Campnano update

university of Vermont
My story is mostly in Vermont, in cloudy weather like this. I think the u-shape describes a holiday perfectly

So, it’s halfway through April’s campnano. I’m over half my word count, which is such a great ego boost.

I have the first draft of one anthology story, a short story for a competition and am now on the rambling story for possibly Woman’s Weekly.

I have been studying the Woman’s Weekly market with a view to boosting my chances of success via the positive thinking I blogged about here. I’m not sure I really get what exactly it is they want in a story. Some are very polished and clearly worthy of publication. Others have glaring plot flaws (I won’t call them holes as such) or, in the case of the longer stories, ramble.

I’m good at rambling, so I thought I’d have a go at one of those. And it’s going really well. 4.5K so far where absolutely nothing happens on a coach trip to New England in the fall. My problem is that I could ramble on like this for a whole novel. I know roughly how I want it to end but I’m struggling to get there. More day trips keep getting in the way. And now that the chatty tour guide has read the main character’s manuscript and been blown away by it, and another traveller is jealous of their perceived relationship well, I could carry on forever with clandestine meetings to discuss factual errors in her description of New England (which she has never visited before) and pouting and ‘you tell me he doesn’t want a relationship but…’ So how do I get to the airport, the final exchange of emails and home? There’s a lot to see and do in New England.

Maybe I should put that to one side and start the final anthology entry.

How is everyone else doing on their campnano journey?



It’s April again, time for campnanowrimo.

For those who have no idea what nanowrimo is, it stands for national novel writing month. That normally takes place in November and the aim is to write 50K. Campnano is a much more relaxed affair where you set your own project and word count.

Last year it made me write to completion a 22K novella. One which I’m quite proud of but still trying to find a home for. This year I’m aiming for a smaller word count – 15K and a variety of shorter projects aimed at specific markets (particularly anthology calls).

The beauty of it is the target! It makes you sit and do a daily word count when you would normally being doing all those writerly distraction things like Facebook, and emails, and Googling stuff you will need to know at some point but not necessarily right now. And then, having found the information you wanted, you spot all sorts of interesting things to click on. Before you know, it’s time to get the tea on and another day has gone in a haze of ‘what happened?’

Today I’ve managed to do my wordcount already and I’ve made stock, polished my shoes, fed back on a fellow writer’s story and raked up all the fallen bits of tree off the lawn before the men come to cut it this week (it’s a big lawn). My halo is shining brightly.

So, if you struggle to actually write rather than faff about thinking about writing cos I’m a bit stuck for plot/what my character’s actually doing right now/general ideas/willpower, sign up and get yourself in a virtual cabin with other likeminded folk.

Best of all, it’s free!



Law of Attraction

One of my womag writer’s group circulated a story for critique which was about the power of positive thinking. It involved the concept of the Law of Attraction, something I’d only vaguely heard of before and not Law of Attractionreally paid much attention to: I certainly hadn’t heard the actual term “Law of Attraction” before.

The story caused a little bit of debate in our emails, some people having no faith in this sort of thing, others being more positive. Me, I just liked the story.

However, I’m currently analysing the Woman’s Weekly market as I’m struggling to sell into it. I was surprised how many of their stories had an element of positivity. Me, being a glass half empty morose sort of person, I am going to struggle more to achieve that and it pushes me out of my comfort zone. Can ‘positive thinking’ help, I wondered?

It’s an interesting concept, even though there is no scientific basis. Simply put, by focussing on positive or negative thoughts you bring positive or negative things into your life courtesy of the universe. For a pessimist like me it should be a no brainer.

According to Wiki how, there are 7 steps:

  1. Meditate for 5-10 minutes a day (optional)
  2. Be clear about what you want so you can send a clear message to the universe!
  3. Send a clear picture to the universe to ask for what you want
  4. Write your wish down (present tense, all positive words): imagine what you wish coming true every day
  5. Feel how you will feel after your wish has been granted
  6. Show gratitude for everything the universe has given you
  7. Trust the universe. (This bit is complicated and I don’t really understand what it’s saying TBH). Don’t stress about the how, let the universe do it for you.

So, that’s a success with Woman’s Weekly in the bag. As long as I don’t mess up on trusting the universe. Probably, however, I’ll continue to research the market as well, just as a back-up.

Last night I tried this positive thinking malarkey out by being very positive about beating my husband at scrabble and having 3 7-letter words. You know what? I had a rare victory, though only one 7-letter word.

And here is the obvious flaw – if we’d both imagined ourselves winning that game, well, one of us was always going to be disappointed.

Still, it can’t help being positive about a sale to WW. I have a sneaking suspicion that success is more in the hands of fiction editor Emma┬áthan the universe, but I won’t lose anything by visualising and trusting some intangible cosmos-based thing. I won’t be meditating, though. Every time I try that, I fall asleep.

I’ll report back in a few months (I note that there is no time limitation on success for the universe to grant your wish, but a couple of months seems a reasonable trial to me, at say one or two submissions a month.) Meanwhile, I need to find a front cover of Woman’s Weekly and pin it up somewhere I can see it.

So, how about you? Do you think some positive thinking and visualisation is going to increase your chances of writing success?







Fame at last!

It’s sunny … somewhere

It’s been a miserable week (for some anyway. Me, I love the snow) and there are various annoyances in my life right now. So it was cheering to find myself on The People’s Friend’s blog as writer of the week. Terrible photo, of course, but it’s still just a bit thrilling to see your name up there. That ‘I’ve arrived’ feeling, if only in a small way.

It made up for a daylong powercut, which forced me out of the house, and much gnashing of teeth. Why were my teeth a-gnashing? Because, after the power went off, I decided to check on the weather forecast. This is a constant thorn in my side – I’ve even written a black comedy flash about it. What I got on my mobile was ‘dry in most places (except Scotland) with some sunny intervals’. I checked the weather at the place I was thinking of spending the day (Fairburn Ings in Yorkshire) and found the forecast was for cloud all day long. Where I live? Same thing. Newcastle? Heavy rain. It was only when I got down to Birmingham that a half-hearted half-sun icon peeping from behind a cloud first appeared. In other words, mostly dry with sunny intervals in the south.

But, look on the bright side, it wasn’t actually raining (though it did start to do this about 2pm). So I set off for Fairburn Ings and hit…dense fog! 40mph on the motorway for miles. Didn’t mention that on the forecast, did it? They should move the weather centre to Manchester or Leeds, that’s my view.

Anyway, rant over. Having my serial finally published prompted me to join ALCS, or the Author’s Licensing and Collecting Society, the people who keep an eye on who’s using your work and then send you a cheque every so often.

I’d heard of them and knew other womag writers were members, but with my miserly output I hadn’t seen the point. Apparently it’s very worthwhile, financially, so I downloaded the form, filled it in and can look forward to a year of struggling to find the right ISSN number for my meagre successes.

A small matter for more money in the bank.

Meanwhile, the power is back on and I’m back to writing. Happy times.




Powerful stuff

What an ego boost to find yourself on the front page

So, there I was, in the bath, reading The People’s Friend on Readly (so much cheaper than buying all the womags every month) when I turned the page and found myself staring at the start of a new serial called To St Peter’s Field.

That’s mine!

I had been told it was coming out this week but somehow slipped a cog and didn’t equate the date with the day.

So this morning I nipped over to the shop to buy a hard copy. Even better, I’m on the front page right along with the word ‘powerful’.

I like that very much indeed.

It’s the first time my name has made the front page of a womag and it feels very special. The glass half empty person says that’s the first and last time so enjoy it while it lasts. The glass half full person I’m trying to cultivate is searching around for the next serial plot. Because writers just have to keep on writing.

The email critique group I’m in for my womag writing is having a lot of success at the moment – lots of sales this week for a number of members. Yes, we all go through droughts as well but if you keep on writing and honing and keep on sending, you’ll get there.

Meanwhile, the sun is shining today – a rare thing in these parts. So I’m going to be tidying outside in the garden, hoping I get some plot inspiration along the way. And if you’ve got a great idea for a plot, you know where to find me…

Or you could just write it yourself.