Monday, May 17, 2010

Good news!!!

Finally! Things are looking up again. First of all I will jump straight to the good news. I submitted those two short stories I completed at the start of the year (yes I know I said I would send them off back in February, but I didn’t, so sue me). Anyway, one of them - Route 246, got accepted by Dead House Grin, an e-magazine that specialises in horror.

I did a little research before I submitted my stories and in the process I discovered a fantastic site called This website lists every magazine and gives such details as: how long the magazine has been in circulation, what their response times are like and if they pay etc. It also had a fantastic tracking tool for tracking your submissions and prevents you from sending simultaneous submissions as well.

As a result of using this website I avoided sending my story to any old Tom, Dick and Harry. Within days of submitting I got this kind email from the Dead House Grin editor Larry (you see what I did there, rhyming Harry vaguely with Larry – maybe poetry is my true calling, sorry I am stalling),

Dear Rob,
'This is Larry from Death Head Grin. Thank you for the submissions, I liked them both, but due to space I can only accept one. If it would work well for you, and if it has not been accepted elsewhere, I would like to use "Route 246" in the September issue.


'Larry Green

How cool is that? My first ever acceptance! May many more continue but at least – if all goes well, I will be able to say I had something published. It will also get my name out there.

In terms of the editing, I am back up to the point I was before I lost all my changes. This has been a massive challenge mentally but I can gladly say I have overcome it. The energy is back and I am raring to go. Roll on the rest of the book I say, my deadline is the start of the World Cup.

I have also been doing a load of critiques over at critters. My ratio had dropped down to 38%, which meant I had to review 15 critiques before I could have anything of my own reviewed. I have been feverishly working on these and have now got my ratio back up to the required level.

Why have I done this all of a sudden? Well I will tell you, if you hang on. As the editing is progressing, I am getting increasingly nervous about showing it to the four people I have singled out to read the book. What if they hate it?

To ease my fears I just want the option of a stranger’s opinion on the first couple of chapters. These are the chapters that I think are weakest and the folks over at critters can be brutally honest, which is what I need. I might, just might, pass the chapters their way.

Mood: Optimistic.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Grin and bear it.

I have not posted for a while and that is because I have been going through a plethora of emotions. In my last post I stated that I would be aiming to edit a couple of chapters a week. On average, each chapter has been taking me just over an hour, if the revisions are minor (grammar and removing the odd word).

Two weeks ago I decided that this was not good enough. I have worked too hard on this baby to let it drift along indefinitely. I got the bit between my teeth and aimed for editing a chapter a day.

Around the end of last week, I was really starting to hit my stride and achieve the target, the book was coming together and I was feeling good about the whole thing. I did however recognise the earlier chapters did not stand up against the latter chapters in terms of quality.

And so, suffering from a bout of confidence, I submitted the first five chapters to Now the four followers of this blog and the numerous randoms that follow as well (please pop in and say hi!) will already know that I did not want anyone to read the story apart from the five people I have selected. Why did I change my mind? I don’t know is the honest answer. Critters have been very good to me in the past and I have genuinely benefited from the members’ advice, so I guess I figured it was a good idea.

The risk of course is that I am submitting chapters that I know are slightly weaker and if they get slated then my ego will take a massive blow. However, if it is constructive advice, that can only be good right? Right?

The other problem is that I was 19 critiques down and so I have to do a critique on a short story every day until my chapters come to the front of the queue in order for it to be read. I know I can reset my ratio but I feel I owe it to all the other authors that have grafted like myself in order to have their work read.

So that long and winded, Nestor from the Iliad style explanation brings us up to the Bank Holiday weekend. I went into the weekend full of vigour determined to get a lot done. How was I going to do this? Why get up early of course. Yes you heard correctly, set my alarm on days when I was legitimately entitled to a lie in. Was I mad? What was I thinking?

Saturday morning came, the alarm went off at 6:30 a.m. and lo and behold I actually got up. I opened the laptop and set to work on Chapter 8. This was a big task as I decided to completely alter this chapter and write it from a different point of view. 9.30 am came and the little one stirred. Perfect time to stop. I saved and went about the day.

Sunday morning came and I did exactly the same thing. This time I was on the tricky Chapter 12. I chopped and changed a lot of the text. I also spotted a major plot hole and do you know what? I solved it – take that Meereenese Knot. The muse was with me and boy did I let it flow. I stopped when my family woke up and went on to have a very nervous day, watching my beloved Crystal Palace survive relegation by the skin of their teeth.

Monday came and I was too tired to get up but hey, that was o.k. I could afford to give myself the Bank Holiday off, I deserved it. All was well until Monday night when I opened up the laptop to send the book to my email account. (I do this so if I want to work on it at lunchtime at work I can). It also serves as another back up.

There I am merrily logging in, maybe even singing about birds suddenly appearing. When I think to myself, “that’s odd”. It hasn’t changed the last thing I did. I then frantically searched through the book.


Calm down, calm down. I can hear you all say. If you saved it, it must be somewhere. I thought the same, I searched and I searched and I searched. Nothing! I went on the internet and followed the instructions to recover files, searching for acronyms I never knew existed. WBK for example – nothing!

Rage, despair, denial. You name them, I have been through them all in the past 48 hours. I even took my laptop to work in an effort to sort it out at lunch.

Last night I almost gave up. I decided to sit down and just grin and bear it. I sat at the laptop and stared at Chapter 8 again. And stared and stared. Dejected, I shut the laptop down.

What am I feeling now? A small semblance of hope. At 12:45 a.m. I discovered a post on a forum where a woman had been through the exact same thing. Apparently Windows Vista does not always save the file in the correct place and when you search for it, it doesn’t search the temp files. She found the document she lost by opening up another attachment and discovering the path the computer saved it under. She then followed that path and there was her document in all its glory.

So now I just need to work out how to find that elusive path. The trouble is, I have no idea how to do that.