Thursday, 31 January 2013

Beware the jabberwock

Terribleminds flash fiction challenge 
26 jan  - motifs

“A motif is not a theme. It is not a mood. It is a recurring element. A repeated symbol or overarching image.” Again, three options. I rolled:
9             motif -             mirror
1             subgenre -       dystopia
6             setting -           An amusement park

A dystopia is a community or society, usually fictional, that is in some important way undesirable or frightening. It is the opposite of a utopia. Such societies appear in many works of fiction, particularly in stories set in a speculative future. Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization, totalitarian governments, environmental disaster, or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society. Elements of dystopias may vary from environmental to political and social issues. Dystopian societies have culminated in a broad series of sub-genres of fiction and are often used to raise real-world issues regarding society, environment, politics, religion, psychology, spirituality, or technology that may become present in the future. For this reason, dystopias have taken the form of a multitude of speculations, such as pollution, poverty, societal collapse, political repression, or totalitarianism.
Famous depictions of dystopian societies include Nineteen Eighty-Four, a totalitarian invasive super state; Brave New World, where the human population is placed under a caste of psychological allocation; aspects of the film Demolition Man; Fahrenheit 451, where the state burns books out of fear of what they may incite. The Iron Heel was described by Erich Fromm as "the earliest of the modern Dystopian". from wikipedia

Beware the jabberwock.

The new conservative government had been right wing. Everyone knew that. But over time, they veered ever so slightly further to the right. They made changes to the laws for security. For the preservation of our way of life. They protected people’s rights.

People were glad. It’s about time someone did something, they said.

And the hippie greenie anti-development people protested.

People ignored them. What did they know? Damn tree huggers.
More laws came in for more security. People had ID cards and travel restrictions. Closed circuit cameras were installed everywhere. For your safety. People felt safer; even if they actually weren’t.

The statistics said crime was down. Journalists argued that the figures were wrong. Newspapers were closing down as people got their news from the internet. Entertainment replaced current affairs programmes.

They voted the government in again. The government transferred the Police force into the hands of a corporation. It started as a budgetary thing.

It called itself The Force. It sounded strong and safe. The civil rights people protested; they shouted about the separation of Law and State. With all the new laws, there were many more arrestees awaiting trial.

The people were glad.

The government built bigger, newer prisons. More secure, they said. They employed many more judges to clear the backlog in the justice system. More people were given prison sentences, so they needed more prisons. They filled up quickly. The new laws didn’t allow people to publish or voice criticism. People were arrested who spoke out against the government or The Force. The CCTV was used as evidence.

The people felt a little nervous as their neighbours started to disappear.

The new laws stopped them moving out of the city. People were confined to areas, for their own safety you understand.

The government changed the laws to allow them to stay in government… permanently.

With all the cameras around, you spoke quietly all the time and you only spoke honestly after dark, and then only to your closest friends.

There was a new tech advance; a camera that looked like a thin mirror. The rights were bought up by The Force. Slowly word of it was suppressed.

Hushed whispers still travelled quickly. The people chewed their lip. Mirrors started to pop up everywhere.

A mirror could be a camera. Any mirror. Anywhere. A public toilet. Your bathroom. How could you tell?

People were nervous.

What could they do?

If people were walking in the streets they kept their eyes down, avoiding the mirrors. They no longer looked at each other. Men with beards were arrested on sight.

The streets cleared.

A lone blogger wrote about their favourite book; Alice in Wonderland. It was a classic novel and literary nonsense, so it was allowed as entertainment.
Some clever people remembered that the book’s sequel was called ‘Through the looking glass’ and that a looking glass was a very old word for a mirror. Clever people took notice of Blogger Alice.

Her tag was Alice. No one was even sure that she was a girl. They listened to her nonsense. She encouraged a return to old entertainments. To reading and amusement parks and fairgrounds to return to your memories.

Clever people realized that the hall of mirrors, where the mirrors showed distorted views of people to amuse, were the only place where the mirrors were sure to be real. The CCTV mirrors showed a perfect reflection. An amusement park became the only place where you could meet and talk safely.

The seeds of rebellion were planted.

Beware the jabberwock, Alice said.

More people listened.

Alice made her moves across all eight ranks of the chessboard until she became Queen.

Go through the looking glass, she said.

Alice said to break the mirrors. Do it on the day she becomes queen. And the time was sunset, when Alice farewelled the white knight.

On that day all the mirrors were broken so that people could see clearly again.

And then the war started.

© AM Gray 2012

Friday, 25 January 2013

Story arcs

I get a lot of people who ask me for advice about story writing or ideas. They will grab me in chat and say they have a great idea for a story. And when I ask what it is, they say something like, ‘Edward breaks Bella’s heart and Paul fixes it.’ Sometimes they use different names.

And I say ‘well, that’s great, but where’s the story?’

It is hard to explain what a story arc is to someone if they haven’t heard of it before. So what I do is ask them what their favourite movie is. One person said Thor. I will admit I rolled my eyes for a second, but then I thought no… that’ll work.

So the story of Thor is:
A father has two sons, one is adopted. Son A is strong and arrogant, so he fights another race to prove his worth to his father. He starts a war. His father throws him out. He has lost everything and wakes to find himself in a strange world. There he finds friends and love. He understands that his brother has betrayed him. He learns humility and sacrifice. That knowledge gives him back his powers. He returns home and saves his father.

Gosh - you think - I've read that story before. Of course, it’s the basic story line of Hercules, too or a dozen other books and movies. In writing circles there is a lot of debate that there are no new stories; just new ways to tell them and movies are a newer way to tell stories.

What I have done with Thor is write a longer version of the ‘pitchable concept’ or logline for the movie. Movies have to sell in 30 second trailers, so they reduce the story to one sentence. Kind of like a book blurb. You've picked up a book and read the summary on the back? It’s the book trailer if you want to think of it like that. With neat new graphics and gifs people are now making book trailers for their books, too. (I still have work to do on my summaries. *makes note to self*)

In this article Marlow talks about pitchable concepts and gives some examples:
A fugitive doctor wrongly convicted of killing his wife struggles to prove his innocence while pursued by a relentless US Marshal. (The Fugitive)

A family struggles to escape a remote island park whose main attractions—genetically restored dinosaurs—have been set loose by a power failure. (Jurassic Park)

He says: “Your concept must have three elements: WHO the story is about, what their GOAL is, and the nature of the OBSTACLE they must overcome to achieve that goal.”

He has written a book about selling your story to Hollywood, but the same things apply to story writing. You can break any story down into elements like this. In fact, it’s a skill that writers need to learn to promote their books. And of course, if you know the basic outline of your story, it’s easier to finish it. You can see the end point. Even if you head off into side roads, you can get it back on track.

All of which I explained to the person who had asked me, and she ran off to write her own story.

Dusts hands off. My work here is done.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Hobbit Heist

Terrible minds spin the wheel challenge part two
I spun:
·       2 Comic Fantasy
·       6 Heist gone wrong!
·       1 Demonic possession

Well, if nothing else, I am learning what all these genres mean. Max 1,000 words.

Comic fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy that is primarily humorous in intent and tone. Usually set in imaginary worlds, comic fantasy often includes puns on and parodies of other works of fantasy. It is sometimes known as low fantasy in contrast to high fantasy, which is primarily serious in intent and tone. The term "low fantasy" is used to represent other types of fantasy, however, so while comic fantasies may also correctly be classified as low fantasy, many examples of low fantasy are not comic in nature.
Demonic possession is held by many belief systems to be the control of an individual by a malevolent supernatural being. Descriptions of demonic possessions often include erased memories or personalities, convulsions, “fits” and fainting as if one were dying.

Autonous Dash - a gnome
Legget Dillow - a dwarf
Artair Outerbridge - a wizard
Iago Saksa - a hobbit

I swear I used the scrivener name generator and these are the names it gave me… its psychic. I went for a Hobbit world. An hobbit? Meh, whatever. 900 words

Hobbit heist

They rushed through, then slammed and barricaded the door behind them. A quick binding spell to cover it, and that would have to do. They stepped back from the door and looked around. They were on the roof of the goblin bank. The goblin bank that they had just robbed.

“Ha! I told you the security was poor,” crowed Iago Saksa, the hobbit. Not happy with a neat hole in the ground, he had taken up a life of crime and was now a source of much sadness for his family. He patted the bags of gold tied around his body.

Autonous Dash, the gnome they had left to guard the exit, looked nervous. He muttered something very low that Artair Outerbridge (wizard-in-training) only heard because of his extreme hearing. “What do you mean the eagles aren’t here? That was the deal. That was what we paid them for.”

Artair passed him a gnome sized backpack full of gold to carry.

“I know… but…” He shrugged. “They’re… not… here.” He spread the words out, as if they would make more sense with a gap in between.

“I don’t think we should have gone in, if we didn’t have a way of gettin’ out. You know. In and out,” said Iago.

Legget Dillow snorted like a twelve year old boy, or the equivalent, a forty year old dwarf.

“This isn’t a joke!” Artair hissed. “This is our lives.” He pointed at the barricaded door. “What is that, coming up the stairs behind the door?”

“It sounds kind of loud,” Legget admitted.

“Sounds like a troll,” put in Iago. “Maybe a cave troll.”

“A troll. Right. And how do we get off this roof?”

“Oh, I know this one. We fly,” said Autonous.

Artair smacked himself in the forehead.

“Ooooh…,” said Legget, “we can’t fly. We haven’t got any eagles.”

Artair muttered, “What do you get when you rob a goblin bank with a gnome, a dwarf, a hobbit and a trainee wizard?”

“Is that a joke?” asked Iago. “I think I know that one.”

“You get DEAD!” Artair shouted. “And this is a joke.” He pointed at his accomplices.

“Pfft. Keep your skirt on,” Legget said.

“And it’s not a skirt; it’s a robe!”

“Probably better for in and out,” suggested Leggett, with another snort.

There was an enormous bang against the door.

“Trolls are magic resistant,” said Autonous. “Won’t hold him.”

“I know,” hissed Artair. He looked around. Still no eagles. “Where are the eagles?”

“They came and then they left,” added Autonous.

“Pardon?” And then Artair got an awful feeling. “Did you pay them with the gold we left here?”

“No.” Autonous took a tiny step backwards. “I wrote them a cheque.”

“A cheque?”

“Yes.” He nodded happily.

“You… the forger… wrote them a cheque?” Artair asked. “On this bank, perchance?”

“Do you think they don’t trust me?”

“What name did you put on it?” asked Legget.

“Oh,” said Autonous. “I see.”

There was an awkward silence.

Iago coughed quietly; cleared his throat, coughed again and then threw himself backwards on the rooftop and went into spasms.

“What the heck?” asked Legget. “He’s foaming at the mouth.”

“He’s possessed. That’s it! We are all going to die.” Artair started to pace back and forth.

“Yes, and today,” bellowed Iago in a voice that didn’t sound like his normal voice.

“Who are you?” Artair asked the shuddering body.

“Bank security.”

“Security is a demon?” Artair asked in disbelief.

“Of course. I made contact with this vessel, a week ago, when he was loitering. With intent, I might add.”

“What is your name?”

“I’m not going to tell you my name; names have power. I wasn’t born yesterday.”

“He’s got you there, boss,” said Autonous. He shut his mouth at the withering look from Artair.

“So what do you want, nameless demon? I warn you though, do not meddle in the affairs of wizards for they are subtle and quick to anger.” Artair tried to look confident.

“Oh, puleez,” the demon voice hissed out of Iago’s mouth. “You think this robbery was subtle?”

“Certainly not quick,” muttered Legget.

“He’s delaying us until the troll breaks the door down,” pointed out Autonous.

“Smart gnome,” said the demon.

“He’s NOT SMART! He’s the one who got us into this crap by giving the eagles a forged cheque!” Artair raged.

The demon snorted and then laughed. He guffawed and each time he stopped; it just started again. He was rendered powerless.

Artair shot a flare spell up into the air. Then he started to shake the bag of gold in his hand. Legget looked confused.

“Eagles.” Artair touched his ear. “They’ll hear the gold clink.”

Leggett started to look around. He pointed. “There. The eagles are coming… back.”

Four gigantic birds swooped down and closed their enormous talons around the bodies of the four on the roof. “Not Iago,” Artair protested, but it was too late.

“Pfft. Keep your skirt on,” Legget shouted across the sky to him.

“It’s not a skirt; it’s a robe!”

“Bit breezy now, though, eh?” said Autonous.

Artair glared at him. “This is your fault.”

“It has turned out okay,” the gnome argued.

“Really? We are taking bank security back to our hideout.” He pointed at the still chuckling, possessed body of Iago.

“Oh. I see.” He gave Artair a weak smile. “You can have the top bunk boss.”

© AM Gray 2013

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Fandom choice award results.

Goodness me. Picture me surprised and proud to have won all four awards for which I was nominated. Thank you to everyone who nominated me and voted for me.

Winner of the All-Time Favorite Author mrstrentreznor
Winner of Favorite Short (One-Shot):  ‘Wake Up and Smell the Coffee’
Winner of the Best Love Scene: ‘Best Friends Share Everything’
Winner of the Best Slash award: ‘Best Friends Share Everything

Thank you also to the fandom choice awards site and Tricky Raven for running the awards. Great job; it isn't easy to run competitions like this and I think they did very well.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Editing posted stories in fanfiction

I will give some credit. They have been making a lot of changes to the site recently, some of which are definite improvements.

To those who use it, the document manager now holds fifty documents! Thank goodness. Ten was just not enough. I can’t tell you how many times I have received panicked messages from people about having to delete something from the doc manager in order to upload more content. No, deleting it from there does not delete it from the story.

But the most useful thing is a new ‘export’ feature.

I hate errors in my stories. I like to fix them if someone points them out to me. Previously I would have to find my chapter in my copy of the word document, upload it, edit it and replace the chapter content on fanfic. With over sixty stories; a lot of them multi chapter ones, that was a trial.

Now, I can go into the ‘publish’ tab; select ‘manage stories’ heading. Select the story I wish to edit. Click on ‘Content/chapters’ and it lists all of the chapters.  Next to the chapter listings are four columns, like this:

‘Edit’ only applies to renaming or editing the chapter title itself and not the contents.

The one we want is ‘export’.

Select the chapter you wish to edit. In Apologies, I had ‘shover’ instead of ‘shoved’. Just noticed it myself this morning. Ugh. Must fix that. And how did spellcheck miss that? Is shover even a word?

Click ‘export’ and the chapter will be loaded into your doc manager and labelled ‘export: chapter name & number’. Like so:

Open it; edit the way you normally would. I couldn't help myself and took out a few words, too. Click save. Then go back to the ‘manage stories’ tab. Select the story you are fixing, click on ‘Content/chapters’, click on ‘replace/update chapter’ at the top of the page, above the table. Click on the down arrows to select the chapter you are replacing and then click on the down arrow next to the ‘select document’ listing to select the exported document you have already edited.

Make sure you have it right. You know, that you are replacing ch35 with a new ch35, for example. Then click the button that says ‘replace chapter content with document’.

Done. And it took me minutes.

If you do not have a complete copy of your story, on the story properties page there is a download button. It opens a new browser page and has your whole story there. You can ctrl/A to select all and ctrl/C to copy and paste it into another format. Or you could use a page clipper function such as Evernote.

I strongly advise having back-ups of all your stories somewhere else other than only on your hard drive and hopefully also in a cloud storage like Google Drive or Dropbox or whatever. Backup people!

Cool. Thanks fanfiction.

Has anyone else noticed new features?

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Mud hut

A writing prompt from a site called Write to done. They call them scene stealers

They have some cool info and some free downloads if you sign up etc... so it is worth a look.

These are the rules:
  • You must use the exact wording we provide—in this case it must appear in the beginning of your story.
  • Your story must be 350 words or less. (I did 349 - ooh cutting it fine)
  • Your work must be original and not previously published.

mud hut

Ron etched another line in the wall of the mud hut that had been his home for the last 31 days. When would the nightmare end?

The doctors had said it would take four weeks, maybe five to see if he had been affected. Isolation was best for everyone else right now. He knew that. But it was so hard. He lost track of the days, and that was why he had started keeping a count.

Clearly they erred on the side of caution.

Or maybe he had miscounted?

He knew he hadn’t; the chopper dropped food supplies every five days.

Six visits made thirty days. No… wait… it was more than that. How could he have lost days?

He started to panic at the thought that he would be trapped here. That they had forgotten him, or had decided to just let him live out his days in the mud hut.

The panic had a physical effect; his heart rate increased, he started to sweat, his hands trembled and he found it hard to breathe. Adrenaline pumped through his body.

He staggered outside to get some fresh air.

“Go back inside the cabin,” the guards on the tower ordered via megaphone.

“I-I c-can’t. Panic,” he stuttered. As if they could hear him.


Or what? He noticed the rifles trained on him. They would shoot him. His eyesight had improved. He could see the rifles. The towers were quite a distance from the compound. Too far to throw food.

His brain put it together. Mud. No one could use mud as a weapon. That was why the hut was not made of bricks or wood and nails.

His eyes darted around identifying enemy locations and weapons. Judging trajectories and distances. He considered strategies and rejected them.

And he did all of that in an instant.

The trench that separated him from the fence and the towers beyond was too wide for a man to jump, but he was no longer a man. He knew it in his bones.

A little stagger as a feint and then he jumped.

© AM Gray 2012


Another flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig.

I rolled: 
 9            Splatterpunk
10           A nightclub in Hell
 2            Magical foodstuff
1000 words

I had to look up splatter punk and this is the definition according to Wikipedia:
Splatterpunk—a term coined in 1986 by David J. Schow at the Twelfth World Fantasy Convention in Providence, Rhode Island—refers to a movement within horror fiction distinguished by its graphic, often gory, depiction of violence and "hyperintensive horror with no limits." It is regarded as a revolt against the "traditional, meekly suggestive horror story".

Dammit. I am no good with horror. But I did my best. 964 words. And I know 'all Hell broke loose' is one of those phrases you should never use; I was being ironic.

Warning: for language and you know… gore. Splatterpunk people.

He stood in the doorway to Hell. Truthfully it was a nightclub called ‘Inferno’ but it was in a prime location; it was in Hell. It took a business genius to open a bar in the hottest place in the universe; people got real thirsty in Hell. There was a queue to get in.

“Invitation only,” the doorman grunted at him. He had some kind of a boar head, so a grunt was appropriate.

“Of course.” He pulled a card from his pocket and waved it at the doorman, stepping forward confidently as he did. He was relying on the grunt’s poor eyesight, the darkened venue and the push of people behind him. It worked. 

The girl grabbed his arm. “Plus one,” she muttered.

A few more steps got him inside the foyer and past the coat check girl who looked terminally bored; no coats in Hell either. She looked up eagerly as she noticed his, but he shook his head.

“Will he be here?” plus one asked.

“I hope not. A private party means it’s worse than normal.”

“Worse? How could it be worse?”

They opened the double doors and stepped into the nightclub proper. He waved a hand at the cavernous room. The music was at a volume where it almost hurt to breathe. “Don’t eat or drink anything,” he shouted in her ear.


He grabbed her shoulders and pushed her closer to a table. It took her a few seconds to adjust to the lights and to see in detail. A man wearing a very nice tuxedo was lolling back in the booth. He was laughing. That kind of put your head back and have a real belly laugh, laugh except that his shirt was stained with blood and his belly was sliced open. Two small demons with wings perched on his thighs. They were braiding something; his intestines.

“M-maybe it tickles,” she said.

He turned her again. Another table, another scene from Bosch. Three women sat leaning over a platter of roasted baby. One gnawed on a thigh. Another sipped from a drink and picked meat from the tiny breast with delicate manicured fingers.

“Why?” she asked.

“They drank the Kool-Aid.” Each person had a glass of rose-coloured liquid near them or in their hand.

He caught sight of the grunt out of the corner of his eye. He was pointing at them and talking to a lackey; a naked, skeletal one with half his skull missing. It sniffed towards them. A tracker demon.

He pushed her in the back. “Quick. Can you see him?”

“Yes, he’s over by the bar.” She moved hurriedly towards the young man with his back to them. The business genius they were looking for.

He went to grab her and then thought better of it; he followed.

“Zepar,” she shouted over the music.

The man spun quickly and stared at her incredulously. A quick glance over her shoulder and a muttered command, halted the tracker demon. It sniffed liquidly behind them. A hand wave and the music fell silent. The party noise continued; a hubbub of laughter and chat.

He still stared at her. Zepar, the fallen angel who made women love men, had met his match. The girl who saw only him. She had followed him into Hell to find him.

“How?” he asked her.

She jigged her head at her date. “A medium.”

He waved nervously. This had not turned out the way he had planned; like he ever planned anything properly? He lived on his wits and the older he got, the less wits he seemed to have. He should have had enough left to deny a pretty girl.

Zepar tilted his beautifully coiffed head. “He’s not a medium.”

“He isn't?”

“No.” Zepar reached over, grabbed her arm and pulled her closer to him, tucking her protectively into his side. She looked overjoyed to be there.

His attention returned to the ‘medium’. “Any last requests?”

“Oh, absolutely. I am dying to try the punch, or should that be I am trying the punch before I die?”

“As you say.”

Another hand wave and a large tumbler of the punch was placed on the bar. Zepar handed it to him graciously. “To your health.”

He chuckled and took the glass. “ Doesn't that look delicious?” he asked no one in particular.

The girl looked suddenly distraught. “I didn't know,” she whispered.

He gave her a sad smile. “It’s okay; I did.” He closed his eyes as if to scent the concoction, but what he did instead was cast a spell that neutered it; removed all its power. And not just in his glass, but in all traces of the potion in the room. As elements of the same thing, they were connected. It was magic.

The room exploded into violence. Every willing, laughing victim became a screaming maniac who fought back. Every drugged party attendee sobered up… and, well… all Hell broke loose. Literally. And because they were already dead, they couldn't be killed.

Zepar grabbed the girl and hauled her over behind the bar, pushing her down for cover.

The medium spun quickly and threw the tracker demon away from him; using the force of his attack as impetus. He reached inside his coat and withdrew a glass vial.

“You dare?” Zepar screamed at him.

He smashed the vial against his chest and the Holy Water drew him away from Hell and back to the surface.

He opened his eyes, his hand still pressed to his chest. He was alone in his bathroom; sitting on a chair in the bath with steam rising from his clothes.

“Ugh. I hate the trip back.”

He grabbed suddenly at his coat pocket and withdrew a sodden cheque. The ink had run.

“Oh Hell!” he said.

© AM Gray 2013

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

My goals for 2013

I was reading an update from Joanna Penn of the creativepenn . She was talking about the goals she had set for herself at the beginning of 2012 and comparing how well she did in achieving them. I think she did very well with her list. And as she says, putting it down in words makes her accountable. Good point. I will add that her site is a fabulous resource for not only writing, but also for marketing and publishing advice too. She writes both non-fiction and fiction, does video interviews with all sorts of people and does public speaking on publishing etc. So she has many hats. Definitely worth a look. And a listen. Besides, I could sit and listen to her English accent all day. Lol.

I was also reading an update from lit reactor about resolutions.

So, here are my resolutions for 2013:
1.     I will write and publish one novel (approx. 100k words) and a novella (20-40k).
2.     I will reach 500 likes for my Facebook author page.
3.     I will write 2,000 words a day.
4.     I will write less fanfiction.
5.     I will improve my writing, grammar etc.

I am already looking at that list thinking… ‘What? 500 likes?’ Sigh. My inner critic is a whiny bitch.

So, how am I going to do that? That is the question.

1.            I will write and publish one novel (approx. 100k words) and a novella (20-40k).
I have a pile of unfinished projects. Obviously I need to finish stuff I have almost finished, or kill it if it is never going to work. This is where the inner critic goes feral. I have an acquired habit of self-doubt. It’s a long and ugly story that I might write one day and change the names to protect the innocent, but suffice it to say that I used to have a real living critic and my inner critic has absorbed all the statements I used to hear. The critic is gone, but the inner voice remains. I read a quote the other day that was the perfect example.

“People don't believe what you tell them.
They rarely believe what you show them.
They often believe what their friends tell them.
They always believe what they tell themselves.”
― Seth Godin

So, silence my inner critic. Hang draw and quarter it with a ball gag so I can’t hear the screams. Sounds like a plan.

2.            I will reach 500 likes for my Facebook author page.
I’m still a little doubtful on the power of FB and Google+. Too often I see comments that indicate that the people never actually clicked on the links. So I am not convinced that they are the major marketing tools they would like to be thought of as. Twitter is more immediate and personal (it feels more personal to me). But, again, I am not sure I am using it the best way. I hate people who only tweet about their books or post the same damn quote every three hours. So I need to do more Twitter research, find out about tools and apps etc. God forbid I get a phone that is recent and not more than ten years old. Like my current model. Tech dinosaur here.

3.            I will write 2,000 words a day.
I had fun with Excel a while ago and worked out how to draw graphs. Again with the tech dinosaur… don’t go all judgy on me. From the 1st July until now I have written 242,288 words. WHOA. It works out to about 1400 a day. Each and every day. For example, 1600 is the amount that the Nanowrimo sets people to write in a month and they all complain about it. I've almost done that every month of the last six months. So I should be able to push it up to 2k a day.

But, most of that is fanfiction and that leads me in to the next point.

4.            I will write less fanfiction.
I love fanfic. It’s safe. People there like me. Their love drowns out the fear of sticking my neck out and being judged. (Inner critic again.) I did it before; I stuck my neck out when I posted my first fanfic stories. It was a nerve wracking experience and I was so surprised when people actually liked me, so I should be able to do it again. I have bills to pay and fanfic doesn't pay them. Unless some publisher offers a pull to publish of my fanfics? Yeah right. Cue moral quandary if that ever happens.

So, more original fiction.

5.            I will improve my writing, grammar etc.
If I improve my work space/tools/methods and fitness, then I will write more. It sounds dumb to say it, but you can’t write if you are sitting in an uncomfortable chair, or you are in a foul mood or whatever. And you can’t write well if your grammar and language skills are not up to par. So I need to read, purchase grammar books or do courses - whatever will work for that.

As an extra point, I won a flash fiction contest a while ago run by Biting Duck press. It’s a tiny new publishing house and I won a trip to the top of the slush pile. If I send them something, they promise to read it. But, I don’t have a WIP that fits their specs. So, should I try to write something that does? Or am I wasting my time? These are their submission guidelines for fiction.
Fiction: science fiction; genre fiction about science or scientists; medical thrillers; fantasy/supernatural with a nerd element (you know who you are); cyberpunk; young adult. Please no poetry, romance, goth, religious, or explicit sex or gore.

No romance and no sex? Hmmm… doesn’t sound like me, eh?

So, there you have it; all written down and now I just need to do it.