Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Ten-Four Challenge is Go!

Right. So. Having set myself a challenge (What? You've forgotten it already? Refresh your memory here), I did what any modern, media-savvy writing type would do - I put all my creative efforts into "branding" it. So from now on, my goal of submitting ten stories to different competitions and paying markets in the four(ish) months that remain of 2011 will be referred to as The Ten-Four Challenge. Or I might street it up a bit and go for simply Ten4. Or maybe not - that looks a bit too close to Tena; I'm not entirely sure I want to link my writing too closely with incontinence products just yet.

But, of course, it would be foolish to assume that I'd done nothing except come up with a snappy handle for my self-imposed exercise. I mean, I'm sure it's technically possible for a writer to procrastinate by embracing meaningless but oh-so-slightly writing-related tasks, but that's got to be a pretty rare occurrence, right?

Anyway, I'm happy to report that I have launched myself out of the metaphorical starting blocks, by sending off an entry to Flash500. So, one down, nine to go.

For the Flash500 competition, I have taken something I wrote for a contest earlier in the year and re-jigged it a bit. As those of you gifted with Sherlock Holmes-esque deductive skills will have guessed, Flash500 is a competition for flash fiction with an upper word count limit of 500. The original version of my entry was for a competition with an even smaller word count, so I took advantage of the extra space by developing the central concept a little and fleshing out the central character. I'm always wary of making stories longer; it's all too easy to let the prose get a little sloppy or for the plot to wander off on tangents when you have extra words to play with, but I think in this case it was justified. The new version of the story feels less sparse, and it's hopefully easier to understand what's going on. We shall see.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

A Man with a Plan

I haven’t written much lately. I’ve submitted hardly anything, either, so I’m feeling like I need do to something more constructive than just occasionally update my blog with my thoughts on / excuses for why I haven’t been feeling very ‘writerly’ for the last couple of months.

I work better with deadlines, and I like a challenge. So, my target for the remainder of 2011 is to submit 10 stories to competitions and/or paying markets of some kind. Ten stories is hopefully an achievable goal, but it’s a big step up from my current output, so it’ll take a bit of effort. It may not seem like a huge number, but I need to be realistic – after all, I’m working full-time at the moment, which involves a lot of travelling and leaves me with very little free time, so it would be disheartening to aim for anything too ambitious and fail miserably.

This evening, I’ve looked at my list of unpublished stories – some are fighting fit, others need pretty brutal edits before they see the light of day – and I’ve compiled a list of suitable competitions. I’ve paired up a few stories with competitions that might offer a good fit, but I do have quite a few empty slots where I’ll need to either drastically rework an older piece or come up with something new.

Wish me luck. I’ll keep you posted on the results of my endeavours.