clhollandwriter: (marchin)

So, I appear to have signed up for the A-Z Blogging Challenge in April. I last did it in 2013 and blogged about British Folklore, so I'm thinking about continuing with the esoteric theme and doing kinds of divination this time. I might as well put my weird-book collection to use! As usual, Q, X, and Y could be a problem...

What with having signed up to Poem a Day as well, it's going to be a busy month!
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I feel a bit bad for mostly posting writing promotion on here lately, but honestly my life's not been that interesting lately. Between getting over a cold, work, and writing-related procrastination I've not been doing an awful lot. So here's even more of it: my poem Meeting Before Breakfast is up at Every Day Poets today.

The two e-books were part of the procrastination (I'm supposed to be writing a novel) and I've got a third at the editing stage. With websites going down and content cycling out of archives, I figure it's a way to at least keep my stories available. This weekend I also joined Twitter, as @clhollandwriter, and am enjoying it more than I thought I would. It's less work than writing a full blog post, and more interesting than Facebook.

Yesterday I went to play Arkham Horror with some friends. It's a great boardgame and seems to be infinitely variable, given that the enemies and events you encounter are different every time. I ended up playing a doddery old man who moved like treacle but kicked arse in a fight (yay, magic!), but Man of the Match has to go to the friend who went-toe-to-toe against Cthulhu and won.

Yes I am a nerd, why do you ask?

Bad advice

Dec. 28th, 2011 12:40 pm
clhollandwriter: (Marvin)
My boyfriend very kindly bought me Publishing Poetry by Kenneth Steven for Christmas. While I don't usually post bad reviews of books, I'll make an exception given this one is aimed at beginners to publishing and contains some very bad advice.

Some of it will merely make a poet (or author generally) look unprofessional - such as not bothering with a typed letter when sending your collection to publishers, as handwritten is fine. Why bother sending a neatly typed collection if you're going to spoil it by not typing the covering letter? Also, I'd advise against daubing your work in the copyright symbol as Mr Steven advises. At best it shows a lack of understanding of copyright, at worst you risk implying to editors you don't trust them not to steal your work. Which you don't, otherwise you wouldn't put it there in the first place.

Other advice shows a lamentable lack of understanding of submission guidelines. Firstly, it's fine to ignore submission guidelines for the sake of convenience, for example by typing multiple poems on a page to save postage. (For any non-poets reading this, it's customary to submit a single poem per sheet.) Some editors might not mind this, but if their guidelines say otherwise it would be wise to query first.

Likewise, simultaneous submissions - if the guidelines say not to do it, don't. This applies to not sending your collections to multiple publishers unless they themselves say it's okay (Mr Steven's thoughts on this are "I don't believe in being unduly polite to publishers; they are very seldom polite to poets"), and also individual poems to magazines. It is not okay to send a poem to a large market and a small one, and if they both buy it "don't worry unduly" as the chances are no one will notice.

In the same vein, it's not a good idea to send to overseas markets those poems that did well in your home country. Mr Steven admits here "though whether this is strictly 'cricket' or not I don't know". No, Mr Steven, it's not 'cricket' - there are such things as rights. If the overseas market doesn't accept reprints, don't do it. It the poem is currently in an exclusivity period, don't do it. If you've sold UK rights and the new market wants world rights, don't do it. At the very least you need to be clear on the rights you're willing and able to sell, and willing to talk to an editor about this. Given that this is a book aimed at beginners I'd expect this sort of thing to be mentioned.

Don't get me wrong, there is some good advice in here (don't drink before a reading, understand your audience, keep track of where you've sent things), but it doesn't offset the really, really bad advice. Following that mentioned above is a very good way to get yourself blacklisted by editors and torpedo that fledgling career. This is not a book I'd recommend to anyone.
clhollandwriter: (block)
Mike Munsil has just announced a new short story contest over at Liberty Hall, with some nifty prizes. I'd love to take part, but I'm seriously struggling with prose at the moment - I don't think I've written any new fiction apart from a flash challenge since the end of June. It also means I have to take place in a Flash Challenge between now and 9th October, as that's one of the conditions of entry. On the other hand, it could be just the thing to kick-start my fiction engine.

It's not that I haven't been writing though, I've come up with a fair amount of terrible poetry since mid-August. I've even entered a couple of poetry competitions. It's fun, something different and certainly more of a challenge than vegetating in front of DVDs. But it's starting to scare me a bit now - I feel like someone's flicked a switch in my head from "fiction" to "poetry" and I have no idea how to flip it back or even if I can.

This is the weirdest writer's block ever.


Mar. 11th, 2010 06:59 pm
clhollandwriter: (mutant lucifer)

I’ve just found out that my poems “Plain English” and “The Charge of the Lightweights” have both been selected for inclusion for the forthcoming Every Day Poets anthology. While it’s nice to have something in my forthcoming pile again, since they’re both reprints (like the rest of this year’s publications) it’s a reminder that I’ve yet to sell anything new this year.


On the plus side, I’ve finally had an idea for The Way of the Wizard anthology. It’s a shame I’m currently writing about evil-zombie-ninja-robot-kittens, but at least my muse has given me a headstart this time.


It’s cheered me up since I’ve just had to drop out of belly dancing for the time being, due to a return of knee trouble. I love doing it, but it’s a very knee-intensive activity and I think there’s just been too much knee work and walking lately for my poor battered joints. Hopefully a change of diet (more oily fish, green veg and citrus, less sugar) and a rest will sort it out.


clhollandwriter: (Default)
‘Tis the night before NaNo, and all through my head
Not a creature is stirring, not even the dead.

A notebook is open beside the armchair,
In hopes that an idea will lodge itself there.
The boyfriend is nestled all snug in his bed.
The prospect of lonely nights fills him with dread.
And I at my screen so bright and enticing
Have just settled down for a long night of writing.
At midnight world-wide there’ll arise such a clatter
Of fingers on keyboards, it’s likely they’ll shatter.
Away to the pencils the writers will fly
For fear of a wordcount that passes them by.
The moon and the sun and the sky and the stars,
People and partners and buildings and cars,
All disappear as the writer’s gaze lingers
On two busy thumbs and eight busy fingers,
On hands that drive stories where speed is essential.
In order to win the flow must be torrential.
More rapid than eagles the words they must come,
As for punctuation – what better than none?
“No Full-stops! No Commas! No Speech Marks or Hyphens!
No Brackets or Colons, or grammar that frightens!
Leave them to the edit and heed not its call.
Now throw away! Throw away! Throw away all!”
As word after word to the novels will fly,
As the days of November will swiftly flow by,
So each hundred words will add fuel to the fire,
And pages once printed will pile ever higher.

And then, in a flash it will be December
And writers emerge and begin to remember
That every good novel begins with a plot –
Something that during the rush they forgot.
Suddenly characters seem paper-thin.
The piece needs an edit – but where to begin?
The words – how they cluster, in structures so dense
They switch between past, present and future tense.
The sentences, structured as Gordian knots,
Are tied up so tightly they serve as garrottes.
The story is choked beneath thousands of words,
Most are unneeded, and many absurd.
Plots twists are more tangled than tagliatelle,
With wandering penguins and jars of grape jelly.
Perhaps NaNoEdMo will prove its salvation
And make a real novel from this aberration,
Which doesn’t seem that it was writ by a loon.
Or failing that, Script Frenzy opens in June.
The year will pass quickly, with novels dismembered,
And before you can blink, we’ll be back to November.
The thought of another month’s anguish and pain
Makes the suffering authors cry “Never again!”
But the fun makes the poor fools forget all the fear
As they do it again in each following year.
So let me exclaim, before I too am struck,

"Happy NaNo to all, and to all some Good Luck!"

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