Here’s a run down of all the stories I’m working on and what I’ve learned or found useful over the last month. There’s also a wee update on what I’ve read and my goals and current progress against my January goals.
Work in progress
The Camp – Novel
The first draft of my first novel is done. It’s been sitting since September. I’ll pick this back up on 1 April next year and not stop until 2nd draft is 100 %. I’ve been taking notes on this and if I can race through all the short stories I want to pen in the first three months, I may jump into this one earlier than expected.
Status – Benched, until 1 April 2019
Jars – Short
My next purebred horror story is currently being reviewed by an editor. I’m super stoked with how this turned out and I’ve got high hopes for it. I’ll pick it up again once I get the next round of stories drafted.
Status – Second draft done, awaiting editor comments
Round – Short
This story, about a boy in a bad family situation and a roundabout, has gone really well. I’ve received comments on it. I’ll distance myself from it for a while longer before jumping back into it ahead of submitting it to a competition.
Status – Will start final draft at the end of January
Endless Circles – Short
I dumped this story at the end of last year as it didn’t work. Everything about it was a mess so I buried it. It’s stayed with me ever since and I found a way to tweak it to make the character stand whilst bringing it closer to the serious message I wanted to get to with it.
Status – First draft done and will redraft to get to editor by 31 Jan
Well – Short
I nearly cried when doing the outline for this one which I’m taking as a good sign. This is another horror story about a close family unit which I’m hoping will punch people in the gut. The situation as it unravelled in my mind certainly made me emotional.
Status – First draft nearly completed
Sunshine – Flash
This flash fiction story, about a rubbish situation, is ‘on the pile’ at the mo. If I get through my short stories in good time I may return to this sooner but I’m fine with it sitting a while longer.
Status – 2nd draft paused
Submissions awaiting response
I have four stories (Dark Days, Falling, Left Behind, The Hag) doing the rounds at the moment and expect to hear back from three publications by the end of the month.
I received my first ever rejection but the magazine I sent it to was a bit of a long shot. Reach for the stars though, right?!
Writing goals for January
• Decide what novel to write next (Done)
• Second draft of Jars (Done)
• First draft of Endless Circles (Done)
• First draft of Well
• First draft of Wasps
• Second draft of Endless Circles
What I’ve learned…
Submissions take forever!
Having only submitted my four stories to five different publications, I’m still very new to the whole thing but it takes forever. Having a background in PR definitely helps as it is very similar to submitting a press release to a paper.
I will never submit to a publication without reading their stories first and I’ll always pour over the submission guidelines in minute detail. It’s not a part of the process you want to rush having spent so much time and energy crafting a good story.
Hemingway was right
I read an article with top writing advice from the pros recently and in there was a quote from Hemingway. His tip, essentially, was to leave your story when your in the zone and feel positive about it, instead of writing until you feel bad about it and then coming back again later to fix it.
I’ve done this a couple of times and it seems to help.
And on Hemingway…
I’ve found a new top five favourite book of all time. The Old Man and the Sea is such a splendid work of art that I instantly want to read it again. I highly recommend it (and For Whom the Bell Tolls). I’ll be making my way through more Hemingway soon.