I only went and bloody won something!

Transition Town Worthing‘ held a competition to imagine Worthing in 2030 and how energy would affect life in the town.

A near future story based in Worthing? That’s my niche! It would be rude if I didn’t enter.

Click here to read my entry – ‘From The Sea, Plenty‘ – for the Worthingites (I think that’s what we’re called), see how many Easter Eggs you can spot.

I won a DVD, ‘Collapse‘, which is a great documentary interviewing Michael Ruppert about the state of the world and his reasons why it’s going to collapse, when and how.

If you like Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Michael Moore and other anti-laissez faire capitalists then you’ll like this. btw another great documentary is ‘The Corporation‘ if you haven’t already seen it.

Here’s another short story I wrote a couple of years ago that’s picked up a few rejections along the way.

It’s an actual, full-monty, sci-fi story in space. I like the anthropomorphising of planets in it.

The idea of life coming from distant planets and not evolving by itself here is something I’ve never forgotten from a Star Trek TNG double episode where it explained why all alien races (Klingons, Humans, Ferengi, etc) have two legs, arms, one head, etc and basically look the same in the series (can’t remember the name of the episodes edit: 21st April 2014, just watched it on Netflix, it’s called ‘The Chase‘ – although it was about an ancient alien race dumping DNA on various planets and left to evolve on it’s own).

Anyway, let me know what you think.

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This is another short story I wrote which gained a few rejections. I initially wrote it for an alternative fairy tale competition. I still quite like it but realise it’s more of a vent against bankers than a ‘pure story’ and now it’s probably a bit dated for anyone to publish it.

So here it is before the financial crisis becomes a distant memory we’ll all look back on and laugh, recalling how things were so much better in the good old days.

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That’s it! I’m all done with writing and have started the submission process.

Done a cover letter and a synopsis. Dark arts that bleed the very lifeblood and momentum you’ve generating through writing your novel, but necessary evils nonetheless.

Researched the agents I want to contact. A couple take emails which is handy. Got a couple of rejections back already from two American based agents who took email submissions (They’re obviously highly organised and efficient, nothing to do with the novel itself).

How do you know when you’re ready to submit? I’m not sure. I wait until I can flog it no longer and the time spent on it achieves the ‘laws of diminishing returns’, eg. if you spend an hour on it, was that an hour well spent or were you just rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic?

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I’m just throwing this out there. It’s an idea to be bashed, smashed and totally trashed.

I’m starting the submission process for my second novel, the first novel became a magnet for rejections. I did get a couple of requests for the full MS, one of which was rejected, the other is probably lost by now.

So what was wrong? I have no idea. Could’ve been the cover letter, the synopsis, the first 3 chapters, the first 6 chapters, no market for it, a similar novel was already being progressed, the novel was OK it was me…I’ve no idea.

I appreciate every rejection I’ve received…and continue to receive. They’re better than being ignored.

In this post-Simon Cowell world, I can take rejection and a middle finger into an eyeball. In fact, I invite it – I stepped out of the peace and quiet of my own little bubble and put my novel out there!

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Article from Jet Magazine, July 1978 - Image probably false.

The first post this year means I’m lazy so it had to be a real beauty to break me out of this slumber.

Well, slumber is not quite true. I’ve been editing my novel ‘Broken Branches’ and the accompanying novelette ‘Branching Out’ so whilst that’s happening there’s not much to blog about. It’s pretty unexciting.

So, out of the blue, my mate forwards one of those work viral emails which is the image above. One man who shots blanks pays a friend to shag his missus to get her pregnant – which turns out to be the basis of my two stories, set in a world when all men are made sterile by a drug called ‘Blanx’.

The protagonist in the novelette is immune to Blanx and gets paid to impregnate women, then in the novel the UK monitors newborns by only allowing existing parents to approve or deny potential new parents from having access to fertility drugs to try for a baby.

This kind of thing happened with ideas I had for my first novel, ‘Railroaded’ where little situations and ideas became realised. I don’t think they highlight any kind of originality but merely confirm your ideas aren’t so leftfield they’d never have a hope of happening in the real world. Which means you’re skating close enough to reality to be believable.

Reading the story above also shows that fact can be stranger than fiction. Wish I’d thought of this to put in my novel!

I’ve just dished out my novelette, ‘Branching Out’, to some beta readers and will be starting the 4th draft of my 2nd novel, ‘Broken Branches’ which means soon I will have nothing else to write about, so now’s a good time to think about starting a 3rd novel.

I was in this position in November 2009 when I had a vague idea of what to write for my 2nd novel…even though it turned out different, I still had a starting point.

This time I have nothing.

Well, not completely zilch. A theme I’m interested in is the distribution of wealth after the financial crash, Occupy, 99%, MP’s expenses, lobbying, etc, etc. This theme in itself doesn’t make for an interesting story but it’s a starting point for imaging a world and placing characters in it.

I think the hard part is thinking of a hook for a story. Picking a theme you’re interested in is easy enough but finding a story within that theme and telling it from an interesting angle with compelling characters driving the story down a road with surprising twists to a satisfactory destination is another ball game.

That’s when I thought about cheating : )

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December 13, 2011

I’m a grown man and I’ve just spent time cutting out teeth to create this photo of a laptop eating an iPad.

I need to get a life.

Anyway, writing machines, which is best?

I love both and I did give my iPad an honest go of being my go-to scribing tablet but it didn’t quite cut the mustard.

It has no keyboard, so I bought an external one. That does improve things but my main issue was the lack of cursor. Touching the screen to direct the cursor meant my fingers weren’t near the keyboard which was a little weird. Using the arrow keys is another solution but a very clicky one especially if you’ve got to go back a few paragraphs and delete a sentence.

An external keyboard also means your singular, sleek slice of serenity is now a two-piece. If I wanted a two-piece I’d grab a notebook and pen. I’m too high-tec for that kind of malarkey.

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Man! Am I the laziest blogger ever?!

Been writing a short story, ‘Branching Out’ which is a prequel to my second novel ‘Broken Branches’. Originally thought it would be 2,000/3,000 words, so far I’m on 8,500 and it’ll clear 10,000 easy (which classifies it as a ‘Novelette‘, apparently).

Also, between the last post and the present day, my laptop slowed down to a pace which tempted violence, so I sucked it up and bought a second-hand Mac Air.

Searched for a writing app to go with it and stumbled on MOAppsWrite.

Sweet joyousness followed, along with a severe lack of blogging.

I used to use Microsoft Word for all my writing needs and don’t have a bad word to say about it. It can be overkill but you can rearrange the toolbar settings to have minimal features showing allowing you to get on with the business of scribing.

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September 7, 2011

I thought I’d get involved in Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction competition, 100 words on the theme ‘revenge’. Editing this to the bare bones to meet the word count proved harder than vomitting forth the first draft, so here it is…

Mr Kingston sat coiled in his chair, scrutinising Mr Harris at the podium,

“Thank you, Headmaster. As new Head of History…”

The hall doors opened. Mr Kingston’s head remained fixed as his periphery vision investigated approaching footsteps.

“…ahem. History has a way of revealing…”

Two policemen sailed in; one remaining by the stage, the other conferring with the headmaster. Whispering pupils left in their wake.

The headmaster interrupted the coronation, “Thank you, calm down. Mr Harris, if you’d follow the sergeant, I’ll finish assembly.”

Mr Kingston chewed on a sneer.

“Sir, what’s happening?”

“Shut up, Jenkins.”