Sarah Ann Hall

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

Archive for the ‘About writing’ Category

Project 10K – Giving Up

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The car broke down, a ceiling fell down, and an elderly relative fell over. The car is fixed, the ceiling should be fixed, the elderly relative can’t be fixed. And then there’s the colleague off sick for whom I’m covering. October was a month full of stress and other stuff; a month where writing went out the window and its importance, or not, was brought into focus.

Why do I write? Because someone a long time ago said I could. I do not have a burning passion. I do not have a natural talent. It’s always fun to weave Thom’s prompts into a story, but it’s hard work meeting the self-imposed deadlines of Friday Fictioneers and the New Unofficial On-Line Writer’s Guild. And that doesn’t touch on the other stuff I have on my to do list that I’ve been working on forever.

So I’m stopping. I’m taking a break. Currently working almost full time and travelling to visit the frail elderly relative we are desperate to get out of hospital leaves no time for writing, reading, and commenting on others’ work, so I’m off. There’s only so much a girl can do.


Goals for November

  1. Write nothing.
  2. Evaluate and assess whether I miss it.
  3. Take note of what else I do with my time.



Written by Sarah Ann

November 5, 2018 at 7:35 pm

Project 10K – July – #amwriting #amediting

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I was all prepared to post my July goals on time, and then the weekend happened and this week started, neither of which I am going to bore you with.

June was productive and good in terms of goal achievements and I was making notes of success as I went along so here’s something I prepared earlier…..

A week into June and I was struggling. I looked at some old drafts of novels that I had planned to submit to new novel competitions, and decided they needed way too much editing to get them to a standard I’d be happy to send off. I decided I needed to concentrate on what I could achieve rather than the remote chance of winning £30000. And then I changed my mind. A couple of mornings were freed up after meetings were cancelled and I got on and re-edited the first 11000-words of my NaNo17 novel, wrote a synopsis, and emailed the lot off. I expect to hear nothing back, but this did refocus the mind on a work that has been neglected since May. The re-edit of the opening words forced me to work through the stumbling block of disconnected thoughts that were words 12-15000, and I was back on track… until the next stumbling block.

Since writing that, the deadline for shortlisted winners to be contacted has passed…… and I didn’t hear anything. I’ve managed to edit a whole 2300-words over the past two weeks.

© Flights of Fancy

Back to earlier…

Mapping my weeks has been helping in that it focuses my attention and I get things done. However, the things that don’t make it from the ‘to do’ list to the ‘to-do-in-this-slot-now-without-excuses’ list tend to be forgotten. There has been no piano or Italian practice, as these have not been scheduled. Moving things from ‘to do’ to ‘to do now’ has resulted in me editing two travel pieces I drafted moons ago and sending them off, probably to hear nothing ever again.

One went nowhere, the other you can read here. 

I submitted my novel to a further 3 agents, heard back from a short story competition that I only just missed out on being short-listed and sent that story on to a publisher who has previously commented favourably on my work…. and who hasn’t been in touch since. I also looked at magazines to submit short stories to and found I have a Submittable account that I’d completely forgotten about, not that I’ve sent anything off. And I started both stories I set as a goal for June.

© Flights of Fancy


As I say, June was productive for writing. July has started off badly and so my goals for the month are modest.


Goals for July

  1. Give up writing goals.
  2. Pull self together and write some goals.
  3. Contribute to Friday Fictioneers, as that’s an easy one.
  4. Respond to OWLG prompts by the Thursday after a Sunday post – already a fail as today is Thursday and I don’t know what last week’s prompts were.
  5. Continue editing Nano17 and Nano14 as time allows.
  6. Finish the ‘just started’ short stories and edit them once.
  7. Put up some bars over there on the right to show my progress and motivate me, because it’s a fun avoidance activity..


Achievements/ not in June

  1. Edit the remaining 37500 words of my NaNoWriMo 2017 novel. FAIL
  2. Post responses to the On-Line Writer’s Guild prompts by the Thursday after a Sunday post. WIN in ¾ of cases.
  3. Write two new short stories the ideas for which have been rattling around my brain for ages. ERM – I started both, but didn’t finish either.
  4. Contribute to Friday Fictioneer prompts. WIN
  5. Submit my finished WIP to agents – another three. WIN


Thank you Gabrielle for keeping me on my toes.

Written by Sarah Ann

July 5, 2018 at 2:22 pm

Project 10K – May #amwriting #amediting

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April has been good to me and I have achieved a lot of what I set out to do. This has been helped by me starting to map my weeks – breaking the week down into working days and the days into hourly slots that I fill with tasks. (For a technical explanation, the reasons why it works, and some examples click the links.)

To answer Gabrielle’s, of Flights of Fancy,  questions:

1. Did you meet your writing/editing goals? YES and NO.
2. Did you have fun writing? YES, and headaches trying to work out what’s going on in my NaNoWriMo novel.
3. Did the P10K help with motivation? YES. People are checking up on me so I have to perform.



I set myself four goals for April and achieved two of them fully. Submitting short stories to four competitions has resulted in me being placed in the Top 3 of the Blank Page Short Story Challenge, so I am pleased I got my entry in at the last minute and I am now willing people to vote for my story to win. 🙂 I have also submitted to all of April’s Friday Fictioneer prompts, with a variety of story types, and received some very encouraging comments.



One of my fails this month was to edit my 2017 NaNoWriMo novel. I lost the first two weeks of April to the Easter holidays and having some time off with hubby, so it is hardly a surprise I am behind with this task. I have also learnt that writing in a stream of consciousness way is a complete pain in the behind when it comes to editing and making sense for a reading audience. I am chopping and changing and about 20% through. However, having started, this is an ongoing goal and I plan to get the first edit completed by the end of this (next?) month.

My other fail was to respond to the New Unofficial On-Line Writer’s Guild prompts by the Thursday after they are posted on Sunday. I think I managed this on one out of four occasions and, although I’m thinking about last Sunday’s prompt, I have only five lines of scribble to work with so that might well be a fail of 4/5.


Goals for May (in no particular order)

  1. Edit the remaining 39500 words of my NaNoWriMo 2017 novel.
  2. Post responses to the On-Line Writer’s Guild prompts by the Thursday after a Sunday post. (I live in hope.)
  3. Write new short stories/ adapt old ones for short story competitions – enter three.
  4. Contribute to Friday Fictioneer prompts.
  5. Submit my finished WIP to agents – at least five.


To sum up my goals for April, were:

  1. Participate in Camp Nano – edit the 50000 words I wrote last November. I really don’t expect to get this done but I do need to look at this writing again to see if it has legs. FAIL
  2. Write new short stories/ adapt old ones for short story competitions. I have a list of 7 possible deadlines to meet, so let’s aim to enter 4. WIN
  3. Contribute to Friday Fictioneer prompts. WIN
  4. Post responses to the On-Line Writer’s Guild prompts by the Thursday after a Sunday post. FAIL


Written by Sarah Ann

May 1, 2018 at 4:03 pm

Vote for me! Vote for me! – #amwriting #BlankPC

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I have been placed joint second in March’s The Blank Page Short Story Challenge judging panel vote! My story and two others are online to be read and voted on – the people shall choose their winner. So click here, read and vote for me. Or better still, read all three stories and vote for the one you think is the best and should therefore win.



You’ve got until Thursday May 3rd to make me a winner:


Written by Sarah Ann

April 24, 2018 at 4:30 pm

Project 10K – April #amwriting

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© Flights of Fancy


March turned out to be more productive on the writing front than I could have imagined. At the end of February I decided to give a month’s notice to reduce my paid working hours come April. The universe had different ideas and I immediately lost my three times a week client, so March provided me with lots of writing time and I was able to meet my goals:

I have finished reading through my WIP.

I have entered some short story competitions and written some new words, albeit not too many.

I have looked at old short stories and started to edit a few.

I am a happy bunny as I go into April, although I do not expect my writing to fare that well this month. The next two weeks are the school holidays so hubby is home and we are entertaining friends and family. Having posted quite regularly in March, I expect my April posts will be infrequent, but I live in hope.

Putting my goals into numerical form with a bar to show how much I’ve achieved has been a great incentive as I’ve seen how far or not I’ve progressed, and I will be attempting to define my goals similarly for April.


Goals for April

  1. Participate in Camp Nano – edit the 50000 words I wrote last November. I really don’t expect to get this done but I do need to look at this writing again to see if it has legs.
  2. Write new short stories/ adapt old ones for short story competitions. I have a list of 7 possible deadlines to meet, so let’s aim to enter 4.
  3. Contribute to Friday Fictioneer prompts.
  4. Post responses to the On-Line Writer’s Guild prompts by the Thursday after a Sunday post.


With thanks to Gabrielle for keeping me motivated and on my toes.



Written by Sarah Ann

April 1, 2018 at 5:32 pm

#FridayFictioneers – 23/3/18 – At the Crossroads

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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.

At my writer’s group this week we discussed metaphor in the short story using ‘It’s Beginning to Hurt’ by James Lasdun as an example. I think I have too literal a mind as opposed to a literary one. I don’t see or get metaphors. If someone writes about a fish (as above), it’s a fish, and leaving said fish in a filing cabinet is down to being a busy preoccupied person, not a representation of a failing marriage. But hey, as writers, we need to jump outside what we know and comes easy to develop our skills.

With thanks to Björn for this week’s photo and Rochelle for hosting.


© Björn Rudberg


At the Crossroads

(Genre: general fiction; 100-words)

The road ahead was stony and twisting, a hastily laid track thrown down without forethought. The one behind was equally uneven, marked by the rocks of career progression and oxbows of failed relationships. To left and right the paths appeared smooth and well made, but both branched giving no clue as to their ending; how long before they reached a cliff edge?

There was nothing to indicate which route might provide the best outcome, only a surety that continuing straight would be as hard as he’d come. He took one last look, before dismissing thoughts of ease, and stepped forward.



How long is a #shortstory #haiku #justforfun

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Last night at my writing group we discussed short stories – how short or long, maximum number of characters, point of view and so on. We had all prepared a 100-word story about a shirt and it was interesting to see the assumptions we each made about character and meaning based on our own perceptions/ experience/ prejudice when so much has to be inferred. At least I find it interesting when readers don’t feel or see things the same way as the writer.

Haiku were brought up, and the 6- or 10-word story. I have haven’t yet written a 6-word story, I’ve tried a couple of 10-word ones and never been satisfied. However, I do play with haiku and, unable to sleep last night, I composed a 17-word haiku, and then a haiku story. Or did I?


bird’s feet curl round wires

chest preened he sings for a mate

squall puts pay to love


yesterday morning

was the last time I saw her

seat reclined, feet up


With thanks to TNKerr of the OLWG for ‘the last time’ as a prompt.



Written by Sarah Ann

March 21, 2018 at 2:36 pm

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