Egotism

Relaunching the Blog

I first began blogging back in November 2011, as a way of giving myself small, accomplishable writing tasks to keep myself focused and motivated. The aim was also that it would eventually be a useful tool for self-promotion – once I had something worth promoting.

My use of the blog has waxed and waned, definitely more of the latter in recent years. I’ve written just five posts in the last thirty-one months – it’s fair to say that I’ve been neglecting the blog a little bit. But I’ve got a few projects on the go that I’m enthusiastic and confident about, and I’ve learned a little about social media promotion in the five and a quarter years since I started doing this, so it makes sense to get the blog up and going again.

SONY DSC
Artistic.

I was aware when I started that it made sense to have a ‘brand name’ that would be distinctive and therefore easy to find online, but I probably made a bad choice in settling for ‘noonebutabloghead’. This was based on a Samuel Johnson quote that I sort of like but disagree with, that “no man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money”. I added in a really bad pun (BLOGhead, get it?) and misremembered the quote as ‘noone’ rather than ‘no man’. Yes, when I started this I really was so amateurish that I didn’t check the quote my blog was named for.

I’ve found over time that the name ‘scififootball’ – a play on fantasy football, as well as being two major interests of mine – is surprisingly underclaimed across various social media platforms. So I’ve called dibs on the name on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram. Please follow me. Or don’t, it’s a free world.

I’ve chosen a new design for the blog, will be trying to post more regularly, hopefully sort out some consistent branding that hopefully will be better than my current home-made logo, and checking links in old posts still work and updating my menu bars. A lot of that feels quite boring, so I’ll end up doing it in stages rather than all at once.

And as I do that, I’ll try to form any ideas that pop into my head and that I think are interesting into new blog posts.
Egotism, Read My Fiction

I’ve Gotten Through the Cracks

I’ve written a poem for the Teesside Literary Society’s collection of poetry and short fiction, ‘Through the Cracks’, which had its launch event last Friday at Teesside University in Middlesbrough,  as part of T-Junction, the Teesside International Poetry Festival.

Through the Cracks anthology
Through the Cracks anthology

The anthology has been published by Ek Zuban Press, a local publisher mainly of poetry collections, and should be available online soon. Although I’ve not had the chance to read the whole book yet, I particularly liked Cat Brown’s Undercurrent (a story of childhood loss), Chris Stewart’s Transporter Isometrics (drawing on the heritage of Teesside’s steel industry) and Caroline Harvey’s Teesside Princess (a defiant piece of local pride). (The ‘c’s are a total coincidence!)

My own entry – titled Kerrosin of Nevot – is slightly weirder, a science-fictiony, Jabberwocky type thing. I’ll probably put it up here at the blog at some point, and I’ll post an update when the collection’s available to buy online.

Looking back through the blog, I don’t think I’ve made any mention of my only other previously published fiction, in a collection named Home Tomorrow, so I’ll write a blog post about that soon as well.

Egotism

IWSG: A Writer’s Insecurities

This is an entry for the Insecure Writers’ Support Group, which cross-posts on each others’ blogs on the first Wednesday of each month.

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge 2016I have a complicated relationship with the writing process. I love to write. I love the creative process of playing around with fictional characters and scenarios, drawing on both the real world and other stories to create something original. I love using descriptive prose that has a sense of beauty all of its own, regardless of the purpose it’s used for. I love writing clever, sharp dialogue that I’m not quick enough to think of in the moment, or that only work because I provided a setup that the real world wasn’t kind enough to give me. Moving into non-fiction, writing helps me to make sense of my complex, messy, seemingly contradictory thoughts, whether of a personal nature, or just thoughts on a book or film I sort of love and hate simultaneously. There is a lot about the writing process I absolutely love.

Continue reading “IWSG: A Writer’s Insecurities”

Egotism

IWSG: Back to Blogging

This is an entry for the Insecure Writers’ Support Group, which cross-posts on each others’ blogs on the first Wednesday of each month. It’s not quite the first Wednesday, but it’s close enough.

InsecureWritersSupportGroupIt’s been a while since I last posted on this blog. Although I’ve had gaps in my blogging before, the 11 month gap between the last time I posted here and today is by far the biggest. I began the blog back in November 2011, with the intention being that it would be a place for me to write about writing, and to whet my readers’ appetite for the fiction I actually manage to get finished.
I seem to have a remarkable talent for losing faith in the projects I begin, and I tend to be indecisive about what to do with the rare short stories I actually finish, which pretty much cancels out any use this blog would have as an advertisement for my writing. I have, however, written various reviews, analyses and thoughts on various types of fiction, as well as links to my writing on other websites and publications. The things I’ve written aren’t totally without merit, and writing them has helped focus my mind when I’ve been lost in big, ambitious projects.

One of the main things distracting me this last year has been political activity, but with the election now over, this should take up a little less of my time. My political activity has included a little bit of writing – on a separate blog and on one other site.
I tend to think it’s fairly obnoxious to push your political opinions on an audience who haven’t signed up for that reason, so I’ll try and keep this blog politically neutral. My moral beliefs will probably bleed through and become slightly apparent in some of what I write, but I won’t make any overt arguments expressing my very strong and genuine belief in Northumbrian independence, or my support for the settlers betrayed by the Demilitarized Zone being handed to the Cardassians. Or any of the other things I absolutely, genuinely believe in.

Now that I’ve got a few of my distractions out of the way, I should be able to return to more regular blogging, and fiction writing, in the next few days. I’ve been looking over some old, half-finished or unsatisfactory stories, in order to collaborate with my past self. It’s actually quite exciting to look back on what I’ve written before, and see that it’s not entirely awful. So I’ll be working on something soon, plus a few half-formed ideas I’ve got locked away in my brain which should be worth writing.

Egotism, Politics, Storytelling Geekery

IWSG: Can Satire Go Too Far?

This is my entry for July’s Insecure Writers’ Support Group, a monthly ‘blog hop’ with the intent of giving each other feedback and encouragement. The full list of participants can be found at the Insecure Writers’ home site.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Yesterday I published a satirical blog post, titled A Modest Proposal for Dealing With the Muslim Problem and Relieving Tension Between the Races of the Earth. You may recognise the format (of the title and the prose) as being drawn from Jonathan Swift, but there’s still the risk of what I wrote being taken at face value.

Continue reading “IWSG: Can Satire Go Too Far?”

Egotism

I’m Back!

Remember me?

For a variety of reasons, I’ve put the blog on hold for a while, not managing to find the time to write anywhere online for the past four months, and only writing fiction irregularly. The reasons include university work, trying to organise a short film, and doing research and plotting for both a series of short stories and a screenplay. One of the initial themes I had planned for this blog was to write about my writing process, which I intend to do more from now on.

All writers are frustrated by their own incompetence.
All writers are frustrated by their own incompetence.

There’s also a bunch of things that I literally haven’t done for more than a year – looking at story structure of old films, in depth analyses of specific episodes of TV shows, so on, as well as reviews and the like. I’ve done more research than writing recently, and I’ve missed the satisfaction from getting things finished.

Continue reading “I’m Back!”

Egotism

I’ve Finished Writing a Short Story – Now What?

This is my entry for the monthly Insecure Writer’s Support Group – a monthly opportunity for aspiring writers to have a whinge about the roadblocks we’ve came across while developing as a writer, and to offer each other support and advice. You can pay some of my fellow IWSGers a visit, and sign up yourself.

.InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Between December and February I wrote a short story, from beginning to end – a 7500 word Victorian era mystery. Roughly halfway through February I reached the point where I was happy with the finished version – the period details felt authentic to me, there’s a conflict between characters, and facts held back from the characters and the reader are slowly revealed as the mystery unravels.

Since then I’ve shared the ‘finished’ version with a few people, and received bits of feedback to refine it slightly, but I’m not sure whether to go one way or the other. The additions will mean expanding what I’ve written, but I was trying to stick to a word count for a magazine’s submission guidelines, and I’m already significantly over.

Generally I’m more inclined towards aiming for traditional publishing than self-publishing (either in hard copy or as an e-book), as I’d prefer the greater publicity of an established audience (in this case a magazine) and I’d prefer to have the publicity dealt with by someone who specialises in that area (for a novel). But on the other hand, there are practical considerations that mean I might not be able to publish my ideal version of the story… even if it’s accepted.

Part of the reason I’m wary is because of an experience with an earlier finished manuscript. In March of last year I completed a short supernatural story that I called The Eternal Hunt, which I sent to a few magazines for publication – they all either rejected me or didn’t reply. I’ve thought about self-publishing my latest story as an e-book, maybe through Smashwords or something similar.

For now, I’m working out a second story led by the same characters. Maybe I’ll be able to cannibalise some of the character elements for the second story, as a way of making the first story shorter without having to eliminate things from the larger world I hope to eventually create. And more importantly, I should strengthen my idea of what themost important parts are of the stories I’m trying to tell, which elements of the larger world and themes are most important, and whether there’s anything I can get rid of entirely.

I’m aware of the importance of compromise, and it may well be that the magazine make editorial changes that improve the story. But there’s also the possibility that the interests of the magazine in question and my story may come up against each other. An editor of a magazine that publishes short fiction will naturally want a story of X thousand words that enthrall and entertain their readers… but fitting into that limit will probably be more important to them than having the thematic depth and character insight that I want it to have.

Given that this is my IWSG entry, I’ll throw the comments section out for advice. Those of you who’ve self-published, would you go down the traditional route if you could? And have you faced the challenge of having to cut something you really like to fit a word count?