Sarah Ann Hall

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

Posts Tagged ‘short stories

Slotting it in – #amwriting

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With clients moving on I thought I’d fill my time with writing. However, new clients have arrived and time home alone to write has reduced. My one free day a week is now Thursday, during which the morning is taken up with work-related report writing.

In order to make sure I do write, I am carrying around hard copies of short stories in progress. On Monday, in the 10-minutes I had between clients, I edited 600-words of a still very rough, but complete, short story. I was able to do the same at lunchtime today. And this morning, I started this blog post before work, planning to get down the bare bones before posting this evening. Squeezing it in, using tiny snippets of time to write, is working… so far.

Last week, on my day at home, I read through chapters 1-3 of my out-with-agents novel and decided Chapter 1 needs re-ordering. There is too much introspection and not enough grab. I think I might also swap Chapters 3 and 4. I like Chapter 4. It introduces a new and loveable character that agents might prefer to the one who arrives in Chapter 3. Because the chapters follow a detailed timeline, I have yet to work out how much work re-ordering might take, and that’s tomorrow’s job, when I have the afternoon free to play.


Priorities for the next fortnight: re-order/ tighten first chapters of novel; re-edit short stories.

Ongoing projects successfully met: chapters 1-3 of novel were read and found wanting.

Ongoing projects partially met: two short stories have been edited; my online Italian course has been accessed once more, even if not much learning has occurred; crochet progresses, I’m looking for new stitches to try.

Ongoing project fails: the piano gathers dust.



Written by Sarah Ann

May 17, 2017 at 10:47 pm

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

And she’s off

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This morning I wrote 1000 words of a new short story. The incentive is a competition with a deadline of 13th February 2017. There is no theme and no chance of me winning. However, I am still committed to writing upto 2000 words and sending them off. Procrastination is my greatest problem, ideas float around in my head and there is always some reason, usually something inconsequential like housework, that prevents me writing. In this instance I had a vague idea on Monday, scribbled on some paper on Tuesday, and sat at my laptop this morning turning those two initial paragraphs into my character’s background. I haven’t quite worked out how sinister she is, or whether she is at all. The story hasn’t ended, there are two deaths and a visit to A&E to describe, so with only 1000 words left, I suspect the story will grow quite a bit before I do some much needed paring. But the point is, I have started and could be halfway through. More importantly, I didn’t want to stop writing, but also didn’t want to run out of words or get to a point where I couldn’t see which way to go, got bored, or didn’t like the character any more. Instead, I noted down some possible plot developments that I can pick up when I go back to it.

I am not someone who can carry too much at a time. I take on too many tasks, spread myself too thinly, and end up getting nothing done, so while there is a list of things I want to get done, I am starting small. As well as the competition story, I want to write one inspired by a friend’s print. Many moons ago a visual artist friend, Janice Hume, and I decided to collaborate on a joint project – I’d give her some stories to illustrate; she’d give me some pictures to write stories about. We both made the exchange, and I worked up a story to one of her pictures, although I wasn’t happy with it. At the moment I am working on the picture below and have two character names – Elena and Pavel – and a comment about it always raining in the UK, and that’s it, but I know it’s going somewhere. There is something about the angle of the shoulders, or the way the men are sitting, that tells me there is a story here waiting to be written. The other things on the list can wait until these two pieces are done and dusted, or at least have each reached their fourth drafts.


Copyright Janice Hume

Written by Sarah Ann

January 12, 2017 at 8:01 pm

I get there eventually

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Ever since Love the Bad Guy and Mike at Short Stories posted about Haiku Deck, I’ve been meaning to have a go. Well, it’s only taken me 18-months to get round to it.

Here are some of the 33-word stories I wrote for Trifecta, re-visited with images.




Also have a look at Love the Bad Guy’s Twitter stories and Mike Jackson’s 33-word stories.


Author spotlight: KZ Morano – 100 Nightmares

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Because it takes me so long to get around to everything, I’m too late to take part in the blog blast cover reveal for KZ Morano’s new e-book of little horror stories – 100 Nightmares. It’s out already! However, my tardiness does have positive consequences – I’m able to provide the links for you to buy, as well as telling you about it.

KZ’s desciptive qualities are awesome – her 100-word stories for Friday Fictioneers regularly leave me squirming in disgust, desolated by pain, and generally feeling very envious of her talents.





100 nightmares x900


100 NIGHTMARES by K.Z. Morano is a collection of horror stories written in exactly 100 words, accompanied by over 50 illustrations. Inside, you’ll find monsters—both imagined and real. There are vengeful specters, characters with extremely impaired psyches, dark fairy tales and stories and illustrations inspired by bizarre creatures of Japanese folklore.


It takes a brief encounter with death to cause enduring nightmares.

A single well-placed blow could maim you for life…

One well-placed word could haunt you forever.


Micro-fiction is a blade—sharp, swift…

Sometimes it goes for the jugular, killing you in seconds.

Its silver tongue touches your throat and warm blood hisses before you can scream.


Sometimes, the knife makes micro-cuts in the sensitive sheath of your sanity, creating wounds that will fester throughout eternity.


Take my 100 words daily like a slow-acting poison or read them all and die of overdose.

Your call.

It’s your suicide after all.



Take your heart in your hands and BUY 100 Nightmares, but don’t say she and I didn’t warn you:



About the Author

K.Z. Morano is an eclectic eccentric… a writer, a beach bum and a chocolate addict who writes anything from romance and erotica to horror, fantasy, sci-fi and bizarro fiction. Over the past few months, her stories have appeared in various anthologies, magazines and online venues. Visit her at where she posts short fiction and photographs weekly.

Like this story collection on K.Z.’s Facebook page


Written by Sarah Ann

April 24, 2014 at 11:35 pm

Sarah Ann’s Shorts Falls Short – WIP Update

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I think it’s safe to say that the optimism and energy of last August dissipated toward the end of the year. My plans to self-publish my short stories faltered when I read advice that said it was dangerous – a badly written, badly edited self-published book can end a career as well as launch one. I worried, I wobbled, and decided against. But since then I’ve re-read some of my stories, had a rethink, and decided to try again. It’s too easy to be a writer who writes but isn’t read.

Russell over at What’s So Funny had the same idea as me for a cover design. It must have me been discussing it with hubby that created enough morphic resonance for the thought to carry across the ocean. Or maybe, great minds just think alike. I have recovered from Russell getting there first and Plan B is to create an illustrated book with friend and creative colleague Janice Hume. (And I’m not copying kz either.)  Jan has read the first crop of stories I plucked from my hard drive and not gone off the idea of entangling herself with me. So I must continue editing and collating, and wait until she has a gap in her schedule of photography shoots and design assignments, before we put our heads together. Of course, Sarah Ann’s Shorts has had to go as a title and a concept. It’s Hall and Hume now, and we need a new title.



For more info on books to which I refer above, click the links:

Russell Gayer’s The Perils of Heavy Thinking

KZ Morano’s 100 Nightmares


Written by Sarah Ann

April 16, 2014 at 12:29 pm

A number of OMGs – WIP update

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OMG 1 – Yippee.

I’ve been re-reading and revising my blog – going through each post from the first one in May 2011. I can’t believe I’ve been sending out my thoughts for that long. Initial posts were about the lack of progress on my manuscript. As I sent it to a prospective agent only last month, it has been a long time in gestation. Still, the blog revision has been a relatively easy experience. I only deleted a couple of (now irrelevant) posts and found typos in relatively few – Yippee.


OMG 2 – For pity’s sake!

Reading my manuscript aloud again (from Chapter 4 onwards), I am seriously beginning to question whether I have a subconscious typo monster. I think he dances across my keyboard whenever I’m not looking. Of the first ten pages read, five needed amending. Admittedly, one was replacing an ‘L’ with an ‘l’; another was a ‘to’ for a ‘the’. But still the typos remained. Further into the manuscript, there were more pages that needed no changes – Good.

Having read D. R. Humphrey’s Self-Editing and Evaluation Checklist: Four steps to polish your manuscript, I read the manuscript last time with a style-sheet at my side. I thought I had eradicated different spellings of words (e.g. half-way and half way), but no. On this read through I had used ‘anymore’ and ‘any more,’ and my use of numerals and written numbers was still inconsistent – Oh well.


OMG 3 – WTF?

More disturbing than both of these was my recent trawl through my old short stories. What drivel I wrote! All my characters seem to share a very small pool of names – they were different in personalities, but I obviously have a small repertoire of names I call on repeatedly. And then there’s the recognisable turn of phrase and use of language. Thankfully, I think my writing has improved. I have printed a few of the stories to read through and see if they can be tweaked or reworked. Most won’t be looked at again, ever, but I’m still not brave enough to send them to the recycle bin – Shame!


Written by Sarah Ann

April 3, 2014 at 1:11 pm

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