clhollandwriter: (Default)
One of the stories that was supposed to be going in the oubliette ended up being my February #12For12, and should be published online later this month. Which was a good start to February, but unfortunately I got very little else done. My day job goes in peaks and troughs in terms of how busy we are, and unfortunately my department is staffed with the bare minimum of people at the moment. As a result we're all run off our feet because we're currently in a peak. It should tell you all you need to know that our productivity is expected to run consistently at around 114%, since the software that works all this out apparently hasn't figured out that we're people and not robots.

Cue coming home exhausted and collapsing on the sofa most evenings.

So I haven't written anything else since the end of January, and since I plan to take March off just to read I might not write anything this month either. Although I might be writing a novella in April, so I'll try not to be too hard on myself.
clhollandwriter: (poppy)
I've been a bit quiet other than my last non-NaNo post, because life has not been quiet.

We finally completed the relocation in July - found a flat, packed up the house and cats and moved everything 300 miles. I changed jobs, the OH found a job, and we began the long process of unpacking. It's been four and a half months and we still haven't finished. Part of this was due to losing two bookcases in the move - when we packed we discovered that the bathroom had leaked through into the bedroom and turned the bookcases moldy. Luckily none of the books were affected, but it left us without storage. The books are now all unpacked (hooray for the local second-hand furniture shop!) although some of them are currently in stacks in the hallway. About 70 are in bags waiting to go to the charity shop, and have been added to my Kindle wishlist. The problem with downsizing is that sometimes you have to get rid of things you really don't want to.

We also have four boxes labelled Fragile, that we can't unpack because there are no shelves in the flat, or space for anything inside the boxes. One weekend were going to downsize the contents of those too. For now they can sit in the corner.

The main problem with getting everything unpacked though, is time. We're both working full time, in very different but equally tiring jobs. The last thing either of us wants to do in our downtime is anything that can be construed as work.

Unfortunately writing is firmly in that category at the moment. At the end of a day at a mentally-demanding job the last thing I want to do is something that's mentally demanding. I'm just about keeping up with the Coursera course I'm taking, because it's modular and bitty, but writing needs more attention than I have to give it right now. Write 1 Sub 1 has been a failure for the last two months, and is shaping up for the same this month - I'm supposed to be writing a novella (not a NaNo novel, but a similar project) and have done a grand total of 2500 words. I've sold a grand total of one story this year, although I can't give details as there's no contract yet. I did sell some content work earlier in the year, but had to give that up because Reasons.

I haven't even touch my jewellery stuff since I unpacked it. I'm thinking about tidying it all up, picking a project, and doing that when I'm vegged out in from of a DVD in the evenings. Productivity breeds productivity, after all.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
Things a writer should never have to say #4: "You know, I think I forgot to attach my story to that submission email."

Yes, I am that stupid.

To be fair, it was submitted in the middle of organising the house move and my faculties were somewhat strained. What makes it the absolute worst, though, is that I've only just noticed because I was about to query - and it was subbed in October.


Somewhat amusingly, I've noticed I seem to be having what I like to call The Pariah Effect on some of my former colleagues. My new job is on the same business park as, and only a short distance from, my old job - the one that let me go while I was temping. This means that I get the same bus, and frequent the same coffee shop, as the people I used to work with. Apart from the ones I knew before I started working there, everyone I meet seems to be trying to avoid me. They try to avoid eye contact, or where they do make eye contact I get a nod or a "hi" before they find something else to be incredibly interested in, whereas before we might have - gasp! - a conversation. It's like they feel my bad luck is contagious. Six months ago this would have bothered me. Now I just think it's funny.

A story I've been trying to write for months twith no success has finally started talking to me, and telling me why it wasn't working. The pov character and structure have now changed, and although I've got plenty of ideas for scenes and the like, I think I might actually have to outline this one. Perhaps the suddenly-imminent deadline is the reason for it - I always work better under pressure. Which is fine as a motivator, except for all those fallow periods between deadlines.


Jan. 26th, 2010 12:55 pm
clhollandwriter: (Default)
The problem with writing a story of unrequited love of the "dare not speak its name" variety (which in the setting, it daren't) is that the characters are very rarely honest about their motivations. And this lack of honesty is making it very difficult to write the MC out of a situation that will see him ending up either at the gallows or Bedlam.

I'd better sort it out though - my muse and I are barely on speaking terms at the moment and, in a fit of artistic temperament, I'm starting to wonder what I did to offend it. So instead of using my lovely long lunchbreak to write, as I promised myself, I'm actually wading through Eddings' Mallorean, which is actually worse-written than the Belgariad, since it relies heavily on having read the first series. Setting aside the "history repeating itself to justify only having one plot" thing there are several throwaway references to characters and events that appeared in the first series, with no contextual information at all. I've never in my life wanted to take a red pen to a printed book so badly, and this morning alone found two mistakes in the names of characters on facing pages. (For those familiar with Eddings, Garion is referred to as Garin and Poledra as Poldara.) Suffice is to say that my inner editor is having a whale of a time.

Which may actually be part of the problem I'm having, although I can't figure out why.

I finally got around to watching Avatar, and to write about what I think is wrong with that film would take up a whole post in itself. Which I might do later, if I feel like it.

Also, the new job is going well. It's a friendly environment, unlike certain other places with their looking-over-your-shoulder mentality. I'm enjoying the challenge of sorting out an unfamiliar payroll and getting used to changes in maternity legislation since last summer, whilst enjoying being able to go to the loo without worrying that someone's keeping tabs on the amount of times I go and amount of time I take. My only concern is avoidng the pregnancy chair. Seriously. :-D
clhollandwriter: (Default)
Cat post )

I start a new job on Monday, temporary until Payroll Year End (so sometime around 5th April). I'm a little nervous, as it's running the payroll myself which I haven't done for five months. But I'm familiar with the system so I'm sure I'll get back into it, and a friend of mine works there so at least I'll know someone.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I'm currently rereading (the) Eddings' Belgariad, which was my first introduction to "grown-up" fantasy. It is, of course, not as good as I remember it, but then I read it at least once a year between the ages of twelve and eighteen - although I haven't read it since . It's a prime example of how something once popular can fall out of fashion. It's a goldmine of what are now regarded as cliches to avoid at all cost - prophecies, magical orbs, farmboys with a destiny, and a large party of adventurers "just because" to name but a few. It's also full of those dreaded "ly" words: no one just speaks, they do so tenderly, mockingly, quickly, angrily, sarcastically. It's a prime example of telling rather than showing and it's clear at all times what we're supposed to think about characters and events.

Needless to say, the magic has gone now I can see the smoke and mirrors. But I find myself enjoying it anyway, reading it through a different set of filters than when I first picked it up. Now it's a prime example of what-not-to-do-anymore, but I think it's also from a time when fantasy was a more innocent genre, more concerned with escapism than realism of plot or character. So, still fun but in a different way.

In other news, the pipes froze again yesterday so we spent this morning out lagging them with an old pair of fleecy shorts and a ball of blue string. The landlord is supposed to be coming out to do it properly, but since the whole of the UK comes to a standstill during snowy weather it's not likely to be until after the cold snap.

Tomorrow I have a job interview, and I'm currently trying to work out the exact location of the building it's at, and how to get there on the bus. Plus, since it's a payroll job, I'm reviewing all my old payroll notes to refresh myself. It's hardly a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon, but I intend to remedy this later with pizza and possibly courgette fritters.
clhollandwriter: (Inigo)
I was wondering, does anyone know of an address or email address where I can contact the new Realms of Fantasy about my subsciption? The grapevine tells me that they're honouring all old subscriptions but I haven't heard anything official, and given the mess the old lot made of it I'm loathe to trust them to have passed my details across correctly.

I got one of the most frustrating kinds of rejections today, a personal "close but no cigar". The rejection came with comments from a couple of editors. One liked the story despite its flaws. So far so good, but the other said they were having a moment of "ReaderFail" (their words) and just didn't get it. So no sale. It's frustrating because it shows just how much of a fickle business it is, that relies on luck and an editor's personal taste. Oh well, on to the next market.

Today is officially my last day of employment. I say officially because I'm popping in next Thursday to help out with passing my files across. I'd have told them where to stick it, except that my line manager's wife is hospitalised with suspected pneumonia, which is the reason we're not doing it this week. For something like that I don't feel it helps to dig my heels in an be a bitch about it. Besides, I'm still waiting for my written reference. ;-)

I'm in something of a writing limbo at the moment. You know that point where you've finished whatever you were doing and are trying to get into the next project? I've got the next chapter of Reunion to start, and two short stories, but because I didn't have anything on the go when I reached the end of the last chapter I'm stuck with where to begin. This is why, when I'm being less crap, I try to have multiple projects on the go at once. It keeps the momentum going.

Am off now to keep Lucifer from stealing my sweet potatoes.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
Today's happy thing: my boss told me to go an hour early because I got the payroll closed off.

And that's it. The rest of today has been pretty crap. My first bus was late and my second didn't turn up at all, and work was lots of stress and bother due to lack of communication (and because it always is at the end of the month). Then when I got home I found that the saga of Realms of Fantasy has reached a whole new level of incompetency - they've taken payment for my subscription twice and I still haven't received a single thing, magazine or reply, from them. So I spent twenty minutes on the phone to my credit card company disputing the payment and trying to persuade them that no, I hadn't accidentally signed up to a monthly fee. They're sending me out a form, and hopefully the disputed payment will make RoF sit up and take notice for once.

And then I checked my emails to find that Subatomic Books has gone bust and so I won't, in all likelihood, be paid for my story "Mr Bad Man." Time to look for markets that take reprints.....
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I think I may have taken on too much.

At work I've got payroll year end to run for three companies, plus April's payroll to run for four. I'm also responsible for the sales ledger (that's people who owe us money, for those not up with finance terms) of about 45 companies. This means I get to send out statements and make polite reminder phone calls, send out polite reminders, then less polite reminders, and then finally hand the lot over to our solicitors. Whilst juggling those we have to be nice to because they're big customers and we'd quite like them to come back.

Then in my spare time I have a number of geeky hobbies. One is play-by-forum roleplaying, of which I'm running three games and playing in six. I've also got a number of writing projects on the go: Reunion over at Noteboard; "Blood and Honey" for Sword and Sorceress 23; the polish challenge at Liberty Hall; plus there are a couple more willing victims who have joined the WOTF pact so we're writing and workshopping for that too. And I haven't submitted anything yet this month.

Plus I'm reading my way through the Discworld books on the bus in the mornings.

Yes, I think I may be just a little bit over-committed.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I now have an ending for my frog-like new idea. So far I'm mostly absent of middle though. The speculative content is also notably absent, although I'm fairly sure there's some in there somewhere. At the  moment it's a bit like doing a jigsaw without looking at the picture on the box.

I've just done the flash challenge over at LH, although getting into it was a struggle as it took ages to get anything from the trigger. I'm too stubborn to give up though, because I just know that if I walk away I'll have a brilliant idea too late to do anything about it. 

In a fit of displacemt activity, today I made pikelets for breakfast and then cleaned the grill and the oven. Then I finished rereading The Light Fantastic. There are several things I should be working on, but they've ganged up on me a bit. At the very least I should be working on something for submission. This time last month I'd made a start on my quota!

In other news: the mystery of the disappearing chocolate has been solved. My office has nocturnal visitors of the rodent kind.


Dec. 17th, 2007 09:41 pm
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I did the LH flash challenge yesterday, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was an interesting set of triggers this time, and I like multiple triggers anyway as I find it easier to get my imagination to spark if I have several things I can link together. Only four people took part this time, which on one hand is a good thing as it means less to crit. On the other I think it's made everyone shy of critting straight away because unless they do their own it reveals which is their story.

I've decided what to do for The Infinity Swords, if I decide to submit there. It occurred to me the other day that there might be something of a copyright issue with that one - namely that although the writers will have written the stories, the swords that the anthology is built around will be the intellectual property of the publisher. Something to look into, before I decide either way.

It's my last day of work on Thursday, and I can't wait. The Xmas payroll is being run a week earlier than normal, and I still can't seem to get it through to the site staff that No Timesheet = No Money. I swear they must think I'm psychic. Unfortunately the stress and the winter blues (it's freezing here!) have taken their toll. I seem to be tired a lot lately and can't focus on anything for very long.

Your Score: The Raven

You scored 39% domestic, 18% gregarious, 46% trickster, and 55% intellect!

Wild, Solitary, Serious and Intellectual: you are the Raven! Raven is a strong symbol of both creation and destruction. Wisdom through intelligence, observation, and challenge. Raven is strongly tied to the spiritual world, living in a constant state of otherworldly awareness. Raven people tend to be very introspective and savor time spent ‘alone’.

Link: The Animal Archetype Test

There's only one thing I can say about that, really....

clhollandwriter: (Default)
One of those odd days today.

I finally got round to working on my novel at lunchtime, and you know what? I really enjoyed it. I think when I'm not actively writing I dwell to much on small things and forget why I do it in the first place. So what if it's no good? It's only a draft!
(It should be noted that I've had quite a bit of wine this evening, so confidence is likely to disappear with the onset of the hangover.)

There was a bit of a downer today when we found an obviously very sick and dying rabbit in the car park. It looked like myximatosis (I have no idea of I've spelled that right), but we weren't sure so no one wanted to touch it. We were going to call the RSPCA, but it disappeared under a portacabin and there's no way it's coming out from there if it doesn't want to. It was underneath someone's car initially, but he didn't want to run it over, even though that would have been kinder.

I hope it's not there tomorrow. We had to chase one of the accountants out of the car park in case someone actually managed to catch it, because she's have been upset if they'd killed it.

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