Monday, September 28, 2009

Elf Visitors

The emails have been zipping back and forth over the last week, resulting in some pleasing progress with All-Australian Scenes From The Second Storey. Amanda and I have been editing our respective socks off and we now have six of the thirteen stories wrapped up, with a couple more teetering on the brink of completion. Hurrah!

One of the things we've been asking our writers to do (on top of the usual author's biography) is to pen a short paragraph about how their stories took shape. What inspired them in the particular songs they were given? Did their ideas leap fully formed into their heads after a single listen, or did they have to percolate over several weeks? And while I was reading through a couple of these afterwords, the penny suddenly dropped: I'll have to write one of my own for the story I have in the Scenes International Edition.

Now I'm not very good at things like remembering where I get my ideas from. One thing I'm certain of, it wasn't from the song lyrics (the tune I was allocated, as you may recall, was an instrumental). So I've sat and I've thought about it, and so far I've come up entirely blank. If I could find the notebook I was using at the time, that might help, but I really can't recall very much about writing the story itself ...

So I've decided I'm going for "I left an iPod, a pen and some pieces of paper on the desk when I went to bed, and when I woke up some elves had done it all for me". It's worked for other people.

Meanwhile, the Australian Horror Writers' Association Critique Group (of which I am a member) is fast approaching its first birthday and Horrorscope has reported briefly on its successes so far. As an experiment, the group appears to have worked very well indeed, so much so that plans are afoot to form a second writers' cabal to run alongside this one. Check out the article for details on how to apply if you're a member of the AHWA and you want like-minded people to pull your stories to pieces (and then put them back together better than they were to begin with). Because we don't all have elves to do our heavy lifting ...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

'The Famous Man Looked at the Red Cup'

I was fortunate enough to see an interview with writer Dan Brown on TV this morning and as a result any tiny flame of desire I had to read his new book has now been utterly extinguished.


Coincidentally, the UK's Telegraph newspaper has gone so far as to publish a Top 20 list of excruciating sentences from Brown's works. You'll be crying with laughter by the end of the countdown. That or it's your eyes bleeding.

It's nice to know that I and dozens of my friends are better writers than Dan Brown. If only we had his profile and his sales ...

(Thanks to the fabulous Martin Livings for flagging the article - love your work!)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Making Changes

Morrigan Books has now officially announced the thing that's been chewing up my time recently: I'm co-editing the anthology Scenes From the Second Storey with the company's in-house editor Amanda Pillar.

(Got to say the use of the word "countless" in the announcement is rather generous. Think they're mixing me up with Ian Mond!)

Some of you may recall that I'm writing a story for a collection of the same name - fear not, I haven't been commissioning myself. There will be two versions of the book, one featuring international authors (the one I'm writing for) and one comprised entirely of Australian contributors (the one I'm editing). There'll be an offical announcement of the writers in the Australian edition in due course following some recent, unavoidable changes to the line-up, but it's safe to say there are some highly accomplished scribes involved ...

So now the job's out in the open I'd better get back to it - rewrites and corrections don't email themselves!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Green Across The Board

I'm not being very good at keeping up to date with this, am I?

In my defence it's been another mad month. With my wife falling prey to pneumonia I've had my hands full keeping things together in the household, something not made any easier by both kids also falling ill and leaving me literally the last man standing.

That aside, I've somehow managed to get some writing done too. After July's abysmal fumbling of many and varied projects, I set my sights a little lower for August, aiming to finish and submit just two short stories on deadline. And I'm happy to say I managed both - they're away being pulled apart and mulled over by editors right now, and I should find out in the next couple of weeks if either, both or none of them have been commissioned.

(This is also a good time for a quick shout out to the Australian Horror Writers Association Critique Group, whose members were kind enough to act as beta readers on both stories. Indeed when I shot them across one story in particular - mildly panicked at the swiftly approaching deadline - they dropped everything to get me five pithy and detailed crits in under twelve hours, allowing me plenty of time for rewrites. Thanks, chaps!)

Things are also looking good on that other project that shall remain nameless (although not for much longer, I hope!). After some last-minute scrabbling to replace a couple of authors with scheduling difficulties, my co-editor and I are now in possession of all thirteen stories for the anthology. Of those, we've gone through around half which are now back with their writers. All being well the remainder will be cleared in a week or so. There are some great yarns in there, by some writers I'm very pleased to be able to work with ... as ever, more news when I'm allowed to reveal it!

And finally Grants Pass has now been released in the US and should be available in the UK and Australia in the next few weeks. Already the Horror Writers Association in the States have requested a copy as a possible nominee in the next Stoker Awards, and what press I've read concerning the book seems overwhelmingly positive. Hurrah!

Meanwhile editor Jennifer Brozek and a handful of the book's writers have been interviewed for Seattle Geekly - you can get the podcast here.

That's it for now then. Next project: more timely updates to this blog ...