Wednesday 17 January 2024: I had to duck out!

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

I stayed at my desk until about 7pm, to make sure I didn’t miss the videos for the sci-fi mystery writing workshop, but they didn’t land.

Tea was already well underway. We didn’t have fishcakes, because the chef (aka the poet) didn’t get away from work on time, he was already 90 minutes away, at least, *and* he had to fill the car up with petrol en route. So he made a crustless quiche instead and I supervised the cooking while he had a nap. (We’re really not used to these early starts.) We had a peach crumble I’d made the week before with custard for pudding.

By the time we went to bed, the videos still hadn’t arrived, but by 7am yesterday morning, when the poet was getting up and I was letting the dog out, there they were. And there were a lot of them. I’d forgotten they do morning and afternoon sessions.

The poet was badly delayed on his 90-minute drive to work yesterday morning. In that time he’d only made it to the other side of Doncaster due to a crash on the motorway. He’d already spotted the queues and the overhead gantry warned of a 30-minute delay. But as lots of other people had also spotted it, he wasn’t the only one to adjust. He probably made it in to work about an hour after he was supposed to be there.

Not long after I got up and started to weather-watch, an email arrived regarding my first assignment. I opened it with trepidation, but I needn’t have worried. I’d sent the file in rtf format instead of doc format (forgot to convert it), and he couldn’t open it. He told me to get it right for Story 2, so I knew that wasn’t an invitation to try again.

Oh, the relief! I really thought he was going to pan it. Of course, it means I didn’t have to rush to send it to him Sunday night. But that was my bad, not anyone else’s. And, of course, it also means that I now have a 3,000-word story that could probably be 5,000 words if I spend the right amount of time on it, and I can remove the sci-fi element if it isn’t working… or I thought I could… (see below.)

There was a bit of a snow flurry – a very light one. I’d already fed the birds and poured hot water on their drinkers. But whereas the day before they’d been going barmy in the garden, yesterday they were flying in one at a time. They were probably sheltering from the potential snow.

I started today’s blog post then settled down to catch up on my writing workshop.

One of the first things I learnt is that if you take the science-fiction element out of a story and it still works, then it isn’t a science-fiction story. Hmm. Thinking about it, a lot of the story I wrote on Sunday wouldn’t work without the sci-fi elements. However, a lot of it would still work with a bit of a re-write, which is what I was thinking.

Watching the videos took just over an hour and I think I did learn quite a lot. Assignment 2 was set, though, and we had until midnight on Tuesday (west coast time) to write our second story. “It’s only short,” they said. “Only 3,000 to 5,000 words…” 🙄

But it was just as I pootled off to research the place they’d like us to base our ‘made up world’ that I realised I wouldn’t be able to write a 3,000-word story and get it submitted during the evening in time for their midnight west coast time deadline because we had a big family thing to go to. The mother-in-law’s birthday dinner.

I sent him an apology, explaining that (a) I forgot to convert the file, and (b) I wouldn’t be able to do the assignment due to the time difference and this family thing, and said I’d still watch the videos, I’d just do the stories in my own time. And I will still do the assignments, as they’re quite interesting.

I’m disappointed, but hey. C’est la vie. I’ll just have to do better next time – all around. Sadly, there isn’t another study along planned for a whole year. My money might’ve been better spent elsewhere.

The poet checked in for a weather report. He had snow flurries where he was and there was big snow in Manchester where he’s supposed to be today. But we had nothing, which meant he didn’t have an excuse to leave early. And that meant a big rush when he did get home as the meal was booked for 7pm.

I faffed around, doing this and that here and there, and I started to tidy up all of my book covers on Canva into a folder. But I couldn’t get settled into anything. So I closed down early and got ready to go out.

And yes, I know they’re ducklings rather than ducks. They were just too cute not to use.


4 thoughts on “Wednesday 17 January 2024: I had to duck out!

  1. They are adorable.

    I can understand that if the directions say “.doc” not wanting them in .rtf, but the point of .rtf is that it can be used across platforms. When I worked in Pages, I’d usually save in .doc AND .rtf, because sometimes Microsoft Word for Mac wonked, but the .rtf was stable. And something created in Office and saved as .rtf can be opened on a Mac. So that’s kind of a warning bell. It makes sense if the note was “you need to follow format directions” but saying he physically couldn’t open it (rather than chose not to because it wasn’t in the stated format) is a red flag to me. Even if he’s using Open Source software, .rtf should work on just about anything.

    1. I think it’s likely he was making a point. He said he couldn’t get it to open right and he wouldn’t have wanted to spend time trying to fix it. The instructions clearly say Word format and I should have converted it. But I agree, rtf is universal, so he was probably just making a point.

  2. I’m willing it not to snow! My daughter was delayed on thevmotorway trying to get to Manchester yesterday. She set off at 7 and finally reached the centre well after 9. I hope this freezing weather clears soon. I can’t comment on anything to do with technical issues. It’s beyond me!

    1. Well, your not-snow dance seems to have worked! All percentages are back to zero. Or they are here at any rate…

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