Sarah Ann Hall

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

Posts Tagged ‘short stories

Project 10K – June – #amwriting #amediting

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As usual, May has been a mixed month in terms of goal achievement. I have submitted more that three short stories. This comprised three flashes, which I consider only half a story, one to a competition (no success), and two online challenges. I also submitted four short stories of 1000-words plus: one to a competition, two to a women’s magazine, and one for consideration for inclusion in an anthology.


Working to the deadline of the end of the month for the anthology and competition entries, and these being new stories, made me realise what I’ve knew before – that I can’t do everything. By scheduling my time to get short stories written to deadlines I have neglected editing my novel. I therefore need to be more choosy around short stories and balance my time better if I am ever going to get another novel ready for submission.

In terms of submitting my current book, I have approached five agents this month as planned. I’ve heard negatively from two, positively from one, and await a response from the remainder.

I have successfully participated in Friday Fictioneers each week.

I have been late for all OLWG challenges – I scheduled my responses to the last two sets of prompts as I posted this.

I managed to edit a paltry 5% of my Nano17 novel.

 

On the plus side, a renewed focus on short stories resulted in me winning the mystery category in a competition.

 

Goals for June (much the same as May)

  1. Edit the remaining 37500 words of my NaNoWriMo 2017 novel.
  2. Post responses to the On-Line Writer’s Guild prompts by the Thursday after a Sunday post.
  3. Write two new short stories the ideas for which have been rattling around my brain for ages.
  4. Contribute to Friday Fictioneer prompts.
  5. Submit my finished WIP to agents – another three.

 

Goals for May – summary of achievement/ not

  1. Edit the remaining 39500 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. (I live in hope.) FAIL
  3. Write new short stories/ adapt old ones for short story competitions – enter three. WIN
  4. Contribute to Friday Fictioneer prompts. WIN
  5. Submit my finished WIP to agents – at least five. WIN

 

Thank you to Gabrielle for this motivational challenge.

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Written by Sarah Ann

June 1, 2018 at 10:45 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

Priorities and Progress, 2017-18, #amwriting

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In January 2017, I came up with a list of writing tasks to be completed during the following 12-months. These were reviewed in February, April and June 2017 with mixed progress having been made. A little over 12-months since I wrote my original list of jobs seems a good time for yet another review, as well as to make commitments for the coming months.

 

Task, in rough order of priority, as priorities change.

Ease of completion: *easy to ***hard

Time commitment required: ^a little to ^^^a lot

Progress and Plans  February 2018.

 

1. Keep up with blog.

* Easy if I have something to say/ report.

^ Variable on time allowing/ having anything to say.

Posting has been sporadic dependent upon work commitments. Regular writing updates in the first half of 2017 petered out towards the end of the year and were replaced by me concentrating on Project 10K, a monthly commitment to write and or edit 10000-words, or undertake other goals as self-defined. I concentrated on the micro instead of macro in terms of time frame.

In 2018 I will post monthly as part of Project 10K.

 

 

2. Read 85k word novel and decide whether to pitch or ditch.

* Easy.

^^ A large time commitment for revisions/ editing and sending to agents.

Achieved.

I sent the manuscript to 8 agents and received a ‘near miss’ from one. Is sent to another 10 and was invited to pitch my novel to 1. This agent suggested changes, which I have recently re-submitted. The end of the manuscript needs re-reading through.

In 2018, I will continue to submit my revised manuscript if the current agent considering it rejects it.

 

 

3. Write 100-word Friday Fictioneer stories.

* Easy to do if have nothing else on and come up with a story.

^^ Requires time and concentration to perfect. Takes time to read and comment on other stories and be part of the community.

Mostly met.

I have responded to most prompts and gained some encouraging feedback on my stories.I don’t participate unless I have time to read others’ stories and sometimes the photos cause no neurones to fire in my head.

In 2018, I will continue to participate as inspiration and time allow.

 

 

4. Revise and edit my NaNoWriMo stories from 2014 and 2017. Work up 51k words into a novel.

** Medium.

^^^ Big time commitment. Hopefully enjoyable to do.

I began to edit NaNoWriMo2014 at the end of summer 2017 and made progress until November when I participated in NaNoWriMo2017.

In 2018 I hope to be able to edit both these works into full-length second drafts.

 

 

5. 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.

Ongoing.

Jan and I talked about this project briefly recently – Jan hasn’t painted a picture but has ideas. I am in the same position as before regarding progress: 1 story finished; 2 needing tough editing; 1 just started.

In 2018, I will get my stories finished, send them to Jan and then nag her to paint.

 

 

6. Write short stories for competitions.

*** Quite hard writing to order.

^^ Time commitment to look for competitions and then write themed stories to deadlines.

I came runner-up for an entry in March ‘17 so thought I’d made it. Subsequent submissions through the year yielded nothing.

In 2018, I will continue to look for short story competitions, but not concentrate on them to the detriment of other commitments.

 

 

7. Self-publish flashes and short stories.

*** An organisational project and learning experience, e.g. about self-publishing platforms. Takes less brainpower than writing.

^^ Time-consuming but can be dipped in and out of.

No progress since June 2017.Stories are collated. Page layout needs to be completed. Cover design needs completing.Self-publishing platforms to be researched.

In 2018, I will get this published… and pigs might fly. Colleagues in the Windsor Writers’ Group are self-published and are there to call on when I’m ready.

 

 

8. 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 to me.

^^ Large time commitment and learning new skill.

Schedule in for 2020?
 

 

9. Continue with novel-length abuse-survivor story started 2014.

* Easy to write – the story is in my head.

^^ Need time and space to pick this up again.

This will happen only when I’ve completed all of the above… so maybe never.

 

 

 

Written by Sarah Ann

February 27, 2018 at 12:14 pm

Too organised – #amwriting

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It is time again to review my writing progress for the year. This is proving a really useful process for me as I see priorities change and move. Some of the goals from the beginning of the year have been discarded, others partially met, and the easy ones at the top of the list have been mostly achieved. Having a human accountability partner didn’t quite work out but, by blogging what I intend, I am keeping myself on task.

This week I have been looking back through old short stories, to see what could be deleted from my hard drive, and what might be adapted for submission. This has resulted in a story being submitted to a publisher looking for supernatural stories. I don’t think mine will hit the mark at all, but the process of trawling through old works was not completely wasted. It was good to see how my writing has developed over the years, and how tired and plodding stories have been adapted to be punchier. Coming up with new ideas is good, recycling old ones sometimes helpful.

Going through my hard drive also reminded me that, a long time ago, I had planned to self-publish some of the flash fiction from my blog. I saw how much work I had done on collecting these stories together and collating them into themes. Laying them out correctly on the page is a laborious process, and one that can be done with half an eye on the TV rather than stealing from precious ‘alone’ writing time. This forgotten project has, for the time being at least, been added to the list of the year’s tasks, albeit one to complete by Christmas.

August is earmarked for home re-decoration and writing will be sparse. With this in mind I have reduced my availability to work during July in order to have one full day free to write, and hopefully complete some projects before a month of physical hard labour. Thursday mornings will be taken up with completing work reports from Wednesday, and then I will have an afternoon and all day Friday to get on with short stories and editing the back end of my out-with-agents novel.

 

Task & original priority position – re-ordered June 2017 Ease of completion Progress 6 weeks later (end of Feb) Progress April Progress end of June
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. I post at least once a week, but could be more regular with writing updates.
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.

 

Deadline met.

Sent to eight agents – a ‘near miss’ for one. Chs. 1-3 have been re-edited and are ready to resubmit. Deadline for resubmission: mid-July because of people taking the summer off.

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.

 

I have responded to most prompts and gained some encouraging feedback on my stories.
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.

 

Ongoing. One story is finished. I have done research for others. One is only just started. Deadline for completion will be missed.
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.

 

I came runner-up for my one entry so have continued looking for competitions to enter.

Two more submissions made.

9. NEW ENTRY

Self-publish flashes and short stories.

Time-consuming but can be dipped in and out of. An organising project and learning experience, e.g. about self-publishing platforms. Takes less brainpower than writing.

 

Stories are collated. Laying out pages to be completed. Cover design needed. Self-publishing platforms to be researched.

Deadline: December 2017.

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.

 

No progress – this is off my radar.

New deadline to start second draft: before the end of the year.

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.

 

2018?
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. 2019 maybe

Written by Sarah Ann

June 28, 2017 at 11:26 am

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.

men-waiting

Copyright Janice Hume

Written by Sarah Ann

January 12, 2017 at 8:01 pm

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