Digging and changes

Well, after doing a little digging, it seems being a Quarter Finalist in the Writers of the Future Contest is good, but by no means exceptional. I figured as much.

With the deadline looming, today I sent off Genesis Six as my latest WOTF entry. I’m a little worried, as it’s only 2100 words (they take up to 17k), but it’s tightly written, with a great build-up of tension and good characterisation. It is especially polished after the KSP SF crew mercilessly ripped into it.

I also sent my first WOTF entry, Blasphemy on Eight Wheels, off to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. As always, I live in hope.

In other subs, I’ve been on a merri-go-round with Midnight on the Jetty, Song of the Infernal Machine, Ian, and Plan Ni. In the last week, they’ve all been rejected, and I’ve since sent them on to markets that rejected one of the other stories in this bunch (eg. Plan Ni was rejected by Fortean Bureau, so I’ve sent Ian instead).

The good news is that a number of editors have invited me to submit more to their publication, in addition to praise aspects of my writing. While I’ve often had the praise in the rejections, this extra invite bit is certainly a pleasant change. Perhaps my name is starting to grow.

Also on the writing front, I schemed and schemed, coming up with a nasty trick to surprise Ange. Two nights ago, I wrote a surrealist piece which grew into a 1000 word flash story. The story, under the working title of ‘Fight‘, spewed from my keyboard in less than an hour. It was a raw, misunderstood thing, but one that I considered fairly powerful, if a little gritty. So, under a pseudonym, complete with fake address and email, I submitted this draft to Shadowed Realms.

The next day, when Ange and I were discussing the latest submissions (three others came in that evening), she gave a prominent thumbs DOWN to my pseudonymed masterpiece! At best, she considered it a rewrite, as the story seemed very much of two halves. It took a straight face and a solid ego to withstand some of her criticisms as we dissected the story, but in the end, the abject honesty has vastly improved what could have been an okay-at-best tale. So yesterday and today, I’ve polished the story, adding bits, subtracting others. It still stands around 900-1000 words, but on the whole is a more complete story. While I did consider formally submitting it for Ange’s consideration for Shadowed Realms, I decided I might try somewhere like Chizine first. I just have to give it a decent name.

Needless to say, this saga has kept Ange on her toes, and now she watches every submission like a hawk, wondering if something is amiss. She loves mindgames, and this has certainly sharpened her editorial prowess no end. Fun times ahead, I’m sure.

Speaking of fun times, I’ve been tweaking this blog a little. You may notice the changes in width (yes, the text is wider, and justified!), as well as the sidebar. Most notably, I have added an in-progress-meter type thing, with my current major projects. The number in green is the number of words (in 1,000 word [k] increments) and for collections, the number of stories I intend including. For instance, In the Heart of Midnight collection has 10,000 words completed, comprising of three stories – The Savage Redemption of Gaia, Victims of Circumstance, and ‘Fight‘ (or it’s new name). The planned total is 60k words, and 18 stories. Of course, all of the projects are just guestimates, and may vary considerably between now and the final draft.

Finally, I received an email from an old work mate(ette) from DIMA (The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs). It’s been the better part of five years since we last spoke, so catching up should be interesting, especially given that I’ve pinnacled in one career (government, in particular, Centrelink), and am now working through another (writing, of course!), in that time.

Oh, and my current favourite made-up word – Bejezeberry! This arose from Ange’s screwed up attempt at calling Hayley a ‘bejewelled Jezebel’.