Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

WIP Update July 2014 – Fingers and Pies

with 9 comments


There isn’t much to report but, even without news, work continues and this post is a series of disjointed goings-on.

Having read Jennifer Pendergast’s post regarding sagging in the middle, I have attempted some longer short stories – both from scratch and revisiting some old pieces that have been languishing on my laptop for a while. This has been possible because my completed book manuscript is away being perused by agent Number 2. (I have to chase early next week as the allotted six-weeks to wait are almost up. I’m not feeling overly optimistic by the lack of response to date. To prevent any delay in sending my rejected manuscript to agent Number 3, I have finally compiled a list of half a dozen agents and know (when I check the list) whom I wish to approach next. I will, of course, increase the length of the list as the rejections pile up.)

Returning to write short stories has flagged up that I don’t seem to be able to write long and short pieces at the same time. I don’t know why, but I wonder whether holding the thread of a book-length story in my head squashes other ideas. I know I have been surprised by the amount of time it takes to write, read, edit, re-write, re-read, re-edit, and perfect (although nothing is ever perfect) a 2-3000 word story. However, thanks to Jennifer’s post, I have started submitting short stories again to competitions and publications. I had limited success when I did the same five or six years ago and I am hopeful something concrete will come of it this time too. If not, then maybe that’s an indication I really should give up this writing lark.


Which brings me to fingers in pies – I have the normal number of fingers, but probably have them stuck in too many pies. I never said I wasn’t greedy.

I am working (very slowly) on another book, but don’t want to rush into it until the first one has found a publisher.

I am busy editing and polishing diary entries from 20-years ago when hubby and I first moved onto a boat. I hope to self-publish the tale of what a pair of naïve idiots we were by Christmas. (Yes, that was a flying pig flashing past the window).

The illustrated short story collection to be undertaken with Janice Hume is resting as she has a proper job. We will be meeting and discussing illustrations based on my stories and stories based on her illustrations next month.


Before my temporary separation from my blog towards the end of last year, I had become slightly obsessed with flash fiction challenges. Whilst encouraging the muse to perform and keeping her front of house, this resulted in guilt and procrastination. Guilt that I wasn’t contributing enough to the blogs of others in terms of reading and commenting, and procrastination, in that I could avoid doing my own writing by entering challenges and reading other blogs. To wit, I have reduced the number flash fiction challenges I undertake. During a recent comment conversation with Janna T, we agreed to stop beating ourselves up if the muse and time just don’t allow us to submit. So I will be participating, sporadically.


I need to adjust my focus, re-assign my time. Not living a structured life is an excuse. I thrive on routine and its opposite, but always seem to be caught in the middle with a bit of both and can never get the balance right. Hubby has finished his studies so writing-Thursdays are a thing of the past. One day down and I’m trying to fit more in. I need someone to beat me into being organised and sticking to the plans I write.



Written by Sarah Ann

July 16, 2014 at 8:05 pm

9 Responses

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  1. Fascinating and beautifully honest review, Sarah Ann, and thank you for pingback. You are well ahead of me in agent-hunting and I hope you find some success there too


    July 16, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    • You’re very welcome for the pingback. I often find your posts illuminating and thought-provoking – I’m just so slow in getting round to reading them that I feel it’s too late to comment.
      I’ll let you know how the agent hunting goes. I booked myself on a course today entitled, “How to hook an agent,’ so I think I must have my determined-head on at the moment.

      Sarah Ann

      July 17, 2014 at 10:00 pm

  2. Even I need to adjust my focus




    July 17, 2014 at 5:40 am

  3. It surely sounds as if you’re very busy and I wish you the best of luck! I write short fiction, and at this juncture of my life, I’m not seeking to have it published except on the blogs that I share with the other members of Team Netherworld. As for longer pieces, I did Camp NaNoWriMo one year, and never came back to the “novel” I wrote during that time. I found the process so odious that I never wanted to touch it again!
    Thank you for visiting The Netherworld.


    July 17, 2014 at 7:02 am

    • Hi. Thanks for your comment. I’ve thought about NaNoWriMo, and even prepared for it one year, but I don’t think I could commit to writing daily the requisite number of words. Being that structured and confined, I can understand why you might not want to continue with the work you produced at the time – yet anyway.

      Sarah Ann

      July 17, 2014 at 9:55 pm

  4. I’m a lot like you, Sarah Ann. I have trouble working on more than one writing project of any time, regardless of length. However others (like Dianne Gray) can work on several novels at a time and finds that when she’s stuck on one she can jump into another one and keep moving. I get too detached from the story and have trouble writing unless I’m completely immersed (I have to become the story in a sense.) I guess that’s a shortcoming of mine 🙂

    I do hope you are able to be kind to yourself. At the end of the day, we do the best we can. And guess what, some days, I just play video games on my phone rather than write because I need a break. And I don’t lose sleep over it!


    July 18, 2014 at 5:51 am

    • Write more than one book at a time?! I can’t read more than one at a time. And as for reading when I’m trying to write a book – nope that doesn’t work either. I think I’m like you in that I need to be immersed, or at least not trying to carry anything else around in my head. I’m not prepared to admit it’s a shortcoming though – we just write differently to others 🙂
      I am being kinder – not beating myself up if I don’t get everything done. I think that’s partly acheived by setting my sights lower – being happy if I get three things done in a day instead of ten. Now, next on the list for today is …. 😉

      Sarah Ann

      July 19, 2014 at 4:05 pm

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