Saturday, October 15, 2016

Long Time Gone

Oh Midatlantic, how I’ve neglected you! I’d feel ashamed except that I’ve been so productive in other ways this year.

This year the time I used to spend on blogging has given way not only to the writing of flash fictions and short stories but also to submitting them to literary magazines. That process is a million times easier than it used to be in the days before the internet when each manuscript had to be sent out separately complete with a stamped self-addressed envelope. Instead of the need to make lots of trips to the Post Office, these days I can send out all of my submissions online from my desk.

However, it can still be quite time-consuming, especially if you have as many submissions on the go as I usually do. Each magazine has its own strictures about how to format your submission – font types, font sizes, margins, headers, footers, page numbering, you name it. Some want you to put your name and contact details on the document, some don’t. Most want you to include a writer’s bio, but the specified length of the bio varies widely. So you can see that the submission process still requires quite a bit of time and attention.

Having said that, the expenditure of that time has undoubtedly paid off for me. In the past year, I have been lucky enough to have had 12 stories published and a further four accepted and forthcoming. They have been almost evenly split between online and print publications. Many have been very short – flash fictions of only 150 words – but a few have been as long as 5,000 words. Four of my flash fictions have even won prizes (See previous blog posts), and one of my short stories was longlisted (one of 40 chosen from among 2,160 entries) for one of the most prestigious writing contests in the UK, the 2016 Bristol Prize.

So you can see it’s been a very good year!

However, I’ve missed blogging about what I’ve been reading and other cultural experiences and connections so I will attempt to post more here on Midatlantic in the year to come. But first I have a month free to devote to revising my novel, the first in what I hope will be a five-book series called Albion’s Millennium. I’ve carried this story around with me for many years, and the first volume is almost completed but is in major need of radical cutting and a thorough edit to make sure everything that’s in there is needed and germane to the storyline. I worry that I may have forgotten how to write in the longer form, but in my more optimistic moments, I hope that the lessons I’ve learned from this year of writing shorter stories will stand me in good stead with Albion. We shall see.

Wish me luck!