flashdogs

Reviews, Reviewing and Deleting

Had feedback from two of the Flash Dogs on Fergie Time and have made the decision to finish it based on their comments. Thanks to those guys for their time. Once I've finished it I will have to develop the tightest disclaimer ever to protect my ass if the story is ever to be released to the wild (look these guys are real, they're obviously in a parallel universe very close to own but clearly not our own etc).

And to repay the grace of these Flash Dogs I've volunteered to review a book from another Flash Dog. The Dogs are really producing stuff right now, aren't they?

Memory

Talking of reviewing I'm getting around to going through the photographs on my computer, the damn things are clogging it up. I had over 54k photos on it, and you can see above the effect on my Hard Drive. Have deleted 2k today, but I'll need to get on top of it and aim to at least knock a third off. I mean I can't even need 30k photos can I? The 52k photos apparently equates to 195GB. It'll take ages to go through it. If I can knock it down to 150GB in the first instance I'll have doubled the free space on the HD so it's got to be worth the time.

Reading Challenge 9

With respect to reading I've managed to catch up with a few books over the last four weeks and have gone from 6 to 3 books behind schedule so maybe I could achieve my original goal. That would require me to read about a book a week or more. That could be affected of course by reviewing and writing myself and maybe NaNo if I chose to go for it. Right now I'd be happy with reading 32 or so probably. After finishing another Pratchett yesterday I've moved on to another classic writerer with a Philip K. Dick, another Oxfam buy - 'Confessions of a Crap Artist'.
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Maybe, Just Maybe

Thanks to Scrivener I managed to quickly and easily convert a document into Kindle format. Woo hoo! I had chosen the NaNoWriMo effort from 2016, 'Fergie Time' for no particular reason other than it was formatted in chapters and pretty substantial (50k+). It certainly wasn't the aim to do anything with it. I hadn't looked at it for ages, but seeing in on the Kindle it looked better than I expected and reading the first couple of chapters at it with fresh eyes after so much time made me think that maybe, just maybe, there is something there.

Talking of fresh eyes I made a shout out to several Flash Dogs to see if anyone would read the first few chapters and feedback whether it was worth working on to finish it. Within about an hour each said they'd look at it and almost as quickly - these Flash Dog types are super fast and super friendly - I've already got feedback and far from disheartening too. It wouldn't have been the end of the world if it had been all negative given it was effectively written over a single month. I'd really enjoyed writing it, but with the time gone since looking at it I don't feel overly invested in it at this point. Perhaps that is about to change.

Each Dog has carried on reading beyond the first two or three chapters, which must be a good sign. The humour seems to be okay. Though some of the pointed barbs maybe need to be less pointy. And I probably need to make it less blokey. I know everyone says writing humour is hard and I get that, getting the level right for the story and not putting in funny line after funny line or throwing things out there just for a punchline to come along, or then again not having enough fun in it so you forget it is supposed to be funny... well it's not something I've really tried before.

I wrote it back in 2016 and maybe I didn't think about it enough before hand, for my story is chock full of real people i.e. named football players, managers and pundits (as well as Mary Berry and Sue Perkins). Let's face it the clue is in the name of the book. But I hadn't considered any legal issues of having real people in a fiction story. It could kill it dead in the water in terms of publishing it.

So I was in a bit of a quandary as to whether to finish it anyway, whether or not it could ever get published. Or I could spend that time on a fiction with all fictional people in it. Bearing in mind it's 50,000 words long and I reckon it'll take another 10-20 to finish it I'm minded to finish it for my own sake. Maybe I'll end up with a book that can't be used but I'd have a complete novel length story and know that I can do it. And there may well be lines, passages and ideas I can use in other projects.

The genesis of Fergie Time goes back beyond 2016 to an idea I had years before which I presented at the Writing on the Wall 'Dragon's Pen' event at the Bluecoat in 2013. The panel consisted of AL Kennedy (writer), Kate Haldane (agent), Esther Wilson (playwright) and Gordon Wise (literary agent) and it was one of the scariest things I've ever done in public. I got good feedback from them and from the audience despite my wobbly legs, but never progressed it until NaNo.

So it's gone from a Writing on the Wall project (2013), to a NaNoWriMo project (2016) to maybe just a reopened current project (2018).

Anyways, I now need to finish reading it all myself and get a notebook out whilst I do. Maybe my NaNo 2016 will bear more fruit than the 'Winner' sticker at the end of that month. Maybe I'll properly finish a whole book. Maybe just maybe.



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The Forecast Calls for Flash

This Saturday is the seventh annual Flash Flood event, where flash stories are posted on the Flash Flood website throughout an entire day to spread the goodness that this writing provides. I've been up there previous years, including last year, but I'm actually not sure how many times.

The deadline for submitting was last night at midnight after being open for a week. Needless to say I only got around to thinking about it late last night. After a mean furrowing of eyebrows I thought
why the hell not? I've plenty of flash stories from over the years, but I didn't want to go too far back. As previously published stories were allowable I decided the easiest thing to do was to revisit some of the FlashFeed stories written for the FlashDogs challenges. Messages on Twitter yesterday suggested that maybe some upbeat stories would be welcomed given a surfeit of death, destruction and Donald Trump (ok, I made the last bit up) had been coming in, so I found three feel good-ish (or at least no 'impending doom' laden) stories and did a quick check on them. Made a couple of minor tweaks then sent them off; with fully 1 hour and 56 minutes to spare. Loadsa time!

This afternoon I received an email to tell me the good news that one of my stories has been accepted for the Flood and that it will go up around noon (BST) on Saturday. Excellent.

I won't tell you which story it was. You'll have to wait and see.

Keep an eye on Twitter and follow the flood at:

http://flashfloodjournal.blogspot.com

Well done to all who have made it. Expect we'll see a few Flash Dogs there.

Woof!
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Get Some Writing Done

Not done any writing this week yet, not even a blog update. Ridiculous. Even worse it's not because I've been reading too much - I've only read six books this year. This time last year I'd read thirteen. Motivation has been an issue and a general malaise. I've watched some good TV since the new year (Shetland, Collateral, Endeavour (and some fab Match of the Days thanks to Liverpool)), but that's not the same is it? Worst of all though I've watched some pretty average TV too (Modus anyone?). I'm gonna to get back in to reading instead of TV and get that damn writing habit. First up .. FlashFeed to get on up the FlashDogs ranking (I'm currently a St Bernard don't you know). Woof!

SurfsUp


Second up will probably be a story or two for National Flash Fiction Day.

Then I need to get with it and get something going properly on the larger scale; something Scrivener based.

With respect to non-writing skills I got a couple of things I've set myself to learn. With my camera I need to learn to how to use the Time-Lapse function, I always love seeing them things, and I want to make some GIFS just for fun. But first... FlashFeed.

My Goodreads list of Want to Read is getting a little long. Think I may go for the first of the Arthur C Clarke & Stephen Baxter (Time Odyssey Trilogy) books 'Time's Eye' which I bought from Oxfam last week.

WantToRead

#GetWriting
#GetReading
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VSS Amusement

Whilst last week there was a worry about whether Flash Feed may not last the marathon distance one thing that has gone from strength to strength recently has been the daily #VSS365 (VSS = Very Short Story) tweet. There seems to be so many people getting involved in that lately.

I came up with a bemusement park the other day (from the prompt: Lemon) and that may well get its own short (rather than VERY short) story before too long just because the idea tickled me - and they say you can't tickle yourself!? I suppose that is the purpose of VSS to some extent. It's not like we are writing wonderful sections of prose necessary within the 280 character limit. But anything it can do to help coming up with story ideas should be a good thing. Right? Write.

If you've not tried it yet then check out the #VSS365 on Twitter.

Bemuse
Mr Bemusement
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Tentacles & Alt. Flash Futures

The Flash Feed was a little late going up this week after a comment that the numbers who'd entered last week's challenge was low and that participation was in general declining. I feared that perhaps the last one would end up being the actual last - and I'd end up being a St Bernard for ever. But the photo prompt came up and it was another lovely shot; they have been choosing some lovely photos.

Octopus

I'm hoping the challenge keeps going. It does take a while for them to get into their comfortable niche. It took Microcosms quite a while but recently it has been going from strength to strength. I think of the Flash Feed prompt as being closer to Angry Hourglass than anything else - partly because there are several days to write it, the length of the pieces and the strength of the photos. The main difference is that the challenge is not judged and maybe some of the flashers prefer to be able to 'win' a challenge, I don't know. Adding a judging element adds another level of difficulty in keeping it live - ie more people and more time input. Personally I don't mind not being marked as a winner or an also ran. And in any case the community still can make comments so you still get feedback.

Long Live Flash Feed!
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Flash Feed 1.17

Yesterday I got around to writing for the great FlashFeed photo prompt for 1.17 below. But when I posted it nothing happened. A quick (if late) check of the rules and I found the date closed at midnight Monday. Doh! Anyway, for what it's worth here it is.

Click on the link to the
FlashDogs site so that you too can find it and write for (preferably within the prescribed limits).

FlashFeedFire

Health and Safety at Work

The fires of hell raged in front of Cameron and Ulysses slashing the sky with a scarlet neither of the firemen had seen before. Ulysses had fought fires in chemical works and waste storage facilities, he’d seen explosions from unknown gases and liquids pulsing and changing colour like a psychedelic show but he’d never seen anything like this.

Cameron shouted through the mic surprised that they could hear each other with the tumult outside. ‘What is it burning Uly?’ He checked the latest readout, which indicated the fire was burning at beyond 1600C. It had been burning now for 3 hours.

‘No idea Cameron just keep aiming the foam toward the base. We’ll have to swop with Indigo in five.’

Cameron and Ulysses stood their ground in the face of the onslaught, both having the same thoughts; it must be some sort of chemical fire, they knew no raw materials that burned with this rage or this colour and why was it not burning itself out? Something was feeding the fire.

The indicator lights flashed green on the hose. The foam was running out. Team Indigo would be tag-teaming in within the next 90 seconds.

A wall of heat broke on the men like a tsunami forcing them back it was getting out of control. Nothing the firefighters had tried had worked. They were barely keeping it within the confines of this sector of the site and no-one knew what lay beyond that hangar and storage depot; Sergeant Floyd had told them about the fuel lines and the oil storage area beyond the next hangar and there were limited cleaning and disinfecting fluids and powders all with the propensity to burn or explode, but nothing on this scale.

Then again they all knew there were unfathomable risks when assigned to Area 51.

In an emerald flash of lightning the fire disappeared and the men of Team Hawaii and Indigo, with nothing now to brace against, fell over like children playing tug-of-war.

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Flash Reading

Not done much reading in last week or two; part of the problem of having longer working days. Just started a Sheri Tepper book. My first of hers.

Only just managed to get this week's FlashFeed (1.7) in too! Still 100% though, so more self awarded Brownie Points, thanks. I think that means I've done more writing than reading this week. Now that IS a first.

FlashFeed7
PhotoPrompt for FlashFeed1.7

Writing highlight of the week was finding my 'old' foldaway Bluetooth keyboard and pairing it with my phone. I've got Writer+ on the phone and also Wordpress, that means I should be able to type out little bits and bobs out anywhere whilst on the move. Happy days!

P1020674 2

Keep Reading and Keep Writing folks!


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Robots and Dogs

Happy to have managed to get a story up on Microcosms tonight. That's my second in three weeks, Geoff! So I can take a few weeks off now. Probably.

robot

Yesterday I did a quick story for FlashFeed1.5 The Wooden Robot. So amazingly I have managed a story each week of the new FlashDogs 300 word (well, 2000 character) challenge. I'm now no longer a cockapoo, I've been upgraded to one of my favourite pooches ... I'm a golden retriever!

Woof woof!!

golden



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FlashFeeding

A few years ago there were several flash challenge options to write for. I particularly loved Angry Hourglass and Flash Friday Fiction and really enjoyed the Microbookends challenge too. But now all three of these are no more. The only existing one I do quite regularly these days is Microcosms, but unfortunately with it only being live for 24 hours (and that being a Friday too) it is often difficult to fit in writing for it.

FlashDogs

So it was great to see the arrival of FlashFeed last week. Many of the FlashDogs got together through seeing each other on the AH and Flash Friday websites and if it wasn't for these challenges we never would have got to the position of having our stories published in the Flash Dogs books. It's great that it is live for several days giving more chance of people getting something done for it. The prompt is a photo prompt and there have been two striking images so far. The two thousand character (circa 300 word) limit is a decent length, similar to AH; long enough to get a nice story told and short enough not to scare you off. Got an hour? Get it done...

Kudos to the guys and gals who are running FlashFeed and let's see where that goes. Who knows, there maybe newbies out there who develop their writing chops on FlashFeed and I'm no doubt the community will grow and be a comforting blanket for all who come along.

Why not head over to
www.theflashdogs.com and give it a go?

FlashFeed2
FlashFeed2 photo prompt




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Flash Flood Warning

It was worth submitting to the Flash Flood event on Saturday 24th June as one of my pieces has been chosen. It's the Sixth year of the event where hundreds of Flash Fiction stories are published on the Flash Flood website. I've been published up there before, but I can't recall what years; maybe I need to keep a better record of this sort of thing?

The email says it'll be published between
5 and 6 BST. It doesn't say '05', or am/pm, so it could be in the morning or afternoon. I'll no doubt tweet it out after it goes live at any rate.

I'd sent one I wrote on the day on Monday and it was turned down (maybe I'll put that one up on here anyway) so I went back to previously written pieces. Ended up sending two that have won on Angry Hourglass hoping that previous approval by someone may prove a help. And
hey presto! my second story was chosen. So some of you Angry Hourglass readers will have seen it before, but I won't tell you which one it is. Wouldn't want to spoil the surprise.

I know there are a few
Flash Dogs going to be up there too and am looking forward to seeing you all there!

Keep writing + Keep reading.



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Clock Watching

That Infernal Clock

1, 2, 3 ....
Shakes is getting us all excited about the upcoming publication of The Infernal Clock - it's looking great. And I for one can't wait to get me mitts on it (or on the Kindle with it on). Been hard work for Shakes and Steph ably helped out by Emily and with the art from Tamara; basically it's been a full on positive for the Flash Dogs community and I'm sure their work will have paid off in spades.

InfernalClockYorick

Bring it on.


...10, 11, 12.

Get your Kindle ready for it and watch this space!
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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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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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2017 Writing Plans

Writing in 2017

Okay, I've set some reading goals for the year, so what about my
writing goals?

IMG_4884 2

In the past I've set goals like winning the Flash Fiction Friday or Angry Hourglass challenges, this year I'm going to aim to do a few more substantial things (that is to say of more words). Not that I'll be avoiding Flash! of course. I'll still be doing Angry Hourglass and Microbookends as often as I can.

Nothing concrete planned as yet, but thinking along the lines of;

  • self publishing a book (possibly non-fiction)
  • submitting to a magazine or podcast (maybe EscapePod or Clarkesworld)
  • writing a short screen or radio play (never attempted this before)
  • planning and beginning a novel or novella

Not sure yet about editing the story I did for NaNoWriMo - with all the above I may be a bit too busy.

Will see how the plans go er... after I've firmed up said plans! Watch this space...
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FLASHDOGS: FREE! FREE!!

The fabulous anthologies from the FlashDogs, of which I'm proud to be a part, are currently FREE to download on to your Kindle from Amazon. FREE! That's a ridiculous state of affairs. You could 'buy' them now for free and never read them. The decadence.

Or even better purchase them now and only read them when they they go back up in price. Then you can enjoy the apparent savings as well as the books. Mad, I tell you.

FlashDogs1w200SolsticeLight200w
The only downside of the Kindle versions are not getting the books with these fabulous covers on your bookshelf (hats off to Tamara Rogers for them - mucho kudos!).

The books - 'An Anthology', 'Solstice:Light and Dark' and 'Time' - are cram packed with excellent writing from the dogs of flash, just click on the books to see them - and then download them. Read and enjoy over the Christmas break. Or even next Christmas.


SolsticeDark200wTime FD3 cover200
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