Belated Celebrations

January and the beginning of February was an interesting time for me, with some news that I thought I was coping quite well with, though in hindsight perhaps I was not… but all’s good now (I think), and there were a few good things that happened that I want to mention:

First, myself and two of my writing buddies: Aislinn Batstone and Kelly Matsuura, were published in the Independent Author Index’s Short Story Compilation, volume 2 on 31 Dec 2012 (Aussie time). I did start to read this, but only got a few stories through before life was temporarily turned upside down. I can say, that the stories I read so far are incredibly diverse – from writing style, to topic. Some I loved, some I wasn’t so impressed with, but even so I’m really looking forward to getting back into it again and reading the rest of the stories. The compilation is available for sale in ebook form from Amazon.  With stories to suit every taste, I think it’s worth the low price of $2.99!

The second bit of good news is another compilation! Those same ladies from my writing group and I were published in The Flashing Type, Issue 1: 50 Stories from freeflashfiction.com. If you’ve been following me for a while, you may remember that I had a flash fiction fantasy “One” published at Free Flash Fiction around the middle of last year. That story is now available in the compilation, which is available for an even lower price of 99 cents! This is one I have not yet had a chance to read, but I’m looking forward to getting to it soon.

Also, I submitted a query for my novella – A Faery Dream, to The Wild Rose Press, and the full manuscript was requested. Confirmation that I can write a decent query lol!

I was lucky enough to win a critique in early January by Joanne Wadsworth. She looked over the first 4 pages of my story, Red Sky. If you remember (did I tell you?) I entered this into the Seizure novella comp back in November, and sadly it wasn’t chosen. However Joanne gave me some brilliant feedback. She had some very encouraging words on my writing, and pointed out where I could tighten the text. Every so often Joanne offers these critiques as prizes on her blog, and she has some great posts on writing – so go follow her!!

And the last piece of good news, is that I entered Red Sky, into ABNA – The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and it passed through first round! It was selected, along with 1999 others, from a total of 10,000 novels! That is amazing and I am so excited and nervous.  This is more confirmation on my ability to pitch, as it was the pitch that was judged in this round. Second Round is announced on 12th March (USA time – 13th March over here in Aus), and judges an excerpt of the story – up to the first 5000 words. I still have an anxious few weeks to wait, though I have a few old stories to edit, and new ideas to explore – so plenty to keep me occupied!

Feel like your story isn’t ready?

So, I’ve finished a story. It’s been edited several times over, and is as good as I can get it, for this moment at least.  Sometimes I know a story is good when I send it out, most times I don’t – most times I feel embarrassed that I am sending out such drivel!! Sometimes those stories that I know are good, are accepted, sometimes they aren’t. Sometimes the stories that I feel are drivel are rejected but sometimes, much to my shock, sometimes they’re actually accepted, given honorary mentions in competitions even.

I just finished reading Orson Scott Wells “How to write Science Fiction and Fantasy”. He has some very interesting points, but the thing that struck me the most – (probably because it reminded me in some way of Nick Hornby’s comments – that as writers our job is to write, and not judge our writing) – was Orson’s chapter entitled “The Life and Business of Writing”.

His advice, on stories that may or may not be ready for publication goes something like this:

“When your story is finished, let it go do it’s work. Don’t wait for it to gather dust on your shelf. Sure, if you let it sit there for a year and pull it down and look at it again, you’ll find all kinds of dumb mistakes that you’d never make today because you’re so much better now. But then, if you had sent it out and it had been purchased by a magazine, it would be appearing in print right now, and while you would still find those flaws in it, at least you would have been paid for it and your story would be in print and – here’s the good part – your readers will like the story just fine the way it is.”

He goes on to say that he is NOT advocating that writers should send out second-rate work,

“But a year from now you should be writing the story that you care about and believe about at that time, not reworking this year’s story…”

“Because the more you fiddle with your story, rewriting this paragraph or that one, the more likely you are to make it worse. There are things you instinctively do when the story is in it’s first rush out of your head that are truer and better than anything you’ll come up with as you second-guess, revise, intellectualize.”

 

So there you go! If you have a story, sitting there, waiting to be sent out in the world – Be Brave! Send it off – you might be surprised! And if you’ve already been brave – feel free to share your story with the rest of us – were you successful when you thought you wouldn’t be, or vice versa?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 Days to go….

It’s almost that time again!! Time for what you ask? NANOWRIMO of course!

I love it! I’ve been checking out the website today – there’s the Nano Video which has that awesome soundbite at the beginning and end. Let me tell you – that sound is one of my favourite sounds ever. Whenever I hear it I get so excited!!

I’m so happy to see Chris Baty will be back to give a Pep Talk this year! For those of you new to Nano, Chris Baty was actually the founder of Nanowrimo, as he and his friends decided to try and write a novel in 30 days, way back in 2000! I have been watching (via Nano Video) and reading all of Chris’s encouragement and motivation over the last 4 years of Nano. He retired at the end of last year to become a full-time writer, making millions of wrimos around the world very very sad. How could we possibly get through Nano, without him!!?? Thankfully we don’t need to, as he’ll be one of the authors sending wrimo participants a bit of pep throughout the month.

But probably my most favourite thing on this years website is something new. A list of all the authors whose published work began as a Nanowrimo novel. That’s right, Nanowrimo CAN lead to publication. I’ve been waiting and wishing for such a list ever since I learnt that Nano novels had been published. It’s a big list, and I want to print it out and show it to all those people who said writing a novel in 30 days was a waste of time and would never lead to anything! (Except, I didn’t have any of those people say that to me – but I think that’s just because I knew they would say it, so I never ever told them about Nano, because I didn’t want to hear it.)

My Nano planning has began, and I’m so excited about it this year.

Is anyone joining me? What do you like about the new website? And are you planning your novel or will you sit down on Nov 1 and just see what appears on the page?

The Harpist – New Flash Fiction Story

Just a short post today to celebrate another publication!!

The Harpist is a flash fiction piece about a young girl, forced into harp lessons and now a great harp competition, by her overzealous mother. The story shows how she takes control of the situation and finds the positives in something she has been dreading.

Published at  http://1000words.org.uk/the-harpist/

Check it out!! 🙂

More Stories by Me

Today I have had two more stories published!

“One” at http://www.freeflashfiction.com/index.php/stories-artwork/science-fiction-and-fantasy/one-by-heather-jensen/

One is a flash fiction – just over 400 words. It is a fantasy, telling the story of the Norse God’s desire to destroy the world and start again and Freya’s attempt to save it.

and

“Sanctuary” at http://www.fivestopstory.com/read/story.php?storyId=3157 (If you like this one, you can click the blue heart at the bottom!) 🙂

Sanctuary is a little different to my more recent writing. I wrote Sanctuary about 5 years ago, at a guess, and while looking through my old work thought it would be a good length to submit to the Five Stop Story monthly competition. I gave it a quick edit, but was not confident that it would receive an award of any sort – so the Honorary Mention was most unexpected!

Small Successes! :)

I just found out last night that my short story ‘Sanctuary’ has received an honorary mention in Five Stop Story’s June Competition!

It will be published on their site later this month. I’ll keep you posted! 🙂

(www.fivestopstory.com)

How to get good? Write 10 novels.

I have read several times over that the best way to become a successful author is to write 10 novels. Not publish – write. After 10 novels, the story goes, you are practiced and proficient enough to get it right. One author said she never bothered editing the first 9 – she just reread them to see where she’d gone wrong, and aimed to fix that problem in the next one. By the 10th novel she felt satisfied it was a good one and sent it off with virtually no editing at all and it was published and became a best seller.

So – from that understanding – how far away am I from being published?

Lets see:

Novel #1 Sacred Circle – YA Fantasy – started in college and finished during the holidays between my first and second year of uni( 2001) just over 50,000 words

Novel #2 Discovering Sarah’s Story – YA – Nano 2008, my first Nano! just over 50,000 words

Novel #3 Sarah’s Story – a historical novel – 2009 –  based on bits of what I wrote for the above, just over 50,000 words

Novel #4 Your Charity Pray – horror – Nano 2009, 62,000 words

Novel #5 Holle and Eogann – fantasy – Nano 2010, just over 50,000 words, though after a few edits it has ended up being around 60,000.

Novel #6 Sad Sunshine – fantasy – Nano 2011 – 100,000 words

Novella #7 Faery Dream – fantasy – 2012 – 16,000 words

Novel #8 Red Sky – historical fantasy – Camp Nano 2012 – 50,000 words

Two to go!! lol.

The first few on that list I doubt will ever be published, though Sarah’s Story is one I hope to get back to one day, once I’ve managed to do more research on Sarah and her life (and hopefully I’ll come up with a better title in the process…). Holle and Eogann has been submitted, Sad Sunshine is massive – one that will require a significant amount of editing – before I would be happy to share it with others (on saying that – I have not yet read back over Sad Sunshine – maybe it will be better than I think). Faery Dream is going through the editing process as I write, and Red Sky is going through it’s period of fermenting – I finished it about 3 weeks ago, so now it will sit awhile before I return for the read through. But I have a good feeling about Red Sky – there’s something a little different about it – I like it.

With August Camp Nano coming up in only a few weeks, and of course regular Nano in November – I could well have finished writing my 10th Novel by the end of the year… hmm….