Project 1: and so it begins...

Project 1: The Short Story Collection

And so it begins... yep, my 2017 writing - other than ubiquitous random Flash - is
now off and running! To be in accordance with my plan I need to write a minimum of one short story a week to get a collection of 12 or so stories together in three months. Certainly doable.

Liver Pen 200

Well, I'm now one story in, yep! To be fair, in full on Blue Peter fashion, it was from a story I'd started earlier. It's spot on length wise, being just over 2500 words (aiming for 1500 - 3000 word stories). I'll give it a proper read through in a week or two to see how well it hangs together. It's a story that hasn't seen the light of day anywhere else yet. I'll probably try out at least a couple of them at the Poised Pen meetings over the coming couple of months. The stories are all going to be stand alone ones - the stories are to be held together by setting not theme.

The Thousand Word Prompt

I've also found another
half written story which could fit right in for Story 2 of Project 1. There's a 'slight' problem with it... It is written in a well detailed way up to the point it stops; but I have no idea where I was going with the story - I've probably a note in a notebook somewhere about it, but it is now effectively a 1000 word prompt!!





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Tragedy on the Lakeside

Lakeside Flash and Sunday Evening Fever

Off today and meeting mate for his birthday pints this afternoon, then a bizarre evening of music with.. er...
Tragedy a Heavy Metal band doing Bee-Gees covers 'and beyond'. I know not what to expect with that!

Tragedy
Tragedy

So reading and writing confined largely to the morning along with boring stuff like washing and ironing. Grrr.

First up was reading a few chapters of
Silmarillion. Another Folio edition, and another that has been sat on the shelves unread for far too long. Really enjoying the amazing world building with this. Short stories really, written as folklore or a biblical text, to set the background to LOTR and the Hobbit.

Then it was writing: it's a Sunday, so I've usually got to try
Angry Hourglass. I don't know why but it took a while to get a story from the picture this week (below). But got something done in the end. So as far as I'm concerned that's a win.

Lake
Photo: Ashwin Rao

Next writing will be something for Project 1. Or maybe 2...
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The First Great Discworld Audit!

Discworld Audit

As Weather Bomb Doris (okay,
Storm Doris) struck I was told my route was cancelled so I’ve ended up with an unwanted day off. Given the winds in north Wales it is not a bad day not to be out (but it means that I’ll have to work on Saturday or Sunday this weekend instead. Bit of a bugger, but so be it).

So what to do today while I’m avoiding the weather? Reading and Writing, definitely. But I also thought it’s about time I actually checked what Discworld books I’ve got. I’ve read a fair few of the 42 book series, but I know there’s books out there with my name on them next time I’m in a second-hand bookshop. The nicest books I've got are the first three of the series from the Unseen Library - a lucky buy when they first came out!

Here are the Discworld books in the order they were written (those in
bold are the books I have on my shelves, those in blue I ain't got).

Discworld Series:

The Colour of Magic (UL)
The Light Fantastic (UL)
Equal Rites (UL)

Colour of Magic

Mort
Sourcery (HB*)
Wyrd Sisters (PB)
Pyramids (PB) x2
Guards! Guards! (PB)
Eric (HB*)
Moving Pictures (PB)
Reaper Man (PB)
Witches Abroad
Small Gods (PB)
Lords and Ladies (PB)
Men at Arms
Soul Music

Interesting Times (HB*)
Maskerade (PB)
Feet of Clay (PB)
Hogfather (PB)

Jingo
Jingo (PB)
The Last Continent (PB)
Carpe Jugulum (HB)
The Fifth Elephant
The Truth (HB)
Thief of Time (HB)
The Last Hero
The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents
Night Watch (HB)
The Wee Free Men
Monstrous Regiment (HB)
A Hat Full of Sky (PB)

Going Postal
Going Postal (HB - with stamps)
Thud!(HB)
Wintersmith (PB)
Making Money (PB)
Unseen Academicals (HB)
I Shall Wear Midnight (PB)
Snuff
Raising Steam (HB)
The Shepherd’s Crown (HB)

HB - Hardback
PB - Paperback
HB* - Hardback 'Rincewind Trilogy'
UL - Unseen Library Edition


Things I have learned:

  • I have 9 books to look forward to which weren’t on my Reading List this year. Huzzah!
  • I have two copies of Pyramids. (I think maybe of Feet of Clay too)
  • I should put all the same author books together and not spread across four bookshelves.
  • I’m sure I’ve read Mort, but it looks like I’ve an excuse to get again. After that I’ve evidently got a few gaps to fill in.
  • I should have done this earlier… how many times have I walked passed these books and not picked up because I thought I’d read them…?
  • I need to print-out this list for next time I'm in a second-hand bookshop.

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Writing Plan (Draft)

Writing Plan - February 2017

Writing plan is developing folks, let's call it a first draft. Should be a bit more firmed up over next week.

Project 1 - Short Story Compilation - ebook
Project 2 - Non-Fiction Book - ebook
Project 3 - FT or 2HB - novel
Project 4 - HS1 or TTYA1 - novel or novella

I’m not going to put many details on what these projects actually comprise at the stage other than their general form. As they develop the working titles and contents will come out when appropriate.

Even with ‘just’ four projects I know I’m being over ambitious; at least in terms of finishing all four in the year. But if I work on all of them at different points I expect one or two will take on a life of their own and then the reality of things will become clear. Let's face it if I finish two of them I'll probably be pretty happy and if I finish three I'll be
chuffed to little mint balls!


Projects:

Project 1 - is to be a Short Story Compilation of probably 12-14 stories of between 1500 and 3500 words. I’ll aim for c. 2000 words but let the stories get to their natural length rather than force it.

Project 2 - is a Non-Fiction Book I’ve been thinking of getting done for a while and can drop in and out of as and when.

Projects 3 and 4 - novels or novellas both Projects are currently down as ‘either / or’ and will be firmed up over the coming couple of months. If you followed my NaNoWriMo last year then you’ll guess that Project 3 is either 'Fergie Time' or a.n. other novel idea. I’ll make that call over the next week or so.

The Projects aren't necessarily in the order of commencement or completion (but probably are). That said Project 4 would definitely be started after completion (or calling a halt on) of Project 3.

Fergie Time is the only writing project that has any significant writing actually done at this stage. But the three other potential stories in Projects 3 and 4 are partially developed in my noggin and on scraps of paper.

Timetable:

Ha ha! Bit early to get that sorted but I will need to firm up a plan including schedules for all the Projects or else they will likely slip without me even trying.

Project 1. My feeling is that Project 1 should be completable in three months from start to finish in terms of writing the stories, just on the basis of simply writing a minimum of one story a week.

Project 2. Would be c. 3 months to write as well. The issue is whether I can fit the work required within the same 3 months as Project 1; dropping onto sections of it between the fiction writing. Would be great if I could. Undertaking the two Projects simultaneously is certainly a s t r e t c h goal. But back in the day of my report writing days I would often work on multiple reports, letters and proposals in a day (not to mention reviewing reports) so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.

Projects 3 and 4. Maybe it should be Project 3 or 4? Writing and finishing a novel or novella this year is my biggest target if not my first. Fergie Time may have legs, but if not the three other potential ideas have great possibilities too and it may well be a case of starting writing the other three and seeing which flows easiest… Any of these may take 3-6 months each… er at least…

Other Writing:

Of course there’s other stuff to consider in between.

  • I always go in for Writing on the Wall Flash Competition even though they’ve really stepped back from it themselves. It’s just a tradition for me now.
  • NAWG. Poised Pen is a member of NAWG and I should enter a competition or two.
  • Would love to give a screen or radio play a try at some point. Will just see if it happens, but currently don't want it to get in the way of the four projects above.
  • Similarly submitting to a magazine or podcast would be great, but at this stage only if a piece comes naturally and doesn't get in the way of the above projects.
  • And of course random competitions I haven't spotted yet!

So much writing. But I have some scheduling to do...


Keep Writing Folks!

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Reading Over... Time to Write...

With A Notebook in One Pocket

I said I'd have a plan for my writing year by the end of the month and that I'd get on to it after I'd finished the book I was reading. Or more to the point, not read another book until I've got a plan in place. Well here it is... no, not the plan... I finished reading '
The Dispossessed' by Ursula Le Guin last night so when I go out later It'll be with a notebook in one pocket and NO PAPERBACK OR KINDLE in the other one. Scary stuff.


Ursula

I'm ten books in to the reading year, which is well ahead of my target while heading towards forty reads. So no pressure on my reading time from that perspective while spending time on the plan. But I'll miss the daily reading... so basically I best get this writing plan firmed up with both realistic and s t r e t c h goals my friends!

Writing App
Get writing

Get Writing and Keep Reading everyone.






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More Books!

More Reading and More on Writing Plans

Was delivering today in
Llanfairfechan and Penmaenmawr in north Wales. The last delivery was a reattempt in Penmaenmawr which gave me the opportunity to pop into the excellent Second-Hand Book Shop 'Escape Reality'. It's an excellent shop - two rooms rammed with second hand books and it has a reasonable quantity of SF books, which is always nice.

Payment at the shop is through an Honesty Box (well, a slot in a door).

Ended up buying
six books! A couple of which were picked as much as for the fab old SF covers as for the stories themselves.

The books included tomes from
Beryl Bainbridge, Bernard Cromwell, Brian Stableford, James White, and Roger Zelazny.

Books

Books3

Books2

Currently I'm reading my first Ursula Le Guin - 'The Dispossessed'

I've got lots of books on my shelves and on my current list to finish; and am currently reading a great book too. So I didn't really need any new old books, but I've got them anyway. Second Hand Bookshops. Gotta love 'em.

Thing is now I need to create some space on my shelves.
Or else get some more shelves!

Of course yesterday I pointed out that I'm trying to get my
writing plans sorted and all this reading may get in the way of it, or at least in the way of the immediate plans. So I've decided that once I've finished The Dispossessed I'm not starting another book until I've finished The Plan!



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The Pen of Serious Decision Making

Writing Plans

Right, I'm a month and a half into 2017 and I still haven't confirmed what my
writing plans are (see blog 10.01.17) and it's not good enough. It's time to undertake some serious thinking and make some serious plans.

I'm giving myself
two weeks now, so I'm putting on my Specialest Writing Hat and holding tightly The Pen of Serious Decision Making and I'm going to get a plan together. Oh yeah, baby!

Er, that'll be two months in to the year before "
The Plan" is in place. But it is what it is, and so on 1 March 2017 come rain, come grey nothingness I will have it.

One of the considerations in this two weeks is whether to go forward at this time with
'Fergie Time' from last year's NaNoWriMo or whether to bin it (or at least hold off on it) to concentrate on other projects. We will see... hopefully.

In other matters, following the
Reflex Competition entered on the 7 Feb, I have also entered the Writers & Artists competition (now closed). On 'reflection' I should have given the piece a better title. But typically it was a finish on submission day job. Ho hum. If I get to enter it elsewhere following its failure in this comp at least I can rename it when I revisit it! There's a couple more competitions that I think I will enter over the next month or so. Unless they get in the way of THE PLAN!

Keep Writing, folks!
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Metropolitan Dreams: A Good Read

Metropolitan Dreams

It's great to see so many regular flash writers (especially from the FlashDogs kennels) getting out and writing novels and over the last couple of days I've been reading
Mark A. King's brand new and first novel: Metropolitan Dreams.

I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it. Hats off to the lovely fella for writing such a fabulous story. Great characters, lovely entwined story strands, in interesting London settings depicting the fight between good(ish) and evil(ish) in a quest for balance(ish). And on balance a great read - get it on your Kindle or bookshelf now.

Metropolitan Dreams

Wonder which of the FlashDogs will be next up on the novel front? Whoever it is they'll be happy with it if it's as good a read as this.

Keep Reading. Keep Writing.

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A Reflex Action

Reflex Fiction Competition

Wrote a quick flash story for the
Reflex Fiction competition. The competition is theme-less so whatever you want goes - as long as it's between 180 and 360 words; ideal Flash Dogs length!

It's
free to enter, has cash prizes and is open until the end of February. So why not give it a go?



Reflex
Reflex Fiction website
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Dreams: Metropolitan and Otherwise

Dreams: Metropolitan and Otherwise

Novels seem to be coming more often than ever from the
Flash Dogs stable (okay, kennel) and this month it's Mark A. King's turn with 'Metropolitan Dreams'. I have just downloaded it for my Kindle and am looking forward to getting into it.
It is great to see any of our Flash Dog brethren head onward and upwards into other areas away from the flash fiction genre. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels like they are having their arse gently kicked to get their own keyboard in gear. One day...

Metropolitan Dreams

There's plenty of excellent stories from the Flash Dogs too of course in the three anthologies, all available from Amazon. Check out the Flash Dogs website for the books and information on the many authors involved.

FB-Flashdogs-Dark

In the meantime hats off to Mark for finishing his first novel. I'll tell you what I think about it when I've finished it. But first, well I better start it!

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