Sunday, 15 May 2016

Crisis and Opportunity by Matthew Presley

My laptop died.

And not just died as in needed repairing. Whatever killed it killed the hard drive beyond affordable repair, so I lost all my files. It’s a write-off. It’s been Path to Exiled, banhammered, twin struck by Frostmourne and the Soul-Edge. By the Snarl. All my photographs, drawings, music, three years’ worth of Minecraft- all gone. My writing was luckily backed up to a pen drive- but the files are outdated for the most part. Not only do I need to get a new laptop; until I’ve assessed exactly how outdated these files are (Through deduction and evidence gathering that should earn me a deerstalker) I can’t throw out any of the paper copy notes. Really, I know I should be more frustrated by this than I am. I’ve lost at least 17,000 words from the last month alone. The neck pain that’ll come from replacing the music isn’t going to be much fun either. I know I should be annoyed, but once the shock wore off I realised;

I’m free.

You I have to start again with a lot of stuff. Luckily not everything (touch wood), but within crisis in opportunity. This is a mix of both; a Crisportunity, if you will. Yes, a lot of things will start again. But sometimes you need an event to kick you out of endless procrastination and distraction. I now have the opportunity to start with a clean slate, rather than eight years of accumulated rubbish to dredge through. My Minecraft world is lot to the time-draining void which ultimately created it. I now have a reason to sell off the card collection I’ve been ignoring for a year and a half. I can get a new, compact laptop that can fit in a backpack, not a temperamental giant with a cracked casing held together with duct tape and which weighed more than a waterlogged tracksuit. I don’t have to worry about hiding the dead albatross every time I’m out of the flat for more than two days because carrying it would be too much hassle.

In conclusion; back up your work, and back it up often. We live in an age of pen drives, external flash-sticks and the strange moon magic called ‘The Cloud’, which my old laptop predated. But remember; if your laptop dies, or if you lose your work and get set back, you can either dust yourself off and start again, or you can start something fresh. Stay positive, and philosophic, and think of it not as a setback, but a Joseph Campbell death-rebirth journey.

Oh yeah, and don’t trust iTunes. I’ve no idea how I’m getting that music back.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Call for submissions

Hic Dragones are calling for Into the Words submission.

They are looking for shorts stories between 3000 - 7000 words that are edgy, dark and weird fiction. Any interpretation of the theme is welcome – and we have no preconceptions about what ‘into the woods’ might mean. Any genre considered: dark fantasy, (sub)urban fantasy, Gothic, horror, sci fi, steampunk, cyberpunk, biopunk, dystopian, slipstream. We’re looking for original and fresh voices that challenge and unsettle.

Submissions due: Monday 13th June 2016

For more details visit their site.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Mini SFSF Social - 26th April 6.30pm - 7.30pm

SFSF Social are teaming up with Waterstones to host one of the launch events for Stephen Aryan's new fantasy novel Blood Mage. Stephen will be reading from the book, the follow-up to last year's Battle Mage (both from Orbit Books) and answering questions, and as ever we have a few freebies to give away.

It's a great opportunity to meet one of the rising stars of modern fantasy fiction, and we can't wait to see you at Waterstones in Orchard Square Sheffield.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

One Million Words Update

This month’s word count is 84246.

That makes a cumulative total of 373548. So there are just the 626452 words to go to reach a million words.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Kristell Ink Publishing Open Door

There are still a few days - well two left for Kristell Ink Publishing Open Door.

They are particularly keen to see:

  • Urban Fantasy – make it original, please. No Dresden Files clones. Strong characters, rich stories, and twists and turns galore!
  • Science Fiction – all forms, but a good space opera makes us feel warm and fuzzy…
  • Epic Fantasy – hero(ine) focused quest novels considered, but don’t be boring and clich├ęd. Give us something new

Deadline is April and full details can be found here at their site.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Flash Fic Opportunity

A new flash fic opportunity is out with The Wheel of Osheim Writing Contest.

For more details follow the link.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Writers Workshops Events Coming Up

There are a series of writers workshop events coming up in London hosted by the Writers Workshop. These are taster sessions to the larger conference that they hold in York in September every year.

The workshops are as follows:

Friday 29th April: The Transformational Arc - Using one simple writing tool to add meaning and urgency to character, plot and theme. In this talk C.M.Taylor will be using a tested, jargon-free writing process to show you how to identify your theme, then to use that theme to get your plot and your character development working together to give emotionally powerful meaning to your story.

Friday 27th May: Showing and Telling and Storytelling -Show, don’t tell – or so we’re told. But once upon a time we told stories, didn’t we? And in practice, any successful piece of storytelling needs to balance both showing and telling. In this workshop we’ll look at examples of both narrative modes, and find ways to blend them into our own writing.

Friday 24th June: Point-of-view: The Writer’s Invaluable Friend. - Point-of-view may be one of the less frequently discussed elements of the novelist and short story writer's process, but there’s no doubt that it’s also one of the most significant. It might even be the most significant, given that it tends to be the component of the prose that binds all the other elements (e.g. plot, voice, character development) together into a psychologically consistent whole. Relevant to writers in all genres and to beginners and more experienced writers alike, Jeremy Sheldon will spend this session discussing point-of-view in depth and use practical examples to show how control of its many possibilities can lead to more focused, more coherent and more affective narrative voices on the page.

Friday 29th July: Self-Editing Your Novel. - Encapsulating their acclaimed online Self-Edit Your Novel course, Debi Alper and Emma Darwin will discuss how you can make your plot more compelling, your characters more vivid and their voices more engaging, so that every word counts. 

More details and links to book on each course can be found here.