Sarah Ann Hall

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

#amwriting – Agents, here I come.

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My novel to pitch is now with eight agents. While I hoped this would take a day, it took two, as submissions were adjusted to meet agency specific requirements. Some require a query letter instead of a cover letter and synopsis. Most want the first three chapters as attachments, although one preferred the first chapter pasted into the body of an email. And there are agents who want submissions via hardcopy only, which I will approach once I have a new toner cartridge for my printer.

I realise submitting to agents should be an ongoing process until I find representation. However, it has been an energy-sapping couple of days and I am looking forward to writing again without strictures.

 

Priorities for the next fortnight: edit and write short stories based on friend’s picture prompts; prepare more agent submissions.

Ongoing projects successfully met: novel has been submitted; Friday Fictioneer stories have been posted regularly; piano practice has taken place; crochet projects have been completed.

Ongoing projects partially met: blog posts about writing and progress have been sporadic; blog reading is improving.

Ongoing project fails: learning Italian has taken a back seat.

 

 

Written by Sarah Ann

April 22, 2017 at 11:35 am

#FridayFictioneers – 21/4/17 – Septuagenarian Adventure

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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.

With thanks to Rochelle for hosting and Magaly Guerrero for this week’s prompt.

I can’t quite believe I’ve managed to post this on a Thursday, but life gave me an in this week – I will be following my protagonist’s example next Wednesday.

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Magaly Guerrero

© Magaly Guerrero

 

Septuagenarian Adventure

(Genre: humour; 100-words)

‘Frances, you’re 75.’

My husband is a master of truth.

‘And?’

‘It’s undignified.’

‘The woman who runs the sessions said there are lots of beginners like me.’

‘You’re not as fit as you were.’

‘That’s why I signed up.’

‘What about equipment?’

‘I only need shoes.’

‘You’re….’ he paused.

There are occasions when Colin trips over the truth.

‘There’s more of you than there was,’ he attempted diplomatically.

‘You mean is the floor reinforced?’

‘I didn’t say…’

‘I’m fat, Colin. I need to lose weight and enjoy it. That’s why I joined The Marvellous Tapping Heffalumps. Come jiggle with me?’

 

Written by Sarah Ann

April 20, 2017 at 3:23 pm

#FridayFictioneers -14/4/17 – Gone Astray

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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.

 

© Dale Rogerson

Gone Astray

(Genre: general fiction; 100-words)

I’ve been to the police station five times. The desk jockeys think I’m hysterical. They don’t believe my mother is missing.

‘She hasn’t been gone 24-hours,’ they say. ‘She’s an adult.’

I insist it’s out of character.

She only ever eats pizza on the anniversary of dad’s disappearance, with fingers from the box, ready to run. However long it takes to consume, she doesn’t move until it’s done, in case he comes back to finish the one he left. She’s been fulfilling this ritual for 15-years. She couldn’t not complete it.

Unless something happened.

Unless she went to join him.

 

Written by Sarah Ann

April 14, 2017 at 5:34 pm

#FridayFictioneers – 7/4/17 – Constant Companion

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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.

As usual, I am not feeling confident about my efforts below, so criticise away. Thank you Rochelle for hosting, and Jellicoe’s Stationhouse for this week’s photo.

 

© Jellico’s Stationhouse

 

Constant Companion

(Genre: speculative fiction; 100-words)

During the day, they are attached to their hosts. It is only when dusk falls that they separate and live independently.

Only ever seen from the corner of an eye, they cause fear and trepidation.

During the night, they slip through cracks and keyholes. While people sleep, they flit about, observing. Their ethereal nature means they aren’t much use for anything. Their existence is futile, but necessary, and they never interfere.

With dawn, they rejoin their fellow, leaving only the lingering scent of exasperation. In sunlight, they disappear or stand proud, never able to explain.

Everyone has one. A shadow.

Priorities updated

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As days and weeks have progressed, my priorities listed in February have changed. Since setting them out, I have met Priority 1 by continuing to blog relatively regularly. Priority 8, contributing to Friday Fictioneers, has moved up; Priority 3, self-publishing my narrow boat diaries, has shot down the list. I read the opening paragraph only to decide there is far too much work to be done.

When I first started to plan this post, I was moving short stories and writing to a prompt and a deadline into last place, as if detracts from other self imposed tasks. However, the week after I thought that, I was pootling online when I found a free to enter competition and, within four days, wrote 1700 words of a story with a loose theme of getting a loan. I’m sure it wasn’t ready or good enough, but I worked to a deadline, showing me I sometimes can. I have also set deadlines, albeit loose ones, for some of my ongoing priorities.

Herewith, updated priorities list:

 

Task & original priority position – re-ordered April 2017   Ease of completion   Progress 6 weeks later (end of Feb)   Progress another month later (first week April)
             
1. Keep up with blog   Variable on time allowing/ having anything to say. Hopefully on the easy side.   Not great. I’ve not posted as often as I would have liked.   I’m doing better, but I might be running out of things to say already.
             
2. Read 85k word novel and decide whether to pitch or ditch.    

 

Easy and relatively quick if I decide to ditch.

Time commitment if I’m going to pitch and it needs editing.

Time commitment if start sending to agents.

  I have allocated the week of 13-17th March to do the read through. I’m away from home and will have the head space.    

 

Done – it’s a pitch.

Sent to an agency’s open pitch process.

I need to go back to a list of agents to approach I drew up 12 or more months ago and submit to others.

Deadline to have made other submissions: end of April 17, and ongoing.

             
8. Friday Fictioneer stories    

 

Easy to do if have nothing else on. Requires time and concentration. Can be addictive so need to limit or will get caught up and carried away to the detriment of other things.

   

No progress.

I wrote a story to one prompt, which I was pleased to have achieved, but didn’t manage to post it.

   

I have managed to write and post a 100-word story two weeks running.

It’s a bit early to say I’ve succeeded with this priority, but it has been met earlier than expected.

             
4. Write short stories to go with friend Jan’s paintings/ prints/ illustrations.

 

  Relatively easy if I come up with any ideas. Enjoyable. Able to do between other things as shorter time commitment.   I have drafted one short story and am looking at the other pictures chosen. I need to re-visit the project with Jan to see if she wants to paint to my words.   These stories are progressing slowly. There is a lot of research and re-drafting to be done.

Need to determine number of stories to write and liaise with Jan on how to take forward.

Deadline to complete stories: end of summer.

             
4 NANOWRIMO story from 2014. Work up 51k words into a novel.   Medium. Big time commitment. Hopefully enjoyable to do.   No progress    

No progress.

I want to work on this story as I want to get back to the characters.

Deadline to have started second draft: end of summer.

             
7. Short stories for competitions   Quite hard. Time commitment to look for competitions and then write themed stories to deadlines.   One short story submitted. No other competitions identified to enter.    

I have written another short story to a prompt and submitted it.

This is something ongoing that I will fit in as time and interest allows.

             
3. Edit diaries of living and travelling on a narrow boat and self-publish.    

Hard. A lot of editing and additional writing to be done. Self-publishing is new. Large time commitment and learning new skill.

  No progress   There is too much work required to get this to a state suitable for publication. The narration needs to be completely re-written.
             
 

4. Continue with novel-length abuse story started 2014.

 

  Medium. Need time and space to pick this up again. Has a beginning but needs a middle and an end.   No progress   No progress.

This is a project too far for 2017.

Written by Sarah Ann

April 6, 2017 at 7:08 pm

#FridayFictioneers – 31/3/17 – Patience is a Virtue

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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 was at a loss as to what to do with this week’s photo, and then I remembered something my brother told me about working the docks in Melbourne, Australia. I’m not sure this works though, so let me know.

With thanks to Rochelle for hosting and Fatima Fakier Deria for this week’s photo.

 

© Fatima Fakier Deria

 

Patience is a Virtue
(Genre: general fiction; 100-words.)

Greg grew up overlooking the harbour and only ever wanted to be a stevedore. At school he was friends with the right boys, but an eight-year doesn’t dream of closed shops.
Greg matured to down pints with dockworkers, play football for their team. His crane-driving ingenuity built the city’s skyline, and brought him to the head of the cartel’s attention. Greg was so well liked he married the guy’s daughter. Still there was no dock job. It wasn’t until Greg’s brother-in-law fractured his leg during football training that Greg got his break. He always wondered why no-one questioned that tackle.

 

 

Written by Sarah Ann

March 31, 2017 at 7:08 pm

Work Life Writing Balance

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My current job, while part-time, takes place over four days. The one contact-free day, Tuesday, I am usually writing up reports from the previous day. For this post I drew up a schedule of my week to see how my work hours fit in with everything else. This has helped me realise why my writing has been suffering – I don’t have free time of any length to write.

Hubby and I are trying to work the same hours so that time home together is just that, spent together and not with either one of us with our eyes glued to a screen. Weekends also need to be down time, as his job is emotionally demanding. Having spent many years self-employed in the same business, we are used to spending all our time together. Our more recent foray into working for others, and the need to sometimes work from home, has caused sniping and arguments, so we’ve set boundaries – no work at the weekend. If we both agree to do some work at the weekend then fine, but otherwise it’s verboten. Just as much as his client logging and statistical reports, my writing, work-related or creative, distances us from each other, and what’s the point of being in the same room if either of you is not present?

My work rota is drawn up a month in advance and so far I am scheduled to do the same hours in May as in April and March. At the moment, I am resolved to try to use the evenings of Monday and Wednesday, when hubby is out with clients, to complete my reports from the same day. However, to have a whole day free, as I did yesterday thanks to cancelled appointments on Monday, was bliss, and I made the most of it by working on my novel synopsis and covering letter, doing some blog-reading, and emailing writer colleagues. I have therefore decided to monitor my writing progress during April to decide whether I need to ask for a change in hours/days worked to get a completely work-free day so I can write creatively.

 

Priorities for the next fortnight: finalise covering letter and synopsis and submit to agent; work on short stories; review priorities for the year in light of current progress.

Ongoing projects successfully met: I’m managing to blog regularly, but it’s still early days; I have contributed to Friday Fictioneers; I’ve crocheted three eggs for Easter presents.

Ongoing projects partially met: I fell across a short story competition on Monday needing an entry by this Friday and I’m 1800-words in. It won’t be ready in time, but it had a theme and I forced myself to write to it. That’s what can happen when I have a completely free day.

Ongoing project fails; I’ve done no piano or Italian practise; having looked briefly at the boating diaries I planned to self-publish, I think this might be a project too far as they need more work than I’m prepared to commit at the moment.

Written by Sarah Ann

March 29, 2017 at 8:55 pm

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