Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Judge, Jury and Executioner

In Her Majesty's Service

The Commonwealth Writers Prize has relaunched in its amended form, along with a new website,, with some content from past winners. There’s even an online writer in residence, fellow short story supremo Katrina Best.

I’m really excited about the revamped Commonwealth Short Story Prize. It used to be a 600-word limit (winning entries were intended for radio broadcast) but now the canvas is much larger: 2000-5000 words to be exact.

I’m honoured to be one of this year’s judges, which means I’ll get to read the freshest writing from Africa, the Caribbean,  Canada, South Asia, the UK and of course the Pacific.

NZ is also represented in the Best First Book judging panel, with Emily Perkins signing on (where does she find the time?).

Turn The Page 

I’m already in two minds about Bob Seger after Friday's hasty declaration.

Reprint! Reprint! Reprint!

Random House is reprinting A Man Melting. A modest number at this stage using a short-run system, so the foil on the cover will just be printed in colour. It'll be interesting to see how much of a difference this makes…

There’s still some foil first editions in NZ/Aus bookstores if you want one, but get in quick! For the rest of the world, it’s a matter of taking your chances ordering online (see info in the sidebar ---->) or buying the eBook (definitely no foil).

Bang Bang Bang: Musical interlude

Promises, promises

Tomorrow, Thursday 20 October 2011, I will write 6,376 words of THE NOVEL. 

I know I can do it. I wrote 6,376 words on Wednesday 10 December 2008, that being the year I tried (and failed) to write one million words in a year, and the 6,376 words being my best word count for a single day

That day I was working on the short story which became 'Unnatural Selection', which closes A Man Melting. So it's not like I was writing total nonsense (though I can't say for sure how many of those 6,376 words survived in the final 10,000 word story; the first draft was a flabby 13,000 words).

Why am I setting myself this lofty goal? Because I'm spinning my wheels at the moment, spending hours inserting historical detail and agonising over how Scottish my Scottish characters should sound (must I type 'doon' for 'down' whenever they speak?), and I really want to break new ground.

So tomorrow I will rise at 6am, slip on my slippers and write like stink, leaving square brackets willy-nilly and powering the story out into the open seas and closer to the inevitable calamity in the Southern Ocean.

And if I fail? Um. If I fail I promise not to post any bird photos on this blog for 12 months! Yeah, I know! The things I must resort to.

Excuse me while I erect my petard.

Other things I need to do in the next few weeks:

  • Come up with a title, even just a working title, for THE NOVEL, by 1 November (suggestions welcome, the less relevant the better). 
  • Submit something to Turbine by 21 October.
  • Get a haircut.
  • Buy a wedding band (M. has hers sorted already)
  • Give Bob Seger another chance.
Bob Seger during his short-lived Snuffleupagus phase

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