IBreaking Windows - Jan Kaneents been a bit weird finishing the last taught exercises on my MA in Creative Writing. Its been all about the future of fiction,  and doing synopses of works in progress including our Examiner Marker Components (EMAs) which are due in in October. Most of us are writing the first 15 000 words of novels or novella though we can do short story collections. I’ve spent all morning trying to condense the essence of my novella into three sentences. This and struggling with writing a 2000 word short story,  has made me think about this blog which I began for my own entertainment really, when I first started writing. I didn’t even make it visible to anyone else for the first year and a half, using it as a sort of digital diary to chart my experiences.

Now four years later, I feel like I’ve come a long way and maybe its time to develop it a bit more. My next college deadline is 17/5/2018 when I have to submit a 2000 word short story, and for the first time ever, my heart isn’t in it. I’ve been polishing the first 2500 words of my novella (which I must submit in June for tutorly feedback) and I’ve fallen right inside that. Dragging myself into something else has been really difficult. I’ve started three stories trying to fulfil the brief (including  a metafictional aspect or experimental writing) but the stories won’t behave themselves. The first, which I’ve finished and do like, is 1500 words. Any longer (and I’ve tried really hard to make it longer) and its pants; the second is going to be 5000 words. I will finish it next year because its one of my favourites that I’ve ever hatched, but there’s no way it’s ever going to be less that 5000 words – the first person voice wont let it. The third is written as a blog, and I can’t get into character for it, which is one of the things that’s brought me here. I reckon if I blog as my own blog voice, it might help me get inside the head of my fictional blog-voice. The problem is that my fictional blogging persona (though he’s just written 2,000 words) doesn’t know who he is yet, where he lives, what he’s trying to achieve, what he’s trying to hide, so his writing doesn’t feel authentic.

I’ve decided, therefore to blog here as myself, by way of putting my own voice away for a day or two, so  I can get into the headspace of my nasty protagonist and craft his voice and backstory a bit better.

I won the illustration at the start of this post in a flash comp. It illustrates a story I wrote for Zero Flash last summer. I’m posting it here because it captures a bit of the mood I want to evoke in the afore-mentioned story/blog that I’m struggling with, puts me in mind of the character I’m trying to create. Right feel a bit more in his headspace now. Better get cracking before the darkness deserts me. The pun was entirely deliberate.




WIN_20180411_13_29_53_ProBack in the Hobbit House for one day only and have just embarked on Chapter 10 of Year 2 of my two-year MA in Creative Writing. So what? I hear you cry from the flatland wildernesses of cyberspace, and its a very good question. I’m glad you asked.

It’s the last taught chapter.

After 19 1/2 months of learning about character, plot, tense, time, narrative voices, psychic distance, rhetoric, euphonics and much, much more – this is the last taught week. No more exercises to do after that. No more discussions in various forums, dedicated to fiction, creative non-fiction and getting published in the world. After this week there will be only writing and Tutor Group Forums, and occasional workshops where we critique extracts of each other’s work.

It going to be very odd, indeed, just writing.

It feels a wee bit like the end of an era. I’ve just posted the first exercise of the End Chapter and there’s only one more exercise after that. That’s why I’m marking the event here, before I do it, to herald the beginning of the end.

Getting published wise, I’ve submitted to Molotov Cocktail and written a few flashes  that are nearly ready to send out, but I can’t decide on venues. I’ve been reading work posted on several on-line sites/journals and think I’ve whittled my first choices down to Fictive Dream, Spelk, and maybe the Jellyfish Review. I’ve never submitted to any of these but think I need to get a bit more work ‘out there’ even if its for free and as they say…nothing ventured… I’m also going to submit to Horror Scribes first anthology with a slightly reworked version of the flash that won their New Year comp.

Talking of comps, I entered the Retreat West flash comp, theme ‘forgetting’, and spring’s Reflex Fiction, which is a brilliant idea for a comp.  I came across it at Christmas when I had time to look.  They pick a short list from all the entries, then count backward, publishing one  each day (between May and June for this edition) until the winning three are published on the last three days. Here’s the link  https://www.reflexfiction.com/ They publish the stories with a picture that illustrates the text and (if you agree) you’re story is published in a print anthology at the end of the year.

They published the longlist on April 1st and I’m on it, which is good. I don’t know when my story will be published, it depends on how well it does I suppose, but I’ll post a link when it is.

Right then, back to the last exercise. No point in putting it off any longer. Endings are always beginnings. Best foot forward and all that