Thursday 15 June 2023: Long night ahead

Holly’s gone walkabout again.

The weather is a lot more bearable at the moment, despite the storms never arriving. There’s a cool, fresh breeze and that makes a massive difference inside the house when the doors and windows are open and the curtains closed. We have rain forecast next week, all week. But as the thunderstorms managed to go around us every day this week so far, I won’t hold my breath. When it does rain, though, I will be certain to go and stand in it for a few minutes.

I was up on time yesterday and at work on time, even though I caught up on social media *and* read another chapter of the NetGalley book over breakfast. Usually I get caught up in whatever I’m doing and forget to stop and go and do something else. But yesterday I did all right.

While I had breakfast I had a bit of a brain murmur regarding The Fool, which I think will make it a meatier first story in the series. I’m not working on The Fool this week, though, so I had to make a note to ensure I do something about it next week when I am working on it. The Fool is currently in ‘planning’ on my power board.

First job of the day was to rustle up an outline for a short story I had to submit for 12 Stories in 12 Months. Fortunately there was one I’d already brainstormed for a specific market and I already had a rough outline in my short stories exercise book. I opened up Plottr to give a bit more structure to the outline and, when I was happy, exported it to Word.

I don’t write short stories in Scrivener, for some reason. Usually I write them in longhand first so that I can noodle with them wherever I am. But I didn’t have something already prepared for this month (much like last month) so I decided to compose straight onto screen. And when I do that for short stories, and articles actually, it’s in Word. At some point I might have a go in Google docs and again I might try in Open Office, just to hedge my bets. But for now, it’s Word.

I quickly had a look at the website to check the wordcount for this month, and it’s 1,200 words, which is a bit of a problem as neither of the weekly markets I target have many slots for 1,200 words. One of them doesn’t have any at all. One of them does need a lot of 2,000-word stories, though. A LOT. And they’re always crying out for 2,000-word stories.

So I outlined the story as a 2,000-worder, thinking that I could ‘lose’ one try-fail sequence for the shorter story. All I had to do then was decide precisely which sequence I wanted to save for the weekly markets. (The second one doesn’t use 2,000-word stories, but they do use 1,900-word stories, so I always think I can easily lose 100 words if necessary.)

On the one hand I wanted to save the proper happy ending for the 2,000-word version. But on the other, I don’t want to cheat the other 12 Stories in 12 Months writers. And, of course, I know the proper ending will be so much better and will garner better comments, for the old ego.

I’ve decided that I’d quite like to submit at least one short story somewhere every week, whether it be to 12 Stories in 12 Months, as an assignment for a workshop, or to a magazine. This current short story should have been written last week and ready to submit on Friday. But including this one, I had three stories that needed to be out by Friday. I moved the other one down to next week, and moved next week’s down to the following week, and so on, and kept this one and one other for this week.

The other story I want to submit this week is a resubmission that needs some revision before it goes out. I have to lose 100 words from it so that it fits an 1,800-word slot and not the 1,900-word slot mentioned above as it was rejected by the 1,900-word slot market. If it’s rejected again, I will see if it fits into a call for submissions and revise it again if necessary. Otherwise, it will be released as a Wordsworth Short later in the year.

I put the outline to one side to cool for an hour or so, and moved down the to-do list. Next up I selected a short story that could go onto Vocal and then Medium this week. I chose The Complete Angler and had to go on a hunt for a more suitable picture as the one I have on the cover of the Wordsworth Short isn’t great.

That, of course, meant I vanished down a rabbit hole for a bit, but at least I can use the same image now when I post the same story to Medium today.

The story was accepted immediately by the automated system and you can read it here. I updated my record of submissions as well as my content calendar. Then over dinner I listened to podcast 02. I hadn’t realised they were an hour long. That’s quite a chunk out of my day. While I listened, I had my dinner and I played a game. Then I did a bit of Tweeting.

First job of the afternoon was Diary of a Pussycat. I revised two chapters again, and added the exercises to both chapters, again. And I added 468 words. Current tally = 41,728 words. Then it was back to Catch the Rainbow, and I was determined not to faff again this time. I added 1,969 words. Current tally = 14,866 words.

I went to find the cat to give her a couple of tit-bits, but there was no sign of her again. I checked all of the house twice, went around both gardens, walked around the block, checked up and down the main road, and checked the house again. There was no sign of her, though, so another notice went up on our local forum on Facebook, which was how we found her last time.

It looked as though we were in for a long night.

I ran out of time again to watch any workshops or proofread any books and I started to close everything down. Then I remembered that I hadn’t written my submission for 12 Stories in 12 Months and the deadline was yesterday.

We had tea and watched an episode of Perry Mason, but then I had to go and get my laptop and write that story. I did it. By 10:30 I had a 1,200-word story, Harvey’s Festival, and I submitted it. I decided to add the wordcount to today’s bank rather than yesterday’s, as I’d already declared at 2,437 words for the day.

A neighbour came round while I was working to say Holly was on the other side of our hedge trying to work out how to get back into the garden. The poet dashed around there straight away, but she’d already run off again.

At least she knows where her garden is this time. So the poet opened the hidden gate, cleared away the holly branches, and we put some food down, her litter tray out there, and some dirty washing on the line to hopefully help guide her home again.

But I think by then she’d hunkered down somewhere for the night.

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2 thoughts on “Thursday 15 June 2023: Long night ahead

    1. Hmm, comments are turned on… Do you have a log in at Vocal? Glad you liked it.

      We just did the sardines and chicken gravy scent trail and we’re hoping it brings her in.

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