Wednesday 27th December, 2017

So I blinked, overslept a little bit and woke up to find out it was time for the end of the year post again. Don’t get me wrong, I was around for Christmas (Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it) but the last few weeks have been blurry, probably due to the long nights and not wanting to do anything but considering my own navel. I wish you all have a Happy New Year for Sunday night / Monday morning.

What I Learnt About Writing in 2017

Well, let’s get on with that annual tradition first inspired by Foxie (whose website is sadly no more). Here’s my stats for this year with last year for comparison:

  • Submissions = 7 (0, 2016)
  • Total pieces in circulation = 8 (8, 2016)
  • New pieces in circulation = 3 (2, 2016)
  • Rewrites = 1 (1, 2016)
  • Acceptances = 3 (1, 2016)
  • Published = 2 (3, 2016)

NOTE: These numbers do not include stories written for the website or published here. Attempts to rehome stories published here and elsewhere have been included.

This year’s submissions have been in three flavours. A couple of those items counted are actually submissions of long work A Fistful Of Feathers (first drafted in 2015) being submitted to potential agents. It’s not proving to be very successful, which suggests:

  1. It needs a rewrite,
  2. I should probably submit to more than a couple of people a year, and
  3. I should probably consider sending out something better.

More news on that next year!

Four of those items were requested of me. Well, sort of. The recently published Second Christmas Book of Ghosts from Michael S Collins (and his new ebook publishing company Other Side Books [External Link]) had a reprint of my story, The Girl From Yesterday. While he didn’t specifically ask for that story, he asked if I’d contribute a reprint and I sent along three stories for him to look at – including that one. The fourth incidence of a request was the collection of Alex & Conn stories – Auntie Fox / Adele Wearing of Fox Spirit Books [External Link] and I have previously discussed putting the short stories together and this year we started the process. Which also accounts for two of my acceptances.

The third acceptance, also by Michael S Collins, was for the more traditional unsolicited submission of The Knight’s Daughter to the Other Side Books. I first drafted that last year but finished off the basic version this year. I also sent the first drafts (something a writer should never do except, you know, when you do) of the other Greenwood novellas, because he might not be interested when it’s part of a linked theme. (These have not been accepted because not finished, not formally submitted, just drafts, etc.)

In wordage terms, I think we can say that my base line over the years I’ve been doing this is about 90,000 words. Some years I write more but I don’t think I’ve written less. This year I’m probably over 100,000, despite feeling like I’ve done nothing. My main problem in the last couple of years seems to be that I’ve had a few ideas that petered out and stopped or became a shorter work than I envisioned.

Writer, Editor, General Dogsbody

So, here are the plans are for the immediate future of my writing and editing career:

I am still looking for an agent (I may consider sitting on doorsteps and mewing woefully until someone opens a door). However, this takes time and concentration and I haven’t given it much of either as – as you all know – I have day job and dogs and actually want to spend some time writing. More news as and when, etc.

The folk-tale inspired works seems to have got out of my system but it may have left ideas for a return to the Fur-Skins world (but not with Alex, Conn or Elkie as a main character). However, that will have to wait until I’m done with the current WIP, which is only about a third of the way through.

And I’ve now taken on the challenge of having a public side project, which – weirdly enough – is currently being worked on more consistently than the main WIP. At the moment, said side project is Under Smoke City but, when I get to the end of that, I expect to pick up another side project to publish on my Patreon [External Link]. The key thing will be maintaining the trickle of work on the side project without letting it take over everything else.

Editing is unlikely to resurface any time soon.

The Ink Plan

Admitting to book numbers floundered last year as they were pitiful and unconnected to my donation to the NAS [External Link]. If / when I have numbers for 2017, I’ll add them together and do a post. However, I already broke things by getting a second tattoo. (Which does not prevent me getting a Journeymouse at some point, but the challenge element is kind of gone.)

What I Learnt About The Rest of Life

Dora and Rosie still fight over Dora not really being in charge. Dora is ageing disgracefully (Note to self: do not leave anything remotely edible or chew-able lying around) but will probably still be around after the nuclear holocaust along with the cockroaches. Finn’s paw cancer has only grown slowly this year but there’s now a second, very small lump on his other front leg. Diagnosis of this second lump would require a biopsy and I don’t think either of us can cope with that.

Work is going pretty well. They brought in David Stewart of Autism Success Formula [External Link] and the workplace is an even better place than it was before – for me, at least. Fencing is going pretty well and tai chi is as relaxing as ever.

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