Freedom From The Mundane - A Writer's Blog

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

February's GDR Review

I woke at 6am this morning in jet lag mode, wide awake and my head buzzing with energy. I have no idea where it came from or why, but I knew I wouldn't get back to sleep again. So, I got up and despite the presence of the Baltic winds, I found myself in work with a fresh cappuccino by half past seven.

Work was dull and boring. The day dragged thanks to my early start though I did, reluctantly, get a lot done. Lunchtime was the best part of the day. Club Sandwich (best coffee shop around) does an excellent array of soups at lunchtimes and has started to heavily bleed customers from the larger sandwich store next door, the chain that is Finnegans.

There choices range from everything from Red Thai Chicken to Spicy Bean and Moroccan Lamb to Flaming Steak plus all the usual suspects like tomato and basil. Today I had Green Thai Chicken Soup - wonderful.

While I eat my soup I started rounding up my GDR for the month, the results of which are at the end of this post. I also got through the following pieces of work:

I wrote, polished and published my weekly post at The Scruffy Dog Review Blog. Click here to read how I develop my fictional characters.

I wrote yesterday's entry for my own blog. Click here to read (though you already should have read it).

I did a couple of edits on Under the Skin that the editor I am working with at Wildchild Publishing asked me to look at before the piece is published later in March.

I finished writing and polishing a new article for Interactive Dad Magazine, Dads Are Kids Too and submitted it for publication.

Not bad for an hour's work!

This evening I was delighted to be asked by a fellow writer if I would be a beta reader for her novel WIP. This means I get the opportunity to read her book in advance and comment on it in a critical and constructive fashion. It also means when she's famous I can say I was one of the first to read it. YAY! Seriously though, it's a great thing to be asked by one of your peers and naturally I want to do my best job and give it my full attention. I can't wait to read it.

February's GDR Review

* Work on Stella - reread twice, edited up to where I was and another 2.5k written.
* Complete first redraft of Hunting Jack - complete. Extra 200 words added even after final KIC issue ditched.
* Change ending to Hunting Jack - last issue ditched. Stevie doesn't die therefore an open ending. Full manuscript formed for first time. Ideas forming for series of McCann novels.
* Keep on top of submissions list - complete. Triggered a load of rejections. Made list of 1st, 2nd, 3rd round of submissions to make for each short story and poems I want to sub. Lots more journals and magazines to consider now so need to tighten up process.

* Write poems if the moment takes - none written.

* Write story/article for Being Dad Anthology - still pending.
* Write four weekly blog entries for TSDR - 4/4 complete (Welsh, Cookson, Ecstasy film, Character Dev.)
* Write and submit another step-dad article for Interactive Dad - complete (Dads Are Kids Too).

Marketing and Promotion
* Continue marketing and promotion of Fringe Fantastic (see s/sheet for details) - complete.
* Follow up FF review/interview requests - Still in progress.
* Keep website up to date - complete.

Reading and Research
* Release Tall Tales and Short Stories Vol.2 into the wild - really have to do this but still not done.
* Read from my 'waiting to be read' pile - Ian Rankin's The Black Book and an anthology of Poems on the Underground.
* Research The Cold War - want to get some books on this as well as web research. Not as urgent now since Stella took a different direction while writing.

Other Projects
* Stay on top of editorial work for TSDR - complete.

Things That Turned Up
* Wrote short story on train to Newcastle - Under the Skin.
* Asked to write and read a short reading at my sister's wedding in July.
* Applied for freelance job as broadcast scriptwriter.
* Bought and read Poems on the Underground anthology.

* Fringe Fantastic to be reviewed in Issue 25 of Scotland Magazine.
* Under the Skin accepted by Wildchild Publishing for March 2006 issue.

* Heart of a Child rejected by Fringe Magazine - 9/2/06
* Loaded rejected by Glimmertrain Press - 11/2/06
* What a Waste rejected by Glimmertrain Press - 12/2/06
* The Blind Man of Cathkin Street assumed rejection from The Edge Magazine - 15/2/06
* The Blind Man of Cathkin Street assumed rejection from The 13 Magazine - 15/2/06
* A Bond of Faith rejected by One Story - 15/2/06
* The Oasis rejected by Adirondack Review - 17/2/06
* The Oasis rejected by Wildchild - 17/2/06
* Daffodils rejected by Wildchild - 17/2/06
* Heart of a Child rejected by Summerset Review - 18/2/06
* The Oasis rejected by Glimmer Train - 19/2/06
* Daffodils rejected by Gorlan - 20/2/06
* Neglected TSDR column for March from GDR. Had to put together at short notice. Forgot I need to be a month ahead with the writing of it.

Fiction - 4500
Non-Fiction - 16900
Poetry - 0

Outstanding Submissions
Short Stories:
Whisky Snatching to Writing Magazine
A Bond of Faith to The Portable Muse

Dads Are Kids Too to Interactive Dad Magazine

I've bounced back. After a terrible month in January where practically nothing got done and my motivation was at its lowest ebb, I have managed to turn it all on its head during the shortest month of the year.

I have shifted my focus this year to fiction and this month saw me take huge strides towards maintaining that goal. I completed a full redraft of Hunting Jack including a restructuring of the final stages of the book and over 2500 words of Stella, which means it is about one third complete in the writing. I could have written more (should have) but I stalled with the story during this month. I re-read the manuscript to where it was up to several times, before I realised the story was moving in the wrong direction.

I also wrote a short story, Under the Skin and within three weeks saw it accepted for publication in Wildchild Publishing, a literary journal I have long been trying to get into.

Alongside my fiction successes I kept up to date with my Scruffy Dog commitments and other non-fiction article ideas I want to keep moving with.

The failures column is overflowing you may notice. I chased up a lot of the submissions that were starting to get dated and started adding to my submissions list as part of a larger re-org and streamlining of where I send my work to. This triggered a lot of rejections but it also got editors responding to my emails in a less formal manner. In a lot of the cases I got personal emails back in response to my follow-up rather than standard rejection letters. I will make sure they don't forget my name and thus, it proves that every cloud has a silver lining.

So to summarise, it's been a good month but there's plenty of room to do more. Lots of creativity, lots of fiction and an acceptance in a highly respected journal. Can't say fairer than that.

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Colin 12:30 pm


Checked out your Developing Characters article. It was great! I love people watching. One of my favourite cafes has a bar at the window with stools where you can sit, enjoy a coffee and just watch the world go by. I like to look at people's shoes and make up a quick story about how they got those shoes. Did they yearn for them? Were they hand-me-downs? Something their wifes bought for them while shopping one day? Silly, but a lot comes out of it! :)

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