on the Barnes and Noble list of the top vampire books of the year. That’s great news. http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Explorations-The-BN-SciFi-and/The-Best-Vampire-Releases-of-2010/ba-p/767920

The Horror Library Vol. 4 story has not been receiving any reviews yet. I’ve only found two and “Exegesis of the Insecta Apocrypha” isn’t even mentioned which is disappointing. I’ve always said I’d prefer a bad review than no review so not being noticed sucks. The editors also had great hopes for this disturbing story, but the book hasn’t been out long so there is still hope for it. And the story did get good comments when I read it at Orycon. Besides those two stories, “A Taste For Treasure” also came out this year in Alison’s Wonderland, as well as two poems, “Of the Corn” in Witches & Pagans #21, and “Bones of the Earth” in the summer edition of Country Connection magazine. Not a bad year and “Lover’s Triangle” should have been out by December but should be out soon in New Vampire Tales.

That wraps up the writing year, but we’re only as good as our last written story. I will now have to catch up on some slush reading for ChiZine Publications, getting ready to judge poetry for the Rannu competition which closes as the end of January I believe, and then of course write other stories. I can now write the steampunk story placed just before the US Civil War and which is already plotted out. I just didn’t have time.

Then I have another dark story to write about skin and power, and there is a backburnered sci-tech story waiting to be pushed along. And now that I’ve rewritten that novel it’s time to get going on the other novel which is under construction. I hope this coming year will be even more stellar for writing.

And to all of you who read my blog, may you have a fantastic year, achieve your goals and have fun and love. Happy New Year to all.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under art, Culture, entertainment, erotica, fantasy, horror, memories, poetry, Publishing, science fiction, Writing

Writing: Contest Receives No Entries

Here are a couple of contests from the UK. The first, in honor of H.G. Wells received no entries by the July deadline because of the rules, most likely. Although the prize was for one thousand pounds (that’s about $2,000 in US/Canadian currency) no one entered. One reason was that the 1,000 to 5,000 word stories were to be handwritten and entries limited to people 25 and under. The contest organizer, Reg Turnill, sponsored this as part of the honoring of H.G. Wells who spent 13 years living in Folkstone, England. The Wells festival takes place from Sept. 17-19

Turnill, 94, who once interviewed Wells said that the rules for no SF, depicting contemporary life in Kent, and having the stories handwritten probably contributed to no entries.  The deadline has been extended to Aug. 15 and stories will get points if handwritten but it’s no longer required. I must say I would be hard-pressed to handwrite a story because the use of keyboard and a mouse have contributed to tendonitis and I can’t write that much anymore. Moreso, anyone under 25 is probably so used to keyboards that handwriting is a bit foreign to them. It’s true that long ago, handwriting was taught in schools and penmanship was encouraged but that stopped so long ago I’m not even sure if my mother was ever taught penmanship. Turnill wanted the stories handwritten “to address the low standard of literacy and handwriting these days.” Although handwriting is indeed less than it was literacy doesn’t really have much to do with handwriting.

Turnill also said, “It’s an important art in itself and many of our most famous authors find that’s the best way to do creative writing,” but I wonder in fact how he knows this as most writers I know use computers these days and maybe a few use typewriters. I do sketch out stories sometimes n paper, especially if I’m out, and I keep paper in my purse for this but I don’t write out a story anymore, though I once did. If you think you have a story that fits, and you’re of the age group, you can still enter. There is an over 25 category but I believe the other rules apply.

HG Wells entry form

Kent News article on the festival and contest

More accessible and with a bigger prize is the Terry Pratchett Prize being offered by Terry Pratchet and Transworld Publishers. Open to anyone in the UK or other British Commonwealth countries, it is for a novel. The prize is a twenty thousand pound advance and publishing contract. It needs to take place on Earth, any Earth, any when and anywhere but here and now. This leaves a broad category for people to write within. And though Pratchett is known for his humor there is no caveat that the manuscripts must be funny.

Dec. 31st is the deadline, which gives many people a chance to finish a novel or clean one up. I may just have one that could fall into the category. We’ll see. For more information, check out Terry Pratchett’s site at: http://terrypratchett.co.uk/news%5Ctermsandconditions.html Good luck for those who wish to enter. And neither of these contests charge an entry fee.

Leave a comment

Filed under Culture, fantasy, humor, news, people, Publishing, science fiction, Writing

Kansas: Vignettes

It’s late and the workshop begins in the morning so this will be things I noted along the way, perhaps in order.

I found out that your bra can set off the airport security system. Seriously. I took off all my jewelry (except my rings which never set off the alarms) and I still buzzed the thing twice. They said, something up high is setting it off and when they ran the little wand over me it was the wires and clips on my bra. I bought it on sale but it’s well made.

I sat beside a horse rancher who had fingers the size of breakfast sausages and then some. Several fingers were bent to the side and I didn’t know if that was just from arthritis or from breaking horses all his life. He was a nice guy and we chatted about geography, him showing me the copper mine by the great salt lake (which I certainly wouldn’t have noticed) and talking about how the land had changed and cities come up. We talked about floods in Iowa and about the land flying over. He told me if I talked about sports in Lawrence I couldn’t go wrong as they called it the “sport city.” I guess the college basketball team has won championships.

I’ve flown often enough and never fail to love looking down on the land and seeing its great scape and what tales it tells of time passing. The was the first time I saw a truly awesome alluvial plain. I could see where there had once been a great river, wide and high and lake like in its middle, how it pushed might torrents of water along and through the land, carving out veins that branched and branched, growing ever smaller. The dark lines of those veins and the rivulets, even now long dried out, were still there to tell the tale. It was amazing. Then as the land flattened past the Rockies, there was evidence of a great lake, where the banks were still built up and the water had overflowed, pouring down one side, then eventually shrinking in on itself, smaller and smaller over thousands of years until only a few streams and possibly rivers remain.

We then hit the flat farm fields of Kansas, beautiful in the chequered pattern of greens, golds and browns, quartered and sectioned. Even through the farmlands the evidence of rivers still reveal themselves. Those branches and veins still flow with life-giving water, and trees delineate and embroider the shapes of the rivers. This was one of the best histories of geography that I’ve flown over and I’ve flown into the British Isles, India, the Himalayan foothills, Mexico and Cuba.

Oro, one of the short fiction workshop folk who lives in Kansas City picked me up at the airport and gave me a ride. We got lost at first, going north instead of west. Oro apologized and for the fact his car didn’t have air conditioning but I just said, hey, it’s an adventure. I’ve amazingly looked at all the travel delays with pretty good humor, which is a good thing. In some cases I would get downright bitchy so maybe all that work I’ve been doing on my brain is paying off. I just took everything as part of the whole grand adventure.

The dorms in Lawrence are…well, dorms, but way more spacious than I thought. Rhea and I are sharing a room, which actually turns out to be a room with a wide kitchen space and bathroom in the middle and another room at the other end. If we were college students we would have another buddy in each room but we have the rooms to ourselves and doors to each bedroom. I nearly froze the first day because I hadn’t figured out the esoteric air conditioning.

I’ve met all the workshop people: Lane, Barbara, Jerry, Larry, Stewart, Eric, GS (and Rhea) for the novel portion, and Mannie, Mallory, Eric, Chuck, Kent, Oro, Ben, Robert, Jean, (Carolyn who I met the next day) for the short fiction portion (though I think I’m missing a name). Barbara, Larry and Jerry are doing both. And of course there is Chris, Kij who is teaching the novel portion,and Jim Gunn, saying what they wanted to get out of the workshop. I of course want fame and riches. But seriously, it’s great to brainstorm and get other perspectives and see if there’s something I’m missing in plot.

I drank some homemade limoncello by the novel workshop Eric. Very nice and strong stuff, actually better than the store bought, which doesn’t have enough tang for my tastes. Last night we ate at a Greek restaurant (the only one in Lawrence), which also serves falafel and pasta. It’s the first time I’ve ever had a Greek salad with lettuce in it. They asked me if I wanted the olives and I said yes. I was given a whole two. We then took a walk around a wee park and a wee-er Japanese sort of garden, then meandered along a street of cool shops. Last night was very pleasant and it was great to meet fellow writers tonight where we ended up talking new technologies, conservation, pollution, etc. My brain is happy.

I’ll soon be doing some poetry editing for Chizine so Sandra felt obliged to actually get to my poems before I come on board. She accepted “Trials of Lemons,” a poem about bitter fruit and dragonflies. I’m not yet sure when it will be up.

Leave a comment

Filed under Culture, environment, history, humor, Publishing, Writing

Writing News & Kansas

I received my cheque from Shroud magazine this week for my story “Amuse-Bouche,” which means it should be out soon. http://www.shroudmagazine.com/index.html

My cheque also arrived for my story “Strict Management” out in the Cleis Press erotic anthology Open for Business, and the books arrived today. http://www.cleispress.com/index.php

And I also received word today that Maxim Jakubowski has accepted my story “Stocking Stuffers” originally printed in the Cleis Press anthology Naughty or Nice, for the Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 8to be published in 2009. 

Other than that, writing beyond this blog is on hold. For the CSSF novel workshop in Kansas I have had eight other people’s partial novels to read (up to about 50 pages) and critique. I have one and a half more to do and I leave on Friday. http://www2.ku.edu/~sfcenter/campbell-conference.htm The workshop begins next Monday in Lawrence.

The stories cover a wide range with a medieval epic fantasy, an uplift style SF space race story, two near future SF stories with altered humans (but by very different means and reasons), a world with specially empowered people and angels, an alternate history with Hitler, a magical mystery PI story, and a clairvoyant conspiracy with a mystery. My story falls into a pre-industrial medieval fantasy but on a different world with different species and gods. Overall, we have quite a range and everyone’s story is very intriguing so far.

I’m looking forward to my two weeks of being immersed in the creative medium, which ends with the Campbell Conference.

1 Comment

Filed under Culture, myth, Publishing, Writing