Freedom From The Mundane - A Writer's Blog

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Wrapping Up October

Well, well, well. Not only is it the Eve of NaNoWriMo, the GDR summary day for October and the start of my favourite month of the year, but it is Halloween as well.

Although autumn begins in October, it isn't until we get to the depths of it that I really enjoy it. In October the late summer evenings are still fresh enough in the back of the mind to make it too far from autumn. November brings us on the verge of winter, and the dark nights, some calm with silvery moon, others stormy with high winds and rain fresh in from the North Sea.

I like the dark mornings. Walking to work in the pitch black with only the early birds and the odd fox as company. The dark nights, when accompanied by a clear sky and bright moon, take me back to when I lived with my parents and would be studying for my exams.

I would sit at my desk studying, listening to a tape with Pink Floyd's The Wall on one side, and Yello's Stella album on the other. The tape would repeat time and time again until the lyrics and tunes became synonymous with that period of my life. If I looked to the right I could see out my bedroom window, at the frozen fields and golf course, the leather works and the hill behind. Between the hill and the next house I could see the shimmering lights of Johnstone and Linwood, and beyond that Paisley.

There is one image that brings all of these memories together:

I gave my Slick synopsis one more run through today, but there was not much else I can do to it. I am so totally charged from this, and part of the energy comes from knowing I have prepared properly for it and done my research. Rankin told me; "you can never do enough research. and when you have, be prepared to only only use 5% - but you must do it. Even if it takes a week to understand something and it results in only a single sentence, it's still worth it."

I further narrowed down my selections for the cover to Poolside Poetry during the evening to try and take my mind off NaNo. I was just getting too excited and annoying everyone with my jabbering. I'm having trouble selecting a suitable title font. The one I've been working with is good but hollow, so has no real impact when placed over the images. I prepared a few different covers, each with a font I think might work. Still wasn't sure so I may have to go searching once again to find one that works for the book.

Took my mind off everything (because I can'tstart or finish anything until November starts now), by watching Sleepy Hollow on Film4. I saw it in the cinema, where I thought it came across better, but it's still an excellent film.

I was in two minds whether to stay up until midnight and start NaNo, or get up early as planned. Only my crazy urge to get going was making me consider staying up all night. But that would be getting ridiculous. I went to be around 11pm and set my alarm for 5am.

October's GDR Review

* Complete as much pre-research and synopsis for NaNoWriMo novel, Slick - done with all the plotting, sub-plots, characters ad formate. Ready to go!
* Continue with TSDR short story exercises - complete up to a natural point. Sensory exercises on hold.
* Take a look at Stella to see if revisions should be made - decided no. I'll take my chances. Too much work would be involved with it and is meant to be a tribute to the album so am too reluctant to change anything. May not see publication as a result but I don't care, it was always a personal thing. I like the story and I like the characters. I can always use them in something else later. The story stays.
* Re-write On A Monday Morning - done. Resubmitted to Wildchild.
* Finish typing up Wide Awake and make edits - completed type-up. Edits IP but on hold.
* Follow up on Stella submissions - 3 waiting, 13 still to go, 5 rejections (1 after a partial request)
* Follow up on Hunting Jack submissions - 4 waiting, 7 rejections (1 after a partial request) - not sending out any more for now
* Submit Water of Leith - Ephemera Magazine
* Keep on top of submissions list

* Work on new book, Poolside Poetry - all poems fully drafted and compiled. Cover photography shoot on 29/10. Just to design final version of covers and publish.
* Write more poetry - not done
* Keep checking listings for performance poetry nights - done. Won't be going to any next few weeks what with NaNoWriMo

* Complete work on Scotland's Treasure for November column - Blockheads gig reviewed. May may be going quarterly with Nov. Cancelled.
* Plan and begin work on January's Scotland's Treasure column - Spotlight on Aberfoyle. Locality, history, what it offers, getting to etc.
* Interview Scottish poet for TSDR - Had to be cancelled. Waiting for new date.
* Continue actively seeking work in specific markets - Ongoing. Subs made this month were specifically targeted.
* Continue looking for freelance gigs, but not for during November - Done. No assignments received.

Marketing and Promotion
* Prepare new press release for NaNoWriMo - not done
* Create new standard Fringe Fantastic leaflet and poster - not done
* Re-analyse promotion of FF based on new information gained at Book Festival - approached ElvisShakespeare Bookshop. Arranged to meet. Had to cancel. Still to rearrange.
* Complete cross-promotion with Fife B&B for Fringe Fantastic - not done
* Keep websites up to date - done
* Follow up on PR received - done

Reading and Research
* Read more poetry - various chapbooks in house and stores
* Read more fiction - completed reading Lifeless by Mark Billingham. Reading The Flood and Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin

Other Projects
* Stay on top of editorial work for TSDR - done. Might be going quarterly.
* Work on ARS Anthology - send out emails as no work will be done on this in November - on hold. The forum has slowed down and too much other work to justify pushing it just now.

Things That Turned Up
* Put together website for Poolside Poetry (
* Second Edition of Fringe Fantastic released. Website updated and press release put out.
* Organised office and bookshelves before NaNoWriMo

Submissions Made
* Water of Leith to Ephemera Magazine
* On A Monday Morning to Wildchild

* All the research and advance preparation of Slick for NaNoWriMo
* Sending off the proof copy of River Monkeys to Anchor Books for the anthology

* Only a Bagel rejected by Wildchild - reworked to be sent back out
* Had to cancel bookshop owner and poet interviews. Outwith my control and adjustable, but still a disappointment
* Lack of any new fiction written the entire month

Fiction - 0
Non-Fiction - 13,300
Poetry - 0

Outstanding Submissions

Short Fiction
Pulp 1
3am Magazine 1
Barcelona Review 1
The Portable Muse 2
Crimespree Magazine 1
One Story 1
ThugLit 1
Ephemera 1
Wildchild 1

Long Fiction
Stella 3
Hunting Jack 4


Interactive Dad 2

If it weren't for my prep work for NaNo and my work on Poolside Poetry
, this would have been a disastrous month. I got no new fiction or poetry done and managed to hook myself zero writing assignments. Add to this the failure to meet the bookshop owner and Scottish poet, one could not be blamed for claiming this as my worst month ever.

But it wasn't. I completed the manuscript for Poolside Poetry
including the cover photo shoot and website. All that remains is to edit the cover to make it final, request the ISBN, proof the preview copy and launch the damn thing. A November launch is still not out of the question.

Work on NaNo took up most of my time. I wrote a few thousand words on character profiles and synopses, which if I had added the total words into my fiction count would have given it a 4,400 word boost. But I never counted it as it is not true fiction. Working and researching the novel has been a great experience in itself. Working through the plots and characters gave me a real buzz.

There was a period during the middle of the month where some personal time had to be taken. This amounted to around 10 lost days, so again, I will not be putting myself own over this. It had to be, simple as that.

I did get a couple of rewrites done and submissions made through them, so I have still been active and flexing my writing muscles.

The next month is all about NaNoWriMo. No time to think about the past just now. Only the future.
Colin 7:28 am


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