Tuesday, 21 December 2010

The New Anthology

I’ve been accepted into another anthology. This one (appropriately) is an anthology of Angel stories to balance out the Demon stories in the last Bridge House publication I was in.

‘The Angel Stone’ was written (well, the opening anyway) in the galleries of Colchester Castle on a slow day when there were just two visitors who had already been harassed by me enough and didn’t want to talk about history any more. The tasks at hand had been done, the glass polished, and to keep my sanity, I’d carried a small notebook and started writing by one of the Roman displays.

It was meant to get my brain going on the demon story, which it did do, but not the one that was published – that was something meant for an entire different publisher who didn’t like it as much. My original demon story, ‘Demon Inherited’, now published as a flash fiction with Pill Hill Press (see Daily Bites of Flash Fiction at the side of the page), was inspired by the idea that everybody has demons, but what if someone could actually see them on other people.

Spinning off that idea, what if angels weren’t just heavenly beings, but something inherited in the same way that we inherit our parents’ demons…. So in ‘The Angel Stone’, the manifestation of inherited angels comes in the form of a stone that is passed down from family member to family member until the right candidate is found. I suppose it’s a bit Witchblade, but more of a good-inspired power rather than dark.

Anyhoo, I’m very pleased to have been chosen for the anthology and even more pleased that I can put the angel anthology next to the demon anthology on my bookshelf (even if that demon story has very little to do with my angel story).

My next plan of attack on the writing front will probably change a bit. I do want to formally submit my historical fiction novel for teens to some of the larger houses, despite knowing that they are very unlikely to even read subs, let alone take on one. But the stubborn determination in me is taking over – and yes, the delusions too. It must be a writer thing. To bring things back to reality, I’ll be hitting all the agents with my scribbles too. I had a few bites with two previous children’s stories, but no takers; maybe this time will be different?

Aside from the novel, I think I’ll be focusing more on paid writing work. That means no more anthologies based on royalties (you just have to split them with so many people that it comes to pennies by the end of the month). Pill Hill usually pay for subs, so even though they generally publish various genres of adult, it’s nice to have a bit of payment (the last story paid a whopping £3, but it was still instant gratification).

Okay, enough ranting…


Wednesday, 1 December 2010

NaNo conclusions

It’s now 1 December and NaNo writers all over the world are breathing a deep sigh of relief. Now, apparently, it’s the month for editing. Stop breathing and panic!

I really enjoyed doing NaNo at first. It got things moving along, new characters developed, the storyline took a major (and improved) turn, and some latent characters decided they needed major threads. It looked as if it was all coming together. Until I realised that 50k words would be in no way representing this tale. Fair enough as the genre for trad fantasy usually is a bit meatier anyhow. But knowing that I couldn’t get a whole book out in the month made NaNo feel pointless.

Five days until the finish, despite being a little ahead of my schedule for 50k words, I stopped writing. I hate the work. I despise all the characters. And if I even see one sentence more from that book, I think I’ll throw myself out the window onto the new Georgian-style spire on top of my new conservatory (thank you builders for finishing on time after all that!!!).

The thing about creative writing for me has always been how it envelops all my senses as I write. I truly enjoy every moment of the creation and about half way through NaNo, I began to loathe it. It was too forced, too quick. I didn’t have time to really get to know each character and take them through the weeks with me. I think, in short, that NaNo is not really for me. I’ll use it still to keep certain targets as it’s good to have that sort of motivation, but as for a complete 50k novel in a month… nope. It just takes out all the joy.

Having said that, I will finish the last 20-30k of my novel in next year’s NaNo and then use some of the extra time to begin redrafting. I may hate it now, but there was a time when I was head-over-heels in love with the thing and I’m hoping to rekindle the romance.