Commercial fiction vs literary fiction + story updates

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Good evening Earth. This week I’m talking about a popular conspiracy theory that President-elect Trump was assassinated by a coalition of Western governments before he could destroy Mexico’s economy, give guns to toddlers, and nuke the Middle East.

Wait—what? There’s no such conspiracy theory, you say? President-elect Trump hasn’t been assassinated?

Ah, okay. Sorry, must’ve been a premonition/dream/desperate hope I had.

Instead, I’ll give you a round-up of story updates and some tips for writers on understanding the differences between literary and commercial fiction.

Rachel Can Still See wins the Hyde Cup 2016

hyde-cupYesterday I received a nice little boost for my recently completed short story, Rachel Can Still See. It won the Hyde Cup 2016, an internal Rushmoor Writers competition, organised and judged each year by the members. The story got great feedback, so my plan is to start submitting it immediately to publishers and short story competitions.

This story is one of the Million Eyes Short Stories and a sequel to Rachel Can See (though it can sensibly stand alone). Rachel Can See has just been published in Metamorphose V2 (more details below).

I won £25 and a little cup for my mantelpiece. Whoop! 😀

Million Eyes

I’m down to the last couple of chapters of my novel, Million Eyes. My copywriting busyness has skyrocketed, so I’m getting through it slowly. Planning a good old sesh over Christmas, so my hope is that I’ll have reached the end by the time we draw the curtains on 2016. Then I’ll be ready to start the final edit next year.

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“The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller” now available to read in Tigershark Magazine

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My short story, The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller, has now been published in Tigershark Magazine, Issue 11! You can download the PDF of the issue for free right here! Just click the link below. (The story starts on page 18.)

Tigershark Magazine Issue 11

The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller is the second of the Million Eyes Short Stories to be published, after Who is Rudolph Fentz? in Scribble, Issue 68 last year.

The story is based on an urban legend about a extra on a Charlie Chaplin DVD, an extra containing something rather out of place. Irish filmmaker George Clarke made the discovery and released a YouTube video about it, which became a runaway hit and was discussed and debated by the world’s media. At the time of writing, the video’s attracted more than 6,870,000 views.

The story stars a fictionalised version of Clarke as he investigates the mystery and embarks on a potentially dangerous journey to find the truth…

Here’s Clarke’s original video. See what you make of it!

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Writers who try to write masterpieces + story updates

man-1454744_960_720Evening all! So I’m totally going to steal Alan Carr’s catchphrase: What a week it’s been!

I climbed the O2 in London on Tuesday night and got to see the sun setting behind Canary Wharf. Yesterday I did mountain biking, high rope obstacles in the trees, climbing, canoeing, assault courses and a bit of free-falling on a giant swing. Oh, and I got to pretend to be Jon Snow for a bit and do some archery.

Today I’m back at my computer, exercising nothing but my typing fingers so I can tell you about some story updates and a fiction writing bad habit: trying to write a masterpiece.

The Million Eyes Trilogy

I’ve been extremely busy with copywriting commitments since January, but now things have quietened down a bit, giving me more time for my novel and short stories. I’m editing the last third of the first novel in The Million Eyes Trilogy as we speak. I’m now thinking I’ll probably finish reading it to my writers’ group and getting their feedback by early next year, if not before.

I said in my last story updates blog that I’d be ready to start the final edit by June of next year, but I reckon I’ll be starting much earlier than that. In the past, I’ve found that January and February are good months to go on long writers’ retreats, so that’s when I’m planning to book a two-week retreat and hopefully get the bulk of the final edit done.

Million Eyes has gone down particularly well with my writers’ group of late, and the fact that increasingly the feedback tends to be minor nitpicks is quite telling about how much my writing has improved over the last year. It’s really exciting to see it all starting to come together.

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How to avoid head-hopping in 3rd person POV + story updates

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Hello! This month I’ve got some story updates that are a little bit more exciting than last month’s, plus advice for fiction writers on tackling point of view when writing in the third-person narrative…

Without further ado…

Who is Rudolph Fentz? wins 3rd prize in the winter issue of Scribble

This is my second most exciting piece of news of late (will share the first in a mo). Long and short: I was voted 3rd prize winner out of 19 stories in the winter issue of Scribble and got a lovely little £15 cheque. I also got some interesting feedback from Scribble’s readers, which you can read in the blog I posted last week.

You also can read a sneak peak of the story here.

The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller gets closer to publication

This is my most exciting piece of news—though I’ve probably jinxed myself now. (Is it still hip to say ‘jinxed’? What are the cool kids using nowadays?)

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Story updates and advice on self-publishing

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Evening all! I’m back with more news updates and advice for fellow writers. This month I’ve got a handful of updates about Million Eyes and the Million Eyes Short Stories. I’ve also got some advice about self-publishing, having been through the process myself.

Mystery Weekly rejections

I mentioned last time that online magazine Mystery Weekly was “holding onto” The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller. The editor liked the story but was still deciding how she felt about the ending.

Sadly she ended up rejecting it. She said it was suspenseful and she liked the time travel element, and that the ending was “okay” but a bit of a letdown. What’s interesting is that someone else who critiqued this story said that the ending was one of its strongest points. It’s the subjectivity problem again (I talked more about this in my first news and advice article).

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News and advice for writers: story updates and spotting publishing scams

diary-968592_960_720Howdy! How’s everyone’s January blues? Despite the last week’s cold snap making it very difficult to get out of bed, I’ve mostly kept the blues at bay. This is thanks to lots of copywriting-shaped busyness, catching up with friends and going to see an excellent film that one or two of you might’ve heard of called Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

So I’m back with another round of Million Eyes news and story updates, following on from my last news and advice article. I’ve also got some words of wisdom for fellow writers about publisher and literary agent scams (which I very nearly fell victim to myself once).

New story completed: The Quiet Invasion

In the run-up to Christmas, I got cracking on another tale in the Million Eyes Short Stories series. This one is quite different to the others I’ve written. The others are conspiracy stories with a mysterious group of time travellers at the centre of everything. The Quiet Invasion centres on a different but equally mysterious group of people and, without giving too much away, it explores the ‘side effects’ of time travel rather than time travel itself.

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My short story “Who is Rudolph Fentz?” is now available to read in Scribble Magazine

Scribble Winter 2015 CoverEvening all!

The winter 2015 edition of award-winning short fiction magazine Scribble is now available to buy for £4.50 from their website. You can also take out an annual subscription for £15.00.

As you’ll know from my previous posts, the winter 2015 edition contains my short story, Who is Rudolph Fentz? This is a mystery story about a man called Forrest Thomson, who witnesses a disoriented man in 19th century clothes getting run over by a taxi, and then stumbles upon a strange conspiracy to cover up the incident.

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