Wednesday, 30 January 2013

[insert title here]

I need your help!

Over the last couple of years I've had a dozen or so very short stories published here and there (oh, and this one yesterday on 1000 words) and I'm hoping to bring out a collection of short fiction as an ebook. Trouble is, I'm really struggling to come up with a title.

Along with mistaken identity and a couple of domestic stories where somebody's earth shifts - or fails to - there are a couple of supernatural stories.  Common themes to them all are shifting reality, things or people seeming one thing but being another, uncertain ground, misconceptions.

My options are:
  1. Come up with a title that encapsulates common themes but doesn't refer to a particular story. 'None of the above' seemed to fit
  2. Choose a representative story's title as the collection title. 'Brother - killed by radiator' is the most intriguing title in the collection.
  3. Think of a good, quirky title for it and write a brief story using that title

Other possible story titles I could use are: Kitchen Sink, Parallel Conservatory, Birdsong Tinitus, Prosthetic Granny...

Your thoughts, as ever would be welcome... any bright ideas, any of the covers or titles mentioned leap out as great or shite?

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

When page layouts go bad

Two stories that shouldn't share a page.
More headline & pic combos at Funny or Die.
Having worked on a newspaper and edited a good few newsletters (and, ok a bad few too), I aim to pay attention re what's next to what in a layout.

I've gathered for your delectation some examples of what happens when you don't - here are my favourite headline faux pas.

Unfortunate choice of pic from

Awkward placing of an advert

Awkward placing of advert #2

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Finding Acceptance(s)

My (tiny) story is bottom left, click the link (below) for more
I have written before about unusual, griping or downright rude submission guidelines HERE and about subsequent cruel / kind / offhand rejections HERE

But I feel a whole new seam has opened up from the mouths of editors in the form of acceptances:

How about this for a recent acceptance from Penny Fiction at Haunted Waters (which I'm hoping is their standard acceptance blurb and they haven't just singled me out for such a begrudging 'yes' and churlish afterword):

"To my surprise, I found your story to be quite agreeable...... Now that I know what you are capable of, you have no excuses for submitting work of lesser quality in the future."

I should mention this is the first story I have submitted to this market so this is not a reflection on previous attempts!

I also had this from the editor of Green Prints (aka 'the weeder's digest') rejecting a poem she otherwise liked because elements of it: "...may offend people who do have such faith.  Why? I have no desire to and see no purpose in antagonizing them; many of them are good, loving people."  I know - you're thinking what the hell did I write? ... Suffice to say that of course she was right and after I made some simple revisions the poem has now been accepted. I'm not sure if the publication will be online but I'll flag it up if it is.

Is a rejection almost preferable to a grudging response or being held accountable for upsetting the readers? Nope.

Thursday, 3 January 2013


"We're going to need a bigger spreadsheet"
"Two men look out through the same bars, one sees the mud... and one the stars."

In my last post I chose to only mention the 'best bits' of 2012 and let the worst bits go. It seems like a good philosophy to focus on the positives - when looking back and also when living each new day.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine was telling me about the big list of things he was going after he retired from his main job the Friday before Christmas. The morning after his retirement, he died of a massive heart attack.

I'll say more about him next week when I can put some words together, but if nothing else, it makes you realise how precious time is, and if there are things you want to do you should be doing them now.

So my 2013 resolutions are mainly around being more focussed, better quality of life and - dare I say it? - legacy:
  • Relax more (may involve yoga)
  • Stop running over the same old ground
  • Stop faffing about and procrastinating
  • Spend more time actually writing*
  • Get a collection out (poetry and or flash fiction)
  • Live in the moment more
  • Go somewhere on my 'go to' list
  • Spend more time with people I care about
  • Experiment with imaginative, innovative ideas
  • Bring more smiles to the world

Have you made any resolutions or are you far too grown up for all that? 

* Here are 7 New Year Resolutions for Writers I came up with a couple of years ago