Friday, June 29, 2007

Outgoing, Incoming

As of this morning my story pitches are complete and have been dispatched for an editorial thumping.

Seems like forever since I started working on them, but the final two outlines that I've submitted are (I hope!) reasonably strong. Should know how I did in a month or so (after which time I may even be allowed to tell you what I've been pitching for). In the meantime, thanks again to my readers for pointing out the gaping holes in my logic - and there were a few!

Now I've got a bit of free time on my hands, it's on to other things. For a start there's that script, languishing in a dust-covered corner of my hard drive, whimpering faintly to be released. There's a big change that needs making on the story as it stands, and I'm quite keen to see how it turns out. That's my big, post-weekend project right there.

My '52 Books in 52 Weeks' challenge, meanwhile, has bitten the dust, largely because of the size of books I've been wanting to read. Knowing I can get through a finite number of pages a week, I found myself deliberately picking books of a certain length. In the end I just couldn't put up with being forced to ignore longer works for the sake of keeping a schedule.

So I'm now happily working through Michael Palin's Diaries 1969-1979 - The Python Years, a whale-choker of a tome I wouldn't otherwise have been able to tackle. I've got the horrible feeling I'll be sidelining it, however, with the imminent release of the final Harry Potter book. It's one of those novels you have to read in the first week of release or risk being spoilered everywhere you look - but that means a prior re-read of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, about which I can remember precisely nothing.

And then there's the imminent conclusion of the new series of Doctor Who to watch. 'Strayan viewers got their first taste of series three last night with the (extremely late-running) Christmas special The Runaway Bride. The series proper starts tomorrow, but thanks to my UK supplier I'm rapidly approaching the season finale.

Which is handy, because my wife loves John Simm.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Sound of One Hand Slapping ...

... my forehead, that is. You see, the penny has just dropped that I've completely forgotten the tenth anniversary of my moving to Australia.

It was on May 31, 1997 that I arrived at Perth airport with my then-girlfriend (now-wife), the idea being that we'd be here for a year then head back to the UK.

Think we may have missed the flight.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Stories So Far ...

Has it been a week? I really need to get my act together ... But while I've been off your radar, projects have been moving along nicely (day jobbery permitting).

My story for In Bad Dreams came back from editing, with a few tweaks to be made before it could be dropped into the Outbox. They've all been done and signed off now, so the next step will be seeing proofs - something that has drummed home the need for me to sort out that trip to Canberra in September for the impending book launch.

It's on my To Do List ...

Meanwhile the story submission that's been giving me so much grief over the last couple of weeks has been away with the usual suspects for harsh and withering criticism. Which is just as well, because there was a pretty big gaffe in there I'd missed completely. Thanks to Adam at dorkgeeknerd and James at Rising Sun for agreeing to cast an eye over it.

What they don't know is that another pitch for the same book has bubbled up in the last couple of days and they'll be looking at that too before long.

Well, they know now, obviously.

And last night was set aside for jotting down some thoughts about my two published Bernice Summerfield stories for Simon Guerrier. Assuming any of my inane wibblings are actually useful, he'll be using them in a history of the character that he's writing. You can check it out here, and I'm sure he won't mind me telling you it's going to be indispensible.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

All Better Now

I'm a much happier chappie at the moment, having made some decent headway with my story proposal. Apologies to any of the people who've tried to talk to me recently and been met with little more than a distracted grunting ...

The breakthrough came thanks to a pair of newspaper stories retrieved from my clippings folders. While the proposal itself doesn't bear a great deal of resemblance to these stories, they were exactly what I needed to nudge my mind in a different direction and get me out of my rut. Suddenly those hours spent snipping away at old copies of The West Australian seem eminently worthwhile.

Invitations to pitch for books are so few and far between that my biggest dread is always that the deadline will roll around and I'll have come up a total blank, with nothing at all to submit. There's little worse than a missed opportunity. Having a synopsis close to completion, however, takes some of the pressure off, so I'm also feeling more positive about a couple of the aborted ideas I had last week. The editor has been kind enough to allow writers to submit more than one story idea, so with luck I'll be able to get a couple of pitches in and hedge my bets.

After all, you never know what's going to bubble to the surface between now and the deadline ...

Friday, June 08, 2007

Block Busting

Not been very chatty or communicative these last few days, largely thanks to the worst case of writers' block I've ever had.

I've been asked to pitch a short story in a themed collection, due at the end of the month. I've been turning over ideas in my mind for a few weeks now, and while a few of them are promising and fit in well with the theme, they all lack the one thing that would make them great ... an emotional core.

They're all 'meh'.

So I've spent days working on the old tricks to crack the deadlock - researching the life out of the subject, stepping away and working on something different, stepping away and working on piles of DVDs ...

Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Came to the conclusion today that it's because I have all these half-formed yarns rattling around in my head, blotting out the new stuff. I'm going to have to write up all the little bits to purge them from the system, no matter how dud they are.

So that's what I'll be doing, if anyone asks.

Ood Dear

Just a quick post to say thanks to my mum and my brother for the issues of Doctor Who Adventures. The kids are getting plenty of mileage out of them ...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sick Building

Just about everyone in the house has been struck down with some form of illness or other over the last few days.

I kicked things off with a migraine so bad that it felt like someone was squeezing my brain out through my right eyeball, losing the whole of Wednesday.

Thursday brought an outbreak of spots on my son ... chickenpox. This presented an interesting case for our doctor, who admitted that it was only the fourth time he'd seen someone catch the disease when they'd already been vaccinated against it.

'That was $100 wasted then,' he pointed out.

Yeah. Thanks.

The weekend, in turn, has been written off with my wife succumbing to a mystery virus that's confined her to bed. We're waiting to see what my daughter and the dog go down with.

So with the clock ticking on a submission I've been asked to write, I've done sod all on it in almost a week. Already missed the deadline to send something in to the new edition of Myth Makers, the exceedingly fine anthology magazine where I got my start. Bah!

There is some good news - we've put our deposit down for a trip to the UK in January. It'll have been nearly three years since we last got over there, so there's going to be lots of friends, family and work colleagues to catch up with. Book now to avoid disappointment!