Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not.

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Photo credit: http://www.emedco.com

 

August has arrived and with it the delicious task of decorating. Eight years ago, when we fitted out our boat, we covered every single knot in the pine cladding with knotting solution before painting everywhere white. We have repainted at least twice, but the knots are now rampant in their leeching and our home looks like it is suffering a dose of chicken pox. This month, with hubby’s diary mostly empty and me choosing to work fewer hours, we will be turning our walls off-white. After a good scrub, and painting the annoying knots with a stain block, the walls will be going calico, hessian, cotton and other shades of beige. This will necessitate us living between piles of books, stacked furniture, and other stuff moved to facilitate access to the surfaces in need of beautification. Living conditions will be more cluttered and cramped than usual, access to a tabletop or seat to sit on is a dream away. Hence I am not even going to attempt to write until things return to normal and the paintbrushes have been put away. Blog reading will also be even more sporadic than usual, for which I apologise.

Have a great summer and enjoy all you might be getting up to. See you in the autumn.

 

Written by Sarah Ann

August 1, 2017 at 1:52 pm

Writers’ Groups – to join or not?

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On the advice and encouragement of Björn Rudberg I have recently been looking for a writing group to join. I need feedback on my writing to improve, and my last two attempts at attending short writing courses in order to achieve this were not successful. As I live on a boat and move around at least six-months of the year, attending meetings regularly in the same place has presented a problem. However, with improved planning and increased access to a car, I have been attending dance classes – something I want to do – so there is no excuse not to join a writers’ group – something I need to do.

I began my search earlier in the year by considering the area within which I generally cruise. This gave me the option of four towns, all of which I imagined might have a writing group. Town A, the largest and farthest away, has a large writing group with a waiting list, so that’s no use. Town B, the closest, has suggestions of a small writing group online, but its social media posts are three years old and contact details hard to find. Town C has a well-advertised group that meets once a week for two hours and a schedule that follows the school year. Town D’s group is relatively new and meets once a month for two hours. I contacted the coordinators of groups C and D and made arrangements to attend both. Unfortunately, work intervened and I didn’t get to Group C before the school holidays and the start of their summer break. However, earlier this month I cycled through a storm and managed to attend a meeting of Group D.

I was lucky to find the group receiving a talk from author Tessa Harris on how to write suspense. This is not something I do and it was interesting to have the technical differences between suspense and mystery writing explained. I was also pleasantly surprised at being able to perform under pressure, completing a five-minute exercise and coming up with something to share with the rest of the group. We all took turns to read out something created during the session and Tessa helpfully pointed out where we had taken on board her teaching. Constructive criticism was not forthcoming from other group members on this occasion, but I imagine it will be in future when the group meets to discuss topics of interest based on members’ current needs and interests. I will be going to my second meeting next month, to see what a usual meeting is like. I am minded to carry on and, depending how useful I find it, I might also try again with groups C and B to see what they have to offer.

 

Written by Sarah Ann

July 30, 2017 at 6:43 pm

87. How to succeed as a novelist – the facts

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Facts to make you feel better, or worse, about writing, but all are interesting.

Neil MacDonald Author

At last, there’s some real data, which busts a lot of myths. Jim Hines, a fantasy writer, published a survey of 246 novelists and now we know what the elements of success look like. The sample is probably not representative, being made of people who chose to respond to Jim, and it seems to be biased towards writers of YA, fantasy, sci-fi and romance. It also defines a successful author as one who earned an advance of at least US$2,000. Though the data is far from clean, it’s a great deal better than the hunches, prejudices, and sheer opinions that I’ve had up till now.

People tell you all kinds of things about how to succeed. Get an agent. Self-publishing is the way to go and you’ll net an offer from a traditional publisher. Others folks say, put in your time publishing short stories to earn your spurs. Do an…

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Written by Sarah Ann

July 28, 2017 at 3:01 pm

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#FridayFictioneers – 28/7/17 – Hanging on the Telephone

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Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry.

At any point during the following week, the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word tales. Read the other stories by clicking below.

 

After being late last week, I’m early this. Two things immediately popped into my head when I saw this week’s prompt: (1) why is there a telephone in a toilet? (it’s the tiles and window), and (2) a song from which I’ve borrowed my title.

Thanks to Rochelle for hosting and J Hardy Carroll for this week’ photo.

This will be my last FF entry for a while as August is earmarked for decorating. I’m going to be up to my elbows in paint and sawdust with nowhere to sit and work.

 

© J Hardy Carroll

 

Hanging on the Telephone

(Genre: reportage/ humour; 100-words)

 

(Between events Eva paces flat, reads, hoards writing materials.)

Day 1. Eva skips to the post office; sends novel submission; skips home, grinning.

Days 29, 56, 72. Repeats of Day 1. Skipping and grinning reduce.

Days 133, 175, 212. Eva emails agents first three chapters.

Day 248. Eva receives ‘near miss’ response. Small smile.

Day 329. Eva receives request for full manuscript. Grins and dances.

Day 396. Eva, busy reading contract from agent, rushes to answer phone, trips.

Day 414. Police find Eva with landline phone cord twisted around neck.

Day 596-onwards. Eva’s posthumously published novel a best seller.

 

 

 

#FridayFictioneers – 21/7/17 – Mothers’ Ruin

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Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry.

At any point during the following week, the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word tales. Read the other stories by clicking below.

I’m very late to the party this week and have struggled with the below. I showed it to hubby who suggested a couple of minor changes. I don’t think either of us thinks this works. Perhaps I’m trying to squeeze too much in?

With thanks to Rochelle and Kent this week.

© Kent Bonham

 

Mothers’ Ruin

(Genre: general fiction: 100-words)

Sally smiled as she threw Rick her car keys. He was a sensible boy. It wasn’t his fault his parents had moved to the middle of nowhere during his first year at university. It was only fair they should lend him their car to go to see his friends in town.

Squeal, screech, thud.

That’ll be another bairn flattened, Irina thought, shuffling along. When would the young learn sense? How long before humans and hedgehogs lived in co-existence?

As the sun went down, Irina’s array all arrived home safely.

Less than a mile away, Sally’s cottage bathed in blue flashes.

 

Written by Sarah Ann

July 23, 2017 at 9:45 pm

#FridayFictioneers – 14/7/17 – Nothing to Wear

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Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry.

At any point during the following week, the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word tales. Read the other stories by clicking below.

Thanks to Rochelle for hosting and Janet for the beautiful photo this week.

Nothing to Wear

(Genre: fantasy; 100-words)

As the warlock’s summer party approached, Zilla resolved to attend, only the choice of perfect attire proved confounding. She could charm a gown of exquisite beauty, pervade a captivating scent, and might catch an eye with augmented lashes. It wouldn’t be the first time she had used her skills to bewitch a beau. And it wouldn’t be the last. Zilla was weary of being alone. She wanted someone to love and share her world.

She pondered hard.

Zilla arrived in standard garb, enchantment free, the plain young witch she was. She mesmerised and enthralled, and left with like-minded mate.

 

Written by Sarah Ann

July 14, 2017 at 4:43 pm

#FridayFictioneers – 7/7/17 – Alternative Summer

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Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry.

At any point during the following week, the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word tales. Read the other stories by clicking below.

I wrote the below with one pair in mind, but another dynamic emerged once I was done. I’d love you to let me know who you see/ hear speaking. With thanks to Rochelle for hosting and Claire for this week’s prompt.

 

 

Alternative Summer

(Genre: general fiction/ humour; 100-words)

‘A cluttered desk is a sign of genius.’

‘And a tidy desk is a sign of an anal-retentive control freak?’

‘I didn’t say – ’

‘You didn’t have to. Clear it, or I will.’

‘I’ll do it tomorrow.’

‘I finished the rest of the house weeks ago. This is the last room to be decorated. It’s not as if I’m asking you to paint anything.’

‘I promise, tomorrow’s the day.’

‘You have until 10am before I fill a black sack.’

‘That’s harsh.’

‘Nope, harsh is a summer with no days off. There are plenty of jobs I can find for you.’

 

Written by Sarah Ann

July 7, 2017 at 7:21 pm

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