Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Start All Over Again.

I was hoping to have more good writing news to finish off the year, but sadly it seems as though that's not going to be the case. On the other hand, I do hope to shortly have some to see in the New Year. And that would get 2015 off to a flying start.

It's been a good year for me, although one that has been slightly odd. Changing schools in March, then finishing up there as the work dried up. Prepping to return to my old school. A great trip to the UK and Turkey, catching up with family and then going to Worldcon in London. A fabulous week in Istanbul and spending time with an old friend from Tokyo days. Setting goals and focusing on writing self-discipline, and actually seeing results from it. (Who'd have thought?) And having a few epiphanies about myself along the way.

Resolutions? I don't believe in them, and I don't make them. I believe if you want to change something, then just get straight into it. You don't need to wait until New Year to get started.

I do, however, see New Year as a time to wipe the slate clean and start again. Time passes, and years are what we use to measure that passage. As a teacher, who works to a calender academic year, I see this time as very much the ending and beginning. A time of recovery, re-energising and rebirth, so to speak.

And I feel writing wise, 2014, although successful in many ways, was not all I hoped it would be. It was the year I put several plans into action. It was the year I developed long-term writing plans. I know where I'm going and what I'm doing next year. And I have high hopes it will happen.

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

View Who?

Doctor Who was something I watched only occasionally as a child. I'm not really sure why. I suspect one TV, four channels and six people had something to do with it.

When new Doctor Who started in 2005, I made the decision to hold off watching it til I ran through all the old episodes. I eventually started doing just that, a year or so ago, and from time to time continue on from where I left off. I still have quite a way to go.

So I made the decision recently to watch in parallel. Continue with the old Who, and start on the new Who. I also decided to do my research, to find the viewing order for each of these series, specials, spinoffs, and mini-episodes.

I figured it would be quite easy. Surely in fandom someone would have sat down and worked out an easy-to-read viewing order for every single piece of Who that has been shown. Well if they have, I've yet to find it.

I found several where fans have constructed an order for the bits they want to include. Some were very detailed indeed. But I wanted a simple plan. I wanted one where I could, for the most part, switch between entire series of Torchwood, K-9, Sarah Jane and Doctor Who rather than alternating single episodes. And so I've started constructing the order I plan to watch them in. I still have some work to do on my order for old Who.

On the menu to the right is a Doctor Who tab. You'll find my viewing order there. It is a work in progress, as I'm sure I've missed bits.

Oh, and for an Whovian experts out there, I would appreciate any ideas, comments or inclusions.



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Another Dimensional Foray.

Another sale this week.

Keith Stevenson at Coeur de Lion has bought a story to be printed in Dimension6. He previously published So Sad, the Lighthouse Keeper in Anywhere But Earth, and The Last of the Butterflies in issue 3 of Dimension6. I'm thrilled I'll have the opportunity to work with him again.

This story, entitled Lodloc and the Bear, will be published in Issue 6, due in October, 2015.

Congratulations to my writing buddy, David McDonald, who also sold a story to Keith this week. His work will be available in the July issue alongside a piece by Stacey Larner.

Dimension6 publishes three issues a year, each with three stories. Keep an eye out for them in 2015. Based on the first three, you can't go wrong. Oh, and did I mention they're free?

A sale like this certainly puts you in the right frame of mind for the festive season, now doesn't it? If I don't see you before, have a great Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Writing Aimlessly.

I've had a very productive couple of months.

I've completed the first drafts of seven or so stories since October, rewritten two of those, subbed five, had a reprint, sold two and I'm waiting on the rest.

But for the past ten days or so, I've found it difficult to get my teeth into any one story in particular. I have maintained my daily wordcount average, but mostly I've written openings, a few paragraphs that may or may end up going somewhere further. Admittedly, I've been very busy finishing up at work, and all those other reasons that prevent me writing as much as I'd like. But I just couldn't get the groove happening. And then two nights ago I started a piece that has hooked into my subconscious and has started taking on a life of its own.

For me the most important thing was to keep writing, to get something that fired up and felt like a story could occur. And it has.

Will this story see the light of day? Possibly.

Sometimes we wander aimlessly when we're not sure where we want to go, and the places we discover when we don't plan too much  can be exciting and wonderful.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Year In Boxes.

I've emptied my desk at work, loaded all my workly possessions into my car, and watched someone else take the prized spot next to a window and natural light.

It's a rather sobering experience.

Friday is the Christmas breakup, so really I only have tomorrow left at this school. It's been a great year. I've had a busy year, learned a lot about teaching, and really enjoyed my time with my colleagues.

And I thank them for that.

Next year I'm back at my old school. A school where I've been for almost ten years. In many ways it will be a new experience, returning with fresh eyes. It will be great to see my old colleagues and students again.

This year has been fantastic. I have high hopes for next year as well.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Almost There.

A week of school to go and then hopefully I'll have some time to write.

Or at least that's the plan. Yes, I have lots to do around the house, and I have some planning and preparation to do for next year's classes, particularly since I'm moving school and have some year levels and texts I haven't taught before. But with the time I have off over Christmas, I should be able to squeeze a few extra hours out.

My writing continues apace, and I'm still producing some stories with which I am very happy. I'm still waiting to hear back on a number of submissions. And I'm still watching six stories that I need the time to go back and re-draft. They're sitting here, fading from my memory, so when I do get back to them they'll be fresh to me and I'll find all the flaws.

Or at least that's the plan.

Oh, and there will be watching of Doctor Who.  After all, it is my holiday and I deserve the break.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Another Story Finds A Home.

I had another acceptance last week, a few days after Aurealis bought one of my stories.

That was kind of nice, receiving two in the one week. I'm very happy about it, and I will certainly let you know more details when I feel I'm more able. Like when the contracts arrive. There are still a couple of other stories out in the wildwoods I'm waiting on. One in particular would be a really encouraging sale at this point of my development. And although I'm not sweating or checking my email every thirty seconds, I am becoming a little more anxious as time passes.

Is it taking longer than others because they're holding it and on the verge of accepting it? Or have they simply not reached that far down in the slushpile yet.

Rejectomancy is an evil area in which to venture. For now, No News is No News.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Days Of Constant Writing.

A couple of months ago I decided to try an experiment.

I would write every single day, regardless of how tired or busy I was, regardless of whether I had a story ready to go or not, regardless of anything. I would write, and write daily, just like Heinlein recommended in his infamous writing rules.

Now this is one of his five rules that I always had a problem with. Everyone's circumstances, goals, desires, abilities are different. And writing everyday doesn't necessarily mean decent words. In fact, I thought it might mean the opposite: forced words would be aimless.

But I thought I'd give it a go in an effort to try and write more frequently, to complete more stories, to build writing experience, and to create a habit. And I also decided to keep a wordcount spreadsheet to motivate myself, and to create some accountability.

I'm proud to say I've now been writing daily for more than two months.  Work has been busy these past few weeks, and that's eaten into my writing time somewhat, yet I've still managed to write 65,000 new words, averaging just under 1000 per day.

And I've completed something like 8 new stories, two of which have already sold.

For me the experiment has been a success thus far. Onwards to my first million words.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

School Days, Old Ways.

I'll be changing schools at the end of the year. I will, in fact, be returning to my previous school.

I came here on a contract, replacing a teacher who was going on family leave. The leadership were unclear how long she would be gone for, and I was hoping it would be longer, but she's returning at the commencement of 2015. And there's no room for me here.

Due to some bizarre legalities, I can return to my previous role as I had a permanent position there and the new contract was completed within 12 months. It's something for which I'm quite grateful, and certainly took into account when I applied for the transfer. I was well aware I held that security, rather than facing the possibility of unemployment at the end of the year. So I'm pretty happy about that.

It's kind of a strange feeling, being part of a team, that's planning for the coming year yet knowing I won't be around to bring it to fruition.

I've enjoyed my year teaching here, and although I'm disappointed to be leaving I'm not unhappy about slipping back into the familiar.