Do you like reading short story anthologies by various writers? Can I persuade you into trying the latest offering from a group of collaborative writers? If I can’t persuade you can I at least tempt you?
I never was very good at pitching but here goes…
What exactly is good and evil, and what lies in-between? Fourteen writers have done their very best to try and answer that question. The end result is a depiction of the very best and worst of humanity, all bundled into a highly readable anthology.
Did I mention the word anthology? Here it is:
There’s something in those hallowed pages for everyone. Here are a few highlights:
Hard Rain: The mother of all storms breaks when a man has to get to hospital for the birth of his first child. Nothing is going to stop him irrespective of anything else happening around him…
Spirals: A gritty crime drama that explores the criminal underworld and the choices and consequences that villains have to face amongst their own kind.
Living The Life of Riley: A harrowing and moving drama which depicts the fragmented relationship between a father and son.
The stories encompass many genres from straight drama, to fantasy, to crime, and there’s even a western tale thrown into the mix.
My contribution is Acid House. A semi-comedic drama about a late middle aged couple, in total hate with each other, who unexpectedly have to deal with their only son’s relationship problems.
Thank you in advance to anyone who does decide to purchase a copy.
Its been far too long since my last post. I can sum up the reason why with just three words: Busy, busy, busy. Ok, so it’s one word repeated three times, but it’s the best excuse I have.
Anyway, onto what’s been happening…
Do you remember Project 13? I hope you do, it’s the project that saw the publication of The Thirteenth Camera. The talented editors behind the project want to do it all again. This time the anthology they have in mind will have a theme of ‘Saints & Sinners’. I’ve written a very early draft of my particular entry which is entitled Acid House.
I couldn’t turn the opportunity down. Did I find the original project frustrating? At times, Yes! But only because I was forced to work in a different manner. The creative collaboration between the editors and the writers was excellent, and I learned a great deal during the experience.
Speaking of that original project sales of “13 The Anthology” are trickling in. We had an excellent review from Soundsphere Magazine which you can find here: http://www.soundspheremag.com/reviews/book/book-review-13-the-anthology/
I am immensely proud of the specific reference the review made regarding The Thirteenth Camera:
The collection closes with another tale that would sit easily alongside books of the ‘New Weird’ ilk with a shot in the arm of arresting surprise not unlike Ian McEwan’s ‘Solid Geometry’.
We could use some more reviews so if anyone reading this would like to offer an independent review on Amazon, or via their own blog, let me know. A free copy for review purposes can be arranged. (Note: This is not a plea for gushing five star reviews. It’s a request for honest feedback be it praiseworthy, constructively negative, or some fence sitting middle ground.)
Unrelated to any project is a new piece of flash fiction entitled The Ending. It’s a little bit experimental with a non-standard narrative, but I’ve got an eye on a couple of magazines that might be interested. Feedback from trusted sources is currently good on this one.
The My Stories section of the Musings has been updated to include The Ending and Acid House, and gives a little bit more information about those stories.
The Useful Links section of the blog has been updated with details of:
The Screenwriting Goldmine http://www.screenwritinggoldmine.com/
Gareth L Powell http://www.garethlpowell.com/
More information on both those site is contained in the Useful Links section.
The Favourite Quotes section has had an abundance of new quotes added. I’ve re-structured this page too. I’ve now listed the quotes alphabetically based on author surnames. For various reasons I didn’t want to do this, but it’s the simplest way of checking which quotes I’ve already got listed and which I haven’t. The criteria for listing quotes remains the same. Any quote has to resonate with me in some way. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I agree with the sentiment behind any listed quote, it may mean that the quote makes my blood boil. I hope you find them interesting, inspiring, provocative, but most of all engaging.
13 The Anthology is now available on Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com. It’s competitively priced at a mere 77p so please give it a chance and treat yourself. Ok, ok, I’m hardly likely to say anything negative about an anthology that contains one of my stories, but I genuinely believe that there are stories in this anthology for everyone. It’s a themed anthology centred around the number “13” but every writer was free to interpret that theme in any way they pleased. Let’s put it another way: The Editors gave each contributor creative freedom – although that doesn’t mean we weren’t asked to amend elements!
As a result this isn’t an anthology laden with horror stories, or sci-fi stories, or twist in the tale stories, or any other kind of specific story. It’s a diverse well balanced anthology. There is a sci-fi story in the mix, and there’s a ghost story too, but you’ll also find historical fiction, fantasy, dark drama, uplifting drama, black comedy, straight comedy, and great characters too.
My own story is very British, blackly comic, that hopefully will appeal beyond the English Channel.
Leaving my own work aside I can honestly state that I’m proud to have my work alongside the other works in the anthology. During the compiling stage the authors were all asked to read the other contributors work, and to comment. It was an interesting exercise, and there was diverse views from all of the writers. That process shows the care that was taken in producing this fine body of stories.
So please lend a helping hand and support some up and coming writers. You haven’t got anything to lose, well OK 77p or 99 cents but that’s less than a cup of coffee.
If anyone does take the plunge please feel free to leave an Amazon review, or contact me directly to let me know what you think. You can even be critical; just keep it constructively critical!!!
I was having an online chat with my writing buddy, and fellow Project 13 collaborator, the immensely talented J T Harrell.
JT was telling me how he'll initially attempt to write out a story idea as a 250 word piece of flash fiction. If he manages to get to that limit, or below, then the story stays as a piece of flash fiction. If it just can't be done then he sets about writing a short story, or possibly even a novella.
It's an interesting technique / process.
The feisty fellow also laid down a flash fiction challenge: Write a max 250 word story. The theme was voyeurism, but we agreed we were able to interpret voyeurism in any way our muses demanded.
Prior to the challenge I'd never managed to finish a story in under 600 words.
The challenge turned out to be a great piece of creative fun.
It wasn't without it's frustrations. I aborted the first attempt. I was thinking about it too much, trying to be too clever, and failing.
I then did what I usually do best. I emptied my mind and just wrote. Those who know me well will tell you there's not a lot to empty!
The end result was "The Man on The Train" completed in 220 words. I doubt anybody would call it a masterpiece. It isn't. But it's very me. Simplistic and above all it's tongue in cheek. Nothing more than a bit of fun.
Creatively, I took a lot from the challenge. 250 words isn't much. I found myself ruthlessly editing. If a line of prose wasn't moving the story forward then it became history. I loved some of the lines I had to delete. I can honestly say that I've never been so hard on myself in any previous story edit. It was a real eye-opener and I know that all my future edits are going to benefit.
I doubt I'll work in the same way as JT but I wanted to share the experience.
JT came up with a story that had more depth than mine. A kinky tale about a blind man who shares his wife with a sighted man. The sighted man has to describe what he's seeing as the blind man's wife reaches her climax. I loved the concept. As a writer it's an idea that can be tackled in many ways. My only complaint is that he thought of it before I did.
I'm beginning to understand, and appreciate, flash fiction to a much greater extent.
A lot of the story can be outside what we see on the page. The trick is to use the right words to make it so.
I won't be neglecting the longer short story, but I can see my flash fiction output increasing.
Hello, to one and all.
I've been quite busy lately. Yesterday, I finished a short little horror story which has been titled - 13 Seconds.
The idea behind 13 Seconds was originally conceived at the inception of Project 13. For reasons I can't recall I decided not to progress the idea at the time. Yesterday I was in one of those writing moods / zones where the muse was in total control of everything I did. The story just poured itself out.
Usually when I finish a story I'll lock it away in a drawer for a week or so and then go back to it. As soon as I finished this particular story I had a really positive vibe about it. I sent it off to one of my writing buddies, the incredibly talented J T Harrell.
J T pointed out a few areas for tightening up the feel, and his points were relevant and honest. He also described the story as "Fun, and unnerving" which really made me happy as that's exactly what I was aiming for.
On another front the editors of the 13 Anthology have told me that the final story in the anthology will be The Thirteenth Camera. I'm quite proud of this. Ordering the story content of an anthology is a really difficult task. The two hardest positions to fill are the first and last stories.
The first story has to be the anchor, the story that will intrigue the reader enough to draw them in to the rest of the anthology. The final story is - presuming the reader tackles the anthology in order - the last story the reader will read. It will be the one most recent in their memory. It will be the one that completes the experience of the anthology. Nobody wants to end on a bum note so I'm more than happy with where they've placed me.
Night Owls has been sent to a literary magazine for their consideration. I'm expecting a rejection as I targeted one of the toughest markets to crack, but you've got to roll the dice. I'll do a post on the submission experience once I've had a response.
I've re-written The Flower Woman again. This will probably be its final straight forward re-write. Any further revisions will be radical. In some respects I haven't given this one too much of a chance. It was only ever entered into one competition. I'm currently getting feedback from a trusted source after which I'm going to make a point of submitting it to every qualifying market I can find. It's always been a popular story on TSL & Zoetrope so there must be an editor somewhere who will take a shine to it.
We're in July and 2013 has already been my most productive year. Three short stories finished, and one existing story re-written. Hopefully, I can maintain the productivity.
Keep writing, and keep reading, but most importantly take care,
I’ve been quiet for awhile. It’s because I’ve been busy re-writing The Thirteenth Camera. I think I’ve finally nailed it. The Editorial team might want further revisions but I think it’s done. (This story has caused me more problems than any I’ve ever written!)
The 13 has it’s own website which I can now share:
The website explains the project. You’ll find blog articles one of which I penned myself. There’s profiles of the authors, and photos too. I still need to send mine in. Like I said I’ve been busy writing so I’ve had no time for posing.
Check it out!!! Feedback is always good. Here’s two quick snippets of extra info:
One of our authors has already had a book published and has a two book deal on the table.
Another of our authors has been previously published by Penguin – Yep Penguin.
The book is still some months away so I’m keeping this update short. The above snippets are just that. There’s more publishing success to shout about and I’ll start singing the praises of my fellow contributors over the coming months.
I’m just proud to be amongst them. They maybe a bunch of reprobates, but they’re talented reprobates. I hope none of them read that last sentence.
More blogs coming soon now that The Thirteenth Camera has been finished. (Did you hear that Editors: Finished, complete.) I’ve got quite a few new blogs planned. There’s at least two that aren’t just shameful plugging and will hopefully prove useful to the aspiring writer.
Thanks for reading,
We have a website for this eclectic meeting of imaginations from around the globe. I’m not going to share the web address just yet as we’re still making some tweaks. We’re even posting mug-shots. Looks like I’ll have to find a camera with an unbreakable lens. Failing that I’ll just send in a picture of Daniel Craig and see if I get away with it.
The websites looking good, and should be an excellent marketing tool for the anthology. Below I’ve posted the blog entry which I was asked to write for the site:
We’re going on a short ride together. I’ve been invited to write the first blog entry for 13 – The Anthology. My brief was any subject related to writing.
Tricky, very, very, tricky.
You see, we don’t know each other. At the moment were on a level playing field. I don’t know you, and you don’t know me. That’s going to change, and you’re going to have me at a disadvantage. Being the first of our little group to kick off this shindig there was really only one topic to blog about:
Why write in the first place?
I can’t answer that without bearing my soul and telling you something about myself. Like I said, you’re going to have me at a disadvantage.
Enough pre-amble let’s just get on with it…
Writing is hard. Kick you in the nuts, chew you up, spit you out, and stamp all over you kind of hard. Oh yeah, it hurts.
A genius who was much better at this than me once said:
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
The geniuses name was Hemingway. He also said:
“Forget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt, use it-don't cheat with it.”
I could have posted any one of a million and one quotes on the art of writing, but those two are the ones that really resonate and strike a chord deep within this writer’s soul.
I’m a free writer, as opposed to a plotter. Plotters map everything out, and mostly know exactly where a story is going before they’ve written that first sentence. Free writers just write. One sentence leads to another, and characters start introducing themselves. It’s a bit like reading a novel in real time. As soon as the writer types the finished line you get to read it instantaneously. That’s one of the reasons why I write. The sheer exhilaration of events unfolding around me, events that I’m dictating with characters I’ve created, and yet I have no idea what’s about to happen.
Free writing is a bit like riding a bicycle, with no brakes, down the steepest most pot hole ridden road you could imagine. The road that I ride down has a lot of bystanders looking on. Those bystanders are hope, loneliness, loss, love, laughter, sadness, failed relationships, departed loved ones, insecurity, the ghosts of my yesterdays is a good way to describe them all.
Each of those bystanders has a voice, and they shout like Hell to be heard. Whoever shouts loudest tends to shape the story that I’m putting together. That’s where the pain of writing really kicks in.
If a character of mine is in distress, if they’re emotionally ripped apart, then I’m re-living sections of my own life when I experienced something similar so I can capture the emotion as honestly as I possibly can. It sounds masochistic, and it probably is. It’s also fantastic self-healing. That’s another reason why I write, I can’t afford the expensive therapists.
A lot of what happens above happens at the re-writing stage. A free writer doesn’t always know exactly what they’ve written until they’ve finished and start reading it back. The pain and the blood come with the re-writes.
My story in this collection is entitled The Thirteenth Camera. It’s an adaptation of a short play I free wrote about four years ago. I’m not going to tell you anything about the story that unfolds. When I started writing the adaptation I was in a philosophical, mischievous, and irreverent mood. That should at least give you a flavour of the story.
I enjoyed the ride that the story and the characters took me on. I can’t guarantee that you will enjoy the ride in the same way, but I sincerely hope you will. I can absolutely guarantee that every word and every sentence, although presented in fine print, has its origins in blood.
There’s nothing more I can say.
(M J Wolfson)
Take care and I’ll be posting more on the 13 Anthology soon.
Project 13 has been given a name by the editors. The collection will be called:
13 - The Anthology
A website is being built to promote the project I'll include the link here as soon as it's ready.
The site will have it's own blog. I was honoured to have been asked to write the first blog article which has been completed, and approved by the editing team. I'll repeat the blog article here on the 'musings' at the appropriate time.
Writers Hello! Two new words have entered the English language today:
Meaning: A derogatory term used to describe the symptoms of the fraudulent & fake condition of writer's block.
Meaning: See Above. The term can also be used in a more general derogatory sense as in,
"Hey, stop giving me your bullshitation." or
"Man, your prowess for bullshitation is overpowering me." or
"Get your bullshitation out of my face, dude."
This is particulary effective when aimed at salesmen. The term can also be used to describe 99% of the political manifestos ever written. Should the person who the remark was aimed at take offense my advice would be to describe the phrase as an old English term of endearment. If this fails simply run away!
Origins of both words: Hawaiian-English. The words fall into the bracket of Pili-isms. Those of you unfamiliar with the colloquial verbiage of the word Pili-isms shouldn't worry, it's an ancient term I invented approximately 5 minutes ago. Your lack of knowledge on this subject is therefore understandable. Although, that may not stop me from referring to you as thick.
Those of you wondering what flavour juice I've been on this evening needn't worry. It's all a personal joke.
Now on a more serious note...apologies for lowering the tone...I'd like to introduce you to a couple of blogs Ive stumbled across:
http://www.monkeymonsterthoughts.blogspot.co.uk/ This is the personal blog of Pili Nathaniel. I first stumbled across Pili when I read her short story, "Cold Shoulder Mornings." It's a very well observed tale of a failing relationship. It has a touch of sadness with real characters, but it avoids the melodramatic. It made me reflect back on elements of my past and the people that have stepped through my life. If anybody else has read the story please note I am not comparing myself to the total jerk male character in the story. I'm just sharing personal information in a very loose and non specific way.
Cold Shoulder Mornings doesn't currently seem to be available on Pili's blog but there is at least one other short story which I hope to read myself over the next couple of days. There's also a decent piece of Flash fiction entitled The Lion.
Pili also has another blog but this is not writing related: http://www.happynathaniel.blogspot.com Although it's not writing related the blog usually has the effect of putting a smile on my face. Depending on the topics of course.
Both blogs are good. Pili has a habit of writing what she feels in a very open and honest way which kind of draws you in.
I'll add both links to my Useful links page.
My next post is likely to be a bio of one of my fellow Project 13 contributors. A very fine writer and indeed a published novelist. As in published by a publisher, not self published. That's right. The 13 Anthology has a published novelist amongst its ranks. The same writer has also recently landed a two book deal. I told you the standard was high.
Take care and remember to use bullshitation at every available opportunity. You'll feel much better for it!
It has been a while since I did a post on Project 13 but rest assured this mammoth project roles ever onwards. All of the contributing writers have been busy reading and reviewing all of the stories in the collection.
I know I’m biased because ‘The Thirteenth Camera’ is one of those stories, but I have to say that the quality of the stories is high.
The collection itself will have something for everyone. There are stories that will make you laugh, cry, and ponder. There are stories that will take you to other worlds, Las Vegas, depression era America, you’ll meet assassins, ghosts, phobia driven characters, alcohol driven characters, sassy characters, and then there’s…no…that would be telling!
At the moment we have a graphic artist designing a cover. Once the covers available I’ll post it here.
Aside from Project 13 I’ve just finished a new story called ‘Night Owls’. I’m quite excited about this one. It’s a little bit different. I’m not certain it’s absolutely as good as it can be yet, which means I’ll post it on TriggerstreetLabs to see what the gang think. I’ve sent the story to my regular reader (every writer should have a regular reader) and their feedback was: Great story, great theme, different, original, but maybe XXXX. Note: One or two TSL members do check the blog so I’m not mentioning the point that was made in case it affects their view should they be actively reviewing. Interestingly the point made is one of the concerns I had.
While I’m waiting for reviews on ‘Night Owls’ to rain in I will be working on the final re-write of ‘The Thirteenth Camera’.
Once that’s done I’ll be working on a ‘Night Owls’ re-write.
Take care and to quote one of my fellow Project 13 contributors: “Keep the pen moving.”
M J Wolfson - That's me.