Who am I?

I am a writing and publishing guru. What I dont know about the market just isn't worth knowing. So what if I'm unpublished? I choose to give other writers the gift of my wisdom and experience* that the other 500,000 writing blogs out there fail to give.
* No actual experience

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sprints and marathons

When I was first grappling with the whole concept of writing seriously for publication, I felt I had to be a writing slut. Or as much of a slut as possible when writing Good Clean Fun. Any call for writing for kids, and I was there, putting out my prose, enticing the editors to pick up my manuscript and have their way with it.

I figured short story creds were a quick way to plump up the bio. But... every call for short stories for kids had a limit of 500 words. Damn! How can you arrange 500 words in a manner that tells a satisfying story? 

Horses for courses. I figured I was a middle-distance runner. Five hundred word sprints? Fughedabout it. Fifty thousand word marathons? Uh-huh. My range was between 7 and 20K  - chapter books and earlier MG stories, and that was that. I could see it was limiting my market potential. Some ideas for stories might be more suitable for an older audience, but there was no way I could top 50K. So that was that.

Stupid idea.

But since I was hungry for some publications, my first goal was to tackle the sprint. Forcing myself to squeeze a story to a 500 word limit was one of the best writery things I'd done. It didn't come easy. Firstly, I had to tell a story in a single scene. I learnt this after writing a few 500 word three-act stories. They were the written equivalent of "I'm on a boat - now I'm on a horse" minus the eye candy. They were like a movie shot with a hand-held camera. Jumpy and disjointed  (better analogy). It was unfair on multi-scene narratives to force them into 500 words.

Telling a story within a single scene was actually easier than expected, but these scenes tended to be longer than 500 words, often topping 1000. Solution? Get the writing scythe. And I edited. And cut and pruned.  I made tough decisions about what I actually needed to say. The finished story flowed far more smoothly within its 500 word boundary.  

There have been two rewards.

Firstly, I have produced a total of 5 short stories of less than 500 words, three of which were accepted for publication. The two rejected ones were stories I knew were weaker (perhaps poorly resolved) and even when complete, I knew they weren’t quite right. But I hit the send button in a moment of recklessness.

Nevertheless, I had met my goal and attained some pub creds.

Secondly, my writing is tighter as a result of such discipline. I now write my novels as a series of (up to) 500 word scenes. Sure, it’s an arbitrary number, but it keeps me on my toes. Each makes a contribution to the story. I view them as a single step. Some require considerably less than 500 words to tell their piece, and that’s ok. A few get linked into a chapter – and with more editing, the 5 x 500 word structure gets hidden. And my stories are getting longer.

My next goal is to link more to write a marathon! - I'll letcha know when I'm done.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Own Secret Story

Early last year, my short story "My Own Secret Dinosaur", was accpeted into an anthology, "Extinct Doesn't Mean Forever". It was a thrilling experience, as it was my first published short.

I write under the pen name of Jo Antareau. For those who know me in "real life", you might see a phonetic similarity between that and my actual name. Not that you can spell it easily, but, hey, I spend half my life spelling my real name, too.

I was totally blown away by the quality of the stories in the anthology, it was humbling to see my tale of a kid trying to keep a baby dinosaur secret included with some really well written and intriguing stories. They are all awesome, but I'm not telling you which one is my fave! Each story has been given a new cover, see below. Mine's kinda cute, yeah?

To promote the antho, the shorts have been released as stand-alone novellas on Amazon, and some will be available FREE. Watch this spot for details

And, I get to participate in a blog hop with the other authors, which is fun. Check out my team mates' blogs, below: