Thursday 29 June 2023: Lots of reading

image created in CanvaPro

There was one thing I was struggling with on Affinity Publisher that I really wanted to sort out in my head. I couldn’t get the background of my magazine cover to go translucent. I’d found the transparency slider and an opaque slider, but nothing was working. Overnight, while I slept, I must have had a bit of a brain murmur because I woke up with the obvious solution.

I checked social media over breakfast and caught up on emails, I read two chapters of the NetGalley book, and one chapter of the writing book above. If I want to produce a magazine full of material by January, I need to be cracking on with the featured novella.

My ‘novel’ will be around the 40,000 mark, but I don’t mind it going up to 50,000 words. This book shows you how the author goes about writing two books a year, and he challenges readers to try and write a 50,000-word novel in six months. His own target is 120,000–130,000 words per novel, so he’s being kind with the 50,000-word target.

Six months is too long for me, and I know I can write 40,000 words in four weeks. If I allow myself six weeks for the novella, I’ll still have six weeks to write the new short stories. But I’m still interested in his methods and his order of work.

So, as if I don’t already have enough to read, I’ve added this one to the pile. As well as the NetGalley book, I’m also reading a set book for the fantasy thriller workshop I’m joining in July. And I have four more books to read before then too. And, of course, I have those proofreading jobs to do as well.

I’m going to be doing a lot of reading over the next three weeks!

When I got to my desk, I tried out my theory on Affinity, and I was right! I had to make the magazine background transparent or white before I could make another graphic over the top see-through. Or faint. But it worked and I was able to start the magazine cover from scratch and make a template. It did take longer than it would on Canva, but it’s much more versatile than Canva.

I skipped on over to Draft2Digital to see what the cover would look like over there, and it’s a different size to the ebooks and paperbacks there, which is correct. I’m making the magazine letter-sized so it’s a bit fatter than the paperback covers.

The coupon codes arrived for four more pop-up online workshops, so I went to collect those. I’m building up quite the stash of courses now. I need to be working my way through them before trying to win any more.

Over dinner I listened to podcast episode 11 and after dinner I worked on Catch the Rainbow. I wanted to somehow bring the Birmingham Six into the story, because they were after all framed for the Birmingham pub bombings. So I had a villain in my story watching them as they waited to board their train at New Street Station.

Four of them were detained when they reached Heysham later that night, one stayed behind in Birmingham, and one was allowed to catch his boat to Northern Ireland.

Of course, what they were doing while my villain was watching them is entirely made up. But I did want to bring them into the story as they played such a big part in the whole real-life story, wholly against their will.

I added 1,007 words to the mix, and it was entirely this new scene, bringing the current tally to 19,633 words. There will be another scene later that’s completely new featuring the same villainous character.

One of the anthology publishers changed the submission deadlines for two of their calls for submissions. One of them I might not bother with, but the other I think I’d like to. The deadline is the end of October, so I have plenty of time to get it into the machine.

The links arrived for six books I won in a Kickstarter campaign so before filing the email, I saved them all to my reading folder on the laptop. More reading!

The poet came home and took the dog into the garden for a play. Later, when they’d both come in again, the poet noticed the dog’s paw was bleeding. Profusely. He’d only gone and ripped out a claw. We bathed it, stopped the bleeding, and wrapped it just to stop the dog mithering it while it was bleeding. We’ll keep an eye on it and take him to the vet if it looks like he needs antibiotics or anything.

It was 6:30pm when I started to think about packing up for the day and I had a rhubarb crumble to make for tea as well as several books to read.

Sign up for my newsletter
If you would like to receive my newsletter, please follow this link or use the form below to sign up and receive your first free short story.

Join my Substack
If you would like to join my Substack newsletter and receive writing tips and articles straight to your inbox, please follow this link or use the form below.

And don’t forget, you can unsubscribe at any time.