Welcome to my blog. The home page will always display the most recent blog post so please use the tabs to navigate your way around. Keep up to date by visiting the 'News' area. The 'Short Stories' area and the ‘Flash Fiction’ area contain everything produced thus far, and comments would be much appreciated! Be sure to check out the 'Three Words' area that will explain how you can get involved in influencing the written work to come, or for details on contributing your own artwork visit the 'Artists' area! You can read my 'Blog' (in the truer sense), additional content is also available via the 'Other' section and don't be afraid to leave a comment in the 'Guestbook'. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

The Month That Was... September '16



Welcome to, The Month That Was - September '16 !



Finished with another piece on the 'Highly Commended' list in MorgEn Bailey's 100-Word Free Competition this month, with my entry 'Emily'. It's a year since the competition's inception, and brings me to a grand total of ten out of twelve placings on the shortlist or higher. The aim this year is to win one outright! Haha.

You can view this month's winning tales here - http://bit.ly/2cfnjk1


New Content This Month - (What can you actually read this month!?)

All three entries to  to MorgEn Bailey's 100-Word Free Competition , including the 'Highly Commended' piece 'Emily', have been added to the site. The theme this time was 'An Unwanted Birthday'.

You can find them here - http://bit.ly/2cc307j

Two of the Micro Fictions have been turned into my Social postcards, and hit Media on the first and fifteenth of the month.

(I'm still yet to receive a single entry into the Micro Pic Competition ! You could have your artwork seen by a wider / different audience AND win a free coupon to an online Writing Course!)


The Graft - (Daydreaming is well and good - you've got to have goals. But what have I actually done this month?)

Admittedly not a lot has happened on paper this month. Mostly it's been about ideas and planning, so we're a little bit light on the ground for actual content. The Micros required a bit of extra work this month to make them right, and I was unable to achieve any of the peripheral tasks I set out to complete.

I'm most annoyed I haven't found time to type up handwritten drafts of MFS1 events as I write them. It's a problem that most modern writers probably don't have to worry about, usually going straight to laptop, but better for me in that I prefer to have the time off screen. It actually feels like writing to me that way too! My chicken scratch handwriting has become a bit of a problem though - if I don't type it up straight after, I struggle to make sense of it most times... Although this month I've started to write in CAPITAL LETTERS to try and help myself on the return journey!

Following the introduction of TfTT Tuesdays, I've actually managed to make a start on a project I've wanted to for ages, (almost) guilt free! Though at a rate of four days a month, you shouldn't expect to see anything in the near future... :(

Monthly Micros (Three pieces at 100 words each, set theme)
- Draft 1, Draft 2, Draft 3, Draft 4, Draft 5
- Submitted to competition

Project 10 (Competition Short Story - 1700 words)
- Submitted to competition

MFS (Ongoing fantasy series, broken down into events, plus any note overhauls)
- Planning + Ordering
- Creation - Two events :(

Bigger Project (Aside from MFS *MFS1 currently occupies this slot until I can finish the first draft!*)
- Nada! :(

TfTT (Special project)
- Planning
- Part of a first draft of a section :(

Micro Pics (One Micro Pic taken from last month's best reaction to recent three Micros, plus one pic generated from archives)

This month, the popular Pic was 'Emily', and the archived Pic was 'Stain(Ed)'. Don't forget, by voting on the Twitter poll each month, you can have an impact on which Micro gets 'The Complete Treatment'! :)

Peripheral Tasks of Note
Nada! :(


What I've Read


Finished 'The Wheel of Osheim' this month, concluding the 'Red Queen's War' series from Mark Lawrence.

I've mentioned before how it feels like a very successful re-skinning of his previous series 'The Broken Empire', set in the same world and time frame with glorious crossovers, and that feeling remains true, right down to a moment where both main characters are rescued by an unexpected moment of 'modern' technology. Not only that, but I feel this series did it better. I think I can pinpoint it to the feeling I had upon walking away from the series upon completion. I distinctly remember walking away with two major criticisms of the first series.

Firstly, I felt the story held up so well as a medieval series, that when more and more technology was introduced (it's set in a post apocalyptic world of the nuclear variety) I didn't like it. Of course the story is all about it, and a gradual revelation of what happened and how it's changed the world going forward, but I'm not particularly fond of technology / sci fi, and just wanted it to stay medieval. But here's the thing, during 'Red Queen's War' I was now prepared to accept it as part of the world / story, that familiarity now improving my overall experience.

Secondly, I remember walking away from the first series unhappy with the ending. By which I mean the end ending. The, let's call it 'mortal' ending was suitably epic, but what happens next left me feeling unsatisfied. Well this series did it better. Whereas in the first, the endings are sequential, this series had them running parallel and I feel it was a vast improvement, all things coming to a head at once, the best stacking of the main character's nemeses, collected throughout the series, (they just kept coming and coming to the point you had to applaud the character for getting this far!) I've ever had the pleasure to read, and an ending, crucially, that made sense to me - again better knowing how it all worked from the first time. It's hard to describe the two layers of the story, but first time round he addressed them separately as an ending, this time they tied in together.

The world is finished now, aside form a collection of shorts I'll get called 'Road Brothers: Tales From the Broken Empire', but I'm much looking forward to reading his next series when it comes out, the first book being 'Red Sister'.


I've started using this book as a 'tone text' read before I start work on TfTT on a Tuesday. I've mentioned before how closely tied the worlds are, so it's a perfect read to get into the right head-space for a dark, apocalyptic, and dreary atmosphere / environment. The story I've read this month was 'The Case of the Scarlet Cell', which is my favourite from the book, mainly because it focuses on my favourite army from the world, Chaos, and the division therein. It's an interesting application of the rivalry from a great army, scaled down in a practical metropolis setting to a detective murder mystery.


Useful Articles I've read

Following on from last month, this would be better titled 'Useful Articles I've Listened too.' Bingeing on all things Brandon Sanderson recently, I've now added the Podcast he is part of 'Writing Excuses' to my consumption. It's a weekly release packed full of useful tips and practical applications thereof, all compacted to around fifteen minutes, and has been so helpful to me in terms of ideas and understanding of things already. The content is not just limited to the art of writing, and includes information and advice on 'being a writer' too, such as the publication process and interviews with those involved for a different industry perspective. I'm catching up from deep, not wishing to listen to more than one a day, because I want time to process / practice what I'm learning.


Competition Results + Reader Contributions

I've yet to receive any entrants to the Micro Pic Competition that I run on this site! :( Don't forget you can get more exposure for your artwork, and even win a free coupon to an online writing course!

At time of writing, the current Competitions that are open are;


The results of this month's Twitter poll, regarding which of the three Micro Fictions you liked best, was a tie between 'Emily' and 'Betrothed' with one vote apiece!


Any Other Business

Finally got the judges' critique back for my short story 'Picture Perfect'. To say I'm disappointed would be a bit of an understatement, and I certainly won't be paying extra for it, at least from that site, again. Raw and defensive I may be, but there was one glaring contradiction I can't get my head around, so it may be some time before I decide to give it another shot from a different source.

Now I did get a sneaky idea to release 'Picture Perfect' this month at same time as Skylar Grey released her new album 'Natural Causes'. It's that mad thing, as soon as I came up with the title I started noticing it everywhere, starting with the old film starring Jennifer Aniston popping up on Amazon Prime, and culminating in one of my favourite musicians releasing it as a track on her upcoming album! I thought maybe I could piggyback some success if people enjoyed the song (she herself describes it as her favourite song off the album) and maybe snatch a couple of hits via an unwitting google search or two.

But! I decided against it. No, it was not a retreat on moral ground, (just google the title of my site for an example of my desperation, I've tracked a whole three hits since the blog's inception as a result) instead, it's the result of a new fear I've developed when releasing fiction online.

Nobody reads anything now without a picture! When I release the three Micros and link to them with plain text, I get zero hits. You just keep scrolling down until something catches your eye. It's why I developed the Micro postcard idea, the stats confirm the same story released with one of my terrible little drawings get multiple interactions! Some social media platforms have a 'media' feed that text links just don't get onto. I asked a friend if he read my Micros, and after some gentle probing, it turned out to be just the Micros released as postcards. I re-linked to an old story 'Head Full of Memories' with added picture a while back, and it got a jump, 'Mount Wulf' despite its hideous picture did comparatively well too, and now I'm scared to release anything without an image!

So I bailed! I'm not prepared to pay for an image to go with a lowly short story released on an unknown's blog. I'll probably draw a picture similar to those I draw for the Micros, just to have something to accompany it with. Missing that window, I'll probably release it on the blog at Christmas.



So that's it. Nothing much to do but reiterate an intention to try harder next month. Thanks, and it's a big one, to anybody sticking with me.

Until next time, buh-bye!


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