Tuesday 28 June 2011

New Name for Debs

I've decided to create a psuedonym to distinguish between my horror/dark fantasy, and my science fiction/nice fantasy.

What fun. I'm going to be writing as Kelda Crich for the dark stuff. There's a new blog, cunningly titled Kelda Crich.

We'll see what happens. I'm hoping  that this will spur me on to re-focus on horror/dark fantasy, and make it easier for any potential fans to find my work. It could all end in tears.

Sunday 26 June 2011

'Remember Winter' poem published in Enchanted Conversation.

My poem 'Remember Winter' has been published in Enchanted Conversation's Snow White issue, with this, rather lovely illustration. In fact the whole issue looks stunning, with a black/white/red colour scheme.

Enchanted Conversation's Cinderella issue opens 12 a.m. EST 27th June for prose and poetry.

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Comets and Criminals -- A New Zine for Short Stories and Poetry

I am excited to announce that fellow writer Samuel Mae has opened a new semi-pro paying zine. Comets and Criminals is open for submissions of short stories and poetry in the genres of science fiction, adventure, historical, western,  and crime and mystery. That's a really exciting genre mix.

Opening a zine is something that I've thought about from time to time. It's is a really exciting propsect, but, alas, I've never had the follow-through. So, kudos, Sam. I see that it's already up on duotrope, so I'm sure that the subs are going to start flooding in.

And, with a little luck, maybe he'll come onto this blog in a few months time, and give us some insights.

Saturday 18 June 2011

Nascence: 17 Stories That Failed and What They Taught Me

I've been thinking about 'story' all month. What makes a good story? Why do some of my stories sell and others don't? Why can't I judge what's good in my own stories?

Then, as in answer to my wordless pleas, I came across Nascence by Science Fiction/Fantasy author, Tobias Buckell..

What a genius idea. Buckell has published 17 of his trunked stories written over a decade. Each story has an introduction explaining why he believes the story failed.

If you find yourself reading the author's introductions to stories as carefully as the stories themselves; if you're a writer who thinks about that mysterious thing called story, do consider this book. Tobias Buckell is offering something unique: a real insight into the mind of an author. Lessons to be learnt. Nascence has really crystallised some ideas I've been having about 'story,' and given me some new insights.

Available on kindle for three dollars. (And if you don't have a kindle, did you know that you can download a free reader for your PC, that's what I did)?

This is the most helpful book I've read on the craft of short story writing for ages. 

Friday 17 June 2011

Reporting a Sale to Nature

I've held off as long as I am able (I got this acceptance the same day I got my acceptance for On the Premises). I've had my fourth acceptance to Nature's Futures. Forgive me, whooo-hoo. This is a wonderful market. If you are of a SF nature, I beg you to check out their guidelines. I'm going to go to Nobu on the money.

Thursday 16 June 2011

How I write . . . One Million Words

Warning -- Mileage will vary.

I know how you become a professional writer. It's no secret. Lots of writers talk about it. Here's a good article by Luc Reid about it. Write a million words of fiction, submit like crazy. Talent is largely irrelevant-- which always seems strange to me, but there you go.

I'm not quite sure what words to count, but I usually count submitted works and I'm about half-way there.

That's great isn't it. I can do that. I love it. I write and I sub, like crazy. It's fun.

Yes, just one million words of deliberate practice.

Oi. What's that? Deliberate practice?

I, ahem, don't do that. I don't have first readers, or crits. I don't take courses or go to conferences. I don't do nuthin'.

So, should I be doing it? I have a plan. I'll give it a week and report back. What about you guys? Do you make a conscious effort to improve your writing? Can you see the results? What do you do?

You might say: Well, Debs. You're always bragging. You're doing alright. And I am. And it's great. But I always want to do better.

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Marma Shells Take Third Place at 'On the Premises'

Hooray. My story of aliens, Africa and fractals won third place in the On the Premises competition. That means publication and prize money of $100.

On the Premises re-opens for sub with a new prompt on July 14th.

Saturday 11 June 2011

Virus Warning

Now you guys, I'm sure you're smarter than me. But if you do notice a big spike in your blogger stats, 50 hits a day from someone you follow, don't go and check them out. Otherwise -- kerplammy-- you'll might get  virus fever just like me.

I've nicked Chris' computer to write this, and the lovely people at Dell are trying to sort me out, but I'm still a little feverish.

I don't know where the virus came from, I can't blame Blogger. But there's some funny business going on.  

Tuesday 7 June 2011

How I write . . . Market Targeting.

Most of the time I'll write any poem that takes my fancy, but sometimes I'll do market targeting for a specific market. I'll take Asimov's as an example.

I market target by:
Reading poems previously published by the venue. I found a fine clutch of poems by Geoffrey A. Landis.

Searching for clues about the editors/slush editors preferences. I found an editorial that mentioned that humorous poems were well received. 

Then writing my poem with whatever knowledge I've found, but not being too strict about it. If the poem slopes off in another direction, that's cool.


I've no evidence that this works. I'll do a  little stattage, for previously subbed poems, but my sample size is smallish and there are many variables.
It might be considered a cold way of going about things. As if I'm trying to rack up sales rather than follow my muse.
It's time consuming and it's not time spent writing.
I could be making false assumptions and limiting submissions. 

It's enjoyable and it feels constructive.
It supports a 'zine by reading it online, perhaps making the odd comment along the way. 
I'm widening my reading, and thinking about successful poems in a meaningful way.

Now to the stattage, on 100 poems.

untargeted poems sold = 50%
targeted poems sold to intended market = 50%
targeted poems to any market = 70%

A couple of things to mention, these are sell figures, not acceptance rates, a poem might have been to many markets. My poetry sales are a lot higher than my short stories (mores the pity) It's not totally convincing, but it seems that a story written for a market is more likely to sell. I'm gratified they've come out the right way, confirming that market targeting does seem to have a beneficial effect because it seems as if it should.

So, I'll be very interested in hearing if anyone else does this.

Saturday 4 June 2011

Merry Month of May

I'm back from a week in North Cornwall. What a lovely part of the world. I've been inspired. No doubt my next batch of stories will be set in the West Country. We had pasties in Jamaica Inn. 

I particularly liked Bodmin Moor, visiting the  Hurlers stone circles and the granite tor, the Cheesewring.

In writing news I had a merry month. I made two professional sales, a story to Odyssey and a poem to Enchanted Conversation. Enchanted Conversation opens for Cinderella submissions June 27-June 30.
 I made sales to Eschatology and Sounds of the Night, and had a guest blog on Write1 Sub1. I finished Story a Day in May with a total of 36 thousand words (20K is subbed, 16K a bit first drafty).

I was also pleased to be invited to contribute a story to a new publication, The Colored Lens which is edited by my friend Dawn Lloyd.

Wow. I feel tired just writing all this down.

Edited-- Not May news, but exciting news. My Africa/fractals/aliens story has made it into the top ten for the March On the Premises contest.  Keep your fingers crossed for me