Monday, 30 October 2006

Eurofiction Task 2 - Done!

I have to admit I struggled a bit with Task 2 of Eurofiction. I wrote just over 1,000 words to one prompt and then scrapped it and started writing to another prompt. Nearly 2,500 words later and I've finished it and subbed it.

Am I happy with it?

Yes and No. Yes because I think the characters work and there's conflict, crisis and resolution in the plot. No because...well...it just didn't flow as seamlessly as I wanted. There's something missing from this story and I'm too close to it to work out what it was. It's not a bad story per se but I know it could be 100x better. This is the only second sci-fi story I've EVER written (the first being for Task 1) and I think I've got a lot to learn about the genre. As usual when I write a story I skimped on description and concentrated on dialogue (it's what I most enjoy writing) but I think it may leave the reader in a bit of void when it comes to the environment. Also, on re-reading, the opening isn't as strong as it should be.

I don't think this story will score nil points (at least I hope it doesn't) but I really don't think I'll make the top 5 stories this time. Anyway, onwards...

The details of Task 3 will be announced this evening so it's time to put this story behind me and move on to the next one.

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Eurofiction Task 1 - Result

The results of the first Eurofiction Task were published yesterday. Out of 48 people I did... very well! I'm not sure if we are allowed to tell people where we placed but as some people have used their real names (I used a pen name) I imagine we are. I came third! I'm very chuffed and the 27 points (30 for first, 28 for second, 27 for third. What happened to 29?) I gained are looking very healthy on the leaderboard.

There are still nine tasks to complete (Task 2 has to be in next Tuesday) so I have to, fingers crossed, keep up this kind of standard for a while yet to stay in the running for first place (I don't think there are prizes for second and third). Anyway, last week I started writing my story for the second Task but...

a) I got bored as I was writing it
b) I wrote 1,000 words and not all that much had happened
c) I had no idea how it would end
d) I had no idea how to inject crisis into it (apart from the initial crisis)

...so I've decided to dump that idea for now. Luckily, on the train up to London last night, I came up with a new idea. It's not the same prompt as my original Task 2 story (it's another sci fi prompt - and NO I'm not turning into a geek) , but the story interests me a lot more. However, with my b'day tomorrow (day off), work on Thursday, b'day meal on Friday night and D's gig on Saturday I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to find the time to write it before next Tuesday's deadline. That said I wrote the last entry the day before the deadline so maybe I'll have to do that again.

Feeling a bit of internal pressure to make this another good one tho' and that's a bit worrying. Don't want pressure, just wanna write for fun. Anyway, let's see what happens.

Tuesday, 17 October 2006

Eurofiction - Task 1 complete!

Against all odds I actually managed to write a story for the Eurofiction competition - Task 1 (of 10).

There were three sets of prompts and two of them really appealled. I don't want to jeopardise my chances in the competition (or the score I'm given) by saying too much about my entry but the story I wrote was very different from the normal kind of story I write. There was something quite freeing about that. I started writing it on Monday afternoon and finally stopped typing at around 11pm. The idea wasn't totally fresh - one that's been floating around my head for a few years now but it really fitted the prompts and just had to be written. I gave it a quick proof-read today and emailed it in - a good five hours before the 7pm deadline too.

Am very chuffed. It's the first complete (and quite long) short story I've written in a while and I'm reasonably happy with it. I think the language needs some work and there may be a little too much repetition but I can work on those when/if I rewrite it (if it doesn't make it into the Eurofiction anthology). The scores for the first task will be announced in two weeks time. There are about 48 of us in the comp and the highest scoring story gets 30 points, the next 29 points, 28, 27, 26 etc down to 1 point. About eighteen stories (if we all managed to enter one for this task) will score 0 (null!) points. Cross your fingers my story scores - I'll be gutted if it doesn't!

I think the details of Task 2 are released after the deadline today so, in theory, I'll have 2 weeks to think up an idea, write the story and polish it up before submitting it. In practice I'm sure I'll just leave it till the last minute again. Ah well, it seems to work for me!

Sunday, 15 October 2006

I'm back!

I survived white water rafting, a jungle walk, leeches, an elephant ride, buses speeding perilously close to the edge of mountain roads, canoeing, crocodiles, mosquitos, bed bugs, stomach bugs and car/cow/motorbike/rickshaw crowded streets!

What an experience. So much crammed into 3 frantic weeks. It felt like we didn't stop - and we didn't. I wrote loads too - mostly about the experiences I was having but some short story ideas too. I need to look through my notebook to see if any are worth following up. I checked the internet while I was over there and got the Eurofiction prompts. I half hoped I'd write something while I was over there but only managed a couple of words of a beginning. I now have until 7pm on Tuesday to get it written. Nothing like a deadline to force me to write!

Good news and bad news when I got back. The bad news was a rejection from Woman's Weekly. They thought my story had a well worn theme but liked my writing and asked me sub other stuff. The good news was two shortlisted stories - one in the SlingInk short story comp and the other in the Helen Mullin awards and two stories accepted by Espresso Fiction (to be published in November this year and February next year). I also received an edited copy of the story I sent into the Skrev Press 'pastoral' comp saying it would be accepted into the anthology if I cut the word count by 200 and made the edits. I've done that (the only bit of 'writing' I've done since I got back at 11pm on Friday) and emailed it off. Fingers crossed the editor likes it and it goes in. It would be great to have another print hit.

Right - enough blogging. I've got a Eurofiction entry to write.