I’m not going to lie. Today is Friday.
There’s a very good reason why this week, my wrap-up is 2 days late. You see… Okay, there’s no good reason at all. There’s not even a bad reason. So, I will simply apologise for my tardiness, and move on.
This Tuesday night was the monthly meeting of the Strathpine Library Writer’s Group. Again, this was quite an enjoyable experience – if not necessarily particularly helpful for me. The topic of the night was ‘illustrating’, which is not something that I’m good at, nor even interested in. Nonetheless, I did have the opportunity to listen to some other pieces of writing, share some of mine, and catch up with the group.
If you recall, the “assignment” for this month was to write a story based on a song lyric. I spent almost the entire month trying to work out how to write a story about a teenage girl whose mother write a Position Vacant ad for her replacement, because the girl is so busy trying to be like everyone else that she has no time left to be herself. In my head, it was an interesting flash-fiction idea. But on paper…. Well, let’s just say that I spent hours staring at a blank screen, alternately changing the background of MS Word from blue to white and then back again. (That is the only reason why I will miss older versions of Word when I finally upgrade to a modern edition.)
Eventually, the day before I was due to present the story at the Writer’s Group, I decided to completely change my direction and write in my preferred genre. Urban Fantasy, here we come! So I picked the song ‘Close I’ve Come’ by Ben Lee. The first two lines of the song are:
I slipped into a house to escape my enemies, And opened the door to another world
With that in mind, I wrote a story that I’m rather happy with. In fact, it conveniently fits into the guidelines of the next Stringybark Fiction Competition – a 2000 word speculative fiction short story – that closes on 30 May. Convenient, no? I named my story ‘A Rose By Any Other Name’, and am happy to share the first paragraph of it with you.
Later, I would learn that magical portals manifest themselves randomly. And that they prefer windows to doorways. But on that Saturday morning, I had no idea that magic even existed. All I knew was that there were three men following me, and letting them catch me would be a bad thing. With a capital B, and a capital T.
Claire suggested that I read Artemis Fowl, as my writing style reminds her somewhat of Eoin Colfer’s. So I’ve added that book & possibly series to my reading list. I’ll let you know what I think.
That was my main writing experience during the week. However, I also had the opportunity to have my sister, Jak Henson, critique a short story that I wrote. She writes, edits and publishes an Arts magazine, and was awarded a Writing Award from the Townsville City Council in 2010 for her work on Artgaze Magazine. She described my writing style as ‘quirky’, which I kind of liked. Also, she’s not a big fiction reader, preferring art texts and biographies, so I was pleased that my urban fantasy was able to hold her attention throughout.
And then she educated me on the difference between hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes. How did I not know about this before??
I’ve also found myself reading a lot of different websites and blogs about publishing (ooooh, the print vs ebook publishing debate rages on!), finding an agent, writing query letters, etc. I’m particularly enamoured by the Bookends, LLC Blog – a literary agency that provides a lot of interesting information on the above topics. I’ve found myself immersed in their posts about things not to put in a query letter, how to not get published, and other interesting topics. Since I’ve not actually finished my novel yet (nor, really, am I even close), I’ve found myself wondering whether this is really research, or just procrastination. I’m going to go with a bit of both. Plus, when you’ve got a colicky 3-month-old baby who cries for 8 hours some days, creativity kind of flies out the window. So at least I’m reading about the right topics!
And, finally, a friend posted this week that she’s had a submission to A cappella Zoo accepted for submission. That’s great news for her, and it certainly kicked me into thinking about writing short stories for submission to magazines (although I’d kind of rather be working on my novel…). It also made me secretly, deep down, hate her just a little bit. You know, in the jealousy muscle.
Seriously though, congratulations to Merrilee, and keep up the good work.